As I mentioned in my previous post, one of our destinations for the summer vacation was the Spanish Costa del Sol (Coast of the Sun). We didn’t manage to see it all, but we did get a bit of a taste of the life and local cuisine and the delicious mojitos.
Costa del Sol is a region in the South of Spain, in the Province of Málaga, Andalusia. Formerly it was made up by a series of small fishing settlements and villages, but today the region is one of the a most renown summer tourist destinations.
In the 60’s and 70’s Costa del Sol experienced an explosive demographic and economic expansion becoming a popular destination for foreign tourists not only for its beaches, but also for its local culture. It was a place with fashionable events, parties and a lush lifestyle. Since then, many things have changed and now the area is much more peaceful and quiet , being preferred more by elderly people.
Costa del Sol has approximately 150-160 Km of coastal area, including towns like Torremolinos, Fuengirola, Mijas, Marbella, Estepona and the city of Málaga.
We arrived in Málaga and then drove for about 30 Km to Sitio de Calahonda where we had out base camp for the Spanish holiday. The public transportation in the area of Costa del Sol it’s not very developed, so the best option remains renting a car. Having a car makes it easier to move around from town to town and beach to beach in order to taste the real Andalusian life. The alternative would be to take a metro/train from Malaga to Fuengirola and from there a bus from Calahonda, but then you would need much more time for this 30 Km trip.
Calahonda is a small town, between Fuengirola and Marbella. A very interesting fact about the town is it’s predominantly non-Spanish population, mostly English and Germans in their 50-60’s who have retired here for a peaceful life, because rural flavor and coastal lifestyle are two of Calahonda’s most attractive features. The area has grown in a generally peaceful and rustic fashion.
Everywhere you look you can see typical Mediterranean light colored houses, green areas with tall palm trees, cactus and aloe vera, streets piled with small cafe shops, pubs where you can enjoy the Andalusian wine, the San Miguel beer or some fresh orange juice and taste some delicious tapas and bocadillos, the fantastic local sandwiches. Many locals opened small rustic restaurants serving traditional dishes with seafood and the famous jamon iberico, gazpacho, patatas bravas and tortillas.
We stayed in an old hotel, famous in the 60’s and 70’s for hosting many celebrities, including the Spanish dictator Franco. Now, it’s a residential area, including many apartments, a bar, tennis courts, a swimming pool, a barbeque area and a small beach.
Calahonda is the perfect place for relaxation, good food, wine and beer and pleasant beach walks. The beach is not the best in the area, but it’s quiet and almost deserted. The best beaches are in Marbella and Tarifa, the most southern point of Spain.
The largest city from Costa del Sol is Málaga. Málaga with its more than half a million inhabitants is the southernmost large city in Europe. On a Saturday morning we went to the city for buying some fresh fish and vegetables from the the famous Atarazanas Market. The fish offer was, at least for us, unbelievable. Nothing we had seen before. Also loads of fresh and tasty vegetables, fruits and nuts. It was very hard to make out choice, luckily we had our Spanish friends with us to help us decide what to get.
After all that hard work, our friend took us to a special winery, somewhere near the market, where you could taste different types of wine at different time of maturation.
Of course, the seafood could not miss in a place in Andalusia, so we tried some scallops and mussels, alive ones 😀
Calle Marques de Larios is the main commercial street of the city and is a popular pedestrian street. It starts from Plaza de la Marina and goes to the north to Plaza de la Constitution.
Plaza de la Constitution
From here begins an area with narrow pedestrian streets full of restaurants, bars and open terraces going to the Plaza de la Juderia, nearby the The Roman Theater and the Arabic Alcazaba Citadel. Here we had a lunch break at El Pimpi, a very nice restaurant.
Nearby is the imposing, yet unfinished Catedral de la Encarnacion.
For a great view over the city, port and the surrounding area, you can go close by, to the rooftop terraces at the Hotel Molina Lario or Marriott. You can enjoy a cold mojito or cerveza and see the breathtaking landscape of Malaga and also you can chill in the rooftop polls from the hotel.
Paseo Parque and Paseo Espana are a nice way of relaxing in the middle of the city. Tall palm trees, lush flowers and vegetation make you feel like being in a botanical garden. You can walk from Hotel Molina Lario to Plaza de toros de La Malagueta.
From here you can book different boat trips around Malaga and Costa del Sol or you can visit the marine museum Aula del Mar Alborania.
Close to our home base in Calahonda is the town of Marbella. With its over 150.000 inhabitants, it is the second most populous municipality in the province of Malaga. With a more agitated life, Marbella is a place where many tourists arrive during the summer. Here you can find bars, pubs, restaurant and the famous chiringuitos (beach bars) were occasionally there are some parties. So definitely the place for a more active holiday.
The beautiful Mediterranean scenery, great food and good wine make Costa del Sol the perfect destination for a quiet and relaxing holiday.
Costa del Sol photo gallery: