How to Spend 1 Week on the Costa del Sol
Stretching from Nerja in the east to Estepona in the west, Spain’s Costa del Sol offers more than beaches. Historical towns, shimmering yacht ports, and striking villages frame the sand, while beyond lie Andalucia and other Mediterranean gems. Here are your options for a week on the Costa del Sol.
Days 1 to 3: Málaga
The Costa del Sol’s centerpiece and main town, Málaga has enough beaches and attractions to make a perfect base for three days. Start by savoring the Costa del Sol’s legendary sunshine on Málaga’s beaches, then maximize your time on a hop-on hop-off bus tour. If you prefer, zip around key landmarks such as Málaga Cathedral on a Segway or bike, or delve deeper on a guided walk. Food aficionados may fancy a tapas-themed tour around the city, while some may prefer to sink into the thermal waters of its restored Arabic baths. Take advantage of Málaga’s easy access to other Costa del Sol hot spots. Stroll the ancient caves and Balcón de Europa promenade in Nerja, and amble the picture-postcard hillside village of Frigiliana. Come evening, enjoy a flamenco show or take an early evening cruise to admire the view from the water.
Day 4: Ronda
Straddling a deep gorge with its two halves linked by a high bridge, inland Ronda merits a day’s visit or overnight stay. Roam its handsome streets to admire its central square and bullring, and gaze down into the El Tajo gorge from the arched Puente Nuevo bridge. Pause for a wine tasting at an old-town bodega, or up the adventure by riding a buggy through El Tajo, admiring its sheer walls from below rather than above.
Days 5 to 7: Marbella or Málaga
Spend your last 48 hours back in Málaga or its glitzy sister, Marbella. Laze on Marbella’s sands and stroll its marinas—including glamorous Puerto Banus—to admire million-dollar yachts and trip through classy boutiques and eateries. If you’re in Málaga, learn to prepare Spanish cuisine in a cooking class, or follow in the steps of artist Pablo Picasso, born here in 1881. Otherwise, strike out to Andalucia’s major sights. Cordoba boasts a UNESCO-listed Great Mosque, Jewish Quarter, and Roman ruins, while Granada’s medieval Alhambra is a vision of fountains, patios, and archways. If history alone isn’t enough, venture to Seville or discover sherry-producing Jerez, the port of Cadiz, and a classic Andalucian horse show. Alternatively, travel to Gibraltar and its world-famous rock or to Tangier, across the Strait of Gibraltar, with its walled medina and French-colonial architecture.