My Review of Costa Del Sol, Spain

I've Been Here
My Review of Costa Del Sol, Spain

by Michelle Toth, London (Byron) Office

This year for my holidays I decided to introduce my daughter to Europe. We had the opportunity to tag along with some British family members to Spain. So after a quick visit with family in England we were off to Malaga located in the Costa del Sol or Sun Coast of Southern Spain.  The weather in September was hot with temperatures between 30-38C the entire time and beautiful blue skies.

The hotel we would call home for 9 nights was the Palmasol Hotel - a well located 3 Star offering us breakfast and dinner daily. We lucked out by requesting a sea view and received it. A view of the Mediterranean Sea was nice to wake up to in the morning. The hotel was just across the street from the marina in Benalmadena where boat tours could be arranged or for nightlife. It was also a short walk to beach areas. We could walk the Carahuela (beachfront promenade) to Torremilinos in a short period of time with additional restaurants, cafes, shops and peddlers selling their knockoffs who were fun to bargain with. This area is teaming with tourists and very commercial but I found it to be a nice base to venture out on daytrips to the surrounding mountains, villages and seaside towns. The local bus was modern and easy to get around not to mention economical. It helped to be with family who had been there many times and knew the lay of the land. English was widely spoken here so we had no issues buying our tickets there and asking questions.

Our first full day there we decided to visit Mijas (16km from Benalmadena-less than 4 Euros by bus each way). Mijas is a whitewashed Andalusian village with loads of charm. We wandered for hours through the village shops and along cobblestone streets. The park setting atop the village had stunning panoramic vistas of the Mediterranean Sea in the distance. Here you can also find a quaint 17th Century chapel commemorating the Virgin of the Rock - the Patron Saint of Mijas. I was surprised that there were villages in Spain that could make me feel like I was back in Greece. What a delight it was to stop at a café and order some ice cold sangria on a hot day in such superb surroundings.

Our next day trip was our tour to Nerja (50 km east of Malaga) and a visit to see the caves there. Our tour guide walked us through the village to the “European balcony“ where the Spanish stood guard watching for foreign invaders. It was such a magnificent sight overlooking the sea with crystal clear waters that when I heard the harpist playing I really thought I had reached heaven. Once at the caves we really didn’t expect them to be as spectacular as they were. I could only imagine what the 5 guys who just stumbled upon them in January of 1959 must have thought. Today they are known as some of the most magnificent caves found in this region of Europe and are one of Spain’s major tourist attractions. They have done a great job with the lighting, stairs and pathways opening up the caves for the public to view.

Our last day in Spain we decided to take the bus to the town of Ronda set high up in the mountains about 2-1/2hrs from where we were staying in Benalmadena. At 10 Euros each way by bus we couldn’t leave Spain without seeing it. The bus ride took us up the winding roads to the town of Ronda. It was a stunning drive with your ears popping much of the time. Ronda is a historical town that is divided by the El Tajo gorge dividing the old and new town. The Puente Nuevo Bridge spans the gorge.  When we arrived little did we know they were celebrating the Festival or Feria Goyesca de Pedro Romero celebrating modern day bull fighting.  We were delighted to find men and ladies dressed in 18th century Spanish costume riding horseback and posing for tourists outside the town’s bullring. We ventured on foot to find the most spectacular views of the countryside that reminded me of Tuscany. Moving on we found the famous Puente Nuevo Bridge where we spent quite some time getting some magnificent photos from various vantage points of this beautiful site. If you get the chance to visit do not miss this wonderful Spanish town.

I would highly recommend a visit to Spain. It has something for everyone from history, charming villages, beautiful scenery, wonderful food and is definitely great value for your money. There are several Canadian tour operators offering coach tours, packaged holidays or even Mediterranean cruises that begin or end in Barcelona. Some European cruise lines stops in Malaga for tours to the surrounding villages and cities.

If you would like to plan a holiday to Spain, please contact me at the London Byron office of CWT Blowes Travel at 519-472-3232