7 days on the Costa del Sol - Travel Guide!

Get Lost With Inga

Welcome to a world of sunshine and colour in a magical corner of Spain - Costa del Sol!

Here, the sun shines over 300 days a year, creating a mild and pleasant climate all year round. So no matter when you choose to visit, this stunning destination on the Mediterranean coast will win you over from the first moment.

Below we have prepared an itinerary for a week on the south coast of Spain. Here you'll always find great weather and perfect temperatures for relaxing on the beach, exploring the local attractions or venturing out into the surrounding nature, not for nothing is it called Coast with Sun (translated into Romanian)

You'll discover charming cities such as Málaga, Almeria, Ronda or even nature parks such as Cabo de Gata National Park, Caminito del Rey. 

Whatever your passions, Costa del Sol offers everything you want in one destination. And I've put together the best accommodation and tips to make it as special as possible. Come with me to read about Spain's tastiest traditional dishes, the British monkey ride or what it's like to visit Alhambra through the rain. This beautiful region of Spain has so much to offer and invites you to explore every corner and every experience with an open heart. But on top of that we've also prepared a bonus a day in Gibraltar, which I highly recommend not to avoid if you are going to visit the Costa del Sol. 

So I am at your disposal to guide you through this Mediterranean paradise and to give you tips and suggestions that will help you have an unforgettable experience in Costa del Sol. 

Let's start this adventure together!

Day 1 - Malaga, the heart of Andalusia

How to get there

The easiest and fastest transport for longer distance travel is still air travel. So the airline with the lowest prices and direct flights to Malaga is WizzAir. You can also opt for other airlines but these often have at least one stopover.

Once we arrived at the airport we went to the bus station and waited for number C1. This bus drops you right at the central station (Estación de Autobuses de Málaga). The price for a trip is 3 € and you can buy it right from the bus driver (cash or card).

where are you staying

This time we opted for a more different accommodation. We teleported into the future and chose to sleep in capsules. Yes, I know it sounds strange but this accommodation we found on Booking. This location was chosen more out of curiosity to experience first-hand what it's like to sleep in a 2 sq m space. This kind of accommodation is more typical of busy cities like Tokyo. 

At the reception we were greeted by a reception...without a receptionist. Specifically a tablet where we followed the steps to check in, then a lady arrived with our "room" cards. We were a little bewildered but at the same time very fascinated by all the technology we were seeing in this hotel. 

The capsules themselves are distributed a little differently than we imagined. In a normal hotel room there are 8 capsules (4 ground floor and 4 upper). One capsule can accommodate one person or a maximum of two. We chose the bottom capsule so we didn't keep climbing up after our evenings spent at the terraces in Malaga. The space in the capsule at first seems very oddly small, especially as you have no outside light source. In case you're wondering if there's a chance you'll suffocate (I admit I had such thoughts), you can rest easy as the pods are equipped with an outside air system that circulates nonstop. Basically the capsule has everything you'd need for a comfortable stay, including TV with Netflix, HBO or Disney subscription, reading lamp, headphones (if you don't want to disturb your fellow capsuleer), bath towels, even snacks. But let's not forget the bathroom. Each room has a bathroom that is shared between the 8 pods, basically it's a shared bathroom. But that's not all. The bathroom was equipped with the latest technology trends. I mean, everything was touch screen and sensors. The toilet looked like something out of a Japanese movie and the shower and sink faucets had digital screens. Welcome to the future!

The best part of this hotel is that it offers a gaming area, a relaxation area, a very large kitchen equipped with the latest appliances, plus a very good internet space for digital nomads.

One very important thing for the claustrophobic, I do not recommend these capsules. Anyway, it's more of a 2 day max accommodation as more days I don't think I would have lasted in those 2 sq m.

Price per night lA Futurotel Malagueta Beach cost €80 for two people. 

What to visit in Malaga

If you're a Game of Thrones fan, this guide fits the bill. In all our days on the Costa del Sol we managed to visit 3 great palaces where Game of Thrones sequences were filmed. The first location was Alacazaba Fortress in Málagathen Alacazaba in Almeria and at the end the famous pearl of Spain - Alhambra in Granada. They represented the city Dorne and Martel's house from the famous Game of Thrones series.

For each fortress, I recommend you reserve at least half a day, because they are very big, they are very beautiful and all you want is to immortalize every little corner. By the way, it is very important to have comfortable shoes and water with you.

Alcazaba Fortress gives you a 360-degree view of Málaga. It is considered one of the most beautiful Alcazabe you can visit in Spain. It was built on the slopes of the Gibralfaro mountain where there were already some Phoenician-Punic remains. This position was a very strategic defensive point of the city.

Today, Alcazaba in Málaga is 15,000 square metres, but in Islamic times it was undoubtedly much larger. Part of the walls and the Haza Baja have since been lost.

The Alcazaba was built by Muslims during the occupation of the Iberian Peninsula in the Middle Ages.

However, labelling it as a medieval fortress will not do it justice. Because of its unique historical and topographical evolution, you can say that the Alcazaba of Málaga truly had a life of its own. Alcazaba Malaga.

Day 2 - Almería, the city of tomatoes

Have you ever thought about where all the tomatoes in Spain come from? Have you ever looked at a satellite map of Spain? Have you noticed a big white spot in the south-east? 

If not, then you might as well do that now because I'm about to tell you about the world's largest greenhouse. It's about the vegetable greenhouses near Almería. 

Province Almería in south-eastern Spain is one of the driest areas in Europe. However, with access to groundwater and an abundance of sunshine, it has become a major centre of greenhouse agriculture. 

Around the town of El Ejido lies a small coastal plain called Dalies Fieldwhich has one of the highest concentrations of greenhouses in the world.

Greenhouses in Almería now covers more than 40,000 hectares - almost all Dalia Fields. They also spread to neighbouring areas. Greenhouses cover so much area that they probably even caused a localised cooling effect, as the white roofs reflect a substantial amount of sunlight.

According to some estimates, Greenhouses in Almería now produce between 2.5 million and 3.5 million tonnes of fruit and vegetables a year, enough to make them a major source of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and melons for people all over Europe.

How to get there

To Almeria we went with autobozul, the ticket for one person is 16 €. The motorway to Almeria passes through the greenhouses of Campo de Dalías, so you have about an hour's drive between them to manage to admire the sheer volume of greenhouses. I have to admit that until I found out exactly what that "white spot" on the map meant, I thought it was a military base, but no way it was greenhouses with vegetables. 

where are you staying

For Ameria we chose a hotel in the city centre, Costasol Hotels. The location being very good and located on the pedestrian street of the city. From the hotel to the beach was 10 min. 

What to visit in Almeria

Of all the cities I visited on the Costa del Sol, Almeria was the only one that made me feel like I was in an Arab city.

It is small, less known by tourists, so it is more relaxing and quiet. This is easily noticeable just walking around town or sitting on a terrace. There are very few employees and locals who know English, so you can consider yourself lucky if you know a little Spanish from the soap operas or have a google translate handy. Prices incidentally are very low compared to other cities in Spain, especially those in the north. An example might be a breakfast for two (coffee, tostadas with salmon, dessert and a small beer) is just €10. 

You may wonder why I also put a small beer with breakfast, but this I noticed the locals used to do in the morning between 8-10am. Regardless of age (minors excluded) they would have a small beer for breakfast. 

Just a few minutes from the main street is Almeria Cathedral, a masterpiece of Renaissance and Gothic architecture, well worth a visit. 

Looking at the Cathedral from the outside, you cannot imagine how big it really is. I only felt this after visiting the whole Cathedral. It has an inner courtyard with only a few palm trees and a very tall fir tree. The strangest thing was noticing the silence that was inside this Cathedral. Indeed and a small whisper seemed to me to echo throughout the Cathedral.

With an easy walk we continued on our way to Alcazaba Fortress. As mentioned this is the second fortress where sequences from season VI of Game of Thrones were filmed. 

The fortress was built in the 10th century by Abdar-Rahman III. It like that of Malaga is spread over a large area on the highest point of Almeria.

Entrance to the Alcazaba Fortress is free of charge.

I recommend walking around the neighborhood La Guajira. It's the neighborhood just below the fortress. Most of the inhabitants are of Arab origin and the houses on the streets are very colourful and lively. 

How do you get to Spain without seeing a bullring?

If you take a walk along one of the main avenues of Almeria, i.e. av. Frederico Garcia Lorca, you will reach Almeria bullring.

Note that the arena's visiting hours are only open 3 days a week (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday).

Where you eat

In Almeria we ate the biggest, tastiest and cheapest tapas. If all the tapas in the world were from Almeria, my life could only go on with tapas. You can't help but fall in love with fresh seafood, tiny grilled peppers, patatas bravas (spicy potatoes), tinto de verano (soda wine), tostadas and of course paella.

I recommend trying to order only tapas when you arrive in southern Spain. 

Basically what are tapas? There are small portions (some quite large) that are like snacks or appetizers. They can be cold (olives, cheese, cheese) or hot (mini burgers, traditional sausages, patatas bravas, etc). Most of the time it's the same main dish but it's practically 3 times cheaper in some cases. Most terraces have a minimum of one tapas included with every drink consumed. And tapas can of course be different with each order.

In addition, you can also explore local markets, such as the Central Market, to buy traditional products and get in touch with the daily life of the locals.

Below we have listed the places where we ate the best tapas in Almeria. 

Almeria is a destination full of surprises and authentic experiences. The city offers a perfect combination of history, culture, natural landscapes and Spanish hospitality. So we've prepared two locations that are different from Spanish gastronomy. 

The first location is Almedina Barak TeahouseA. After visiting the Alcazaba Fortress I recommend stopping by this terrace with traditional oriental cuisine. Here I could say I had the best falafel. I confidently recommend trying anything you want from the menu as all the dishes are delicious. Also worth trying is the Passion Lemonade, which is a beetroot lemonade. Absolutely delicious and refreshing for the southern Spanish heat.

The second more atypical location is Nagoya - Free buffet, all you can eat Japanese restaurant. Here you can eat everything on the menu from sushi to frog legs for just 14 euros. So get ready to be captivated by the beauty of this destination and create unforgettable memories. 

Day 3 - Las Negras and Cabo de Gata

How to get there

If you want wild beaches with turquoise water, privacy or crashing waves, I highly recommend going to Cabo de Gata - Nijar National Park. It is the largest protected coastal area in Andalusia, with a wild and isolated landscape. The south-eastern coast of Spain, where the park is located, is the only region in mainland Europe with a hot desert climate.

To reach this nature reserve we opted for the bus. In just two hours and €25 (round trip) you can reach the most stretched and deserted beaches I've seen so far in Spain. 

The beauty of the Park is indescribable, the vegetation is more desert than Mediterranean, with huge cacti growing everywhere. There are plenty of secluded beaches among the cliffs where you can walk and enjoy the tranquillity of nature.

Where you eat

I recommend to be well equipped before your visit, such as sunscreen (necessarily), hat, beach towel and of course fluids for hydration and food, as there are no terraces or shops.

The only restaurant nearby of the Cabo de Gata Lighthouse is The Star3 km away.

Just an hour away from Cabo de Gata is Las Negrasanother small town straight out of Antonio Banderas movies. The tastiest paella I've ever had is worth trying here. It's different from all the other traditional ones because it contains cuttlefish ink. This gives the paella a black colour. And if at some terraces I happened to look for seafood among the rice, here I looked for rice among the seafood and fish. It was actually some of the richest seafood paella and the most delicious so far.

The Pikinini

Day 4 - Gibraltar, city of monkeys

As you know Gibraltar is not part of Spain, but a British territory in the south of the Iberian Peninsula. Since we were so close we decided to visit it and see what it's like to start in Spain and end up in the UK. 

How to get there

Getting to Gibraltar I rented a car near the bus station in Almeria. The price was very low for only 3 days, about 50 €. 

The distance to Gibraltar from Almeria is about 350 km, so it took us about 4 hours of driving. But, it was worth it. The road is all along the Costa del Sol, so we could admire all the little towns, some even clinging to the cliffs. 

If you are driving to Gibraltar, but still want to leave your car in a safe parking area as close as possible to customs, you can opt for St. Barbara parking lotwhere the price for one day is €15. 

where are you staying

In Gibraltar we were accommodated in Spain to be precise. We wanted accommodation with a view of the famous Rock of Gibraltar. So we got our wish with the help of booking.com. The location of the accommodation is no more than 10 min from the centre and the main beach of La Línea de la Concepción

Gibraltar Views Guest House

La Línea de la Concepción is the nearest Spanish district bordering Gibraltar. It's a lively town with more tourists and of course higher prices. Through this neighborhood we just got to walk around and eat of course. Our curiosity was more for the gastronomy of this area because we had learned that it is very different from the Seville area. 

What you visit

Gibraltar, on the other hand, surprises you from the very first steps you take on this territory. It's a British territory that's part of the EU, but not part of the Schengen area, which is why a passport is the first thing you'll be asked for when entering the 6.7 square kilometre piece of land that borders the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

After passing through passport control which effectively took 3 minutes per clock, we found ourselves at the entrance to the runways. A bit surprised we actually crossed the runways with fear in our chests (I thought the plane was going to land without me being able to run). But, no need to worry, as on the way out of customs we noticed that there are traffic lights for both cars and pedestrians to avoid possible accidents. 

In order to get around Gibraltar more easily we bought a day ticket for the bus. It cost £9 and you can use it on any public transport line. 

The first point to visit was to climb the Rock of Gibraltar. The price is £37 and includes the whole of the cliff top touring area, including the monkey reserve with a return cable car ride. 

I highly recommend going all the way to the top of the cliff even if it seems like a more expensive price. You won't regret it. The 360-degree view is literally breathtaking. You can see the Strait of Gibraltar filled with naval craft, or even if you're lucky with good weather, a little piece of the continent of Africa, only about 30 km away. 

The bonus was the crowd of monkeys of the species Barbary Macaques. At first we thought there would be 10 to 20 monkeys that we would encounter up on the cliff, but we were pleasantly surprised to encounter more. Very many and very familiar with humans. 

Curious at times very persuasive they are watching you from the moment you have a bag of snacks or sandwich. It is advisable not to feed them even if they insist and follow you at every step. Some of them were curious about cameras, but you have to be very careful and on your toes as there is a risk of running out, or even sunglasses.

So I recommend you admire them and if you want to take a picture of them, do it from a distance that is safe for you and the monkeys. 

They are very friendly so what could be nicer than respecting their environment.

In 2020, around 300 monkeys have been reported living on the Rock of Gibraltar, divided into 5 large groups that occasionally come down to the city.

Also on the Rock of Gibraltar you can visit Windsor suspension bridge. A beautiful bridge from where you can easily observe the continent of Africa. 

Even though we had a ticket to return by cable car, we decided to walk down into town. We were simply fascinated by the vegetation and the monkeys that appeared in our path. Lucky for us, we met some tourists who decided to hike up, and we helped them and gave them our tickets down. They were very happy and delighted with the gesture.

After the monkey walk we went to Lighthouse Europe. This point on the map had been on my bucket list for many years. They say this is the end of Europe. 

Probably from the great desire of several years to visit the Lighthouse Europe made me enjoy every minute spent there. It's an image straight out of a Nicholas Sparks movie. Far too romantic to be true. 

The sounds of the big waves crashing against the rocks gave me a sense of fascination but at the same time fear, because of the power with which they broke. 

We sat for several hours on benches admiring the power of nature and listening to the sounds of the waves.

Where you eat

The Europa Point Cafe You can find tasty food at decent prices, a burger is €11.50 and a beer at €3.50.

El Bodebar in La Linea was the restaurant we really liked, with very tasty tapas. It's very important to get a reservation in advance, as it's a very busy city with tourists and you can get all the way to the front of the restaurant without an empty seat. Here I already felt the difference in menu prices compared to Almeria. But, it was worth it. 

Day 5 - Ronda

Ronda is beautiful but the road to Ronda is even more beautiful. With a population of just 33,000, Ronda is famous for its three bridges over the canyon of El Tajo, linking the old and new parts of the city: "Roman Bridge" ("Roman Bridge", "Puente San Miguel"), "Old Bridge" ("Old Bridge", "Puente Arabe") and "New Bridge" ("New Bridge").

Just 2 hours from Gibraltar, the road to Ronda is perfumed by the intense scent of pine and fir trees. We passed through Los Reales de Sierra Bermeja Nature Reserve. The road to Ronda is positioned on a medium mountain range formed by magmatic rocks, located south of the Penibética mountain range. Here it is home to the only Spanish fir forest growing on the peridotite.

where are you staying

In Ronda we chose to stay in San Francisco Hotel which is not even 7 minutes from the three famous bridges. The accommodation is very nice and affordable, €50 for two people. 

What you visit

Ronda is famous for the 3 bridges formed over the El Tajo canyonbut that's not all. I recommend walking through the narrow streets in the evenings to discover the pulse of the Andalusian locals.

If you want to get a bird's eye view of the bridge Puente Nuevo, you should know that access on the path to the viewpoint is until 9pm. But that didn't stop us from looking for another viewpoint that was still open. So a future tip is the panoramic terrace in the De Cuenca gardens.

Top 5 scenic spots for Ronda

  1. Mirador De Cuenca
  2. Descend to the Tagus Gorge
  3. Aldehuela Viewpoint
  4. Virgen de la Cabeza Lane
  5. The Tagus Valley

You can also visit the bullfighting arena "Plaza de Toros de Ronda" ("Real Maestranza de Caballeria de Ronda"), which opened in 1785. It is one of the oldest bullrings in Spain.

Where you eat

From my point of view Ronda is a gastronomic town, full of traditional dishes. So I recommend you go to a restaurant with local dishes, from oxtail to pig's trotters. Of course we also had some very good local wine here. Long Steps Tavern also serves traditional fish and seafood dishes.

Day 6 - Caminito del Rey

If you want to go to Caminito del Rey, you really need to get your ticket in advance, at least 2-3 weeks in advance. Just two hours away from Ronda is the most spectacular canyon trail. It is built on the rocky walls of El Chorro gorge.

Name "Caminito del Rey" means "king's path" and originates from the visit of King Alfonso XIII of Spain in 1921, when he passed through this suspended road.

The only site that had the best prices and availability for the desired period is tiqets.com. I tried looking on other platforms but the prices were more expensive.

We opted for ticket with guide in English with pick up from el Chorro. El Chorro is the final destination after walking the entire route. So, it was a great choice because we had somewhere to leave our car. There are also a maximum of 2 restaurants here where you can have breakfast before the trail or a well-earned lunch after the steps through the canyon.

The entire Caminito del Rey trail is about 7.7 km, half of which we walked through pine and fir forests and the last half along the path suspended from the gorge walls.

The original Caminito del Rey trail was built in 1901-1905 and originally served as an access route for workers at the El Chorro hydroelectric plant. However, over time, the walkway fell into a state of serious disrepair and became extremely dangerous for tourists. But you don't have to worry because this is not the route we walked.

In the 1990s and 2000s, Caminito del Rey was closed to the public for safety reasons. Finally, in 2015, it reopened after a major renovation and became a popular tourist attraction. The walkway has been rebuilt with new materials, while retaining much of its original character and appearance. 

This is now a spectacular trail, with suspended sections along the cliffs and panoramic views of the gorge The Jet. So far there have been no accidents or fatalities, including during the construction of the footbridge.

Although the Caminito del Rey can be accessed without a guide, I strongly recommend visiting with a licensed guide. The guides have detailed knowledge of the history and geological features of the region and can provide interesting information along the way. For example we learned a lot about the unique fauna and flora of the area. They also ensure the safety of visitors, guiding them through the more difficult sections and giving instructions on the correct use of protective equipment. 

I say this because there is a limited number of people who can cross the suspension footbridge. So everything is very well monitored and organised to give you the security of a unique experience.

The last part of the trail was the most intense with the most vocal exclamations of excitement, especially when we crossed over the suspension bridge that moved from time to time to experience the moment at its full intensity.

With a licensed guide, you can safely explore this iconic attraction and have the opportunity to learn more about the history and beauty of this remarkable place.

Day 7 - Alhambra in Granada, the lace-walled palace

Even though it was the last destination of our holiday, Alhambra made sure it was memorable. Why? Because, it wasn't enough at how long it took me to find the tickets, I was also almost an hour late. So you can understand exactly what this is all about, tickets to the Alhambra they sell like hot cakes. It's very important to secure your tickets in advance, as the number of visitors admitted daily is limited.

So we got to the parking lot, left the car and a little upset but at the same time reconciled to the idea that we had no way to visit Nasrid Palacebut just to walk around the Fortress. 

After we got to the entrance, the check-in lady told us that if we hurried we could get the group in at the time we were scheduled. Basically they give you a time when you can enter the Nasrid Palace from the time you were scheduled. 

Instantly my heart leapt out of my chest and I looked at my watch to see what time we had. Only 12 minutes. I never in my life thought I could do that many 12 min. Checkin at Alhambra is more like the airport, they check your bags through 2 scanners, ID (ID or passport), tickets through several systems. After all this checking like we were flying in space, they let us go. I looked at the clock, we had 8 minutes left and we had no idea how far we were going. So, we took off running. Not even 2 minutes away it started raining heavily. I think if I had been standing in the shower I would have been drier with how hard it rained. Time was pressing, so we took our shoes off (to make running easier) and continued on our way running through the rain like crazy like the end of the world was coming. For me it was kind of the end of the world as I really wanted to get to this unique palace in the world. 

The funny thing is that here and there you could see an employee guiding us in the direction we were going, rather than running away. And at the end, about 50 meters from the entrance, there was an employee scared of the storm outside who kept telling us he had come to save us with his umbrella. You can imagine that I instantly laughed out loud that that umbrella had no role in our lives anymore.

We ran about 800-900 meters, but it was enough to turn our clothes into bathing suits. Once we arrived, guess what? Another ticket and ID check. Luckily I got a chance to put the paperwork in my purse and it was more or less ok, instead the tickets...they were paper and not quite what they used to be. But the staff were nice enough and insistent enough to scan them. 

My curiosity is whether we could get hold of the Alhambra video footage, as I'm sure the security staff were laughing their heads off at us. 

We drew our breath, arranged the clothes on our backs to look as decent as possible and started looking around. The first thing we noticed were the walls that gave the impression of being dressed in lace or velvet. And that's when I realized it was worth all the effort to get to see this architectural gem for myself.

What makes the Alhambra so special is the harmonious combination of Islamic architecture and Mudejar art, reflecting the diverse cultural influences that have existed in this region over the centuries. Originally built in the 9th century, the Alhambra was extended and renovated over time, reaching its peak under the rule of the Nasrid dynasty in the 14th century.

Even though it rained, the Alhambra had its own special charm. There was a very balanced contrast between the quiet of the palace and the storm outside. Nasrid Palace is famous for its lush gardens and delicate decorations. Entering the palace, you'll be amazed by the intricate details of the carvings, ceramics and elaborately carved geometries. The fountains, courtyards and cool rooms bring a sense of tranquillity and refinement.

The Alhambra is also remarkable for its excellent preservation and the meticulous restorations that have taken place over the years, maintaining its glory and originality. It has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracts millions of visitors every year.

When you visit the Alhambra, you'll feel transported back to a bygone era when luxury and beauty were celebrated through art and architecture. With each step into this magnificent fortress, you will discover a blend of mystery, history and splendour that is sure to remain in your heart and memories.

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