Malaga is a great base from which to explore the south of Spain, including the lively resorts of Costa del Sol. The truth is, Malaga is a fine city, a good compromise of culture and beach that’s not too big and not too small. But it has nothing unique to set it apart from the other cities in the area. So my advice would be not to pick just one of these day trips but to choose three or four and fill up your vacation with day trips.
Ronda is a little off the beaten path, making a guided tour an especially good option here. Ronda is most famous for its Tajo gorge, but it is also the birthplace of bullfighting, has a great winemaking tradition, and its bridges over the Tajo Gorge are hundreds of years old.
This historically rich pueblo blanco is a fascinating mix of Moorish architecture, Roman ruins, and whitewashed Andalusian houses. Complementing its breathtaking setting are wonderful restaurants, quirky museums, and ancient Arab Baths. The Cueva de la Pileta nearby is home to perfectly preserved prehistoric rock paintings from the Neolithic Period.
Complete your visit to Costa del Sol’s largest city with a day trip to Marbella. Marbella is less than an hour away from Malaga, this glamorous Spanish beach resort has wonderful beaches, world-class golf, and a nightlife that rivals anything on Cote d’Azur.
The old town is absolutely charming with its narrow, cobble-stoned streets dotted with unique shops and galleries. Take a walk around the city’s Alameda Park, a lush space filled with tropical plants, and of course, don’t miss out on La Avenida del Mar, where you can see several sculptures in the open air by the one and only Salvador Dali. Explore the boutique-lined narrow cobbled streets of its Moorish-styled Old Town and stop for a cold drink in the orange tree-filled Plaza de los Naranjos. For luxury shopping, stylish nightclubs, and a healthy dose of celebrity spotting, head to Puerto Banus. Only 6 km southwest of Marbella, this swanky marina is a stunning example of whitewashed Mediterranean architecture and prides itself with some of the best restaurants and beach clubs along the coast.
For many people, with its narrow streets and whitewashed buildings, Mijas is the ultimate white village in Malaga. Located in the mountains overlooking the sea, there is no better place to catch a spectacular Mediterranean sunset. A quirk about this particular town is the burro taxi you’ll see roaming the streets. These carts pulled by donkeys are part of the fabric of life in Mijas, and are a very interesting way to see the city.
This is the perfect example of an old Spanish village on the coast that has managed to retain its old world charm. We will visit the Ermita de la Virgen de la Peña, a chapel made of rock that offers both views of the village and the coast below. Wander through Mijas with its craft shops and take a famous donkey tour through the village. The Parroquial Church is located in a park with lovely views of the coast, and on a clear day, you can see straight across the Mediterranean to Morocco. The Bullring, located just across from the church, is the only square bullring in Spain.
Those who are fit, can walk up the narrow streets through the neighborhoods to experience true village life. Take time to sit in a cafe and have a drink, or enjoy one of the many restaurants in Mijas.