Things to See and Do Around Málaga

The Costa del Sol is pretty much where modern tourism began in Spain. The term was coined in 1930 as the cult of sunbathing first appeared, but tourism really took off in the 1960s with the advent of popular air travel. However to think that the Costa del Sol is just a place for lazing on the beach could not be further from the truth.

Pueblos Blancos

The hinterland of Andalusia is a land dotted with the pueblos blancos, or white villages. The topography of the terrain and the simple vernacular architecture of the region combine to give us sugar-cube villages that tumble in seemingly random fashion down the hillsides. Amongst these evocative landscapes of vines and olive trees the locals maintain their houses with great care, whitewashing them every spring and filling the spaces with geraniums to add a touch of colour. A drive through the Ruta de los Pueblos Blancos is an uplifting experience where visitors can experience a less commercialised aspect of Spanish life.

Sierra de las Nieves

The newest national park in Spain is the 23,000 hectares of the Sierra de las Nieves National Park. While the name may tell you that this is a chilly place in winter, it's a haven for nature-lovers and a great place for walking right through from spring to autumn. A real environmental treasure, it is home to the largest forest of Spanish fir (an endemic and endangered type of conifer), and a large number of gall oak, pine, juniper, cork oak and holm oak groves. It is also distinguished as a Special Protection Area for Birds (SPA) within the European Ecological Network Natura 2000, as it has a wide diversity of bird species and terrestrial fauna. Peaks such as Torrecilla rise up to almost 2000 metres and the area is criss-crossed by thousands of walking trails.

New Bridge, Ronda

It seems that the prefix "new" on any place name or building is a sure sign of something old, and that is certainly the case for the New Bridge in Ronda. Constructed in the second half of the 18th century it is a confluence of engineering and beauty that unites the old and new towns across the vertiginous abyss of the El Tajo Gorge. The trial leading down into the gorge consists of wide, stone steps that become a dirt path that can occasionally be rather steep so walkers should take care. There are many viewing spots on the way down and of course the view back up to the bridge is a spectacle that is lost to the majority of visitors who restrict themselves to the level ground. There is more to Ronda too; other walks, churches, the oldest bullring in Spain, and a visit would not be complete without a meal, or at least a drink, sitting out on the edge of the gorge.

Caminito del Rey

Moving on from the vertigo-inducing Tajo Gorge, the Caminito del Rey began life as a service road for one of the country's first hydroelectric power stations and ended in neglect until its refurbishment in 2015. Over the years the ravages of nature had transformed it from a white-knuckle walk to an adventure bordering on insanity (you can find some videos of it on YouTube). Excavated by the Guadalhorce River, it is barely ten metres wide in some sections yet reaches more than 400 metres in height. With a total length of almost 8 kilometres, it is the last 3 kilometres of aerial walkways pinned to the cliff-face that have made it famous. Now in its slightly sanitised form it remains a path to set the heart pounding but is reassuringly secure and safe. It's definitely one for the bucket-list.


Every country has a "Prettiest Village in...", and indeed there are usually several contenders for such a subjective accolade. Spain probably has more aspirants for the title than most countries, and one of those is Frijiliana. Lying just a few kilometres inland it is easily accessible from the coastal resorts. The village is a tangle of narrow cobbled streets lined by whitewashed houses, their wrought-iron balconies filled with planters of brilliant red geraniums. There are several shops selling pottery and ceramics of a distinctive local Moorish design and like everywhere, there are excellent bars and restaurants for sampling the local delicacies. Buildings of note include the church of San Antonio, the hermitage of Santo Cristo de la Caña and the ruins of the Moorish castle.

Caves of Nerja

The Caves of Nerja are both a spectacular display of Earth's nature and an archaeolgical resource of international importance. Smooth pathways and subtle lighting help visitors to enjoy the wonders of the caves, including the widest naturally-formed column in the world, at 32m high and 13x7m at its base. The caves also famously host the annual Nerja International Festival of Music and Dance. The site is steeped in both geological and archaeological interest; cave paintings depict goats, horses, deer, seals and birds, drawn using red and black pigments. These images have been dated to between 25,000 and 3,600 BCE.

This list could go on, and on. There truly seems no end to the lovely places to visit. We could have mentioned El Chorro, El Torcal, Genalguacil, Comares, La Axarquia, Antequera, El Saltillo, Zahara de la Sierra or Gaucín, but perhaps those will have to wait for another time.

For accommodation in Málaga province, try:
Sierra de las nieves - Cerro de Hijar
Ronda - Hotel San Gabriel or Fuente de la Higuera
Caminito del Rey - Cortijo Valverde
Frijiliana & Nerja - Hotel La Casa

20 Dec 2023, 17:00

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