The Costa del Sol is split into two by the city of Malaga, the eastern Costa del Sol from Malaga to Nerja is less developed than its Western neighbour which runs from Malaga to Gibraltar and has the reputation of being a concrete jungle.
Starting in the east
Nerja is 50 kilometres from Malaga and claims to be the touristic capital of the Axarquia. Nerja is surrounded by mountains and beautiful beaches. Its climate, with an average year-round temperature of 20°C, is ideal. Farming, fishing and tourism are its main sources of wealth. There are thirteen kilometres. of beaches, including the internationally famous Burriana beach that has once again been awarded by the Blue Flag of the European Union and the small coves below the impressive cliffs of Maro, The famous prehistoric caves of Nerja (cuevas de Nerja) are located on the slopes of the Sierra Almijara mountains, and the many little white villages nearby are really worth visiting for their cultural interest and special charm
Torrox pueblo and Torrox Costa are as different as can be with the pueblo being 4 km from the coast retaining its white Moorish village structure with attractive narrow streets and a main square which is a lively and focal meeting place and beautiful views down to the coast. Torrox Costa is a modern developed tourist seaside town with a leaning towards the German visitor. Inland a few kilometres is Frigliana which can be considered as the real Spain a beautiful white Andalucian village that has been awarded the title of the most beautiful and best maintained Andalucian village several times. The whitewashed houses line the cobbled streets which gently carve their way through the picturesque village up to the castle ruins.
Back on the coast the next resort is La Caleta de Velez which is the mid-coastal point of the Axarquia. It is a pretty fishing town only 30 kilometres from Malaga with superb beaches, an impressive marina and the 18-hole Baviera golf course. Caleta means bay in Spanish and the name of this town literally means The Bay of Velez-Malaga; Velez-Malaga being the capital of the Axarquia is not a tourist city and is 4 km inland from its Coastal neighbour of Torre del Mar which is connected by a state of the art tram system. Despite its closeness to Velez-Malaga, Torre del Mar offers a relative amount of peace and quiet, with a pleasant esplanade along the beach and a multitude of restaurants offering local cuisine. Many Spanish residents share this resort with visitors of all nationalities. Inland there are some villages well worth a visit Algorrabo the centre of which is moorish and is on the scenic route of sun and wine, as is Sayalonga with its winding streets and whitewashed houses and possibly the only round cemetery in Spain. Because of its unique style it is one of the most visited architectural monuments in the Axarquía.
Once again on the coast road The village of La Mata is a typical Spanish village which not only has one of the best sandy beaches in Spain, it also has an excellent street market every wednesday morning and some brilliant bars, shops and restaurants. The coast road now runs along the beach and although there is considerable development going on in the hills it is not of the high rise variety encountered on the western costa del sol. Benajarafe is a coastal village, between Rincon de la Victoria and Torre del Mar, it is a traditional fishing village, with sandy beaches and safe clean bathing, and plenty of restaurants.
Rincon de la Victoria was a fishing village 20 or 30 years ago but its close proximity to Malaga and the improved roads have turned it into a dormitory town for Malaguenos to commute to and from. The municipality of Rincon includes the neighbouring fishing village of La Cala and the pretty inland village of Benagalbon.
Western Costa de Sol
Malaga is a the Capital of the region and is a modern city, with an important commercial port, expanding international airport and university. It is one of the main tourist regions in the Spanish peninsula and enjoys an exceptional climate throughout the year. Malaga is also the city where Pablo Picasso was born and is proud to celebrate this fact. There is now a permanent exhibition of some of his work in the Picasso Museum which is situated in the old town near the cathedral. In this part of Malaga you are close to its history with the Roman Amphitheatre, Alcazaba, and Castillo de Gibralfaro all within easy walking distance. A beautiful walk leads from the Alcazaba to the Castillo from where there is a fabulous view over the city and harbour.
As well as being a cultural centre Malaga is also a great place to shop and eat out. The best known local fare in Malaga is pescaito frito, an assortment of fried fish, including small sardines and red mullet, best washed down with a glass of ice cold fino.
Once through the metropolis of Malaga there is a choice of roads, the original coast road that is often slow and congested and the motorway that takes you slightly inland but is fast and free as far as Fuengirola but has a toll from Fuengirola to Marbella. The resorts of the Costa del Sol on this side of Malaga often seem to merge together, the first is Torremolinos. Torremolinos is one of the most visited municipalities on the Costa del Sol, and was the first to be developed with high rise hotels for the package holiday market. By the end of the 1950s, the town had already established itself as one of the principal tourist towns of the new tourist boom. Torremolinos runs into Benalmadena Costa which was developed along the same lines and it is still an extremely popular tourist destination with Benalmadena Pueblo retaining some of its "white village" charm and the business and shopping "village" of Arroyo de la Miel twixt the pueblo and the coast. Benalmadena Costa adjoins the municipality of Fuengirola with beaches at Carvajal, Torreblanca and Los Boliches leading to 7 km seafront and sandy beach of Fuengirola itself which is an ever popular family resort and is a mix of all European nationalities and very popular particularly with Spanish nationals, where many of them have summer apartments.
The coast road runs along the beach from Fuengirola to La Cala but it then loses its sea views through Calahonda and the many urbanisation's towards Marbella which was once a small fishing village and is now a playground of the rich and famous but does cater for all visitors. There are beautiful beaches here which are host to a variety of watersports and you can enjoy the nightlife of the many bars and sample delicious foods from the outstanding restaurants. For sightseeing there is plenty to do, take a trip to the number of beautiful parks and enjoy the sights of the monuments and museums. Ideal for anyone looking to have a taste of the celebrity highlife. Puerto Banus is a resort that is adjacent to Marbella with its leisure marina casino and numerous nightspots. It compliments its near neighbour with a wide choice of shops, boutiques, bars and discos. The nearby
The Guadalmina Spa and Golf Resort caters for many of the "beautiful people" frequenting this area. San Pedro de Alcántara is geographically close to these high class resorts but is a mite less expensive.
Estepona was and still is working fishing village full of history with a daily fish market that is held at about 6am in the port. For those more interested in history a walk around the centre reveals several old buildings and in its narrow and cobbled streets you will find numerous little cafés that maintain the traditional Spanish way of life. Although it is no longer the quaint fishing village it once was, but remains a pleasant holiday resort with a leisure marina and beyond Estepona the coast has been developed with numerous urbanisation's hiding the sea views from the coast road with the exception of some tantalising glimpses.