In fact, it is now known as the California of Europe because
of it's superb climate.
If you choose to live or holiday here,depending on your eventual
choice of area you will be assured of sunshine, sea, sand, mountains
or lakes, there is entertainment to suit all tastes.
The Costa Del Sol is much more than just beaches. A short
distance inland, the delights of Granada, Seville, Ronda, Mijas,
Alhaurin,Pizarra, Alora, El Chorro, Ardales and Antequera are
waiting to be explored and enjoyed. The mountain ranges of Sierra
Mijas and Sierra Nevada are breathtaking and the vast forest regions
and inland lakes are well worth a visit to appreciate the true
beauty and character of the Andalusian region of Spain.
MIJAS - At one time, the only way up to Mijas was along
a donkey trail through the mountains from Benalmadena. Today it
is one of the largest municipalities on the Costa del Sol and
a very popular tourist attraction with it's famous donkey taxis,
horse-drawn carriages, gift shops, cafe bars and a magnificent
view across to the Mediterranean. It is easily reached by bus
from Arroyo (20 mins) & Fuengirola (15 mins).
Benalmadena is a fast developing resort. It has beautiful,
accessible beaches and a splendid promenade with a variety of
restaurants, cafes, bars and shops scattered along its length.
The ruins of a Moorish watch tower guard the entrance to the extensive
marina which has every facility for yachtsmen and boaters along
with apartment blocks, more restaurants, wide streets and ample
parking space. Quite close by is the castle Bil-Bil, dating from
1932, but now converted into a combined culture centre and exhibition
hall, It also includes the tourist office. To the west of Benalmadena,
there are twelve miles of uninterrupted sea and sand, and to the
east, a collection of small sandy coves which are all very clean
and safe. You will find bars and cafes right on the beaches.
Fuengirola is situated nine miles from Benalmadena. It
has many hotels, apartment blocks, shops, cafes and restaurants
as well as one or two delightful little squares. The Salon Varieties
Theatre provides continuous entertainment in English and Tuesdays
large open-air market offers the chance of a bargain. Adjoining
is the more quiet resort of Los Boliches.
Torremolinos - The first and oldest coastal resort on
the Costa del Sol is Torremolinos to the west of Malaga. Formally
Malaga's fishing quarter, it is now an independent municipality
consisting of high-rise blocks, countless bars, cafes, shops etc
to suit all tastes. There are four miles of excellent beaches,
the most famous and popular being La Carehuela.
Marbella is generally regarded as the most up-market of
all the resorts along the Costa Del Sol, Marbella lies at the
foot of Sierra Blancas, Between green pine forests and the azure
blue sea. The area has something to interest everyone, from hotels,
restaurants, and a delightful sea front to outstanding golf courses,
well equipped marinas, fishing boats for hire and quite a few
individual beaches. A short walk from the beautiful shops and
hotels is the old town with it's spotlessly clean alleys, squares,
courtyards and smart restaurants. One of the great delights of
Marbella is eating outside in Plaza de los Naranjos, the main
square, shaded by orange trees. Three miles away, the Puerto Banus
marina, with it's expensive yachts, boutiques, restaurants and
bars all full of their own individual blend of atmosphere.
Ronda is a short drive into the mountains above Marbella,
it is one of the most spectacularly located cities in Spain. Ronda's
magnificent roman bridge spans a vast gorge with a classic Moorish
'Pueblo Blanco' on one side and the newer town of El Mercadillo
on the other. Take the train from Malaga to Ronda and you will
see the breathtaking scenery which includes the El Chorro canyon
where Von Ryan's Express was filmed.
Malaga is the capital of the Costa Del Sol and has rail
and bus services serving all the major cities and tourist attractions
of Andalusia as well as a new and expanding international airport.
It is a city rich in history and is filled with splendid monuments
and soulful vibrancy of Andalusia. The old town, at the heart
of Malaga, radiates from the cathedral and includes such splendours
as the Museo de Bellas Artes, Casa Natal de Picasso and the Castillo
de Giralfaro. In the newer centre you will find a variety of shops,
restaurants, cafes, bars and the famous El Corte Ingles store.
Granada is best known for it's splendid Alhambra Palace
which dominates the old part of the city. It was constructed to
represent paradise on Earth and this feeling is reflected in it's
buildings, courtyards and fountains. The gardens of the Generalife
were the country estate of the Nasrid Kings. Here they could enjoy
tranquility high above the city, a little closer to heaven. Granada's
cathedral and other buildings of interest can be found in the
streets of the ancient town below the palace. The Albaicin quarter
reflects the city's Moorish ancestry. There were once over thirty
mosques here, some of which can still be traced.
Sevilla is the capital of Andalusia, Seville is a truly
beautiful city with a rich, cultural heritage. The city centre
is a maze of old, narrow streets with the most sights within easy
walking distance. There are many magnificent buildings to be seen
here: the massive cathedral and the Moorish Alcazar Palace, one
of the finest art museums in Spain, the Mueso de Bellas Artes,
and the exquisite Renaissance Palace of Casa de Pilatos. There
is also the fascinating Barrio de Santa Cruz with it's winding
streets, hidden patios and numerous tapas bars, as well as the
famous old Jewish quarter of Santa de Cruz. Seville in the summer
can be extremely hot so it is wise to make an early start to your
sightseeing before the afternoon sun is at it's highest.
Gibraltar -Although Gibraltar is not part of Andalusia,
it is neverless of interest historically and visually. Some places
worth visiting are the House of Assembly, Gibraltar Museum, Trafalgar
Cemetery, St Michaels Cave and the Tower of Homage. To appreciate
the history of Gibraltar, a guided tour is recommended. Gibraltar
offers some bargains for shoppers, particularly for whisky, cigarettes
and perfume. Don't forget to take your passport when you visit.
Alhaurin el Grande and Coin lie in the heart of one of
the most varied and attractive regions in the whole of Andalucia,
the Fertile countryside surrounding them forms the southern end
of the Guadalhorce valley, a wide plain extending northwards towards
the lakes which feed the Guadalhorce river, eastwards to Malaga
and the Mediterranean sea, southwards over the Sierras de Mijas
and Sierras de Alpujata respectively lie Fuengirola and Marbella.
On the eastern side lie the Sierras de Nieves, Sierra Real and
Sierra Blanca which make up the "Reserva de Serrania de Ronda",
a huge national park home of wild Ibexes, Imperial eagles and
many other species.The history of Alhaurin el Grande and Coin
predates the Moorish occupation and can be traced back to the
period when the Romans controlled the Iberian peninsular and there
are many fine artefacts in the area to verify this. Now this area
is more famous for the rich selection of fruits and vegetables
grown, in fact the name "Alhaurin" is derived from Arabic
and means "Garden of Allah".Both Alhaurin el Grande
and Coin have populations of around 20,000 and the relevant services
needed by such populations, banks, supermarkets, 24 hour emergency
clinics, garages, schools, vets, taxis, regular bus services,
sports, horse riding, rock climbing and first class golf courses.
These modern facilities combined with the traditional street markets
and dozens of small family shops hidden away down side streets
strike the balance.
Alora is one or the most ancient towns in the province.
Steep streets lined with lemon trees lead you to many interesting
places - "The Church of Encarnacion", Sta. Brig hermit,
and the "Flores Convent" are just a few and were all
built around the 19th century, also the "Cruz del Humilladero"
near Flores Convent commemorates the handing over of the keys
to Alora by the last Arabic mayor to the Catholic Kings in 1484.
The old part of the city is at the foot of the CASTLE from which
there is a wonderful view,this village is just north east of Malaga,
less than 30 minutes from Malaga airport, it lies in the centre
of the Guadalhorce basin, on the banks of the Guadalhorce river
which provides water for agriculture all year round. Alora is
194m above sea level.The rugged beauty of rural Andalucia becomes
apparent here. The contrast between coast and country is severe,
the hustle and bustle of the coast in summer gives way to the
slower, more relaxed tranquil way of life in Alora, old men astride
their donkeys and mules pulling a plough are still very prevalent.The
area is also renowned for the atmosphere and quality of its eating
places whether having tapas in a bar, eating traditional Spanish
food in a Venta or dining at a high class restaurant, wherever
you eat you will be pleasantly surprised at the prices, often
half those down on the coast. More and more people are appreciating
that although the coast is great for holidays if you want to live
in here in Spain this area just inland has so much to offer, In
the valley there is the railway station offering regular air conditioned
trips to Malaga and beyond. The town centre has character of its
own where many modern and traditional facilities are available.
Lying midway between Malaga and the Guadalhorce lakes. Alora is
in one of the most beautiful unspoiled areas of Andalucia.
Cártama was impressive in its Roman heyday, Not
only impressive, but daunting, for it was the site of a formidable
fortress. The reason is not hard to find. It stands at the navigable
head of the rio Guadalhorce and the castle protected both the
town and the river valley. Secure in its fatherly embrace, the
town flourished as a processor of marble and a trading town for
the rich supply of raw minerals from the hills. It became rich
and fashionable, and was noted for its fine baths and villas,
and glorious statues of its favourite gods, Mars and Venus.
Pizarra is a tiny village lying 29 kilometres upriver
in the Guadalhorce valley at the foot of the 350 metre high Sierra
del Hacho. Still a largely farming community, it has so far managed
to avoid the threat of absorption by the spreading metropolis
of Málaga in spite of the recent appearance of the two
commuter settlements of Zalea and Cerralba on its western face.
El Chorro, here you will find three beautiful turquoise
coloured lakes bordered by pine forests. A tranquil retreat where
you can swim or fish, or picnic on the lake shore. Hardly sounds
like a typical Andalucian scene, does it! But but just a short
drive west of Alora that is what you will find. Malaga's "Lake
District" is in fact three artificial lakes created by a
dam built across the dramatic 200 m. high Guadalhorce river gorge,
known as the Garganta del Chorro. Here there are eagles which
continually circle around the sheer cliffs.
ANTEQUERA You really should visit this historical Andalucían
town, starting with the Bronze Age and the native Iberians there
are lots of burial mounds, dolmens, Roman baths, a Moorish Castle,
Gothic churches, Renaissance fountains and baroque bell towers.The
first impression of Antequera is that of a typical medieval town,
with the spires of many churches and the walls and towers of the
great Moorish fortress silhouetted against the sky.In the valley
below lie rich farmlands irrigated by the Guadalhorce River, for
centuries this has been one of Andalucía's most fertile
areas, it is currently a leading producer of asparagus, cereals
La Sierra del Torcal is only a short drive from Antequera
and the Sierra Pelada, giving a terrific view of massive mountain
ranges.Looked at from any direction, the heavy, solid form of
the Sierras belies the morphological world which lies all but
hidden between the mountain peaks. To really see the in depth
part of these features, it is necessary to climb the steep inclines
and delve far and beyond. Since time immemorial, water has penetrated
the rocks and chiselled out strange figures and formations like
some crazy sculptor at work. This has been caused by that era,
long gone, when the mountain ranged emerged from the depths of
the sea. Remember this too, millions of years ago, this area was
engulfed by the sea of Tetis which meant that it was subject to
constant erosion, the water played a leading role creating the
rock which remains today, in the most unusual shapes and forms.
The Pink Lagoon The best place to see Flamingo's in Spain
Bar NONE is the lagoon of Fuente de Piedra. It is just a short
distance north-west of Antequera, around 15,000 pairs of flamingos
arrive in the first 2 months of each year to breed. The chicks
arrive in spring, and the birds stay right through Summer till
Flamingos are a family of large, brilliantly coloured aquatic
birds whose characteristic habitats are alkalineor saline lakes.
Long legs and a long, curved neck are characteristic all flamingo
species. Flamingos are the bird with the longest neck and the
longest legs compared with body size. They have a short tail,
large wings, long legs, a pink or moronic colour, and webbed feet.
They may stand up to five feet tall. Their diet consists of crustaceans,
algae and tiny aquatic invertebrates which give the birds their
colour. When the flamingo feeds, it dips its bill, which is downturned,
upside down into the water. They feed by sucking in water through
their bill and passing it through sieve-like plates to filter
out the small shrimp and water-boatmen of their diet. Flamingos
are the only birds that use this method of feeding. It is known
as filter feeding. Feather colour varies with species, ranging
from pale pink to crimson. A flamingo's diet of tiny water plants
and animals is full of substances called carotenoids. These carotenoids
pigments cause flamingos' feathers to turn pink. The more their
diet contains these substances the pinker they get. In flight
or on the ground, these stately, long-legged and long-necked birds
are impressive, a popular sight for tourists and photographers.
Flamingos are very social birds. Colonies of tens of thousands
of birds are common. They have good hearing but little or no sense
of smell. Flamingos are thought to reach sexual maturity at about
five years, and to have a lifespan of about 15 years. Its call
is a deep, loud honk, somewhat resembling that of a goose. Flamingos
legs bend backwards and they eat upside down. They rest either
sitting down with their legs tucked beneath them or standing on
This saltwater lake has the only inland colony of greater flamingos
in Europe. Here we have what seems to be the largest natural lagoon
in Spain. Over 3 miles long and over 1 and a half miles wide this
lagoon provides an ideal breeding spot for one of this most unusual