by Ciaran Brooks
The Costa del Sol remains one of Spain’s most popular destination for holiday makers. The glitz of Marbella and the wealth of tourist developments in Torremolinos and Benalmadena attract travellers in their millions. But there is more to this region than high-rise hotels and resorts.
Much of the hidden beauty is located off the beaten track and away from the coast. Those that travel a little further inland are sure to be rewarded with beautiful countryside and beguiling Spanish towns and villages. To help inspire you on your own holiday to this magical Mediterranean region, here are some of the Costa del Sol’s hidden gems.
Image by the very honest man, used under Creative Commons license (CC BY 2.0)
Few towns can boast the amazing scenery of Ronda. Located atop the 100-metre deep El Tajo gorge, Ronda is an unforgettable place to visit. The views across the surrounding landscape are stunning, but walking across the Puente Nuevo bridge offers the most amazing views of the hills in the distance and the canyon below. Beyond the incredible views and striking geography, the town is a quintessential Andalusian town with white washed buildings, narrow streets, and evidence of its long architectural history from the Romans and Moors to the present day.
Image by Bryan Ledgard, used under Creative Commons license (CC BY 2.0)
Most people make the trip to the Costa del Sol to see just that, the sunshine coast. But by taking a trip deeper inland there are some remarkable hidden gems to uncover. One such jewel is the beautiful hilltop town of Comares. Perched more than 703 metres above sea level, the town’s white washed buildings glitter in the sun and can be seen from miles away. But it’s the views from the town that make the trip worth it. The vistas across the Andalusian hills from the town’s many viewpoints are truly stunning.
Image by Goya Fotografia, used under Creative Commons license (CC BY SA 2.0)
Nature lovers should take a trip to El Torcal Nature Reserve and take in the remarkable geology of the park. El Torcal has some of the most dramatic karst formations in the world and an intriguing history which stretches back seven thousand years to the time of the area’s original inhabitants. The fascinating flora and fauna of the park is sure to enrapture children and fascinate adults. Only 30 miles from Malaga, El Torcal should be on the list for any holiday to Andalucía.
Often referred to as the “Florence of Andalucía”, Antequera is another gem in the region. Its moniker refers to the spires of the 30 different churches in the town. The town is rich in local heritage with historical sites dating back thousands of years. See this history for yourself with a trip to the megalithic burial mound at Dolmen de Menga.
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A former history graduate, Ciaran Brooks’ love for old stories has led him around the world. A self-confessed adventurer, he fell into travel writing after his blog chronicling his year in Thailand was picked up by a national paper.