Malaga – Our First Stop in the Costa Del Sol
Madrid was a great place to start our trip to Spain. Our next stop would be the sunny coast or Costa Del Sol in Spain. We started our exploration of the Costa Del Sol with a quick stop in Malaga.
While in Malaga we got on the local milk run buses to explore the beach towns of the Costa Del Sol. The day trip to Nerja was one of our favourites. Winding our way down the little cobblestone streets, we passed lots of stores and bars. There was even one chocolate churros spot that we almost didn’t pass.
At the bottom we came out at the Balcon de Europa and joined the rest of the tourists gawking at the sea way down below us. The water from above looked crystal clear. Beaches went in both directions and there was lots of spots to pick. Finding an easy path down, we settled into a secluded cove.
Wandering around the old town Malaga offered a quick view of the sights. We stopped at the market, saw the Roman theatre, admired the gilt parade floats and walked around the perimeter of the old church.
Malaga is a bigger port town. It was great for a few days but we were eager to head to a beach resort town next.
Heading to Marbella
The bus trip from Malaga took us along the Costa Del Sol. The first stop was the town of Torremolinos, a suburb of Malaga. We only saw a dock in the distance as we came into town from the highway far above. The second stop was in Fuengirola. This town was at the end of the Malaga regional train line. From the bus stop, it would be a quick walk to transfer to a train to Marbella. Both of these small towns on the Costa Del Sol would be a worth a return visit.
We stayed on the bus and finally arrived at the Marbella bus stop high up from the sea and old town. It was evident that this was a major bus station and we might be able to do some day treks from Marbella without going back to Malaga first. There were taxis waiting outside and it was a quick 10€ ride all downhill to the hotel. That trip ensured we would not be walking back up with our bags when it was time to go.
After being robbed in Madrid, I was still travelling with little identification and even less money. My package of re-issued credit and debit cards had beat me to Marbella. I could activate the credit card with a Skype phone call. But I had to visit a bank machine to initiate my debit card. I would test my credit card later when we went out for a snack.
Settling Into Marbella
We wandered into the sleepy Old Town. It was obvious that Sunday during siesta time was not a great time to do much more that window shop. We found an open bar in the centre of Old Town offering seafood tapas with cervesa (beer) for a great price. It offered a chance to rest and ensured we could make it to Spanish dinner time.
David had put up with the twin beds the first night, but he was not accepting this for a full week. He shifted the twin bed bases perpendicular to the mattresses to stop the mattresses from separating and put the covers across the two beds. We selected new pillows from the pillow menu to help us to sleep better. The air conditioning problem finally got fixed and we found a spare master key card to keep in the slot to keep the air conditioning running. We always took both room keys when we left, since the room keys also opened the safe. After our Madrid experience, we travelled only with what we explicitly needed for that day.
Two trips into town let me finally replace my stolen purse and wallet. The leather goods were plentiful and in off-season many stores had 50% off. I was drawn to the brightly coloured leathers. But in the end only a boring black leather purse (made in Malaga) would be big enough to also hold my iPad.
There was a great seaside boardwalk. Many of the small parks had unique displays of metal sculptures, several of them attributed to Dali.
We wandered around the Old Town getting pics and finding the paths that seemed to be uphill both ways. We passed the white suspension bridge that looked just like the one at home. We tried to go up to the castle but finally figured it was just the castle walls and there was no real site to visit.
The days on the Costa Del Sol in Marbella went quickly but easily. We got up late most mornings. One day we went to the empty beach in the morning and one day it was the pool. Our one attempt at swimming in the ocean was brief. The water was so cold it took my breath away.
The pool felt much warmer than it had before the ocean dip. It was cool enough to be refreshing when I was hot and sweaty but I would not be joining the morning group of lap swimmers. Often we would end our day lounging by the pool catching the last rays of sun as they faded behind the swaying palm trees.
Finding great food on the Costa Del Sol was never a problem. Tapas was a favourite choice and available everywhere. The locals ate slowly, picking one item at a time. We picked a whole bunch of different things and worked through the plates as they came. The mussels continued to be a favourite, huge and flavourful.
One night we had a picnic on the beach. David rushed to get picnic food while I packed towels, a plastic knife and some cervesa. Meeting on the beach, we were in time for sunset. But the sun had sunk below the mountains, robbing us of the sunset view we wanted. It was still a romantic moment on the Costa Del Sol.
Day Trips From Marbella
When the day brought yet another great sunny morning, we planned our first day trip. It would be a great day to visit the white hill town of Ronda. This great Spanish hill town was beautiful and the bus ride both ways provided expansive views.
We would also explore the small towns along the Costa Del Sol. One day we took the coastal local bus back into Fuengirola. The ride was the ultimate milk run with frequent stops and slow travel. It would be very easy to stay in a place along the route and get the bus into the bigger towns. A similar bus runs from Fuengirola to Torremolinos but we didn’t go that far this trip.
The tourist office was close to the train station as expected. It seemed that art was everywhere on the Costa Del Sol. The water fountain in the town centre drew us in for a look.
With map in hand, we headed for the water.
The beach was pretty empty, with patches of sun umbrellas and chairs for rent. Very diligent agents caught us the moment I sat on a chair to take my shoes off. Walking along the water edge, we found the water to be marginally warmer than Marbella but it did not tempt us to put on our suits.
We sat and enjoyed the view of the Costa Del Sol. All along the coast you could see the mountains just behind the developed towns.
Goodbye To Marbella
We spent a great week in Marbella on the Costa Del Sol. Marbella is a very busy resort town but in off-season, it was great to have the town almost to ourselves. It was great to wander the town, eat with the locals or just enjoy the waterfront. With a great bus station, it was easy to day trip inland or along the coast.
We were off to Granada next. We only booked 2 days in Granada. It wouldn’t take too long to realize that we should have planned to stay longer.
Have you visited the Costa Del Sol? Did you stay in Marbella? What was your favourite seaside town in the Costa Del Sol?