There are so many places and things to see and do when on holiday in our area. Here we made a list of 10 of our favourite things for both adults and children to enjoy.
The list is in no particular order.
White Villages and the Sierra de Grazalema National Park
There are many white villages (pueblos blancos in Spanish) perched in the hills behind us. These charming towns, distinctive by their whitewashed houses and narrow streets, were originally built as watch towers by the Berbers to protect them from the invading Christians, but are now principally agricultural towns. Visiting one or more of the white villages makes for a delightful day out and a chance to soak up the Andalucian culture and learn about its colourful history. The small towns are usually built around a village square with a church and many have museums or castles to explore. There is always a bar or restaurant open to have something to eat. Many have small tourist offices where you can pick up some interesting information about the area. As they are in the hills they are best reached by car and the roads leading up to them can be narrow and windy. Many of the streets are cobblestoned and steep so you will need comfortable shoes when walking around.
There are many to visit not far from our house, and one of the most spectacular is Ronda, which is about a 45 minute drive on a good road, the A397. Ronda has the oldest bullring in Spain and an amazing view from its 100 metre high bridge that crosses the gorge. There are buses that leave from the bus stop at the top of our road if you would rather not drive. http://www.avanzabus.com/web/archivos/base/File/Horarios/Portillo/Horario-de-autobuses-de-San-Pedro.pdf Driving on from Ronda about another 25km you will reach Grazalema. Smaller and less busy, this picturesque white village is often the starting point for hikers into the beautiful green Natural Park of Sierra de Grazalema. There are many other white villages to visit, including Zahara de la Fontera, Casares, Gaucin, Ubrique and more. All have their own unique qualities and charm. For further information about them please ask us directly.
2. Las Playas (the Beaches)
The Costa del Sol has 24 beaches along 27 kms of coastline. They all have their own characterics so there is something for everyone. I have mentioned a few here. On a clear day from most of them you can see the rock of Gibraltar and Morocco.
SAN PEDRO BEACH – The seafront walkway runs along Playa de San Pedro de Alcantara. A beautiful long wide beach with palm and eucalyptus trees, there are sunbeds to rent and it is the perfect place to spend some time soaking up the sun. This beach is more rocky than others, but it is very well maintained, and never crowded and has been given a Blue Flag award, in recognition of its quality, facilities, cleanliness and safety. As well as chiringuitos and bars, it offers full services, including a Red Cross first aid post and bathroom facilities. It also has a children’s playground and exercise equipment. It is a short walk from our villa, but if you want to drive there is ample parking on both sides of the street that runs along the entire length of the beach.
LINDA VISTA BEACH – Even closer to our villa is Linda Vista Beach. This was once an old fishing village where you can still see small fishing boats and sometimes the fishermen bringing in their catch. There are paddle boats with slides to hire from this beach and a good chiringuito called Guayaba which is open in the summer months. The area between San Pedro and Linda Vista Beaches is the whitest sandiest part of this beach.
GUADALMINA BEACH – Accessed from the gate at the back of our development, you can walk directly to Maccao Beach Club which offers fabulous food, drinks and ambience, right on the sea. If you walk to your left from the beach gate you will come to Ancla Beach Club a more upmarket restaurant with stunning views and excellent food, perfect for a special occasion.
FOR BABIES AND TODDLERS we recommend MISTRAL BEACH. This is near to the Guadalpin Hotel in Puerto Banus. You can actually walk there from the villa, along the seafront walkway. When it ends keep walking towards Puerto Banus and you will reach it. There is a wide, calm, sandy piece of beach to the left of the hotel and a lovely beach restaurant called Mistral. The water is shallow and in a small cove so very few waves.
EL CRISTO BEACH in West Estepona is also very toddler friendly. It has a small cove, again no waves, and has nice clean sand. There are also cafes, bars and sunbeds with umbrellas to rent.
LA RADA BEACH is 2630 metres of golden sand and great chiringuitos beside the beautiful boardwalk in Central Estepona. Recommended for older children.
ESTRELLA DEL MAR is a lovely beach east of Marbella, with golden sand and clear water. It is near to Hotel Vincci, and can be reached from exit Km 191 off the N340 in Urbanisation Estrella del Mar.
TARIFA has amazing wide white sand beaches. It is about an hours drive down the coast towards Cadiz. On the Costa de la Luz and facing Morocco, it is well worth the drive. Very popular with kitesurfers.
MARBELLA is a traditional Spanish town and at it’s heart is Orange Square (in Spanish – Plaza de los Naranjos) Full of fragrant orange trees, it is a charming area to walk around at any time, in the day or the evening. Leading off in all directions are narrow streets with small local shops offering everything from shoes, bags and jewellery, to delicious cakes. There are endless opportunities to browse and restaurants and bars interspersed along the way. Stop and enjoy some delicious churros and chocolate, a local delicacy. Note most shops close between 2pm and 5pm for siesta. The Spanish like to eat their lunch at about 3pm and their dinner from 9pm onwards. Of course you can choose when you want to eat but the restaurants will be busiest at these times. Also enjoyable is to walk along the beachfront to find a restaurant serving delicious paella, usually served at lunchtime. One of our favourite restaurants in Marbella is Restaurante El Cortijo. It is just north of Orange Square on Calle Remedios 5. They don’t have a website but have great reviews on Trip Advisor and are on Facebook. Tel +34 952 77 00 64. Always best to book.
If you drive, you can park in the underground car park below the Avenida del Mar. There is a lovely old Spanish fountain at the top end of the avenue and it leads down to the beach and the continuation of the Paseo Maritimo. You can actually walk all way here from San Pedro if you have the energy! Along the Avenida del Mar, you can find 5 sculptures by the famous Spanish artist Salvador Dali. Marbella from San Pedro is about 16 kilometres along the N340 and takes about 20 minutes to drive. You can also take a taxi or there is a local bus that goes from the Boulevard at the top of our road.
Shopping is a fun pastime in the Costa del Sol. From the colourful weekly street markets to the upmarket El Corte Ingles department store and boutiques by the port in Puerto Banus you can find clothes, lovely Spanish foodie delights and much more. Spanish owned shops like Zara, Uterque, Massimo Dutti and Bershka are but a few of the fashion shops to visit and often offer better prices as they are in their homeland. There are also small boutique shops that offer good value leather shoes and bags and many can be found in Marbella. On the AP7 just past Marbella, on Carreterra de Ojen, you can visit La Cañada Parque Commercial, which is a very good shopping centre with lots of shops and a huge Carrefour supermarket all under one roof.
5. Children’s Activities
For young ones, when they are not in the swimming pool or at the beach, there are aqua parks, indoor playcentres, dolphin watching, horseriding and lots of other entertainment nearby.
Tel: 952 928 936 Address: Kidz Kingdom, N340 KM 166 2, Bel Air, Estepona 29680, Málaga
If you want to get them out of the sun, then why not take the little ones to Kidz Kingdom in Estepona. Their complex at Circus City provides adventure play facilities for children from 0-11 years of age, under parental supervision.
Avenue Parque Selwo s/n A7 highway km 162,5
29680 Estepona – Málaga
Phone: 952 577 773
SELWO AVENTURA is an Adventure and Safari Park, also in Estepona
COSTA WATER PARK
A fun water activity for children. The parks are located in Calahonda and Sotogrande.
Address: Avenida Virgen de La Palma s/n, 11203 Algeciras, Spain
Phone: 956 63 33 30
Popular water park on the road to Algeciras
Escuela de Arte Ecuestre Costa del Sol
Address: Diseminado Rio Padron 159 Cn 340, 29680, Estepona
Phone: 952 80 80 77
SPLASH WATER SPORTS CABOPINO
Puerto Cabopino | Local 9c, 29600, Marbella, Spain
For all enquires please call Barry Eden on mobile number: 670 65 92 18
Address: Parque de las Medranas, S/N, 29670 San Pedro Alcántara, Málaga, Spain
Phone: +34 952 78 55 79
Cable Ski Park in San Pedro is marvellous for older children. Our family has spent many hours at this cable ski water park. More for ages 10 and up it is a well run business which the children all love. They are provided with all the equipment including life vests and can kneeboard, wakeboard and water-ski. It also has a cafe and picnic area for parents to watch the fun or have a go themselves!
KITESURFING in Tarifa
About an hour’s drive down the coast this windy beach is one of the best places to kitesurf in the world. Very popular with teenagers and older children!
Benahavis, a white village is known as a “gastronomic” village, and is renowned for its restaurants. It is full of amazing restaurants and cafes. All perched on the side of a hill 7km from the coast, it surrounded by lovely green countryside. It is about a 10 minute drive from us and very easy to get to.
7. Hiking and walking
As mentioned, in the the hills around San Pedro there are some beautiful walks and hikes. Just north of Marbella is Ojen, a lovely white village. You can start from here and walk around the foothills of La Concha, the imposing mountain that overlooks Marbella. Or north of Estepona is Caceres, another village that you can walk from and see eagles flying overhead. We can help you with a guide if you would like to go hiking and walking in the Grazelema National Park. This has to be organised in advance and it is preferable to stay at least one night in the park at one of the inexpensive hostels.
The 3 closest restaurants/chiringuitos are within a few minutes walk from the villa, near the beach. They are not all open in the winter so it is worth calling them or checking their websites before you go. They are all mentioned in our “Beach” section above.
Websites and telephone numbers are below:
Great for casual dining on the beach. Tel 952 78 49 69
Maccao Beach Club http://www.macaaobeachclubmarbella.com
Beach club right outside the back gate of Guadavillas. Delicious food and a great ambience. Good for lunch or dinner. Tel 952 11 36 18
El Ancla Restaurant http://www.elanclarestaurante.com
Beautiful restaurant behind Guadavillas. Part of El Ancla Beach Club. They have an amazing terrace right on the sea. Seafood a speciality. Tel 952 78 79 28
The following cafes and restaurants are nearby and are highly recommended:
Passion Café – in LA Colonia complex at the top of Calle Jose Echegaray near the roundabout. Good breakfasts, lunches and cakes!
Neli G´s – great bistro cafe in Benavista http://www.neligs.com
El Commercio – San Pedro (very good for local Spanish tapas and more!) http://www.restauranteelcomercio.com
Tel 952 85 36 44 Calle Andalucia 13
Marabierta – San Pedro Beach (on Paseo Maritimo)
(sister restaurant to El Commercio – a bit more upmarket) can walk from the villa. Must book
Tel +952 799 837
Restaurant Manolo – San Pedro
Good family run restaurant with local Spanish food
Avenue Constitution 18
Tel 952 78 10 72
El Ranchero – Family run very affordable restaurant. Always busy so you need to book
Calle Pozo 4 San Pedro
Tel 952 78 49 24
Various restaurants catering for all price brackets can be found off the main squares of San Pedro and the roads leading down to the beach. There are also many restaurants in the village of Benahavis, in Puerto Banus and Marbella. You can find tasty paella served at lunchtime on the beach at Marbella.
We have many more suggestions if you need them…
9. Street Markets
There are street markets on various days in most of the towns nearby. Even if you don’t intend to buy anything, they are well worth a visit, and are very colourful and entertaining. They operate very day except Sundays and are usually open from about 10am to 2pm. It is usually the same market that moves from town to town.
Besides fresh fruit, vegetables, spices and olives, there are also blankets, ceramic pots and dishes, household goods and clothes to mention just a few items. The prices tend to be fixed but you can try to barter if you want to.
Below is a list of market days. There are also flea markets on some days which sell all kinds of things including some old vintage Spanish items which you may find interesting.
Marbella – the fairground site on the east side of town
Malaga – Campaniallas in the Barriada de la Luz
Malaga – Churriana in Puerto de la Torre
Estepona – Avenida Juan Carlos I next to the Recinto Ferial
Malaga – the Huelin y the de la Paz districts Mijas Costain La Cala
San Pedro de Alcantara – by the Sports Pavillion, off the Ronda Rd
Malaga – the Parque Juan Jurado Lorca opposite the Guardia Civil
Casares – Calle de la Carrera
Mijas Costa – La Cala and Las Lagunas
Puerto Banus – the Plaza de Toros de Nueva Andalucia – the bullring in Nueva Andalucia
Malaga – the Huelin district and the El Palo district on Calle Argenteo
Fuengirola – the Recinto Ferial
Estepona – the Marina
Malaga – the Martiricos next to the Rosaleda Football Stadium
10. Explore San Pedro, Malaga, Seville, Granada, Jerez, Cadiz
These enchanting Spanish towns all have their own special characteristics and culture. Each one has amazing architecture and with so much to offer, it is impossible to condense all the information here. They are all definitely worth a day trip or a stay overnight.
Granada has the Alhambra Palace and is the entrance to the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
Málaga has been described as the new Barcelona, with its many museums, Michelin starred restaurants, and fantastic beaches.
Seville has its beautiful Cathedral and the Palace of Alcázar.
Visit Jerez for its sherry and the amazing Royal Andalucian School of Equestrian Arts (School of the Dancing Horses). It is also famous for its flamenco.
Cadiz, being the oldest city in Europe is a fascinating midieval city. Fantastic to walk around with a beautiful port.
Closer to home our own San Pedro has the charming Plaza de Iglesia, a Roman ruin and many local restaurants and tapas bars to visit. Fantasic helado (ice cream) shops offer a lovely dessert option on the walk back home.
For more information on any of them please contact us.