Top 10 List of Things to Do on the Costa del Sol and beyond…

When you book a stay in our family-friendly villa in the San Pedro area of Marbella, you can opt for a wonderfully relaxed holiday, spending lazy days by the pool and on the beach. Eating lunch at a beach restaurant, or simply making a fun picnic in our garden.

Or you can choose to step up a gear and enjoy a full schedule of activities! There are so many fantastic places to visit and things to do with the family on the Costa del Sol and throughout Andalucia. You could enjoy a different activity every day for two weeks and there would still be more to explore during your next holiday!

We made a list of our 10 favourite things to do and day trips from Villa Guadalain that both adults and children are sure to enjoy. Which is your favourite?  Share your holiday highlights and recommendations with us and we’ll add them to our list!

Day trip to Ronda

Beautiful video of Ronda and the Serrania de Ronda from Turismo de Ronda

Number one on our Top 10 List: Just 45 minute’s drive up into the hills behind our family-friendly holiday villa in San Pedro de Alcantara, you reach the historic city of Ronda and the whitewashed pueblos of the Serrania de Ronda. 

There is something about Ronda that sparks a passion for visitors. Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles both fell in love with Ronda. Perhaps it’s the fact that one of the oldest cities in Spain, is so full of life and vitality.  And when you look out to the landscape of the Serrania de Ronda from the ‘picture perfect’ Puente Viejo, you will appreciate the beauty and authenticity of Andalucía. 

If you only have a day to explore Ronda, walk across the Puente Viejo (bridge), explore the Madragón Palace, take a stroll through the pretty Alameda de Tajo (Ronda’ central park), and wander through the cobbled streets of the old town, stopping off for some tapas and a glass of Ronda wine along the way. Read our blog article on a day trip to Ronda and the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park.

2. Costa del Sol beaches

San Pedro de Alcantara Beach

Number two on our Top 10 List: The Marbella coastline is home to 24 beaches. Each with its own characteristics, so there is something for everyone.

Most beaches on the Costa del Sol are child and family-friendly, and you can walk down to our closest beach here in San Pedro. On a clear day, you can even see the rock of Gibraltar and Morocco from many of the local beaches.

The beaches close to us in San Pedro have sun bed and parasol hire, children’s playgrounds and exercise equipment. And of course, a great selection of the famous Costa del Sol chiringuito beach restaurants, where you can enjoy a lazy lunch before heading back for an afternoon dip in the Mediterranean sea. Check out our guide to our favourite beaches in Marbella and beyond! 

3. Marbella

Check out the beautiful cobbled streets of Marbella’s old town in this video from Viaja Malaga

Number three on our Top 10 List: Marbella is a traditional Spanish town and at its heart is the Plaza de los Naranjos (Orange Square), which as its name suggests is full of fragrant orange trees. 

It is a charming area to walk around at any time, in the day or evening. Leading off in all directions are cobbled streets with small boutiques and artisan stores, offering everything from shoes, bags and jewellery, to delicious cakes.  

There are endless opportunities to browse and lots of restaurants and bars interspersed along the way. We recommend a quick pit stop to enjoy some delicious churros and chocolate at Churrería Ramon.  

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.   

Shop until you drop and then lunch on the beach…

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. Always best to book.

If you drive from Villa Guadalain, you can park in the Avenida del Mar underground car park.  When you come out of the car park you will find yourself in the Parque Alameda, where you’ll find five sculptures by the famous Spanish artist Salvador Dali. 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 Marbella’s Paseo Maritimo.  

You can actually walk all way here from San Pedro if you have the energy!  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.

4. Shopping in Marbella & Puerto Banus

Shopping Puerto Banus

Number four on our Top 10 List: Shopping is a fun pastime on the Costa del Sol.  From the colourful weekly street markets to the upmarket El Corte Ingles department store and the fashion boutiques of Puerto Banus, where you can find designer 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 you often enjoy better prices than back home.

In Marbella central, there are also small boutique shops that offer good value leather shoes and bags, and lots of souvenirs. On the AP7 just past Marbella, on the Carreterra de Ojen, you can visit La Cañada Parque Commercial, which is a very good shopping centre with lots of shops and a huge supermarket all under one roof.

5. Children’s activities on the Costa del Sol

children in pool

Number five on our Top 10 List: The Costa del Sol is an ideal destination for family-friendly holidays. There is so much to see and do during your stay and activities galore for the whole family to enjoy! 

At Villa Guadalain we have two swimming pools and a private garden, and the beach is an easy walk from the villa. But if you want to take the children out for a day’s excursion, you’ll find some choice, from aqua parks, indoor play centres, dolphin watching, and horse riding. The Costa del Sol is home to so many amazing children’s activities. 

Whether you are staying with toddlers or teenagers, take a look at our Costa del Sol Children’s Activities article, in which you’ll find lots of options to get your kids motivated for the trip. You’ll need to plan a schedule just for them!

6. Lunch in Benahavis

Benahavis

Number six on our Top 10 List: Benahavis, a white village is known as one of the “gastronomic” centres of the Costa del Sol, renowned for its restaurants.  It is full of amazing restaurants and cafes.  All perched on the side of a hill 7km from the coast and surrounded by lovely green countryside.  It is about a 10-minute drive from us and very easy to get to.

7. Hiking and walking

Ojen

Number seven on our Top 10 List: In the hills around San Pedro de Alcantara 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 Casares, 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 Grazalema 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.

8. Dining out in San Pedro de Alcantara

Paellla

Number eight on our Top 10 List: The three closest restaurants/chiringuitos are within a few minutes walk from the villa, close to and on the beach.  They are not all open in the winter so it is worth calling them or checking their websites before you go.

Guayaba Restaurant

Great for casual dining on the beach. Tel 952 78 49 69

Maccao Beach Club
Beach club right outside the back gate of Guadavillas.  Delicious food and a great ambience.  Good for lunch or dinner.
Website: http://www.macaaobeachclubmarbella.com
Tel: 952 11 36 18

El Ancla Restaurant
A beautiful restaurant behind Guadavillas. Part of El Ancla Beach Club. They have an amazing terrace right on the sea. Seafood is the speciality.  
Website: http://www.elanclarestaurante.com
Tel: 952 78 79 28

The following cafes and restaurants are highly recommended

neli g´s is great bistro cafe in Benavista serving delicious breakfasts and lunch, and on Sunday they have a special brunch and roast. Booking necessary for Sunday lunch!

Restaurante El Commercio in San Pedro serves traditional Spanish food and tapas. Tel: 952 85 36 44 Calle Andalucia 13

Marabierta is a favourite with locals. It’s the sister restaurant of El Commercio (above) and serves delicious seafood and Asian dishes in front of San Pedro Beach (on Paseo Maritimo). Booking essential. Tel: + 34 952 799 837

Restaurante Manolos is an excellent family-run pizza restaurant in the centre of San Pedro. Great one for the kids after a hard day at the beach. Avenue Constitution 18. Tel: +34 952 78 10 72

Restaurante El Ranchero is a family-run affordable restaurant serving typical Malagueño dishes (from Malaga) and Mediterranean cuisine. It’s always busy so booking is essential. Calle Pozo 4 San Pedro. Tel: +34 952 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 which we are happy to share when you book your stay.

9. Costa del Sol Street Markets

Tomatoes in the market

Number nine on our Top 10 List: There are street markets on various days in most of the towns nearby.  Even if you don’t intend to buy anything, they are worth a visit and are very colourful and entertaining. They operate every day except for 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 and flea market days close to Villa Guadalain. And if you want to travel further, check out this extensive list of market days on the Costa del Sol.

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
MarbellaFuengirolaEsteponaSan PedroCasaresPuerto BanusFuengirola
La Cala de MijasLa Cala de MijasEstepona

10. Explore San Pedro, Malaga, Seville, Granada, Jerez, Cadiz

Stunning video to inspire your next trip to Andalucia! Created by Brando Li

Number ten on our Top 10 List: 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 traditional.

Cadiz is the oldest city in Europe and a fascinating place to visit.  Walk around the old town and to the beautiful port and enjoy some of Andalucia’s best seafood cuisine. If you are visiting in February, you could take two days out to visit the famous Cadiz Carnival.

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.  Fantastic helado (ice cream) shops offer a lovely sweet option on the walk back home.