Hot on the heels of Costa del Sol, Malaga has long been one of Andalusia’s most popular holiday destinations. It's not surprising, given the obvious charms of Malaga's excellent climate and long sandy beaches. However there's a lot more to Malaga than first meets the eye. One of the best ways to explore Malaga's hidden gems is to take to the open road with a map and hire car. Follow our Top Four Drives guide to truly discover Malaga.
This pretty Andalusian town is situated on the eastern ridge of the Costa del Sol, just a 50km drive outside of Malaga. The town is famous for its dramatic Maro cliffs, which harbour secluded coves and beautiful beaches like the famous Blue Flag Burriana Beach. The beach lends itself to a range of active holiday water sports including windsurfing, sailing and diving.
Having worked up an appetite, you'll find plenty of waterfront eateries to tempt all palates. Fish is definitely the dish of the day here and it's well worth sampling the low cost 'just netted' local seafood.Following a good feed, a stroll through the old town is advised. Nerja's medieval centre is steeped in history, evidence of which can be seen at the Balcón de Europa, which dates back to 1487. The winding cobbled streets of the old town quarters are the perfect place to invest in local produce like sweet fruity wine, olive oil and honey.
2.Mijas/Pueblos Blancos Tour
The whole region of Andalusia is synonymous with white washed villages and towns known as 'pueblos blancos'.One such village worth checking out is Mijas. The pretty town of Mijas is just a 30km drive from Malaga and is one of the most visited of the pueblos blancos. Despite its popularity with tourists, the town retains traditional Andalusian charm and hospitality. Many artists have made their home in Mijas, due to its picture-postcard location and laid back lifestyle. A wander through the sleepy old town offers the chance to browse the galleries and craft shops of local artisans. No doubt on your way you'll pass easy-going villagers indulging in a spot of people watching from the comfort of their front door.
The beautiful marina and exclusive city of Marbella is just a 30km drive from Malaga Airport. The city of Marbella is a popular sunshine holiday destination with wealthy European tourists. Marbella marina is a playground for the rich and famous and it's here that day-trippers come to eye-up their expensive toys. However, there's more to Marbella than shiny yachts and flashy sailing boats. A little exploration uncovers fascinating cultural attractions and an exciting shopping scene. Perhaps surprisingly, many of the city's most appealing tourist sites offer free admission. A stroll around Parque de la Alameda is a cheap way to while away a few hours. It's possible to see some works by the artist Salvador Dali for free here.
In the old quarters of the town you'll find Villa Romana de Rio Verde & Las Bovedas, an ancient Roman Villa dating back to the 1st and 2nd centuries. Interested visitors can avail of free guided tours. Las Murallas del Castillo Moorish castle will also impress those fascinated by the old town's history.
Marbella is a hive of decadence and excess and those on budget will find that shopping here doesn't come cheap. However, those ready and willing to splash the cash will find that Puerto Banus offers a dream shopping experience.
Finally, no journey to Marbella would be complete without a visit to one of the city's fine beaches such as Guadalmina, Linda Vista and San Pedro De Alcantara.
The pretty and historic Andalusian town of Ronda can be reached within an hour's drive of Malaga. An interesting route worth following is the Sierra Bermeja road, which cuts through the mountains, offering stunning views.
The town of Ronda is famous as being the birthplace of modern bullfighting and to this day showcases the best local talent at the Feria Goyesca in September. Here matadors dressed in their traditional finery battle it out against a bull on foot. The rest of the year you'll find that the bullring is an outdoor museum where visitors are allowed to wander around freely, imagining the gladiator-esque battles between man and bull.
More sedate attractions in Ronda include walking tours of the charming old town. A stroll through Plaza Duquesa de Parcent is one way to absorb the town's architectural highlights. Here you're guaranteed to get a good photo of interesting structures like the belltower of the Iglesia Santa Maria de Mayor and the dramatically arched Ayuntamiento building. From here, it's possible to walk to Ronda's famous Puento Nuevo Bridge, which offers spectacular views of the plunging El Tajo gorge.