Let me start with the capital.
It is possible that your holidays are not directly to Malaga but to the beach area, but honestly the city deserves at least a day (or an afternoon if you don’t have more time). But a day of sightseeing is always good idea and Malaga is beautiful enough for that.
The Alcazaba of Malaga, the remains of the Roman Theatre, seeing the “Manquita” or discovering La Malagueta beach are some of the places that await you in Malaga. Although it is not the most “sounding” city in Andalusia, I can assure you that it is very beautiful and pleasant to visit. Even one day might be too short.
If you want a list of everything you can see in Malaga in one day, don’t miss this blog post in which I summarize my visit.
To get to Malaga I took the train from Torremolinos. Although I had the car there, let’s say I didn’t feel like moving it and on that occasion we used public transport and it was very comfortable. I tell you this as an idea and so that you have in mind that you can move around the Costa del Sol by train (you have more info in the entry dedicated to Malaga in the blog that I have put the link above).
Torremolinos boomed in the 60’s and 70’s, it was the holiday resort for many Spaniards and nowadays we have to add a lot of international tourism. British, Germans and tourists from the Nordic countries fill the whole Costa del Sol and in particular Torremolinos.
It is really go option to stay in Torremolinos. There are many places for accommodation in both flats and hotels, in terms of atmosphere there is something for everyone. You can go for a party or a family holiday, but perhaps if you want something quieter you will like to go further away from the centre, as I say, it depends on your taste, I really like that atmosphere full of people in summer.
The place in Torremolinos where you’re going to feel that “summer holiday at night” feeling the most, I’d say it’s going to be on the San Miguel street and strolling along the promenade. Those after-dinner strolls, down the slope full of shops and atmosphere, continue walking along the beach and have an ice-cream, I like it very much. The beach area or the neighbourhood of La Carihuela and enjoy the fried fish (pescaito frito) is also nice.
Fuengirola is quieter than Torremolinos, a beach atmosphere with a long promenade is what you will find all over this area. Also a lot of international flair. There are many blue flag beaches and restaurants near the sea with the famous espetos (fried fish).
As a tourist attraction, and so that you have a few places to see on the coast of Malaga, near Fuengirola you might like to visit the Sohail Castle. Visite too La Cala de Mijas, a technical stop for a walk in this area. The views from there are very nice, it is also next to the beach and you can walk to the Peñon del Cura beach.
Benalmadena is one of the places I have stayed when I have travelled to the Costa del Sol, I think it fits very well to the idea of summer holidays and has many options.
Apart from the beach, the marina and the streets of the centre you also have some interesting things to visit in Benalmádena.
In Benalmádena you can visit the Colomares Castle; the children will be amazed as it is a fairytale castle or visit the Buddhist monument known as the Enlightenment Stupa.
You can also visit Benalmádena Pueblo, which is close to the Colomares Castle I mentioned before. It is a village of white houses, maybe not as “special” as other white villages in Andalusia, but it is nice if you want to go for a walk.
And in the beach area of Benalmádena you’ll find the bright red, Moorish-style El Bil Bil Castle.
In Benalmadena you also have the Tivoli World, a key amusement park on the Costa del Sol. It has around 30 rides and can be a great place to spend an afternoon if you’re travelling with children.
NERJA AND ITS BEACHES
And if you follow the coast but to the north of Malaga you will come to the pretty village of Nerja.
Nerja is the village of the famous TV series “Verano Azul”, the one about Chanquete’s boat and you can even see the boat in Nerja, but apart from that it is a very beautiful village and area of the coast of Malaga that I would definitely recommend.
I really liked the area of the square and the beautiful views from the Balcon de Europa. Maro Beach is one of the many beaches you can find in this area and also very beautiful. This whole area is much quieter than the south of Malaga.
And of course, if you go to Nerja you have to visit the famous Nerja Caves. I liked them very much, it was an entertaining visit and more beautiful than I thought it would be. Besides, in the middle of summer (July) it was very nice to be so cool in the caves.
Very close to Nerja are the cliffs and waterfall of Maro, the best way to visit it is by car and I highly recommend this route as an option for a few hours. You can stop at viewpoints and find small beaches and coves. All very natural and peaceful.