Approaching the Costa del Sol by plane offers an entirely new perspective to the region. Think azure waters lapsing by a collection of white buildings, and pasty sands made for siestas in the sun. There's so much to explore in the region, but first you'll need to choose a destination. Let's start with Marbella.
You can't visit the Costa del Sol without hitting the beach, and Marbella's longsome stretches provide the perfect starting point. Park up on a lounger, and head to one of the nearby beach bars whenever you're thirsty. Tapas is nice enough in a restaurant, but factor in a refreshing coastal breeze and you're looking at a certified recipe for luxury. Otherwise, head to the Old Town, a quaint mixture of art galleries, bars, and taverns, not to mention historic architecture which will take you back hundreds of years.
If you're here on a Saturday, head to Puerto Banus Street Market. You'll find a selection of meats and fresh vegetables which you'd never get elsewhere – why not stock up and cook up a storm from your villa? This is a great alternative to eating out, so you're able to add your own twist to whichever Spanish delights you wish to make.
Like many coastal hotspots, Fuengirola has more than its fair share of wildlife. Guided tours run from the harbour, with schools of bottlenose dolphins frequently joining in the fun and swimming alongside the boats! Most vessels are equipped with bars, so grab a chilled drink and let the sea breeze wash over you. Back on dry land, you can't go wrong with a trip to BioParc Zoo. It's also a breeding ground for endangered animals, so you can browse around feeling guilt-free. In the space of an afternoon, you'll be able to see everything from gorillas, tigers, and lemurs, to exotic birds and some of the world's biggest lizards.
For something a little more lively, visit Malaga, a thriving port popular with tourists. Spend the days touring the narrow streets, before grabbing some shade in the Pablo Picasso Museum. You'll educate yourself on the great Spanish artist's works, and see the city in an entirely different light after your trip. The region has a reputation as being a bit of a sunspot, so you won't want to stay cooped up indoors for long. The centre of Malaga is home to verdant parks and squares, so find yourself a bench and a good book, and allow the afternoon to pass you by. If you'd rather stay somewhere more rural, but still experience the vibrant buzz of Malaga, then the villas of Mijas are a short drive from the city.
Across the Costa del Sol's many destinations, you'll come across a wide selection of opulent harbours and swanky boats. Treat yourself to some freshly caught seafood – anchovies from here are delightful – and watch as boats come and go. After a while, you'll likely be hit by an urge to go for a dip of your own. Benalmadena's beaches are perfect for a lazy morning spent soaking up some vitamin D, whilst the surrounding waters are a great way to cool off. Aside from beaches, Benalmadena is a popular starting point for anyone taking a day trip to Africa. If you want to do so, you can get a boat to the Spanish enclave of Ceuta, before taking a guided tour over the border into Morocco. After a day spent exploring, head back over to Europe and dine in a fancy restaurant whilst recalling the day's events.
Wherever you choose to visit, the Costa del Sol has a whole trove of gems just waiting to be discovered – where will you go first?