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THE BEST DAY TRIPS FROM THE COSTA DEL SOL

With its sunny climate and amazing food and drink, it could be very easy to relax and stay by the pool at one of the stunning Costa del Sol resorts that you are based in.

However, the region is home to vibrant towns, cities, and a beautiful coastline and is, therefore, an excellent base for exploring southern Spain. There are some amazing Costa del Sol day trips that you can go on that offer a mix of history, culture, natural beauty, and unique experiences.

So, read on and discover some of the best day trips from the Costa del Sol and why they are a must-visit.

Marbella

Luxury yachts in Puerto Banus marina Marbella

If you are heading to the Costa del Sol, a day trip to Marbella is an absolute must. The city has a bit of everything as visitors can step back in time in the historic old town, enjoy food from world-class restaurants, sunbathe at picturesque beaches or experience the glitz and glamour of the marina.

It should come as little surprise that Marbella recently scooped the European Best Destinations award in 2024. Forbes reveals that Marbella was crowned the number one European destination, based on the vote of more than one million travellers from 172 countries, after being seen as the trendiest, best for gourmet and shopping, and the greatest golf destination in Europe.

We Are Travel Girls spoke about how Marbella is a great place to visit if you want to experience something different: “If you want a different experience, Marbella is a perfect place for those who like shopping, luxury brands and partying. Puerto Banus is your place if you want to treat yourself! It is very well-known for its luxury shops, yachts and expensive cars. However, if you are more interested in partying, some of the most famous party places are Ocean Club and Nikki Beach.”

ALSO READ: The best beaches on the Costa del Sol

Ronda

View of the bridge in Ronda Spain

A hugely popular day trip on the Costa del Sol goes to Ronda, an enchanting mountain town famed for its deep gorge and iconic Puente Nuevo bridge.

You can enjoy stunning views from Ronda, and on a good day, you can see across the Mediterranean Sea to Africa. The views aren’t the only thing Ronda is famous for; the town is steeped in history, with beautiful old buildings, narrow winding streets, and remnants of its Moorish past.

One of the town’s most famous attractions is Plaza de Toros de Ronda, which is the local bullring. It is one of the oldest in Spain and is regarded as one of the most picturesque in the country. It is one of the classic white villages that Spain is famous for, and just walking around the streets is an experience in itself.

Linda, who is the blogger behind Retired & Travelling, recommends visiting Ronda and Cadiz on a day trip from the Costa del Sol:

“If you love beaches, great coastal towns and stunning coastal drives, then the Costa del Sol is for you. A day trip to Ronda provides a stunning drive through the mountains with a view back to Gibraltar. This white town on a steep gorge is a perfect spot to wander and enjoy the Moorish design.”

Cristina Reina, the travel writer behind the Exploring Malaga & Beyond blog, told us about what she did during a day visit to Ronda: “Ronda is one of the most beautiful Pueblos Blancos (white towns) in Andalucia, and it’s worth a visit. It’s a very unique place because of its location, vegetation and history.

“You can see its emblematic Puente Nuevo Bridge, explore its picturesque historic town, visit its unique museums, and taste its typical dishes and wine.

“Having visited Ronda for a day, I can assure you that there are enough things to do and see, and you’ll want to return.”

Malaga

Cityscape of Malaga Costa del Sol Spain

It can often be overlooked by people who are heading to other parts of the Costa del Sol, but there are so many things to do in Malaga on a memorable day trip.

You can easily spend a full day here, and you can start off by visiting its historic centre. Next up could be a fascinating trip to the Picasso Museum, which is dedicated to the city’s most famous son, to find out more about this world-famous artist and sculptor.

The Alcazaba Fortress dominates the hillside on the eastern side of the city, and it is one of the best attractions you can visit in Malaga. Inside, you will get a glimpse of a working fortress and the sumptuous living quarters decorated in true Moorish style.

Malaga does really big events well, and there’s a year-round calendar, so the chances are that whenever you’re on holiday on the Costa del Sol, you’ll be able to watch an event in the city. Some of its most famous celebrations are the annual Holy Week processions during Easter, the Malaga Fair (mid-August) and its Christmas celebrations.

ALSO READ: A ranking of Costa del Sol towns and cities

Gibraltar

View of Gibraltar Rock with barbary Macaque

Whilst Gibraltar is not in Spain and is a British overseas territory, it offers a unique mix of British and Spanish cultures.

You can hire a car and drive from the Costa del Sol to Gibraltar or there are plenty of coaches that you can catch which will get you there in less than two hours, and when you arrive you can go on guided tours around the island. The island has many highlights, including the Rock of Gibraltar, St. Michael’s Cave, and the opportunity to see the famous Barbary macaques.

It’s also famed for its VAT-free shopping, and with a wide variety of stores to choose from, visitors are spoilt for choice. Most of Gibraltar’s main shops and stores are located on Main Street and the surrounding area, with this busy street running throughout the entire length of the city.

Nerja and its caves

Amazing geological formations in Nerja caves

Nerja is a picturesque coastal resort town, and it marks the eastern limit of the Costa del Sol.

It was once a sleepy fishing village, but it has grown into a fairly large town that has become a popular day trip destination for people staying on the Costa del Sol. Nerja is home to some beautiful beaches, and the nearby Caves of Nerja are a natural wonder, featuring large caverns that host concerts.

The caves are also home to prehistoric cave paintings, believed by many to be the oldest works of art known to man. Inside the caves, you will also be wowed by some of the largest rock formations around them, and during a tour of the caves, you will get to see stalactites, columns, gours, and spirals.

ALSO READ: Ultimate family guide to the Costa del Sol

Granada and the Alhambra Palace

The fortress and palace complex Alhambra in Granada

Serene Islamic architecture, monumental churches, old-school tapas bars and counterculture graffiti art combine to make Granada a compelling day trip from the Costa del Sol.

The Alhambra is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is one of Spain’s most significant and beautiful historical monuments. The Alhambra complex includes palaces, courtyards, and gardens, showcasing exquisite Islamic art and architecture.

Granada is also home to Capilla Real, a Royal Chapel that is the last resting place of Spain’s Reyes Católicos (Catholic Monarchs), Isabel I de Castilla (1451–1504) and Fernando II de Aragón (1452–1516). If that isn’t enough sightseeing for the day, then you can easily squeeze in a visit to Basílica San Juan de Dios and see its blinding display of opulent baroque decor.

Costa del Sol day Trips to remember

All of these incredible destinations offer a glimpse into the diverse history, culture, and natural beauty of Southern Spain, making them perfect day trips from the Costa del Sol. Each location has its own unique charm and reasons to visit, whether you’re interested in history, architecture, natural landscapes, or simply soaking up the local culture.

Wyndham Grand Costa del Sol Pool view

If you want to enjoy a holiday on the Costa del Sol, take a look at IDILIQ Hotels , Wyndham Costa del Sol resort, where you can choose from a variety of luxurious suites or affordable self-catering apartments and make use of top-notch facilities.

If you want to include day trips as part of your holiday to the Costa del Sol, you can speak to our Guest Services Team who can help you book a range of excursions.

For more tips, guides, and advice, visit our blog.