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Things to do on the Costa del Sol :Aqualand, Torremolinos (open May to end of September) Aqualand is located only 10 minutes from the centre of Torremolinos. Aqualand is a place where you can spend a day having lots of fun with the best aquatic attractions you can imagine. Also, this year the park offers a new attraction: the “Boomerang” , plus relaxing green areas and 18-hole mini golf course. Not cheap but very good value. Get there early; the time goes quickly. www. aqualand.es Save money by booking your tickets on line.
Fuengirola Zoo Fuengirola Zoo is well worth a visit and in July and August the Zoo is open until midnight for what it calls its "night time safari". Its near to the Bull Ring (Plaza de Toros). Very attractive zoo and very good value for money.
Crocodile Park, Torremolinos, Calle Cuba, 14. S ituated in Torremolinos, in Crocodile Park you will find yourself in front of prehistoric monsters which have miraculously survived 200 million years of evolution, carnivores which knew the dinosaurs and use the same cold, merciless hunting techniques. From a distance of less than 2 metres, you can wonder at the gigantic crocodiles by silenty walking beside them, observing the secrets of one of the most fascinating creatures of our world.
Tivoli World, Benalmadena Tivoli World . It'll be an experience to enjoy a fantastic dayout in an unique spot on the Costa del Sol . A world of magic to enjoy, with the whole family... You will enjoy exciting new rides, a large and varied program of shows in our different squares. Also Tivoli offers you a large range of bars and theme restaurants as you enjoy the mingle in the fabulous park environment. Excellent value for money: buy the Supertivolino armbands for the kids. There are plenty of rides for young children and adults too. www. tivolicostadelsol.com/eng/index.php Check on opening times before you go. In summer they open later, so you will have to persuade the kids to have a siesta in the afternoon, so they can stay up late like Spanish kids do.
Sea Life, Benalmadena (by the Marina ) A unique exhibition in Spain . Slither into the mysterious hidden depths of the sinister Serpents of the Sea! SEA LIFE Benalmadena is a unique magical marine experience on the Costa del Sol. Discover Reef sharks, journey through the Amazon and meet the friendly rays. Its a touchy feely place not very big but interesting and you can visit the marina at the same time.
Selwo Safari Park, Estepona SELWO PARK , Estepona, Safari style park with many animals and birds on view. Its easiest to get there by car but you dont drive through the safari park. You are driven in large trucks. Not cheap but it is a full day out. www.selwo.es
Benalmadena Dolphinarium and Aquarium. A good afternoon trip for the kids. www.aquopolis.es
Magic Palace, Torremolinos Next to Aqualand. The magic show by Oscar, Renzo & Mara is an unforgettable experience. These young entertainers are respected worldwide for their dynamical and original shows. Their talent and love for theatre and magic has lifted them to international stardom in a short time.
Science Museum (Centro de Ciencia ), Avenida Luís Buñuel nº 6
29011 MÁLAGA , Close to the Football Ground (Rosaleda). Its aimed at families with children and its all in Spanish but its good fun and the people there help you to take part. In any case its mostly visual. And its FREE. Kids, make sure you take Dad; you always wanted to electrocute him, didnt you? www.principia- malaga.com/
The Castle, Malaga (Alcazaba) Plaza de la Aduana, Alcazabilla, Málaga. Free on Sundays but not expensive during the week. The Alcazaba or Moorish castle is in the centre of Malaga and close to the harbour. It does require a bit of walking within the castle but there is a lift up to the top from a separate entrance: ask about this at the main entrance. If you take the lift, your walking will all be downhill.
Picasso Birth Place, Malaga in Plaza de la Merced.
Picasso Museum, Malaga Not a museum really but an art gallery dedicated to the paintings of Picasso. The museum is housed in a beautiful old building and is air-conditioned in summer - a lovely cool place to spend a hot afternoon! Pensioners should take their passports to get reductions.
Parador de Golf, Torremolinos/ Malaga The Paradors of Spain are upmarket hotels which have a particular character. Many are situated in old castles or other places of interest. Golf is the particular interest in this one. It is located very close to the beach on the border between Malaga and Torremolinos.
Benalmádena’s cable car rises above a 700-metre slope in 12 minutes, reaching the Calamorro Peak, an exceptional natural viewpoint in the mountain range looming high above the Costa del Sol, in a scene of whitewash dotted with pine green. The place affords magnificent views stretching from the rugged eastern coast (to the left) to the Rock of Gibraltar and the namesake straits separating the Mediterranean Sea from the Atlantic Ocean (to the right). On very clear days, you can even see the Rif Mountains , on the coast of Africa . Get the train to Benalmadena and its just a short walk to the cable car. There is a cafe at the bottom and top of the cable car ride. There are a couple of attractions on the top and you can go for a walk or horse ride. Walking in the direction of Torremolinos is easier than going towards Mijas and probably prettier too once you get off the concrete track: but take plenty of water and sun cream.
Plaza Mayor Get the train to Plaza Mayor and visit the multiscreen cinema with one film in English every week. www.yelmocineplex.es If you are an IKEA addict, their new showroom is close to here.
Malaga Shopping Malaga is great for shopping but do remember that most of the shops close in the afternoon (from 1.30pm to 5.pm) but they are open till about 8pm at night. Shops don't open after 1.00 pm when there is a fiesta.
Malaga Tapas Bars and Restaurants Malaga is a great place for tapas bars and restaurants. But Malaga is more typically Spanish than the other coastal resorts and most restaurants open at 8.30 pm for evening meals. For real Spanish atmosphere with your drinks and tapas try Pimpi in calle Granada (no. 63);you will be glad you found it: it is quite a big place but the entrance is quite small, so you need to keep your eyes open. For vegetarian restaurants look on www.happycow.com .
Malaga Concerts in the Teatro Cervantes: classical and jazz. They also stage plays and a cinema festival but you need to have a good grasp of Spanish for those.
Markets Fuengirola has a market on Tuesdays and Torremolinos has one on Thursdays near the bull ring. Also plan to visit the second hand markets on Sunday at Torremolinos and Wednesday in Benalmadena. There is a continious market in Malaga not far from the train station. Get a map at the Tourist info' .
Marbella Shopping If you like shopping malls there is a good one in Marbella near the bus station. its called La Cañada.
Mijas This is the closest of the white villages and it still has the feel of a real Spanish place despite the efforts of the property developers. Its a 15 minute trip by local bus from Fuengirola bus station. You get a really good view of the coast from the park near the bullring. And if you want a longer walk, go to the top of the village, cross the road and walk up to the sanctuary: its not a long walk but it is steep. Many interesting shops and cafes line the streets. There is also an interesting museum of Spanish country life in the village.
Nerja The small=scale development of Nerja is very appealing and you should not miss the "balcony of Europe". The beaches here are quite small.
Frigiliana is a lovely white village. Take a bus from Malaga to Nerja and then another short bus trip from there to Frigiliana or go by car. Take your time to explore the old part of the village and if you like a walk in the country ask where the river (= el rio) is. When you get to the river turn left upstream and you can get to a nice picnic area in about 1 hour. But you can carry on walking as long as you like.
Ronda Ronda is one of Andalucias gems. You can get there by bus from most places on the coast but the best way is to get the bus to Algeciras and then go by train, a beautiful journey. You need to cross the bridge over the spectacular gorge to get to the old town (el casco antiguo). Call in at the tourist office near the bridge for a free map of the town. In the civil war they threw nuns over this bridge!
Granada , the Alhambra : The Rough Guide to Spain rates this as Spains number one attraction. Get your tickets over the internet before you go or join an organised tour. This way you avoid a wait of a couple of hours for tickets. They only allow a certain number of people in at a time. www. alhambradegranada.org/
Granada Province: There are many things that you can do in Granada Province. You can enjoy the beautiful beaches of Salobreña, visit Sierra Nevada, the Europe´s southernmost ski resort and visit the irmpresive region of mountain villages of Alpujarra Granada Province
Seville Andalucias first city has lots to offer and is a beautiful place to spend a day or two. In Summer it can get unbearably hot but its just right in April. You can get there by bus or train from Malaga . Malaga Renfe ( Main Line station, not the underground) is the name of the train station and the coach station is just round the corner. Going by car is not such a good idea; the traffic can be very hectic and parking is another problem in the centre.
Car tour of the White Towns and Villages Andalucia is famous for its pueblos blancos (white towns and villages). Mijas, Frigiliana and Ronda have already been mentioned but there are many more. The latter 3 places are easily accessible by public transport but to do a tour of some of the others you need a car. Life is slow in the villages and things change slowly. In the bars you will often see only men, although they welcome women too: the local women dont generally frequent bars. Once you get off the major roads you will be rewarded with some excellent views but just occasionally the roads can be tricky to negotiate and the views can sometimes be a little too stunning for those who suffer from vertigo.
Walking along the coast or in the mountains There are quite a few books available in English detailing walks in the area. Do a search in www.amazon.co.uk .There are also quite a few websites with walks but these are mostly in Spanish. www.webmalaga.com will give you some ideas. Do a search for "senderos" (footpaths). There are some spectacular walking areas in Andalucia and there is a good network of long distance paths (senderos de Gran Recorrido or GR) and shorter walks (PR). The river Chillar near Nerja is a beautiful walk in summer for people who like walking IN rivers: it is the ONLY walk to do in summer due to the heat. The best time of year for walking is from December to early May or late September can be good. Rain is rarely a problem but October and November can be wet. There is one excellent walk which you can do in summer along the river Rio Chillar: you walk IN the river, which is mostly only a few inches deep: take old trainers and a walking stick: ask for info in Nerja tourist information office.