For culture vultures
Ole! Get your castanets ready for a night of authentic Flamenco dancing. There are shows in bars and restaurants across the region, but you can’t go wrong with a visit to Kelipé Centro de Arte Flamenco in Malaga, which hosts shows every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
- Prices start from 20 euros and reservations are recommended. It’s foot-stampingly fun!
- To reserve a ticket call 692 829 885 or visit www.kelipe.net
Art enthusiasts will also love the Picasso Museum in Malaga – the city where the artist was born – and you can see 230 pieces of his work.
- For information call 952 12 76 00 or visit http://museopicassomalaga.org
Nature lovers will feel all a-flutter over Mariposario Benalmadena – Spain’s biggest butterfly park. It boasts species from around the world, and there’s even a breeding programme so the collection is ever-growing.
- Find it at Av de Retamar, 29639 Benalmádena, or call 951 21 11 96. Tickets cost 10 euros per adult, 7.50 euros for children
A 15-minute drive from Torremolinos is a crocodile park if you’re feeling brave! There are more than 300 resident crocs to meet, including the notorious Big Daddy, which is an impressive 4m long!
- Find it at C/ Cuba, 14. 29620 Torremolinos, or call 952 051 782. Tickets cost 15.50 euros for adults, 13 euros for children
Finally, Bioparc Fuengirola is a great day out for chldren and adults – it’s a unique zoo where animals live side by side to replicate their natural environments. The park’s focus is on breeding endangered animals, and there are 130 species to watch, including the rare Sumatran tiger.
- Entry tickets cost between 11-16 euros. For more information call 952 66 63 01 or visit www.bioparc fuengirola.es
Seek out some traditional regional tapas, it’s everywhere! We recommend you try Albondigas en Salsa de Almendras, a type of meatball in an almond sauce, and Tortilla de Patatas – an omelette stuffed with potatoes. There are also various chilled soups to cool you down after a hot day, as well as fresh seafood such as prawns and anchovies. Wash all of this down with a Sangria or local sherry.
Take a trip
Less than two hours from Marbella is the British colony of Gibraltar, which is home to a colony of Barbary monkeys – the only free-living monkeys in Europe! It’s a beautiful area, famed for its rocky inclines and overlooked by the famous Rock. Animal inhabitants aside, there’s lots to do – take a trip underground to a fortress of tunnels built in the Second World War, ride a cable car to the top of the rock, explore the castle or join a boat trip to see the dolphins. Gibraltar is a tiny area, less than six square kilometres (2.2 sq miles) with a population of around 29,000. It’s an overseas territory of the UK and has a fascinating history, with arguments over its sovereignty stretching back hundreds of years.
- For more information on Gibraltar visit www.visitgibraltar.gi
Spot of shopping
Pick up gorgeously unique gifts from the wide range of craft boutiques in Mijas. It’s a picturesque white-washed village, typical of the region, where you’ll find all sorts of hidden gems. Don’t miss Artesania de Espana, in Calle Malaga, which has reproductions of old Spanish jewellery, Mallorcan pearls and stunning ceramics. If shopping isn’t your thing (or you want to appease your partner) there are also seven local golf courses to choose from.
- For tourist information call 952 58 90 34
Make the most of the glorious weather with a bit of beach time. The Costa del Sol boasts 161km of coastline, and hidden gems include Playamar Beach in Torremolinos and Algarroba Beach a little further up the coast. Spain ranks top in the world for Blue Flag beaches (a prestigious eco award for high standards) so you’re sure of a lovely day out.
- For more ideas and information visit www.holidayhypermarket.co.uk or www.visitcostadelsol.com
- Spain-holiday.com (020 3384 7066) has more than 2,000 properties in the Costa del Sol. A two-night stay in a stylish one-bedroom apartment in central Malaga (property ref – 16780) costs from £78 total in low season and £110 total in high season, based on two sharing.
Image from www.visitcostadelsol.com