Receiving an invitation from Jet2.com & Jet2Holidays to travel with them to the Costa del Sol, I obviously said “yes” because I thought it was somewhere I haven’t been before. However, whilst travelling to Torremolinos & Benalmadena on day 2, I quickly realised that I have been to this region before, 9 years previous. I forgot because I tried to delete it from my memory. My time 9 years ago wasn’t a great experience. Now I was starting to dread my next 4 days here. Let’s just say, 9 years has made a BIG difference, especially in Malaga. After spending 5 days in Andalucia, my mind has completely changed about the region and I left falling in love with this place and I can’t wait to re-visit.
Jet 2 & Jet 2 Holidays.
Have you ever travelled with Jet2.com? This is my 2nd time flying with them and I’m always impressed by their professionalism and friendly nature by all the staff. The planes are very spacious with a great tasting menu, not to mention awesome Starbucks coffee. I’m so satisfied by Jet2, I’m flying with them again in the summer with my family to Spain. Can’t wait.
Vincci Posada del Patio Hotel.
Our first Hotel was in Malaga for 1 night, the beautifully designed Vincci Posada del Patio. A modern looking hotel with an ancient wall and pathway underneath the grounds. Situated right in the heart of the city. Everything in the city is within walking distance.
The rooms were very large and well designed. The bed was comfy, but I was struggling with the pillows. They either had long sausage ones or square ones. Being British, we don’t have these in the U.K. So my night sleep wasn’t what I expected, but, still okay. The shower was so powerful, I LOVED it. I could’ve spent hours in there. The food was good and the coffee, perfect. All in all, I couldn’t really fault Vincci Posada del Patio, we all wished we could’ve stayed there longer.
Caminito del Rey.
If there is one thing that I’m never going to forget on this trip, then it will be the awe-inspiring Caminito del Rey. I never knew this place existed, and boy was I in for a treat. You start off at a newly designed Car Park and take a nice walk to the beginning of the Trek. The trek itself is about 3km long and reaches heights of up to 300-400m. Word of warning, if you don’t like heights, or suffer from vertigo, then this isn’t for you.
You can see under the newly placed walkways the old path that stretched through this stunning landscape. Before you had to be harnessed in and be confident with climbing. Now with €5.5 million being spent on restoration and making it more pedestrian friendly this is now one of Spains best attractions, if not the best.
You get given a helmet at the start of your trek and you must wear it at all times just in case there is any rock fall. You are in a gorge so anything is possible. You must also be aware that there are no toilets on the trek so try to go before you start. Water and snacks are also a good thing to take with you. No tripods, umbrellas or walking sticks (ask before you go) are allowed on the trek due to the slats of the wooden walkways. However, selfie sticks are allowed. I can’t stress enough how this place has affected me in such a positive way. Going through the large number of images I took, it makes me feel so blessed that I was lucky to walk this magical trek. If you want to know more in-depth information about Caminito del Rey then check out this post by John Kramer.
I’m shocked that I’ve never heard of this place. Also, slightly embarrassed that I haven’t. But I’ve been now and I strongly feel that everyone should visit this location and experience it for yourself. You will be completely lost for words!
Sol House Hotel.
Our next Hotel and the final hotel was the cool vibes of Sol House Costa del Sol in Torremolinos. I had a lovely suite with a view of the sea on the balcony. The bed was so comfy. The bathroom was nice but the shower wasn’t as good as our first hotel. The Hotel had a very modern cool vibe throughout. It was a large hotel that was situated right next to the beach. The dining area was well stocked with anything you desired. The hotel has 3 swimming pools and a good gym. We were here in winter so it wasn’t very busy. You can see how this place is full in the summer with a great party atmosphere.
Huge thanks to Sol House Costa del Sol for making our few days here very relaxed and enjoyable. If you’re in Torremolinos then please check out Sol House Costa. Check them out online as well and look at the summer vibes this hotel has. I must book to stay here again during the summer months.
Welcome to Ronda. For me a hidden gem. If heaven had a city, then Ronda could possibly be it. As you walk through the cobbled streets and over the ancient bridge, you’re constantly in awe of the stunning rolling vistas and architecture. The city is separated by a spectacular gorge Puente Nuevo. Our group got the chance to climb that gorge via some man-made metal steps whilst being connected to a harness. This gave me the perfect opportunity to fly my drone through the gorge and record the group as they climbed the steep cliff with the iconic bridge in the background.
We couldn’t help but notice a large number of orange trees that are planted through the streets. We asked if we could try one but was quickly informed that these oranges are very bitter and if they were nice they would’ve all been taken already (good point). Our guide also took us to a beautiful palace, Casa Don Basco. It is open to the public. You can walk around the building and explore the garden. The garden has such a spectacular view of the Puente Nuevo Bridge and the gorgeous rolling vista.
Ronda is also famous for its bullfighting. They have a spectacular bullfighting ring The Plaza de Toros de Ronda. The arena has a diameter of 66 metres, surrounded by a passage formed by two rings of stone. There are two layers of seating, each with five raised rows and 136 pillars that make up 68 arches.
Now I will admit that I’m not a fan of this ancient so-called sport. I think this day an age there is no reason to kill amazing animals for sport. I may not agree with it, but I do appreciate the history, skill and nerve involved to be a bullfighter. The bullfighting ring has an interesting museum. One thing I couldn’t get over was the size of the bullfighters. They have their costumes inside glass cabinets on mannequins and they are so much smaller than I imagined.
I’ve been to Spain a few times and yes I’ve had paella, but, I quickly found out that paella isn’t the only Spanish dish we should be eating. We are fortunate in the U.K. that Tapas is really popular at the moment, I hope this trend stays. However, some of these dishes we experienced here in Spain completely took our taste buds to another level. The two outstanding dishes we had weren’t main courses but small appetisers. They were a refreshing Salmon Tartar and another new dish for me, Migas. I could’ve literally eaten a whole bowl of this.
Malaga Food Market.
We joined up with a lovely lady and our guide called Simone from Spain Food Sherpas. Simone took us around The Central Market of Atarazanas. The Atarazanas market is located in the place where Nazari shipyards were located in the XIV century then after the Christian Conquest of the city, it was used as a warehouse, arsenal, military hospital and barracks. Now it’s a vibrant colourful display of delicious vegetables, meats and seafood. The market is split into 3 sections. Meat, Seafood and Vegetables. It also has a various amount of tapas stalls that serve some of the best seafood I’ve ever tasted.
Simone helped me to try new tasty things. Seafood wasn’t high on my list of things to eat, but, after this tour, I realised how great a lot of it tastes. My openness to seafood has definitely improved. We also got to talk about Malagan coffee. After late nights and early starts, a rich heavy in caffeine coffee is just what I needed. For me, the Solo, it was the perfect pick me up I needed. Just a shame we don’t do that here where I live in the UK 😦
Art in Malaga.
Did you know that Malaga was the birthplace of Picasso? I certainly didn’t. Because of this, Malaga has a huge art presence around the city. From ancient art, including Picasso himself to contemporary modern work, not to mention amazing street art. We were invited to walk around Picasso Museum in Malaga. Now, our guide was clearly passionate about Picasso, and I respect that. Me personally, I don’t get it. I kinda had a little more understanding when I left the museum but I was still struggling to understand Picasso’s fragmented abstract art. I did, however, come away educated that Picasso also did sculptures, it was these that I found more appealing to me. Unfortunately you cant take pictures inside the museum, so I have no images to show you. Make sure you click on the link to see more of the museum.
Malaga also has a modern museum on the recently invested promenade The Pompidou Centre. It houses some of the best 20th-century modern art. They constantly change to keep things unique. The building in itself is a work of art. When the sun is low, the glass coloured pannels reflect beautiful coloured lights along the ground. Not bad considering they thought about making this a supermarket haha.
I do like modern day art you get in museums, but for me, it’s the raw street art that gets me going. If you head down to Malaga’s Soho district (still needs more investment) and walk around the area, you will be amazed by how much fantastic street art there is. Make sure you keep looking up or you can miss some really spectacular pieces.
Our last tour stop was Fuengirola Bioparc or what used to be known as Fuengirola Zoo. Another thing I’m not a fan of. I made it clear that this isn’t the type of thing I like to talk about because yet again I feel there isn’t any need for zoo’s unless we are preserving a species, rehabilitating injured animals or letting the animals go would kill them in the wild.
Once again I’ve come away surprised in a positive way. Fuengirola Bioparc has come a long way from how it used to look. They show you pictures around the grounds of old images of the zoo. The animals are so much happier in their current environment. You can tell the staff are very passionate about maintaining a high level of care to these wonderful animals they have here. Clearly, they are limited to space. The Bioparc is reasonably small in comparisons to other zoos. A few of the animals especially the Tiger and Leopard do look slightly cramped. You do feel they need to be in a much larger area to be able to roam.
One of the experiences I loved about this Bioparc was the option to walk amongst the Lemurs. What amazing monkeys they are. Very inquisitive and super friendly. They were very curious about my GoPro which I was holding on a selfie stick. Great for me because I got some cool pics. I do recommend you to go and check it out for yourself, even better if you have kids. Big thanks to the parc for their hospitality. Keep up the great work it what can be a challenging time for this industry.
Nine years after my last visit, the Costa del Sol has changed a lot. Malaga has had so much money invested in the city. The 2 things I will never forget is Caminito del Rey and Ronda. Those two places are in itself worth visiting the region. I can’t stress enough, that we Brits love to burn ourselves on the beach or by the pool. We seem to have the need to drink in Irish pubs and eat English fry-ups every morning. All I’m saying NO to at least a day or two and go and visit any of these locations. Indulge in the Spanish cuisine and visit the local bars to immerse yourself in the local culture.
If you want to book a holiday here then click on to Jet2Holidays and look at the amazing package deals they do. Have fun exploring Andalusia #Jet2CostaDelSol.