Not Just Beaches: 12 Unmissable Day Trips from the Costa del Sol

If you are on a Costa del Sol holiday and you fancy taking a break from the beautiful beaches, refreshing sea and the buzzing nightlife, you will find that there is still so much more to discover in this area. This corner of Andalusia boasts a deep and fascinating history plus breathtaking landscapes that deserve to be explored, even just a little.

We have carefully selected 12 of the most interesting attractions in the Costa del Sol area, all within a reasonable travelling distance and thus, perfect for a day trip.

1. Acebuchal

Street in Acebuchal

Also known as the "lost village", this community is located just five kilometres from the beaches of Nerja and is surrounded by the Sierra Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama Natural Park. It is one of the most picturesque, hidden treasures in the region.


This little town was the scene of some terrible episodes during the Franco repression in Andalusia. It was abandoned in the late 1940s but since then, has come back to life and now offers visitors beautiful natural scenery. Acebuchal is a fascinating example of a typical Andalusian village where time has literally stood still.

Learn more about the village of Acebuchal.

2. Frigiliana


A few kilometres from Acebuchal, lies another delightful village - Frigiliana. Considered one of the most beautiful “pueblos blancos” (white villages) in Andalusia, Frigiliana is perched atop a small hill and overlooks a dreamlike landscape. It is a favourite among both locals, travellers and those who are willing to leave behind the pristine beaches of nearby Nerja for a few hours, to enjoy the gastronomy, landscapes and history of this town and its surroundings. A place you must visit in winter as well as in summer, it almost looks like it escaped from a fairy tale.

Frigiliana is located within the beautiful region of the Axarquia, a rural area characterised by rolling hills, fields and meadows. It is known for being one of the few regions in Andalusia where its economy is still based upon the production and trade of natural resources using traditional farming techniques. 

3. Ronda


History, nature, gastronomy and art. The beautiful Ronda boasts a rich historical and artistic heritage, symbolic Roman and Moorish monuments, a lush natural environment, some of the most sought after and appreciated Spanish wines and a breathtakingly dramatic location all contribute to make it one of the most visited and photographed cities of Andalusia.


Located less than an hour's drive from Marbella, this picturesque town is sat on a rocky peak almost 800m high, overlooking an amazing valley and offering spectacular views of the Serrania de Ronda, a rural region dotted with pueblos blancos and interesting natural places.

4. El Torcal

El Torcal, Antequera

El Torcal is one of the most unique and important nature reserves in Andalusia. Situated a few kilometres from Antequera, in the province of Malaga, the nature reserve is full of fascinating rock formations. Some of them are among the oldest in Europe which give the landscape a surreal and alien atmosphere.

Ibex in El Torcal, Antequera

The reserve is also home to many species of flora, fauna and wildlife such as the ibex, the golden eagle and the griffin as well as major archaeological sites, cave paintings and dolmens. There is also an astronomical observatory and spectacular routes for trekkers and nature lovers.

5. Granada

Alhambra, Granada

Simply unmissable. A little over an hour's drive from the sun and beaches of the Costa del Sol, you can visit one of the most beautiful and fascinating cities in Spain, the wonderful Granada.

Granada arab market

In addition to the famous Alhambra there is the brilliant Albaycin district, flamenco and cave houses in the Sacromonte district, the fascinating mountains of the Sierra Nevada and in general, art and culture at every turn.

6. Caminito del Rey

Caminito del Rey

Known until recently as "the most dangerous path in the world", the Caminito del Rey was recently renovated to be safer and more secure. In just a few months it has become one of the most visited attractions in the province of Malaga.

Caminito del Rey, El Chorro

Built in the early 20th century as a service road for the construction workers of the power plant in the gorge of El Chorro, the Caminito now poses far fewer risks than in the past, but still offers a serious adrenaline rush and an incredible view. An experience not to be missed!

7. Mijas Pueblo

Mijas Pueblo

Mijas Costa is a very popular tourist resort on the Costa del Sol and is just a few kilometres from the beach. Perched on a steep hill with a spectacular view of the coastline, is the very centre of the old town - Mijas Pueblo - one of the most well-cared-for white villages in the area. 

Don´t miss a visit to the arab walls and gardens, which offer some of the most beautiful views of the Costa del Sol and it you have the time, take a trip to the beautiful little Virgen de la Pena chapel. The mountainous surroundings of the resort also offer several options for outdoor enthusiasts, but there are also plenty of options for rest, taste and relaxation for those who prefer a holiday of that nature.

8. Comares

Via Ferrata Puerta de la Agua, Comares

If you seek nature and adrenaline, Comares might be the place for you. Situated in the province of Malaga, this mountain village has climbing routes, hiking and walking trails and one of the longest ziplines in Europe.

Comares, Axarquia, Malaga

For the complete Comares experience, you must sample some of the wonderful local gastronomy, such as the famous dish of “migas” accompanied by a sweet wine. The town boasts beautiful natural landscapes and interesting local heritage. It is thought that the town was founded around the 7th century BC and from the 8th century BC onwards, the town was home to a Moorish fortress. The town is general still exudes the ancient rural Andalusian village quality.

9. The Nerja Caves

Nerja caves

The Nerja Caves are some of the most impressive natural attractions in Spain. Discovered by chance in 1959 by a group of boys, the caves have revealed numerous wonders to scientists over the years. 

From the longest limestone column in the world, to cave paintings made by the Neanderthals who lived more than 42,000 years ago, the Nerja cave system conceals countless, impressive and wonderful archaeological and geological treasures. A visit not to be missed.

10. Natural Park of Los Alcornocales

Alcornocales Natural Park

This beautiful park takes its name from its numerous “residents", the cork oak trees or “alcornocales" in Spanish.

Rich in biodiversity (home to more than eighty different species of plants, as well as hawks, eagles, vultures and many species of mammals), the Alcornocales Park is home to numerous archaeological deposits from the Alolitica and Neolithic eras and also the Bronze Age. Inside the park you will find beautiful Moorish villages such as the incredible Castellar de la Frontera.

Natural park Los Alcornocales (Cadiz)

The park´s most characteristic feature is certainly the landscape, which is incredibly lush all year round thanks to the constant flow of humid breezes from the Atlantic. It is a spectacular park, perfect for spending a day wildlife spotting, walking, cycling, horse riding or enjoying a guided tour in search of the prized local fungi.

11. Setenil de las Bodegas

Setenil de las Bodegas, Cadiz

The village which holds up a mountain! The pretty pueblo blanco of Setenil de las Bodegas has a certain feature which has made it famous throughout Spain: many of the homes of the casco antiguo (the old town) were built directly into the rocky side of a mountain.

In this region, there are other towns with houses cut into the rock (like Guadix or the Sacromonte district in Granada), but nowhere else in Spain is this construction method utilised so spectacularly like in Setenil de las Bodegas. 

Setenil de las Bodegas, Cadiz

If you want to take postcard-perfect pictures, Setenil is the place for you. Don´t forget to have a walk through the town to enjoy the landscape and nature of the area and definitely don´t leave without visiting one of the villages lovely restaurants and tasting some of the local homemade specialties. 

12. Malaga


The capital of the Costa del Sol is of course a must-visit. The city offers a fine collection of museums, Roman and Arabic monuments, a lively harbour, beaches, nightlife and restaurants.

Malaga Cathedral

Unlike other coastal resorts, there's something going on in Malaga City all year round making it a lively and interesting place. There are plenty of events to choose from including Semana Santa at Easter, the annual Film Festival and the Feria in August, plus flamenco shows and music concerts of all types…if you make it to Malaga you'll be spoiled for choice!

El Pimpi