The Costa del Sol is a land where summers seem to go on forever. There’s always a school holiday just around the corner for most of us, and if you’re determined to spend it in a sun-soaked holiday hurrah then there’s nowhere better than the southern Spanish coast for a complete package of great weather, gorgeous food, low-cost flights and plenty of things with which to keep the whole brood occupied.
So if you’re looking for a stylish and lavish getaway that’s also fun for all the family, check out a few of our suggestions for the best things to do on the Costa del Sol with children…
Adventure Sports & Excursions
You don’t have to be adrenaline-fuelled extreme sports fans to go off and have a proper adventure on the Costa del Sol. There are plenty of exciting yet totally safe activities for everyone to enjoy. Canyoning and off-roading on quad bikes or mountain bikes, for example, are very popular guide-led extreme sports in Malaga province, and could be perfect for families with older children. Safety standards are high and necessary precautions always taken.
Alternatively, if adrenaline sports are a bit too much, there are many walks and hikes in the area, including the gravity-defying and recently reopened Caminito del Rey in El Chorro (Caminitodelrey.info), which is now not only safe and suitable for all ages but free of charge to enter during its promotional period.
But the adventures don’t stop there. Offshore, there are dolphins and whales to be spotted on daily maritime excursions (like those run by Firmm.org). Which child (large or small) wouldn’t enjoy that?
Cooking Workshops & Tapas Tours
The Mediterranean diet is famously healthy and delicious. And nowhere is this truer than on the Costa del Sol, where the perfect climate allows vegetables to grow in abundance and all sorts of fish to flock to its warm waters. Fantastic restaurants abound, as do bespoke cookery courses, such as Annie B’s Kitchen (Anniebspain.com). Based a little further up the southern Spanish coastline in beautiful Vejer de la Frontera, Annie offers family packages that involve shopping for fresh ingredients, chopping, preparing, cooking and, of course, devouring the mouth-watering end product. Fine wine (for parents) and tapas tours are also available.
Nature Reserves & BiospheresVenture inland slightly and you’ll soon become lost (only slightly) within the mountain ranges of Malaga province. There are several popular spots for walking, wildlife and birdwatching where the terrain is flat and unchallenging.
Guadalhorce Nature Reserve (Andalucia.com) is one such example. To the west of Malaga, the area is made up of ancient wetlands and lagoons teeming with wildlife such as flamingos and turtles. You can reach it either by driving or taking the No.10 bus to the small town of Guadalmar. It’s a great way to escape the city crowds and enjoy some peace and quiet in a beautiful and natural environment.
Another popular site is the prehistoric El Torcal Natural Reserve (Torcaldeantequera.com), where kids go wild for the bizarre rock formations and the possibility – however minute – of actually discovering dinosaur fossils. There are three routes that you can follow – red, yellow or green – though the red route is restricted in order to protect flora and fauna. The green route is the easiest but the yellow, which is only slightly steeper/rockier, is more spectacular. The area can be found to the north of Malaga city, along Villanueva de la Concepcion.
Theme Parks & Water Parks
Given its popularity as a family holiday destination, the Costa del Sol inevitably has more than its fair share of amusement parks. And while they can be busy places, they also guarantee a fun day out for the family, particularly in shoulder season when queues are shorter. From adventure theme parks to zoos (Bioparcfuengirola.es) and safaris like Selwo* (Selwo.es) and Lobopark (Lobopark.com) up in Antequera, there are plenty of options to choose from.
(*If your family’s got a member with a really wild streak, they’ll love the newest addition to the LVC collection, Villa Kenia, which is just next door to Selwo.)
Tivoli World (Tivoli.es) is perhaps the largest of the region’s theme parks and, with its count of over 300 rides and attractions, is undoubtedly one of the best things to do on the Costa del Sol with kids. Recently, ‘Tivoliandia’ was added to the park, which offers rides better suited for little ones and the elderly.
Unsurprisingly, there are rather a lot of water parks on the Costa del Sol, and they fill up daily during the summer. Outside of the height of summer prices can drop and they are much quieter as Spanish families tend not to bother with beaches and water parks in ‘cold’ months. Over in Torremolinos Aqualand (Aqualand.es) has the most extensive selection of slides to choose from.
Like this pick of things to do with children, and thinking about a family holiday on the Costa del Sol? Take a look at our collection of family villas.