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Most people think only of beaches when they think about the Costa del Sol, but just inland from this stunning stretch of coastline is miles and miles of beautiful countryside. We recommend combining time in the country, with time on the beach and in the towns, for a well-rounded view of this wonderful area.
It is amazing how quickly the modern, cosmopolitan coastal areas turn into sleepy rural villages, national parks, and beautiful wilderness. We love the area’s typical white villages, which are easily accessible from the coast and even have some lovely holiday rentals in them.
Close to Marbella, are the pretty villages of Ojen, Istan and Benahavis. Istan has a stunning lake and beautiful countryside around it and is a very traditional Spanish village. Benahavis by contrast is very international, but beautifully preserved and really picturesque. It is famous for its restaurants and known as “The Frying Pan of Andalucia” due to the huge number in such a small place. Foodies should definitely make their way here to get a bit of village charm and a wonderful meal too.
Casares is probably the prettiest white village, seeming to defy gravity with its houses clinging to the hillside below the hilltop church. It is like time has stood still when you walk into the centre of the village, with its winding streets and leisurely pace of life. Yet Casares also offers some great restaurants and even a new zipline for adrenaline junkies, so it’s a great holiday destination. Check out our blog to find out why to visit Casares and ask us about our Casares holiday rental properties if this sounds like the destination for you.
Inland from Fuengirola is the beautiful village of Mijas. This is pretty as a picture and is a vibrant place to visit, with lots of little shops, cafes and even a tiny wine museum and excellent art gallery. All around the village is stunning countryside, with great walking routes from the top of the village out into nature. For the best of both worlds Mijas Costa is a great base for a holiday. This is in the coastal zone, within easy reach of Fuengirola and its many attractions and the area’s many beaches, yet still close to the natural beauty of the village and the surrounding countryside.
There’s more than just the white villages to visit if you want to come into contact with the great outdoors. Estepona is known as the garden of the Costa del Sol due to its many parks and green spaces, plus its amazing botanical gardens with a great orchid collection. A little inland is the natural park of the Sierra Bermeja, with excellent hiking and mountain biking trails.
Last but not least, is the stunning countryside around Malaga. There are the Malaga Lakes, El Chorro gorge and of course the famous Caminito del Rey trail, which are very much worth a visit. Within an hour of the capital city of the province you have the amazing El Torcal natural park, with its weird and wonderful rock formations and excellent bird spotting. There’s also the pretty town of Antequera, miles of countryside dotted with olive trees and incredible historical sites such as the Dolmens which date back to 2500 BC.
To explore this area you can’t rely on public transport, so you either need to hire a car or take a guided tour. We were pleased to see that a new tour company launched recently called Tour de Malaga, who are specifically focusing on rural Malaga and helping visitors to enjoy this stunning countryside. This is definitely an aspect of the area which isn’t being explored as much as it should!
If you like the idea of holidaying away from the hustle and bustle and would like a holiday rental property surrounded by beautiful countryside, we can help you find it. Contact us with your requirements and any areas you particularly like and we’d be happy to provide you with a list of peaceful getaways, which are still within easy reach of everything the coast has to offer.