Costa del Sol and Costa de la Luz: a route between Malaga and Cadiz

In this article we want to present you an itinerary between Malaga and Cadiz, along the famous Costa del Sol and between the sand dunes and the cliffs of the Costa de la Luz, beyond the Strait of Gibraltar: follow us on this adventure in search of the most beautiful places on the west coast of Andalusia, between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic!

  • Departure from Malaga, we have already listed the virtues of this city, which is able to satisfy the choice of all travelers, not only those who cannot renounce the artistic and cultural qualities of all the cities of Andalusia, but also the tourists who choose this area as a destination for summer holidays, in holiday by the sea.

We have chosen this city not only for its optimal strategic position, but also because here there is one of the largest and important airports in the entire region, after landing, we can rent a car and start our tour of the Costa del Sol.

Where to go?

Here are some interesting stops in this first part of the trip Málaga-Cádiz:

  • Torremolinos, the kitsch paradise of beach tourism.

If you have never been to Andalusia before, passing through the coastal road Málaga-Torremolinos, you will see a really strange landscape, it is not a question of nature but about building and construction.

Yes, because this first landscape of the Costa del Sol is totally opposite to the rest of the region: the splendid sea of ​​the coast, miles of crowded beaches, dominated by an endless series of hotels and urban complexes.

From the 1960s to the present, Torremolinos has become this: a kitsch citizen nucleus that lives in the wildest summer fun of the tourists of the center and (above all) of northern Europe in search of sun and sea, which here have literally settled here.

If you are looking for a city dedicated to the funniest nightlife, which includes beach parties, discos, pubs and restaurants, this place is for you.

This is what you have to see in Torremolinos!

  • Mijas, the white city

Venture on the top of the hill that looks more like the classic and traditional white Andalusian village, venture down its winding white streets, in search of the long oval shape of the Plaza de Toros and the beautiful hermitage of the Virgen de Peña, or look to the viewpoint to enjoy the panorama of the coast.

Going down 8 km from Mijas, we find another center of the Costa del Sol:

  • Fuengirola: shopping centers, water park, family holidays, certainly more pleasant but still strongly oriented towards mass tourism (even the October fair is famous).

  • Marbella, the most elegant and refined city of the Costa del Sol.

Continuing for half an hour in a south-west direction, we will finally reach the most interesting and refined city of the Costa del Sol, as well as the most expensive city after Malaga: Marbella.

Surrounded by the hills of the Sierra Blanca, in addition to the well-known Puerto Banus (where the yachts of the VIPs dock) offers some splendid and very exclusive beaches, Marbella has a wonderful historical center: the Casco Antiguo, which stretches around the Plaza de los Naranjos still preserves the Andalusian identity that has almost been lost in the other urban centers of the Costa del Sol.

On the Calle Portada you will find the remains of a beautiful Moorish castle.

Not far from Marbella, there is the quite village San Pedro de Alcántara, in addition to the beaches of the coast, preserves Roman archaeological sites: a villa from the first century, the remains of the Visigoth-Christian basilica of Vega del Mar and a Roman bath.

  • Estepona, the last stop before Gibraltar.

As we move away from Malaga, the frenzy of tourists is exhausted, as is the wild urbanization: the example of Estepona, a city of ancient Arab origins, is enlightening, considered the last star of the Costa del Sol of the south that shines with its own light. . The geographical location is not as fortunate as Marbella, but even here, in addition to the usual beaches, you can breathe an authentic air between the flowery streets of the old city and near the Marina.

After the sun and the beaches of the Costa del Sol, we continue to advance towards Cadiz.

The road extends far from the sea, but if we decide to return to secondary roads along the coast, we will find ever more authentic and wild landscapes (La Duquesa, Bahía de Casares, etc.)

The most curious destination, exactly halfway between the Costa del Sol and the Costa de la Luz: Gibraltar.

  • Gibraltar an English colony between the Costa del Sol and the Costa de la Luz.

Besides the imposing profile of the fortress that dominates it, this city smells like a border: it is known as an English colony since 1704, when Spain and England were allies against France in the Spanish War of Succession, and England confiscated the fortress in defensive ends .

Although known to travelers, Gibraltar has taken a strategic position, not a tourist vocation.

However, it is worth a visit, again for its shameless mestizo nature: you are in an old style, in a fashion store, in a souvenir shop.

Coming out of the funicular on the famous and fascinating cliff overlooking the bay, Upper Rock presents a series of natural and non-natural attractions (caves, artificial defensive artificialis) and Apes'Den, where Barbary's birds will be waiting for you. If he says that the parrot presents the testimony of the English rule of Gibraltar.

Beware also of the famous monkeys!

  • Tarifa: the most African city in all of Spain.

Leave behind the Bay of Gibraltar and the anonymous industrial city of Algeciras, where it is not worth stopping, except for a strategic stay at night. Your next stop is Tarifa, the southernmost and most African city in Spain, also called "punta morroquí", from here the Costa de la Luz begins.

What to see, therefore, in this wild strip of the Andalusian coast? Once again, you must prepare yourself to experience a different Andalusia, with a completely different personality to the Costa del Sol and Gibraltar.

We are in the heart of the Natural Park of the Strait, a palm from the nose of Africa: it can be seen very close, the other Continent from the narrowest point, in fact, only 14 km from the road to Algeciras.

Tarifa, an ancient city of ancient Carthaginian and Roman origins, offers some very interesting attractions, such as the Guzmán el Bueno Castle, beautiful windy beaches, which make it a reference point for windsurfers and kitesurfers, like most of the Costa de la Luz .

In general, the atmosphere here is pleasant, in a dimension suspended between the charm of the most traditional and authentic Spain, and the charm that looms in Morocco and the sporting spirit of the beach lovers in the Atlantic.

  • Finally Cadiz, the city of light.

This road that from Tarifa, along the towns of the Costa de la Luz, is an excellent and gradual preparation for the visit of Cádiz, the luminous and ancient coastal city that best summarizes its characteristics, but re-proposes them in a way important. We recommend that you stay 1-2 days to familiarize yourself with the spirit of Cadiz, discover what to see in Cádiz and explore the beaches of Cádiz.

The journey continues ...


Technically, the Costa de la Luz does not end here! The geographical area of Quest includes the province of Huelva.

Huelva is undoubtedly the least known and most visited province in Andalusia, almost untouched by mass tourism.

In the West End, it is not a city of passage, not easily reachable, anyway, it can be included in your itinerary!

From here, the nearest airport is Cadiz.

See you soon with the new itinerary...

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