5 Best Things to Do With Kids on Costa Del Sol
Before you got married and the kids came along, deciding where you wanted to spend your summer holidays was a hedonistic affair that may well have left you choosing between Ibiza, Mykonos and the Croatian island of Hvar.
Now all that’s changed, you have to look at holiday destination in a completely different mindset. While you might be happy just lazing by the pool and partying at night, children need plenty of things to keep them occupied and a sandy beach just doesn’t always cut it!
Of all the places to spend your summer holiday with children in Europe the one country that has got it right is Spain and particularly so on its sun-kissed Costa del Sol.
Resorts on the Costa del Sol have been catering to British families for over 60 years and in that time have learned a thing or two about what it takes to create the perfect family holiday destination. Below we have listed five of our favourite things to do with children while holidaying on the Costa del Sol.
Just 50 minutes from Malaga is home to the splendid Balcon de Europa and some of the highest regarded “Blue Flag” beaches in Spain. It is also the place where you will find one of Spain’s most popular and spectacular historical sites the Nerja Caves. While both of these are must-see attractions, our favourite thing to do with children in Nerja is to rent sea kayaks from either Burriana or Maro beach and paddle along the coast searching out hidden caves and beaches. The price is very modest and kayaks can be hired for as little as 10 euros and can be hired right on Burriana beach in Nerja. The area is also a protected Marine Reserve making it one of the best places to go snorkelling in Europe. Nerja also has one of the most fascinating river walks for families with older children. The Rio Chillar proudly displays its attractive pools and waterfalls that are usually just the right depth for all to enjoy during summer months. September offers an ideal temperature for this great family hike with some of the most stunning backdrops that the Costa del Sol has to offer. To get there on foot from Nerja town, there is a small track access that runs parallel to the Río Chillar’s bank. The easiest way to reach here is to walk to the end of Calle de Joaquín Herrera, which is behind the bus station and then follow the path down to the river.
Forget the old Monty Python sketches about Torremolinos and its reputation for being a little Britain. Torremolinos has evolved into a mature and exciting resort with plenty of family-friendly things to do. The municipality’s six immaculately kept beaches have first-class facilities that include beach bars, restaurants and water sports. It is also home to Aqualand our favourite water park on the Costa del Sol. This park opens from May until 5th October. For 80 euros a family of four can enjoy a great day out at this popular outdoor waterpark. Inside Aqualand, you will find no end of rides, including the 22-meter-high Kamikaze and new for 2018 the Boomerang, a half-pipe ride that lets two people share an inflatable raft. Aqualand also has a 1,440 square metre swimming pool and a dedicated area for children where they can play in complete safety. Aqualand is also one of the few theme parks that let you bring your own food, so why not pack a picnic and make a day out adventure.
Getting to the water park is now easier than ever with a frequent bus service from Málaga, Benalmádena Coast & Arroyo de la Miel. There is the M-110 bus service (in Málaga direction) where you can conveniently get off at the HiperSol supermarket near the bypass and it’s about a ten minute walk to Aqualand on Calle Cuba, 10.
A taxi is the most straightforward way to get here and costs approximately 7-10 euros from the town centre.
Just a 25 kilometres transfer from Malaga airport, Fuengirola makes the perfect family base to explore the Costa del Sol. Just like every resort on Spain’s sunshine coast, Fuengirola has plenty of things to see and do. Our favourite just happens to be the Bioparc, a zoological experience where animals live side-by-side in as close as you can get to their natural habitats. Forget any preconceived ideas you might have about zoos as the Fuengirola Bioparc was designed to give visitors the experience of seeing how animals would live in the wild. Designed to be wheelchair friendly, the park is easy to navigate and offers fun and excitement for the entire family.
You may wish to note down the address of the Bioparc zoo for the GPS if you’re driving, which is; 6, Calle Camilo José Cela, 29640 Fuengirola, however any taxi will know how to find this famous animal park by name.
The M113 bus runs almost every 30 minutes from Malaga’s Las Lagunas commercial centre and takes around 50 minutes. The bus schedule is available here: See Malaga Las Lunas to Fuengirola bus timetable.
Adult prices are €19.50 & a child starts at €13.50. There is a Family ticket for 2 adults and 2 child entries for €59.50 saving over 6 euros.
Bioparc Fuengirola opening times and annual calendar is updated yearly, however the park is open each day from 10am – 6pm apart from summer where you can even enjoy the zoo later until 11pm & observe the nocturnal animals.
Steeped in history dating back to the Phoenicians, Malaga is not only the gateway to the Costa del Sol but an exciting, bustling city full of museums and a trendy renovated Port District that is the envy of the world. You could spend an entire day in Malaga and not even see half of what the city has to offer so plan your day out in advance so you can pack as much in as possible. All the museums are closed on a Monday, but if you visit a day earlier on Sunday entrance fees are waived. The charge normally is the modest fee of 4 euros per adult. While in Malaga we recommend spending some time to learn about the city’s multi-layered history by visiting a Roman amphitheatre built by Caesar Augustus in the first century BC before climbing the hill to the Alcazaba fortress and the Castillo de Gibralfaro. From the castle, you have spectacular views of the Malaga Bay and on a clear day can see the Rif Mountains in Morocco.
Marbella might have the reputation of being a rich man’s playground and while that is true to a certain extent, it is also a working town where Spanish families go about their daily lives. Getting to Marbella by taxi from Malaga no longer requires the long tedious journey on the coastal roads that kids used to hate. In fact, within just 40 minutes drive west on the A15 motorway, you’ll feel like you have been transferred into an exciting new world, a total contrast from where you got off the plane. Full of designer boutiques, supercars and mega yachts moored in the marina at Puerto Banus, Marbella is the perfect place for people watching. Skip the seafront and head to the Plaza de los Naranjos in the old town for homemade ice cream and see how Marbella used to look before being discovered by the jet set in the early 60’s. if you want to do some shopping for items that won’t break the bank head to the nearby, La Cañada shopping mall where you will find more than 130 outlets selling an array of goods including Spanish favourites Zara, Mango and Adolfo Dominguez. Open until 10pm, the mall is situated just off exit 186 motorway AP-7 on road: Carretera de Ojén. It offers free parking and is also air-conditioned, giving you a welcome break from the midday heat. There is also a supervised dedicated play area called “Camelot” where you can drop the kids off in the ball park while you go shopping to your heart’s content. Two hours is €7 Monday to Thursday or €9 on the weekend.
From Monday to Saturday the following bus services are available and run frequently to the mall from Marbella centre :
L3 From Marbella bus station – La Cañada Shopping Park
L6 From the bus station – La Cañada Shopping Park
La Cañada also has a large cinema complex with a huge array of restaurants and makes the perfect place to keep the kids entertained when they’ve had enough of the beach.
In conclusion, there really is so much more to the Costa del Sol than just the popular beaches and its wonderful paella. Its fusion of old fishing villages and famous coastal cities overflow with Andalusian charisma, Spanish charm and are rich in Roman history. Yet it also boasts enough modern attractions versatile enough to entertain both young and old.