The Costa del Sol in Spain is currently one of the hottest choices both for family vacations, and for second home, for buyers from the UK, Scandinavia and even Russia and China. The reasons why so many people from abroad are visiting and even moving to the south of Spain, are manifold. Perhaps most importantly, the weather is fantastic almost all year around; winters are mild and summers, deliciously sunny, with life focused on the beach and the many beach restaurants and clubs which pepper the Coast. Safety is another strong point. Families love the peace and calm, which sits nicely alongside the buzzing night life in both the city of Málaga and her smaller yet more luxurious sister, Marbella, famed for top-level shopping and gastronomic offerings. Finally, price is another strong point. You can enjoy a great tapas meal or three-course meals for a fraction of the price you would pay in a city like Paris or Berlin.
One thing many travellers won’t tell you about, is that the Costa del Sol is also a great choice for a parents-only holiday. The buzzword these days in health and travel circles alike is self-compassion; which in essence involves being kind to oneself, taking a break from our duties to work, friends and children to re-focus on the things that make each of us feel happy and whole. The results of ignoring our inner needs can be disastrous, ranging from anxiety to depression so it pays to make it a point to disconnect at least once a year. A parents-only holiday also allows us to reconnect with our partner or spouse, and enjoy a few romantic days away together, discovering new sights, sounds and flavours in the company of our best friend and lover.
Even if you have just a few days (between three days and a week), there is plenty to do in the Costa del Sol. Top suggestions include:
- A night at the theatre: Head for Málaga’s premiere theatre, the Teatro Cervantes, which attracts world-class performers from the worlds of dance, classical and modern music, opera, ballet, modern dance, jazz, flamenco and so much more. The Cervantes was built in the 19th century and is beautifully elegant inside, with gilded balconies, a painted ceiling and a magnificent main stage.
- The Starlite Festival in the summer: Starlite is a festival which takes place every summer (July and August) in Marbella, a city which is around an hour’s drive (or less) from the Costa del Sol’s main city (Málaga). Starlite features top performers, and offers a fun night for all in a unique setting: the Cantera de Nagueles, set in the midst of dramatic rock formations. Just a few of this year’s performers are Andrea Bocelli, Elton John, and Jason Derulo.
- Museum hopping: Málaga has long ceased to be a city that relies on the beach for tourism. Its Town Hall has done plenty to make it an epicentre of art and culture, with the establishment of various museums, including the Contemporary Art Centre, the Picasso Museum of Malaga, the Russian Museum and the pop-up Pompidou Art Center, the first of its kind in Europe. Also on the list of most visited museums is the Carmen Thyssen Museum, which focuses on 19th-century art. While you are in the Old Town, take in the stunning exponents of architecture, including Málaga’s magnificent cathedral, built between 1528 and 1782 and featuring stunning Renaissance-styled interiors.
- Tasting evenings: Málaga is home to more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other province in the south of Spain. In Marbella is Dani García: a two-Michelin starred restaurant that takes you on an imaginative journey which combines traditional ingredients with avante-garde preparation methods. Also in Marbella are El Lago (one Michelin star), Messina (one star) and Skina (also with one Michelin star). Skina is a particularly beautiful place to dine, since it is located in the quaint Old Town of Marbella, where iron lampposts stand gracefully in cobblestoned squares, and where restaurants are often graced with the scent of flowers and the sight of flickering candles. For an elegant night out with a big party afterwards, head for Plaza Village at the Puente Romano Beach Resort & Spa. The latter boasts a plethora of top-rated restaurants (including Thai Gallery, Dani García and Bibo) as well as elegant nightclubs such as La Suite or Joe’s Bar.
- Relaxing spa breaks: Málaga is home to a plethora of stunning spas, the best and most luxurious of which are in Marbella. Have an anti-ageing facial or soothing massage at the Villa Padierna Palace spa, the La Cala Resort Spa or the Marbella Club Hotel Spa, to name just a few of the many luxurious spas on the Coast.
This is an article sent in by Sally Barker