How to Take the Ultimate Costa Del Sol Road Trip

Soak up the sun and discover hilltop villages, medieval castles and Roman ruins in Spain's Costa del Sol.

Castles, dining, shopping, beaches, mountains, even day-trips to Africa: a Costa del Sol trip covers all your summer vacation bases and then some. This is road trip heaven: something for everyone, with timeless landscapes, amazing history, and beautiful beaches perfect for relaxing. Here’s why a Costa del Sol road trip is a sensational vacation idea.

Cities, Castles and Continents

Granada, Cordoba, Cadiz, Tangier, Gibraltar: the cities within your reach are legendary and diverse. In Granada, the Alhambra rises above the city with high red walls; within you’ll find dazzling Moorish mosaics, serene gardens and remarkable views of the city and surrounding countryside.

The Alhambra, Granada, Spain

The Alhambra looms on its hilltop in Granada, Spain.

Cordoba’s blend of cultures is evident in its medieval synagogue, its mosque-turned-cathedral, and the palace of King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella I, who united Spain in the fifteenth century. Cadiz is truly ancient: founded by Phoenician traders in 1100 BC, it’s considered the oldest continually inhabited settlement in Europe.

Beyond Spain, you can visit Gibraltar, and gaze across the straits for a glimpse of Africa. Or you can opt for a day-trip to Tangier, Morocco. Two continents in one vacation–not bad!

See the looming Rock of Gibraltar during your Costa del Sol road trip through Spain

The Rock of Gibraltar is an excellent landmark to visit during your Costa del Sol vacation.

Beach life

Road tripping is fun, but you’ll want to take a little time to enjoy the famous beaches of Costa del Sol. Along the shore you’ll find sandy beaches, turquoise water and incredible views of Andalusia’s rugged mountains. The city beaches of La Caleta and Malagueta serve Malaga’s resorts with a promenade, nearby dining and plenty of watersports if you need more than a sunny patch of sand for sunbathing. And Torremolinos, a resort town with miles of beach and promenade, offers a beautiful palm tree-lined beachfront.

 Nerja Costa del Sol Spain

The whitewashed village of Nerja gives way to beautiful beachfront.

Head further east for more traditional territory. The popular village of Nerja offers a sandy strand, more amazing views of the nearby mountains, local seafood and the Nerja Caves, with wall paintings believed to be 20,000 years old.

Pueblas Blancas

The white-washed villages of Andalusia, known as pueblas blancas, are a part of any Costa del Sol road trip. Just inland from the beaches, the historic countryside is dotted with villages which look straight out of a postcard. Mijas is popular with visitors thanks to its blend of urban conveniences and small-village charm.

Lush blooms brighten the streets of Mijas, a famous Costa del Sol destination.

Lush blooms brighten the streets of Mijas, a famous Costa del Sol destination.

Popular with writers and artists in the 1950s, it has a thriving foreign population and plenty of services for English-speaking guests–plus a fabulous view of the sea in the distance. If you’re looking to get off the beaten path, don’t worry–you’ll find more luminous white villages on your travels to big attractions like Granada or Cadiz.

Planning a Costa del Sol Road Trip

Planning a road trip through a foreign country might sound difficult–there are a lot of moving parts when you’re considering destinations, hotels, car rental and flights. For one easy package, complete with a suggested itinerary, try a Virgin Vacations Southern Spain Fly & Drive vacation package. You can save time planning your vacation by choosing your favorite hotel from our carefully selected list, choosing the rental car for your trip, and picking your departure date. Our suggested itinerary will help you fit in all the sights of Costa del Sol, along with a little downtime for the beach!

You can also design your own vacation with your choice of hotels, cities and departure dates by calling our destination specialist team, or using our online search tools.

Not sure you’re up to doing all the exploring on your own? Try an escorted tour of southern Spain and let us do the work for you! You’ll find tours including Granada and Torremolinos along with other amazing destinations–plus tours including stops Morocco, Portugal or Italy.

Find all of our vacations and tours of Spain at our website.