Before you had children, deciding where you wanted to go on holiday was a cinch compared to what you had to consider once you had young ones involved. Ideally, you want to go to a place where you can relax, while the kids have plenty to keep them occupied and also a place that lets you do interesting and exciting things together as a family. Of all the holiday destinations available in Southern Europe, we could not come up with a better place than Spain’s Costa del Sol. First off they have been catering to families for over six decades and have more than enough things to see and do to keep both the young and not so young happy.
In the list below, we have come up with what we think are our best five things to see and do while holidaying with children on the Costa del Sol.
Sea Kayaking in Nerja
For an experience that kids will remember for a lifetime, rent a sea kayak from one of the vendors on either Burriana or Maro Beach. The entire area around Maro Beach is a marine nature reserve where fishing is prohibited, making it one of the best places in the Mediterranean to go snorkelling. Most of the coastline here is inaccessible by foot, which means you will have unspoilt hidden coves all to yourself. There are also plenty of caves to explore and a 15-metres tall waterfall cascading into the sea. Other nearby attractions include one of Spain’s most visited sites, the Nerja Caves and a spectacular hike along the Chillar River. Thankfully, the transfer from Malaga airport to Nerja is no longer a child’s nightmare journey. Since the motorway replaced the old coast road, the trip to Nerja is now only 60 minutes and the holiday starts even sooner.
Aqualand Water Park in Torremolinos
No summer holiday with the kids would be complete without a visit to a water park, and while there are plenty to choose from, we think that Aqualand in Torremolinos is the best of the bunch. The park has an incredible 1,440 square metre swimming pool complete with a wave maker and the tallest water slide on the Costa del Sol in the aptly named 22-meter-high Kamikaze. New in 2018 is a crazy 15-metre half-pipe for two people that will have you lining up for another go over and over. The park also has a dedicated area for young children with plenty of lifeguards to make sure everyone is safe. Aqualand also allows you to bring your own food into the park so why not make a day of it by packing a picnic. The only restrictions are anything made of glass, so be careful what you bring into the park.
Forget the zoos you may have visited with your parents as the Bioparc Fuengirola is a completely different experience that lets you see the animals living in their own environment. It’s almost like a safari park except you are not in a car or on a bus. Gone are the traditional animal enclosures in favour of a living zoo where your children can walk in safety surrounded by wild animals. Not only is Bioparc Fuengirola an open zoo, but an important breeding centre for some of the world’s most endangered species. The park was also designed to be wheelchair friendly, so it’s easy to get around with young children in tow.
Malaga is the Costa del Sol’s capital and as such is a busy, bustling city full of plenty of things to see and do. So much so that you could spend an entire day in Malaga and only manage to see half of what the city has to offer. Most museums in the city waive entrance fees for children and are free during certain hours on Sundays, which is perfect for families on a tight budget. Bang in the city centre is a Roman amphitheatre built by Caesar Augustus in the first century BC overlooked by a Moorish fort and the imposing Castillo de Gibralfaro. You can walk up to the castle from the centre of the city where you will be rewarded with spectacular views of Malaga and on a clear day the Rif Mountains in Morocco. Exploring both the Alcazaba fortress and the Castillo de Gibralfaro can be exciting for kids and offer free entrance on Sundays!
After Malaga, you may want to visit a place where the rich and famous like to hang out, known as the “Golden Mile”. A taxi from Malaga to Marbella is just a short ride away and is definitely a must see. Puerto Banus can be a bit on the expensive side but it’s as exciting as it gets. A visit to see the mega-yachts moored in the Marina at Puerto Banus is quite an experience for the kids. Then taking a wander through Marbella’s Old Town, stopping for an artisan ice cream in the beautiful Plaza de los Naranjos will be a welcomed treat. If you want to escape the heat, head to our favourite air-conditioned shopping mall, La Cañada. The shopping centre has over 130 outlets that include Spanish favourites Zara, Mango and Massimo Dutti. In the mall, you will also find plenty of restaurants and bars a cinema complex and a special playground for children.