You’ve landed in Malaga in Spain and had an absolute blast drinking the wine, eating all that ham, soaking up the art and culture and getting lost in the nooks and crannies of all the different narrow streets (check out my one day in Malaga guide here!). Yet you’re now ready to venture out and truly explore the Costa Del Sol. Huzzah! Get your adventure outfit on, because you’re going to discover some real gems that you most likely haven’t even heard of. And trust me…they are spectacular! Here’s 3 adventure day trips from Malaga guaranteed to make your day!
What was once considered one of the most dangerous hikes in Spain, is now admittedly…not so dangerous. The route has recently been spruced up by the Spanish government and for them, safety was paramount. What was once just rusty steel beams and crumbling concrete, pinned into the steep narrow walls of El Chorro gorge, is now a very organised, pristine wooden walkway. It’s something you can take your Grandma on.
Being a girl with a taste for the ridiculous when it comes to adrenaline-inducing activities, I would have rather tackled the former. But hey ho, this new path on El Caminito del Rey makes it accessible for everyone; and rightly so because the views are stunning!
El Caminito del Rey, translating as the King’s Little Pathway, winds through stunning limestone cliffs, towering above the river rushing through it. The walkway was originally built way back in 1905; constructed for workers transporting materials between the two hydroelectric power plants at Chorro Falls and Gaitanejo Falls on both ends of the canyon.
Adventurers used to just turn up here with their own gear and try and make it from one end to the other: no staff were maintaining or watching over the path, so if you got in trouble, it was very much on you to get yourself out of it. There have unfortunately been at least 5 deaths reported, with the latest being in 2000. Thankfully with the new path now in place, there shouldn’t be any more of that.
Regardless of the safety measures put in place, you can still very much get your ‘kicks’. There are glass walkways, view points jutting out from the main path and right at the end of the path, you will have no choice but to walk over a bridge connecting both sides of the gorge. It’s high up, it’s awesome, it’s totally worth it!
To get to El Caminito del Rey, I recommend hiring your own car. There’s only one train out here from Malaga per day. Or you can join a group on a tour and brave the elements together! Entrance includes the hire of your very own safety-conscious hard hat. All you need apart from that is your water bottle, some sunscreen, a sturdy pair of legs. You’ll need them to survive the heights!
How about a Malaga to Ronda day trip?! Nicknamed the ‘City of Dreams’, it is possibly one of the most romantic, adorable and exhilarating towns I have ever visited. Full of so many beautiful white and pastel-coloured dwellings, set against blue skies, it’s an Instagrammer’s dream. If you are searching for narrow alleyways to twist and turn through, with a treat for the eyes at every turn, this is it.
Don’t stop here though! There is so much more to Ronda than just looking pretty. Soooo much more.
Ronda is dramatically spectacular. Set high up on the mountaintops of Andalusia, you will be standing in a slice of heaven built atop a deep breathtaking gorge. There are some really good secret spots to catch the best views of this darling town. My two favourites are 1) across Puente Nuevo bridge and 2) in the regal gardens of Casa Don Bosco.
The Old Town is connected to the New Town by the monumental stone bridge, Puente Nuevo. It stands 390 foot deep, and after 40 years of construction, taking the lives of 50 workers, it was finally completed in 1793. It is a scene unlike anything I have seen before and if you have the guts for it…how about seeing it from a different angle to most of the daytrippers here?!
For the daredevils out there, you can admire the view of Ronda’s bridge, whilst scaling the sides of Tajo Gorge itself. There are different ways to scale this beast, with some ways certainly being more difficult than others.
As I was with the Jet2 crew, we opted for the way which all of us were going to be able to do, and it still totally kicked ass! With Ferrata Ronda, you will get all of the gear you need to make it to the top safely. You’ll be scrunching up your toes, curling those fingers, and hanging off edges with a vertical drop below you Indiana Jones style. I loved seeing the bridge this way, from an angle most don’t get to see. Spice up your day trip and opt into the rock climbing. It’s a 10 out of 10 for this experience!
Another fascinating aspect to Ronda is its challenge to get up to speed with responsible tourism and question the very core of its culture: bullfighting. Every bone in my body says no to bullfighting, yet stepping into the Plaza de Toros to hear the local tour guide talk about it was an experience I am grateful for. He was incredibly open, honest and very aware of how opposed to bullfighting tourists and Spain itself are increasingly becoming.
We discussed how the current King of Spain detests it, and how the numbers of tourists coming to see these bullfights are dwindling rapidly every year. For a city that is infamous for bullfighting (and makes very good money from it!) and for a country that treats its fighters like rock stars; what is the future of bullfighting?
Views are changing and the country is adapting. It will be interesting to see what happens with this generation and the next, as to whether this tradition dating back to 711 AD will continue or cease to exist.
Regardless of your views on bullfighting, I do recommend a visit here to see one of Spain’s oldest, largest and most dangerous bullfighting rings – without the need to see an actual fight. The museum attached to it is incredibly interesting and the lunch opposite the plaza is definitely one of the best meals I have had in Spain to date! The food melts in your mouth, the interior is full of treasured knick-knacks and the staff are absolutely lovely. Eat at Pedro Romero!
Ronda is quickly becoming a popular spot to visit from Malaga and the word is getting out. Get here quick before too many other people hear about it!
You can get to Ronda from Malaga by car, bus or train. The roads are long and winding, so you may prefer to head there with a group on a tour to have everything taken care of for you. Otherwise, a direct train from Malaga takes 2 hours and leaves at 10:05 in the morning. There are numerous buses running throughout the day too.
Every time I hear the word ‘zoo’, I’m like ‘er no thanks’ but Fuengirola Bioparc is an absolute oasis for its inhabitants and an adventure for animal lovers. What used to be a concrete and unethical space, was completely demolished and rebuilt again from the ground up with a whole new vision. No more cages, pens and unacceptable conditions. No more urban living with very unhappy animals.
Bioparc Fuengirola had a vision to create a space for the animals which is as close to their natural habitat as possible, with the intention to preserve their species and support their development in all aspects of their life. As soon as you step in, you really do feel like you are walking into the tropical rainforests of Madagascar, Africa, Southeast Asia and the islands of the Indo-Pacific. The animals and visitors intermix flawlessly – and this took a whole lot of ingenuity and time. Thankfully they’ve got it right.
As a visitor, you can enjoy the animals whilst the animals are very much enjoying life themselves. It is a pleasure to see and if I lived here, I would totally invest in their year pass to just come hang out here and chill when I needed some time out. This place is lush. Make sure Fuengirola Bioparc is on your Malaga daytripping list!
To get to Fuengirola zoo by car, it is a 40 minute drive from Malaga city. By bus, there are plenty to get you between the two locations. They take about an hour and run every 15 minutes. The train station is just 600m from the Bioparc too. The journey takes 50 minutes and the trains run every 20 minutes.
I stayed with Jet2 Holidays in the super chic and funky Sol House Costa Del Sol. They’ve got the chilled party vibes going on, with sleek white apartment-style rooms to catch some wink in. With glorious balcony views looking right out onto the beach, and the absolute bonus of having a tropical pool surrounded by sunloungers as DJs gently mix the beats, it’s a sweet place to call home for a couple of days. I took all of my day trips from Malaga from here.
If you want to stay directly in Malaga city centre, I highly recommend Vincci Posada del Patio, which I stayed at, at the start of my Malaga holiday. Their attention to detail and comfort, with their super cute balconies looking down onto the cobbled streets of Malaga below, makes for a very nice stay.
Jet2 fly to Malaga from many airports in the UK including London Stansted, numerous times a day. They have a 22kg luggage allowance: not bad at all! You can book flights, hotels or a whole package at Jet2 Holidays. Nice!
What adventures have you found in the Costa Del Sol?
Full disclosure: This post was sponsored by Jet2 but opinions as always, are my own. A big thanks to Vista Costa Del Sol for accommodating me and showing me just how kickass Malaga is. I’ll be back!