Guest post by Heather Reid.
Whilst the Costa del Sol may conjure up images of mass tourism, many visitors are surprised to find that this region also boasts a wealth of exclusive and luxurious destinations. Spoil yourself with a luxurious road trip along the 100-mile coastline of the Costa Del Sol and enjoy a landscape that includes spectacular mountain scenery, views of the Rock of Gibraltar, the coast of Northern Africa and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Whether you drive along the coast or head inland, amongst the natural beauty and traditional villages, you will find luxurious resorts, fine dining, golf courses and some serious fun.
First of all, head to Puerto Banus, a luxurious resort built in 1970, just 6km from the town of Marbella, 64km south of Malaga. Starting out as a luxury marina and shopping centre, today it is a major destination and a magnet for the super rich, with seemingly endless mega-yachts docked at the marina and streets chock-a-block with luxury cars. Set against a dramatic mountain backdrop, you can’t help but be impressed by the glitz and glamour of this town. Puerto Banus is always bustling and full of upmarket bars and restaurants, boutiques including D&G and Dior and a casino. This is a prime party location, attracting a young, sophisticated and rich clientele whose main aim is to be seen. There are some great restaurants, including the meat lovers’ delight, Tango or the celebrity hangout of the Red Pepper and some even better nightclubs such as the hugely popular and pricey Olivia Valere.
A few miles away from Puerto Banus is the exclusive town of Marbella. A luxurious destination for rich European tourists, it successfully combines history and culture with flashy marinas, restaurants and beaches. Those who enjoy a bit of culture should try to get to a performance at the amphitheatre or enjoy an afternoon stroll through the historic old town, a charming place with cobbled streets, whitewashed buildings and outdoor cafes. If however you prefer a day of pampering and partying, a visit to the exclusive Nikki Beach resort will be a highlight. One of the most glamorous destinations in Marbella and a great way to enjoy the beach in style, try to make it for one of Nikki Beach’s ‘Amazing Sundays’ with DJ’s, live music, great cocktails and oodles of beautiful people.
If partying is not quite your thing, a short drive will bring you to Nueva Andalucia, also known as the ‘golf valley’. With warm weather all year round, this region is perfect for golf and the exclusive Aloha Golf course should be at the top of your list. Designed by Javier Arana, it is one of the best courses to play on in Spain. Set within beautiful surroundings that have been lovingly landscaped, this is a well maintained golf course that most golfers will find an enjoyable challenge, whilst the terrace has amazing views and is a wonderful place to sit and enjoy a leisurely lunch.
And if it is natural beauty that you are looking for, you can’t go wrong with a trip to Benalmadena. The town is located around 20km from Malaga and boasts spectacular views across the coast from the top of the Calamorro Mountain. There is a cable car from the town that lifts you slowly up the side of the mountain, allowing you to enjoy breathtaking views as you rise 800 metres to the summit. On a clear day you can see Gibraltar and the coast of Africa.
There are some truly luxurious options for accommodation on the Costa del Sol, including the hotel resorts of Gran Melia Don Pepe, just a few kilometres from Marbella or the Don Carlos Leisure Resort, right next door to Nikki Beach. For something a little different there are a good selection of boutique hotels, including Hotel Claude, a charming 17th century townhouse in Marbella that has been refitted to combine exclusive modern design with the original features and the fashionable Marbella Heights Boutique Hotel, located on a hill above Marbella with stunning sea views and glorious surroundings.
With well-maintained roads, fast highways connecting the cities and major towns and plenty of wonderful scenic routes to travel, exploring the Costa del Sol by car is great fun and with companies now offering extremely competitive prices for car rental in Malaga and locations across the Costa del Sol, driving a luxury car is much more affordable. With cars designed for extreme comfort and fitted with all the latest entertainment systems and safety features, it is likely that you enjoy the drive as much as the destination.
Heather Reid is marketing manager for Bingo Car Rental, specialists in low cost and luxury car rental in locations across Spain and Europe.