The Costa del Sol is a popular tourist destination for many reasons. Formerly an area of small fishing villages, the Costa del Sol (literally meaning Coast of the Sun) has been transformed into a world-famous tourist destination. Inland there are mountains and valleys and picturesque villages. The summers are hot and the winters warm, so whether you have the hood down, are on a bike, or in a saloon car or 4×4, there is lots to explore in a pleasurable manner.
Driving is on the right-hand side in Spain, as with the rest of mainland Europe. The driver is required to always carry a driving licence, vehicle registration document (V5), a certificate of insurance and a passport to validate the licence. There are fines or even imprisonment for drink/driving and on the spot fines are issued for speeding offences. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted at garages and you are allowed to carry petrol in cans. The minimum driving age for a car is 18.
It is easy to get around the Costa del Sol. The N-340 coast road and the E-15 motorway link the coast from one end to the other. Only during rush hours and peak months are there hold ups in certain areas mainly in and around Malaga City. Inland the roads are usually quiet and there are numerous picnic spots to choose from.
Speed limits are enforced and are: 120 kilometres per hour on motorways; 90-100 kilometres per hour on open roads and 50 kilometres per hour in towns.
The nearest airport is Malaga airport where car hire firms are situated. For car hire at Malaga Airport Spain. It is easy to organise car hire in Spain from the larger resorts, but if you are based off the beaten track, it is best to organise car rental from airports serving the area. Booking Spanish car hire in advance is recommended if you intend to holiday in the peak summer season.
The Region of Axarquia
A visitor would be advised not to miss the area of Axarquia. This lovely area, east of Malaga, is in total contrast to the western Costa del Sol. Until around 10 years ago Axarquia was hardly known – almost a secret place. Nowadays rural tourism makes up a large part of the economy. However, the area is still beautiful and unspoiled. The main attractions include the unspoilt beaches and villages, the countryside and mountain scenery where wild herbs and lavender are prolific. The continual sunshine in the area makes it renowned for the strong, sweet wine produced here from sun-dried grapes.
Axarquia`s deep valleys, lined with terraces and irrigation channels, go back to the time of Muslim occupation. Almost all the villages are of Arab origin and this influence is observed in the layout of winding, narrow streets lined with whitewashed houses. Some suggested scenic tours:
Route of the Raisin – 62.5 kilometres following a route from the coast through wine-producing countryside, returning to the coast.
Route of Sun and Avocadoes – a 75 kilometre tour beginning at the coast and travelling through tropical landscape where avocadoes are grown.
Route of Olive Oil and Mountains – 62.5 kilometres entirely inland, starting from the Vinuela area and traversing countryside where olive trees are grown and harvested up to the higher regions of Axarquia.
Route of Mudejar Architecture – 75 kilometres inland, through villages where Muslem buildings were later developed by Christians.
Route of Sun and Wine – a 55 kilometre tour, beginning inland and ending on the coast at Nerja.
Whether you prefer a secluded cove or busy beach with typical attractions, the Costa del Sol offers a wonderful variety of beaches and there is something for everybody. In Nerja, Burriana Beach is ideal for children with its cafes and watersports, Playazo Beach is uncrowded and the longest in the area, and a secluded, beautiful bay is to be found at El Salon.