Finally We Made It to The Costa del Sol and Fell in Love...
We’ve traveled to Spain quite often in our lives but for some reason neither of has ever made it to the Costa del Sol, the world-renowned tourist destination that welcomes millions of visitors every year. We hadn’t actively avoided it, we just never made it here to the land of swanky resort spots like Marbella and Estepona and tourist megatowns like Torremolinos and Fuengirola. We still didn’t make it to any of these places, but we did get our own taste of the Costa del Sol.
We were happy to leave the plastic monstrosities of Almeria behind and set our sights on an overnight stop in the pretty city of Nerja. It’s a gorgeous little part of the world with beautiful windy streets lined with whitewashed buildings and a stunning coastline. The centerpiece is the Balcón de Europa which dangles over the Mediterranean allowing hoards of visitors to ogle and aah at the beautiful views in every direction.
We stayed in a less glamorous parking lot in the center of town, but that’s how we roll. Sometimes we get to park in gorgeous scenery but other times we stay in campsites to relax or get laundry done. But often it is more about where we want to visit than where we want to stay. Occasionally that means you have to park in a boring, dusty lot. This was one of those times. However, once we shut the blinds we could be anywhere yet three minutes from our door we could be back to those killer views and all the town had to offer.
Our next stop was the city of Malaga. Those of you who follow our travels will know we have been looking for a new place to call home (or at least a home base) for our traveling life. Malaga has always been a city that has attracted us on paper; the climate, the size and the location on the water. Now it was crunch time - would it meet our expectations in person?
We stayed at the Area Malaga Beach which is one of the closest spots you can get to the city in a motorhome our size. It was super busy when we got there but we waited patiently until someone left and we finally got a spot. From here it’s a twenty minute bus ride into the center of town. Eager to get a taste for the city, we headed in right away. We grew increasingly excited as we got closer to the center. Palm trees, parks, long beachside boulevards, this was looking good.
For the next few days we spent time getting to know the city during the day and the evening. We explored the historic center, the waterfront and the beach, and a few of the other neighborhoods in centro. We found a few craft beer bars (always on our wish list for a city to be in contention for a home) and an arthouse cinema where we went to see a non-dubbed version of The Favourite, a film that was on our must see list. We ate pescaito frito at Bar El Pimpi, an iconic if a bit touristy cafe in the center of the city. Generally we were just soaking everything up to see if we thought this location could be a contender for a new home base.
Well the title of this post was a spoiler… because Malaga has now shot to the top of our list of where we would like to base ourselves. The city that seemed a match on paper turned out to be a match in person too. It was just a first date, but we are fairly confident it will be a city we will get to know a lot better in the future.
Our final stop was the very pretty town of Casares. The beach area is a typical Costa del Sol spot, but head inland a few miles and you find a spotless, picture-perfect white Andalusian town. There’s a very pretty free area de autocaravanas a short walk from town where we survived 24 hours of gnarly weather that kept us awake through the night and wondering if we might just wake up in a different parking spot than where we went to bed! But the sun came out the next day, we walked into town and up to the castle and cemetery to take in the fabulous views and watch the griffon vultures (thank you Google) soar around the town.
Quite honestly after our first taste of the area, and especially the city of Malaga, we contemplated just staying there for good. With all the Brexit nonsense our plans to find a home may need to be expedited and this looks like a fine part of the world to establish our new residence. Instead, we continued rolling on safe in the knowledge that Malaga will be there waiting for us when we decide to stop moving for a while.