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Costa del Sol


My family (4) and I have rented a condo in the Mija's Costa area for a week and will be doing day trips. We plan on going to Granda, The White Hill Townss, Cordoba, Sevila perhaps Gilbtaltor and Morocco. Do you recommend driving or taking the trains? Is driving the costal area is difficult?

Thank you,

Posted by
550 posts


You would get a better response if you posted this under the "Destinations" section and scroll down to "Spain." Then you should get people who could help you better. This section is for people to discuss Rick Steves tours. If you scroll through previous posts on the Spain section you might get some information that could help you, also.

Your trip sounds great!

Posted by
17021 posts

ViaMichelin, which is thought to be somewhat optimistic and definitely does not include time for stops, getting lost, looking for parking, etc., gives approximately the following round-trip driving-time estimates from Mijas:

Seville: 5-1/2 hr.
Cordoba: 4-1/2 hr.
Granada: 3-3/4 hr.
Arcos de la Frontera: 5-1/4 hr.
Algeciras: 3 hr. (need to add ferry time)
Tarifa: 3-3/4 hr. (need to add ferry time)
Gibraltar: 3 hr.

That's an awful lot of car time, even if you don't run into traffic issues that slow you down. I'd consider Malaga (1-1/4 hr.) and Ronda (3 hr. ) as substitutes for some of your more challenging destinations.

I'm not sure using trains will help. Mijas appears not to have a train station, the nearest station being about 6 miles away in Torreblanca.

Posted by
16782 posts

The south coast of Spain has little train service, especially not running along the coast. Buses or a rental car are necessary to reach Gibraltar, Tarifa, Arcos, and more white hill towns.

Trains run inland from Malaga with direct service to Cordoba, Sevilla, and Madrid or connecting service to Granada, Algeciras, and other parts of Spain. So you would at least need a bus to Malaga to catch those trains, if you want to avoid driving and parking in the destination cities.

If you have Rick's Spain book, see the thin black rail lines on full-color maps, B/W rail lines on regional maps, and transport connection summaries at the start and end of each chapter.

Looking Up Train Schedules and Routes Online gives you the Deutsche Bahn train schedule link and tips for using it.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you all for the great input. It will really help my family near down travel time on our trip. And try to figure out all we want to see with out waisting to much time in car. :)

Posted by
3993 posts

A car is your best option, driving the coastal area is not difficult at all, I have no problems driving it despite being used to driving on the left.

'The White Hill Towns' is not a specific place or area. Pretty much all houses and buildings in the Costa Del Sol are white and any town or village will consist of white houses.

Your trips are long and far too many to cram into a week. You also don't say when you're going, if the family includes children (and their ages) and how many days you actually have there (does the week include arrival and departure days?).

I would leave out Morocco. Tangiers is not an attractive or interesting place and the ferry journey consumes a lot of time (plus getting to and from Tarifa). I think most people visit just to be able to say that they popped over to Africa whilst in Spain. Gibraltar is not too long a journey from Mijas and it's reasonably interesting. I found it to be a bit like Britain in the 80's but the rock and the tunnels at the top were interesting enough. I can't get excited about being surrounded by the familiarity of M&S, Next or Tesco however.

Unfortunately Mijas Costa is not ideally situated for exploring the best of Andalucia. The Costa Del Sol is a beach resort area, frequented by predominantly Northern Europeans seeking summer sun and beaches, most of whom never venture further than their hotel or the strips of bars and restaurants that surround them. Granada would be the maximum distance I would want to drive, mainly because my kids get incredibly cranky after 1 1/2 in a car but also after a long day of touring tiredness would be an issue for me on the return drive particularly with somewhere like Ronda where the drive through the mountains requires absolute attentiveness.

I would look at trips to Nerja, Malaga, Granada and perhaps a quick trip to Marbella Old Town. For food I recommend visiting the hill town of Benahavis, full of fantastic restaurants.