Spain's southern region of Andalusia has a little bit of everything. Fantastic beaches await on the Costa del Sol while sprawling cities like Marbella and Málaga provide options for dining, shopping, and sightseeing. Meanwhile, villages further inland provide a relaxing place to pass the time free of urban hustle and bustle.
If you're in the mood for slow, sleepy days in the sun, journey just 27 south of Málaga to Mijas Costa. A cross-section of the best parts of southern Spain, this municipality encompasses seven miles of stunning beachfront, the busy city of Las Lagunas, and the quiet hillside village of Mijas Pueblo.
Mijas Costa is made up of the soft, sandy beaches that make Costa del Sol famous. Stop by the small seaside town of La Cala de Mijas to walk on a stunning white-sand beach, and enjoy plenty of shops and restaurants to explore. Best of all, the surplus of scuba instructors in this area makes it a great place to explore beneath the Alboran Sea! Do that, and you're sure to have pleasant dreams back in your vacation rental.
Right next door to the port town of Fuengirola, Las Lagunas de Mijas is filled with shopping and dining, as well as sights you can only see in the area's larger coastal cities. Catch a show at the Las Lagunas Mijas Theater before strolling in the sun through nearby Andalucia Park. Spacious plazas lie just to the south, providing a nice place to catch a breather and observe the colorful culture.
For those particularly hot days, there are a surprising number of amusement parks in the area! Aquamijas lets you and the kids beat the heat with pools and slides, while the nearby Bioparc Fuengirola provides an engaging zoo experience to teach visitors about the natural world.
Far from the bustle of the city and crashing waves of the coast, the village of Mijas Pueblo is tucked away in the rolling hills, near the gentle flow of the Arroyo del Cesmo to the east. Stroll through the winding streets, admiring traditional architecture and classic Spanish roof tiles as you go.
Make your way to the sprawling Plaza Virgen de la Peña, where you'll be in a prime position for exploring the nearby museums. Learn about local wines at the Wine Shop Museum of Vino Mijas, or head to the Historical-Ethnological Museum to discover the hidden history of the peoples of the region. Don't forget to check out the quirky bull-themed decor of the Taurino Museum before heading back to your comfortable vacation rental!
Photo Credit: Sylvia Wrigley via Flickr