Travel History

Tracy McCully

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Costa del Sol, SPAIN

Year: 2011

This was a Transat Holidays package called "Beautiful Andalusia" and it included the following:
-7 nights in an apart'hotel called the Vistamar
-roundtrip airfare from Montreal
-3 full day excursions (Ronda, Seville, Gibraltar)

I loved this trip!  It was a nice combination of touring and days where nothing was planned at all. 

We stayed at the Vistamar apart'hotel in Benalmedena.  This is about a 30min drive from Malaga (can be longer depending on how many stops the coach must make dropping off other guests along the way).  I would not necessarily recommend this property simply due to the uncomfortable beds and that it is on a very steep hill.   Across the street was The Sunset Beach hotel and it looked very nice. It is also oceanfront.

The apartment had a sitting area with dining table, kitchenette with 2-burner stove, microwave, small fridge.  No coffee maker.  We really enjoyed our balcony which overlooked the pool and because we had a corner room we could also look out over the Mediterranean.  It was lovely to sit out there and just enjoy the grand view.  We enjoyed the pool area and because we were there in October it was not crowded at all. There was a Burger King next door (good in a food emergency) and next to that was a little grocery store.  Groceries are really cheap so having an apartment is definitely the way to go if you want to save some money.  

The front desk staff was awesome helping us use the public bus system to visit a local market (great pottery!) and the Benalmadena pueblo. The bus stop was right across from the hotel and it was easy to navigate. There are lots of British people who winter there so no problem asking for directions.

The beach is about a 5 min walk down the road across the street.  The "sand" close to and in the water is made of tiny pebbles.  There is regular sand all around the area where the lounge chairs and umbrellas are. It cost us 10euros to rent 2 chairs and umbrella for the day.

There is a boardwalk that runs the length of the beach.  All along the boardwalk there are many shops and restaurants. Many Brits winter in the Costa del Sol so there were a lot of restaurants that cater to them with traditional British fare.  We sampled one of these restaurants one evening.  We also tried some tapas one afternoon as well.  I found the prices to eat in restaurants to be very reasonable for Europe.

We took 3 full-day excursions....Gilbraltar was my favorite.  Because I love anything British, it was nice to see the "bobbies" directing traffic and the Union Jack flying overhead.
The hilltown of Ronda was amazing but the corkscrew road through the mountains made us nauseated.  Thankfully we took the highway back at the end of the day.
The trip to Seville was really long as it's about a 2.5hour drive each way and depending on where your hotel is you also spend a lot of time picking up other tourists and then dropping them off again at the end of the day.  The cathedral in Seville is exceptional.