An introduction to the Costa del Sol and Andalucía
This brief guide was initially written for visitors to our home in Benalmádena, on the Costa del Sol, to encourage them to explore the rest of the coast. It has since been expanded to cover inland Andalucía and is based on travels throughout the region by Ted, Steve and Colin.
Andalucía is the most populous and second largest of the autonomous communities of Spain. For simplicity, autonomous communities are referred to as regions throughout this website. The population was 8.4 million in 2016, 18% of the Spanish total, and the region covers 17% of Spain. It is divided into eight provinces (listed clockwise from Málaga) – Málaga, Cádiz and Huelva on the Atlantic coast, Sevilla, Córdoba, Granada and Jaén inland and Almería on the Mediterranean coast. Each province takes the name of its capital city. Sevilla is the regional capital and seat of the Andalucían Government – the Junta de Andalucía.
Much of the area is accessible on a day trip from Málaga, but to begin to get the real flavour of the area it is best to build a trip around a short break. In particular, the historic cities of Granada, Sevilla and Córdoba are worth much more than a visit of a few hours. There are many areas that we have not explored, particularly in Huelva, Jáen and Almería provinces and what follows is based on our experience of Andalucía to date.
The guide begins with the province of Málaga and the Costa del Sol, then visits the other seven provinces in turn. At the end of the guide the ‘How to Get There’ section lists how to reach the places described, without having to use a car. Ted is ready to go.
MÁLAGA and the COSTA DEL SOL
The Costa del Sol is the coast of the province of Málaga and stretches for more than 150 kilometres, both to the west and east of Málaga city.
Málaga city sits at the centre of the Costa del Sol. Just outside the city is Málaga airport, the gateway to the region. Over the last 30 years Málaga has developed into a modern and vibrant destination which repays getting to know, with many historic buildings, museums and a fine selection of tapas bars. See the GUIDE to MALAGA for a more detailed introduction to the city. The photo is of Málaga cathedral at night.
THE WESTERN COSTA DEL SOL
This is the area best known to British tourists since the development of package holidays and the growth of the main resorts. This has been followed by large numbers of northern Europeans who have bought second homes in the area or settled there permanently, to benefit from the climate and the lifestyle (and the prices).
Heading west from Málaga, the first resort is Torremolinos, the original high-rise resort on the Costa. Torremolinos went through an extremely tacky period, though it has been improved. There is no shortage of things to do. This includes attractions such as Crocodile Park and the Aqualand water park. and a wide variety of restaurants, bars and nightlife. There is a large selection of gay bars and discos – the town is currently encouraging and welcoming LGTB tourism. The long beaches are very busy in high season but are kept in good condition. It is possible to walk along the promenade from Torremolinos to the marina at Benalmádena, passing through Carihuela, where there are plenty of good seafood chiringuitas and restaurants.
The Three Kings arrive in Benalmádena Pueblo, January 5th.
The municipality of Benalmádena, Ted and Steve’s home in Spain, includes the beach resort of Benalmádena Costa, the town of Arroyo de la Miel and, further inland, the original village of Benalmádena Pueblo. A separate guide provides a more detailed description.
All along the coast are chiringuitos, beach bars where the fish is fresh and the beer is as frozen as a penguin’s arse.
Fuengirola is another large Costa resort, built around two older fishing villages – Los Boliches and Fuengirola itself. Among the skyscraper hotels and apartment blocks, the old centres of both villages are home to a wide range of bars and restaurants, excellent fish restaurants in particular. There is a large open-air market on Tuesday mornings and the Bioparc zoo is popular with visitors. At the west end of the long beach are the remains of the restored Sohail Castle.
Mijas (pictured) is,or rather was, a traditional Andalucían pueblo blanco (white village) on the hillside inland from Fuengirola, 400m above sea level. From the walls of the remains of the fortress there are excellent views over the coast. Initially ‘discovered’ by foreign artists and writers, the village is picturesque and worth a visit. It is now very touristy and a favourite destination for coach parties from all over the coast, who fill the souvenir shops and ride the donkey taxis. Later in the day is the best time to experience Mijas village life.
Further west the route along the Western Costa Del Sol passes through endless suburban urbanizaciónes of apartment blocks and villas, interspersed with golf courses, to reach the towns of Marbella, San Pedro and Estepona. Marbella and its marina, Puerto Banus, are rich, flashy and expensive, though the old centre of Marbella round the Plaza de los Naranjos and neighbouring squares is pretty. Inland from Marbella the scenic mountain road passes pleasant villages such as Ojén and Monda to reach the small market town of Coín. The small town of San Pedro de Alcántara is the junction for the road to Ronda which, once it has cleared the villa developments, winds its way through the mountains. Estepona is the last of the main resorts and has fewer high-rise blocks and a pleasant old town. Inland from Estepona, Casares, spilling down a hillside from its castle, is a largely unspoilt white village. The final stretch of the coast towards Gibraltar is in Cadiz province – see below. The photo is of a quiet corner in Coín.
EASTERN COSTA DEL SOL
To the east of Málaga are a string of resorts along the coast, with the older original villages on defensive sites a couple of kilometres inland. From the resort of Torre del Mar it is a short journey to Vélez Málaga, the main market town for the agricultural area of La Axarquía, sitting beneath a Moorish castle. From here a scenic road leads over the mountains to Granada. Also inland from Torre del Mar is the attractive white village of Competa, (above) reached by another mountain road. Further along the coast is the main resort of the area, Nerja. The picturesque old town is situated above a series of coves with attractive beaches, overlooked by the Bálcon de Europa promenade and viewpoint. Nearby are the Cuevas de Nerja, inhabited in prehistoric times and rediscovered in 1959 – a tour of the caves is worthwhile and impressive. A few kilometres inland the whitewashed village of Frigiliana is reckoned to be one of the most attractive in Spain. Steep hills and narrow lanes mean that it is easy to get away from the crowds of visitors and enjoy the village. East of Nerja the coast road continues into the province of Granada.
INLAND MÁLAGA PROVINCE
Away from the coast, inland Málaga is fascinating and well worth exploring. While villa developments full of ex-pats have spread inland much of the area is mountainous, preventing over-development. Many of the old villages have benefitted from an influx of people in search of the ‘real Spain’, slowing down and sometimes reversing the problem of rural depopulation, others remain off the beaten track.
To the west of the province the main town is Ronda, 45 kilometres from the coast. It is a beautiful town, spectacularly situated in a bowl, surrounded by mountains with a steep gorge separating the two halves of the town. See the GUIDE to RONDA for more details of the town. The train journey from Málaga to Ronda via Bobadilla passes through superb scenery, and the line continues through remote areas of the province to reach the coast at Algeciras.
Inland from Málaga city suburban development has spread up the valley of the Río Guadalhorce, expanding towns such as Cártama, Alhaurín, Coín and Pizarra, though a few orange, lemon and olive groves remain between them. It does not take long to reach the mountains, guarded by the old white town of Álora, spread over three hills beneath a ruined castle. Beyond Álora is the El Chorro gorge and the Guadalhorce Lakes, created in the 1920s by dams to generate electricity and provide water for the Costa del Sol. The Caminito del Rey, a walkway through the gorge, lay in a ruinous state for many years and has now been refurbished. The 8km walk has become a major tourist attraction. The area where the three lakes meet is particularly attractive, with several restaurants, picnic areas and spots where swimming is possible. At the south end of the lakes is the white village of Ardales.
On the main route north from Málaga the market town of Antequera (above) is worth a visit, with several baroque churches, an old bullring, a castle, Roman remains and the dolmens, megalithic burial chambers, recently accepted as a UNESCO world Heritage Site. To the west of Antequera is the small, quiet town of Campillos (pictured), where Ted, Colin and I lived for some time. It provides a good flavour of small town Andalucían life. Nearby is Teba, a small white town with Scottish connections dating from the 14th century when a Scottish Crusader army under Black Douglas, with the heart of Robert the Bruce as a mascot, fought the Moors and lost – including the heart, which was rediscovered in the 20th century.
Happy days in the Communist Club, Campillos, where the people’s beer is always cheap, though Karl and Ché don’t seem that happy about it.
CÁDIZ (plus Gibraltar and Morocco)
Arriving in Cádiz province along the coast road from the Costa del Sol the first towns are La Linea and Algeciras, surrounded by an industrial area. La Linea de la Concepción is the border crossing for Gibraltar and is otherwise unremarkable. The main function of Algeciras is as a ferry and commercial port, and it is a dump. To be fair, there are a couple of pleasant squares in the old part of town, on the hill above the port area.
Apart from the views from the rock and a few smelly, flea-ridden apes, Gibraltar is pretty boring, and mainly functions as a base for offshore banking and internet gambling, a shopping centre for ex-pats who miss Marks and Spencers and Morrisons, and a source of cheap duty-free cigarettes.
Chaouwara tanneries, Fes
Algeciras provides access to Africa via the frequent ferries to Tanger and Ceuta. Tanger is an interesting city but it is in quite a poor area of Morocco and some people, particularly women, feel hassled when they get there. Tours with a guide are available from the Costa del Sol. For a longer visit, there are regular trains from Tanger to Fes and Marrakech, both of which are tremendous cities to visit, and the countryside en route is fascinating. Ceuta, though in Africa, is part of Spain. It is unremarkable – but you can say you’ve been to Africa.
Djemaa el-Fnaa market, Marrakech
From Algeciras the road to Cádiz follows close to the Atlantic coast with views across to Morocco on a clear day. The first town is Tárifa, which is now a port for ferries to Tanger, and a well-known centre for windsurfing and kitesurfing from the nearby beaches. There is a series of resorts and fishing ports off the main road along the Costa de la Luz.
The inland route into the Cádiz province is from Ronda, through the mountains and past white villages to Arcos de la Frontera, an historic town with Moorish and Renaissance buildings perched on a cliff top overlooking the valley. The direct route is via Algodonales, while a scenic route is via the pretty village of Grazalema and the leather-working town of Ubrique.
Continuing westward, Jérez de la Frontera sits in an area of vineyards where the wine to make sherry is grown. The sherry companies (such as Tio Pepe, pictured by Jerez cathedral) have their warehouses and bodegas in the town, some of which operate tours for the public. Jerez is also the venue for the horse shows staged by the Andalucían School of Equestrian Art, which are impressive if you like horses being made to perform tricks for the benefit of humans. Beyond Jerez is Sanlúcar de Barrameda, famous for seafood, creative tapas and Manzanilla wine – the bodegas can be visited. Magellan set off on his circumnavigation from here, as did Columbus on one of his voyages. It is also an access point for the Coto Doñana national park. In common with many towns in Andalucía it celebrates Semana Santa (Easter week) in a big way with huge religious floats carried through the streets by the local brotherhoods. We were there at Easter and able to witness this with very few tourists around (below). Cádiz city itself sits on a promontory, surrounded by the Atlantic and the old city is interesting to explore. Across the Bay of Cadiz by ferry is the third centre of sherry production El Puerto de Santa Maria. We visited Jerez, Cádiz and El Puerto early in 2019 and the introductory guide written after that visit is here: Jerez and Cadiz.
Until 2018 our only experience of the province was on a 1990s bus journey which passed through en route from the Algarve to Sevilla. In 2018 we visited Huelva city, then travelled on the Huelva – Zafra railway line, through the mountains of the Sierra de Aracena. The trip is written up here – Journeys – Huelva and Badajoz
The city of Sevilla is the capital of Andalucía and the largest city of the region. The historic city is worth much more than a day trip, to allow time to visit the enormous cathedral, the gardens of the Real Alcázar Palace, the many other sights, visit the Roman remains at nearby Italica and eat tapas in the huge selection of bars. For more detail see Guide to Sevilla
On the main railway line and road from Málaga to Sevilla is the town of Osuna, which seems to have more churches than people, plus streets of baroque and renaissance mansions houses from the 16th to 18th centuries, leading up to the old university on the hilltop. The latest claim to fame is that scenes from Game of Thrones were filmed there in 2014.
Carmona (pictured), forty kilometres east of Sevilla has a well preserved and thriving old town on a hill overlooking the surrounding plains, enclosed by Roman and Moorish walls and gateways. North of the city the Sevilla – Zafra railway line winds through remote areas in the Sierra Morena mountains on its way to Extremadura.
The view over the countryside from Priego de Córdoba
The city of Córdoba is known best for its mosque / cathedral, an outstanding building, built in stages by the Moors then adapted and extended by Christians after the reconquista. In addition, visit the Jewish quarter and other areas of the old city and drink in one of the many tapas bars. For more details see the city guide – Guide to Cordoba
In the southeast of the province the town of Priego de Córdoba has an attractive old quarter overlooking the surrounding countryside. The baroque churches and mansions and the magnificent Fuente del Rey fountain date from the 18th century, when the town was very wealthy from silk production. The town is also home to this statue, not named ‘who bit my willy off’.
.In Granada city the main sights are the Alhambra, the cathedral and the Albaicin area. Only visiting them requires more than a day trip. After sightseeing, visit the bars, which have kept the habit of providing a free tapa with every drink and compete to provide the best. See the separate Guide to Granada for more information. The city is the gateway to the ski resorts and mountain trails of the Sierra Nevada – on a warm spring day in the city it is often possible to see snow on the mountains.
Between the Sierra Nevada and the coastal Contravesia mountains are Las Alpujarras – a series of valleys and villages which were the Moors last stronghold in Spain. The area was remote until recently and, while it is now better known to tourists, the mountainous landscape has prevented over-development and protected much of the traditional way of life. The small spa town of Lanjarón and the market town of Órgiva, popular with ageing hippies and New Age travellers, form the gateway the Western Alpujarras. A trio of villages Pampaneira, Bubión and Capileira (pictured) are stunningly located by the gorge of the Barranco de Poqueira and surrounded by mountains with layers of ancient terraces. They retain the distinctive local architecture of the area. A little further east, Trevélez, 1500m above sea level, is one of the highest villages in Spain and is famous for the quality of its jamon serrano – the mountain air is ideal for drying hams.
The province also has its own stretch of coastline to the east of the Costa del Sol. Steep cliffs and small coves have limited development. The main resort along this stretch of coast is the pleasant town of Almuñecar.
Jaén is the least well-known province of Andalucía to outsiders and we have only visited it once, in the 1990s when we visited the town of Úbeda (pictured) and stayed in the historic parador in the zona monumental, on one of the finest renaissance squares anywhere. I remember an enjoyable evening exploring the tapas bars and there being very few tourists in town, though that may have changed.
Almería is the easternmost province of Andalucía. It has its own airport and most visiting tourists arrive there and stay in one of the nearby resorts. A few years ago, I visited Almería city on a day trip by train from Granada. The journey itself was interesting through desert-like landscapes. I didn’t have sufficient time to get to know the city – I remember the area around the cathedral being attractive and the Alcazaba fortress towering above the city.
HOW TO GET THERE
Ted and I use public transport to get around. This means that we can spend the time looking at the scenery rather than the road and have a few beers wherever we stop off. The table below lists all the places highlighted in the text with details of how to get there by train, bus and coach. In Spain all buses covering more than short distances are comfortable modern coaches and on longer journeys will stop for breaks. Trains are also modern, but do not expect buffet facilities other than a drinks machine, except on AVE high speed trains.
Spanish trains are operated by Renfe www.renfe.com . The main bus companies (in brackets in the text) are Portillo www.portillo.avanzabus.com . Portillo is now part of the Avanza Group and Avanzabus branding is being increasingly used on the buses and coaches. Much of the rest of the region is served by ALSA www.alsa.com , who took over the local company Alsina Graells, whose branding has now virtually disappeared.
In the table below ‘frequent’ means at least once an hour, ‘regular’ means six or more journeys per day, spread through the day (maybe fewer on Saturday and Sunday).
|Algeciras||2 trains daily to and from Madrid (5hrs15mins). 3 trains daily to and from Ronda (1hr45mins) and Granada (4hrs30mins).
Regular coach services (Portillo) to and from Málaga (1hr45mins express, 3hrs stopping) and all towns along the western Costa del Sol.
Regular service (Comes) to and from Cádiz (2hrs).
Frequent ferries to Ceuta (1hr) and Tanger (1-2hrs).
|Almería||Trains: 4 daily to Granada (2hrs) and Sevilla (6hrs). 2 daily to Madrid (6hrs20min).
Coaches: (Alsa) Regular service to Granada (2hrs express – 4hrs stopping), 5 daily to Nerja (3hrs) and Málaga (4hrs30 mins).
|Almuñécar||Regular coach services (Alsa) to Nerja (30mins), Granada (1hr20mins-2hrs) and Málaga (2hrs). 5 daily to Almería (1hr45mins express – 3hrs30mins stopping).|
|Álora||Regular trains to and from Málaga (40mins). Buses connect the station with the town centre (steep climb on foot).
Frequent buses (Damas) to and from Málaga (1hr5mins).
|Antequera||Regular high speed trains to and from Málaga (25mins), Córdoba (35mins), Sevilla (1hr30mins) and Madrid (2hrs20mins) from Antequera-Santa Ana station, 18km from town.
Regular regional trains to Granada (1hr 45mins) and 4 daily to Sevilla (1hr50mins) from Antequera Ciudad station, in town.
Regular bus services to Málaga (1hr) and occasional coaches to Granada (2hrs) and Sevilla (2hrs40mins).
|Arcos de la Frontera||Frequent buses to Jerez (35mins – Damas & Comes) and Ubrique (1hr, Damas). Regular coaches to Cádiz (55mins-1hr20mins – Damas).
Coaches to Ronda at 1020 & 1520 (Mon-Fri), 1220 (Sat, Sun), returning from Ronda at 0930 & 1545 (Mon-Fri), 1700 (Sat, Sun) (2hrs – Comes), Mon to Fri to Málaga at 0740, returning at 1615 (3hrs50mins – Damas).
|Ardales||Regular coach services (Damas) to Málaga (1hr) and Ronda (45mins).|
|Arroyo de la Miel||Frequent trains on Málaga (30mins) – Fuengirola (45mins) line.
Frequent local buses (Portillo) within Benalmádena and to Mijas (30mins) and Torremolinos (30mins).
|Benalmádena Costa||Frequent bus services (Portillo) within Benalmádena and to and from Málaga (40mins), Torremolinos (15mins), Fuengirola (45mins) and Mijas (45mins).
Regular coaches (Portillo) to Marbella and occasional journeys along the coast to Estepona and Algeciras, also to Ronda.
|Benalmádena Pueblo||Frequent bus services (Portillo) to Arroyo de la Miel (15mins) (for trains to Málaga), Benalmádena Costa (30mins), Torremolinos (45mins) (for connections to Málaga) and Mijas (15mins). Occasional through journeys to Málaga (1hr).|
|Bubión||Daily buses (Alsa) from Granada at 1000, 1200 and 1630. From Bubión to Granada at 0705, 1650 and 1820 (2hrs15mins).|
|Cádiz||Trains: Regular services to and from Jerez (40mins) and Sevilla (1hr40mins). Occasional trains continue to Córdoba (2hrs20mins) and Madrid (4hrs40mins).
Catamarans: frequent service until mid-evening to El Puerto de Santa Maria (30mins) and regular service to Rota.
Frequent buses (Damas) to El Puerto de Santa Maria (30 mins) and Sanlúcar de Barrameda (1hr15mins).
Coaches: Regular services to and from Algeciras (2hrs) 4 daily to Málaga (4hrs express – 6hrs stopping – Comes). 2-3 daily to Ubrique (Damas). Coaches to Ronda at 0900 &1400 (Mon-Fri), 1100 (Sat, Sun), returning at 0930 & 1545 (Mon-Fri), 1700 (Sat, Sun) (3hrs15mins-Comes).
|Caminito del Rey||Entrance is reached by frequent bus (Rivero) from El Chorro (25mins). Tues-Sun. No service on Monday. Exit is at El Chorro – see entry below.|
|Campillos||Trains: daily train from Málaga at 1005, returning at 1729 (1hr15mins). 4 trains daily to Ronda (40mins), 3 daily to Granada (2hrs) and Algeciras (2hrs30mins).
Coach: (Alsa) from Málaga at 1800 (Sun), 1830 (Mon-Fri), from Campillos at 0730 (Mon-Fri), 1615 (Sun) (1hr).
3 buses Mon-Fri to and from Antequera (30 mins).
|Capileira||Daily buses (Alsa) from Granada at 1000, 1200 and 1630. From Capiliera to Granada at 0700, 1645 and 1815 (2hrs20mins).|
|Carmona||Frequent bus service (Casal) to and from Sevilla (50mins).|
|Casares||Bus (Portillo) departs Estepona (connections from towns along Costa del Sol) 1300 & 1845 (Mon-Fri), 1400 & 1930 (Sat), from Casares at 0745 & 1600 (Mon-Fri), 0830 & 1630 (Sat) (50mins).|
|Ceuta||Frequent ferries to and from Algeciras (1hr).|
|Coín||Regular buses (Portillo) to and from Málaga (1hr15mins), 6 daily from Marbella (1hr15mins).|
|Competa||Bus (Loymerbus) from Málaga at 1130, 1315 & 1830 (Mon-Fri), 1315 & 1830 (Sat), 1030 & 2015 (Sun). From Competa at 0715, 0945 & 1545 (Mon-Fri), 0910 & 1545 (Sat), 0910 & 1815 (Sun) (1hr30mins).|
|Córdoba||Trains: frequent high speed trains to Sevilla (50mins) and Madrid (1hr45mins) and regular services to Málaga (55mins). 4 trains daily to Granada (2hrs-10mins).
Coaches: regular services (Alsa) to and Sevilla (2hrs), Granada (2hrs45mins) and occasional services to Málaga (2hrs30mins-3hrs). Regular services (Carrera) to Priego (1hr45mins-2hrs30mins).
|Cuevas de Nerja||Frequent buses to and from Nerja (15mins) and Málaga (1hr40mins).|
|El Chorro||Trains from Málaga daily at 1005 & 1648, returning at 0933, 1513 & 1803 (40min). Trains from Sevilla at 0740 & 1308, returning at 1731 (2hrs).
4-5 buses (Rivero) daily to and from Álora (30mins).
|Estepona||Frequent buses (Portillo) from Marbella (1hr10mins). Regular buses from La Linea (1hr30mins).
Regular coach services (Portillo) to Málaga (1hr15mins to 2hrs) and all towns along the Costa del Sol.
|Fes||3 daily trains (ONCF) from Tanger (4hrs45mins).|
|Frigiliana||Regular buses (Nerja-Frigiliana) Mon-Sat to and from Nerja (20mins), for connections to Málaga & Granada.|
|Fuengirola||Frequent trains to Arroyo de la Miel, Torremolinos, Málaga Airport and Málaga (50mins).
Frequent buses (Portillo) to Mijas (25mins), Benalmádena (35mins), Torremolinos (45mins) and Marbella (45mins-1hr). Regular coach services (Portillo) along the Costa del Sol.
|Gibraltar||Walk across the border from La Linea then walk or catch local bus into town.|
|Granada||Trains: 4 daily to Almería (2hrs30mins), Sevilla (3hrs20mins), Córdoba (2hrs10mins) & Madrid (3hrs45mins). 3 daily to Ronda (2hrs45mins) & Algeciras (4hrs30mins).
Frequent express coaches (Alsa) to and from Málaga (1hr30mins). Regular coaches to Córdoba (2hrs45mins), Almeria (2hrs express – 4hrs stopping), Sevilla (3hrs) and Nerja (1hr30min-2hrs15min). Up to 4 daily to Priego (1hr40mins).
Regular buses (Alsa) to main towns in the province. 3 daily to the Alpujarras villages dep 1000, 1200, 1630 (2-3hrs). Daily bus to Torre del Mar at 1530, returning at 0800 daily plus 1745 Sun only (2hrs45mins-3hrs).
|Grazalema||Buses (Damas): 2 daily to Ronda (45mins) at 0840 and 1610 with connections and through fares to Málaga. 2 daily to Ubrique at 1345 and 1900.|
|Guadalhorce Lakes||Frequent bus service (Rivero) from El Chorro (25mins). Tues-Sun. No service on Monday.|
|Huelva||Trains: 3 daily from Sevilla (1hr40mins), 1 daily to Madrid (4hrs).
Frequent express coach service (Damas) to and from Sevilla (1hr15mins).
|Huelva-Zafra railway||Fri, Sat and Sun only. Train dep Huelva 1100, arr Zafra 1418, Mérida 1507, Madrid 2009. Return deps Madrid 1018, Mérida 1522, Zafra 1615 and arrives Huelva 1934.|
|Italica||Frequent bus (Damas) from Sevilla to Santiponce (Santiponce terminus is at entrance to Italica) (35mins).|
|Jerez de la Frontera||Regular trains from El Puerto de Santa Maria (10mins), Cádiz (40mins) and Sevilla (1hr). Occasional trains continue to Córdoba and Madrid.
Frequent buses to Arcos de la Frontera (35mins – Damas & Comes), Sanlucar de Barrameda (40mins – Valenzuela), and regular services to Ubrique (1hr30mins, Damas)
Coaches – Mon-Fri at 0700 to Malaga returning at 1615 (4hrs30mins – Damas), To Ronda at 0945 & 1445 (Mon-Fri), 1145 (Sat, Sun), returning at 0930 &1545 (Mon-Fri), 1700 (Sat, Sun) (2hrs30mins – Comes).
|La Linea de la Concepción||Frequent buses to Algeciras (Comes – 45mins). Regular buses to Estepona (Portillo – 1hr30mns).
Occasional coaches (Portillo) to towns along the Costa del Sol to Málaga (3hrs).
|Lanjarón||Regular bus (Alsa) to Granada (1hr). 3 daily buses to Alpujarras villages (Trevélez etc) dep 1100, 1300, 1730.
Mon-Sat coach deps Málaga 1500, Nerja 1610, arr Lanjarón 1820. Deps Lanjarón 0800, arr Nerja 1100 and Málaga 1225.
|Málaga||Frequent local trains to Torremolinos (25mins), Arroyo de la Miel (30 mins) and Fuengirola (45mins) and regular service to Álora (40mins). Regular regional trains to Sevilla (2hrs40min) and daily train to Ronda dep Málaga 1005, return from Ronda at 1650 (1hr50mins).
Regular high speed trains to Antequera Santa Ana (25mins), Córdoba (55mins), Sevilla (1hr55mins) and Madrid (2hrs30mins-3hrs).
Regular bus services to main towns throughout the province. Frequent services to Torremolinos (30mins), Benalmádena Costa (45mins) (Portillo), Álora (1hr5mins) (Damas), Velez Málaga (1hr20mins) and Nerja (50mins-1hr25mins) (Alsa).
Frequent express coach services to Granada (1hr30mins-Alsa). Regular services to Marbella (45mins-1hr30mins), Estepona (1hr10mins-2hrs), Algeciras (1hr45mins-3hrs) (Portillo) and Ronda (1hr45mins-Damas).
Occasional services to Cádiz (4-6hrs-Comes), Sevilla (2hrs45mins), Córdoba (2hrs30mins-3hrs) and Almería (4hrs45mins) (Alsa). Mon-Fri at 1615 to Jerez returning at 0700 (4hrs30mins – Damas).
|Marrakech||Trains (ONCF), overnight train to Tanger, also every 2 hours changing at Casablanca (9-10hrs).|
|Marbella||Frequent bus services (Portillo) to Fuengirola (45mins-1hr), Estepona (1hr 10mins), Puerto Banus (20mins) and San Pedro de Alcantara (20 mins). Regular service to Ojén (30mins) and 4-6 daily to Monda (45mins) and Coín (1hr15mins).
Frequent coach services (Portillo) to Málaga (45mins-1hr30mins) and regular services to towns along the Costa del Sol. 4-6 daily to Ronda (1hr15mins) and Sevilla (3hrs15mins).
|Mijas||Frequent buses (Portillo) to Benalmádena Pueblo (15mins), Arroyo de la Miel (30mins), Benalmádena Costa (45 mins) Torremolinos (1hr) and Fuengirola (25mins). Occasional through buses to Málaga (1hr30mins).|
|Monda||Regular buses (Portillo) to Coín (20-30mins), 4-6 daily to Marbella (45mins), occasional through services to Málaga (1hr20mins-1hr35mins).|
|Nerja||Frequent buses (Alsa) to Málaga (1hr-1hr30mins) and to Cuevas de Nerja (10mins). Regular buses to Granada (1hr50mins-2hrs15mins – Alsa) and Mon-Sat to Frigiliana (20mins – Nerja-Frigiliana).
5 coaches (Alsa) daily to Almería (3hrs).
|Ojén||Regular buses (Portillo) to Marbella (30mins), 4-6 daily to Coín (45mins)|
|Órgiva||Regular bus (Alsa) to Granada (1hr15mins). 3 daily buses to Alpujarras villages (Trevelez etc) dep 1115, 1330, 1800.
Mon-Sat coach deps Málaga 1500, Nerja 1610, arr Orgiva 1800. Deps Orgiva 0820, arr Nerja 1100 and Málaga 1225.
|Osuna||Trains: regular service to Sevilla (1hr), 5-6 daily to Málaga (1hr30mins), 4 daily to Granada (2hrs15mins) and Almería (5hrs).
Regular buses (Valenzuela) to and from Sevilla (1hr20mins).
|Pampaneira||Daily buses (Alsa) from Granada at 1000, 1200 and 1630. From Pampaneira to Granada at 0715, 1700 and 1830 (2hrs).|
|Priego de Cordoba||Coaches: regular service (Carrera) to Córdoba (1hr45mins-2hrs30mins). Up to 4 daily (Alsa) to Granada (1hr40mins).|
|Puerto Banus||Frequent local buses (Portillo) to and from Marbella (20mins).|
|El Puerto de Santa Maria||Frequent catamaran service to Cádiz until mid-evening (30 mins). Frequent bus and train services to Cádiz and Jerez.|
|Ronda||Trains: 3 daily to Algeciras (1hr45mins) and Granada (2hrs45mins), 2 daily to Madrid (4hrs) and daily to Málaga at 1650, returning from Málaga at 1005 (1hr50mins).
Coaches: (Portillo) 4-6 daily to San Pedro (1hr), Marbella (1hr15mins), Fuengirola (1hr45mins) and Torremolinos (2hrs15mins). Occasional journeys call at Benalmadena Costa.
Regular services (Damas) to and from Sevilla (1hr45mins-2hrs30mins) and Málaga (1hr45mins).
To Grazalema (45mins) and Ubrique (1hr30mins) daily at 1300 and 1815 (Damas).
To Arcos (2hrs), Jerez (2hrs30mins) and Cadiz (3hrs15mins) at 0930 & 1545 (Mon-Fri), 1700 (Sat, Sun). returning from Cadiz at 0900 &1400 (Mon-Fri), 1100 (Sat, Sun) (Comes)..
|Sanlúcar de Barrameda||Frequent buses to Jerez (35mins – Valenzuela) and Cadiz (1hr-1hr15mins – Damas).
Regular coaches to Sevilla (2hrs – Damas).
|San Pedro de Alcántara||Frequent buses (Portillo) to Marbella (20mins) and Estepona (1hr).
Regular coaches to towns along the Costa del Sol and Málaga. 4-6 daily to Ronda (1hr), 3 daily to Sevilla (3hrs).
|Sevilla||Trains: frequent high speed trains to and from Córdoba (50mins) and Madrid (2hrs30mins). Regular high speed and regional trains to Málaga (1hr55mins to 2hrs40mins). Regular regional trains to Osuna, Jerez (1hr) and Cádiz (1hr30mins). 4 daily trains to Granada (3hrs20mins) and Almería (6hrs) and 3 daily to Huelva (1hr40mins).
Frequent buses to Santiponce for Italica (35mins – Damas) and Carmona (50mins – Casal). Regular buses to main towns throughout the province including Osuna (1hr20mins – Valenzuela).
Frequent coaches to Huelva (1hr15mins-Damas).
Regular services (Alsa) to Córdoba (2hrs) and Granada (3hrs), (Damas) to Sanlucar de Barrameda (2hrs) and Ronda (1hr45mins-2hrs30mins).
Occasional services to Málaga (2hrs45mins – Alsa).
|Sevilla – Zafra railway||Train: 1720 daily to Zafra (arr 2002) and Caceres (arr 2200). Return from Caceres 0650 Mon-Fri, 0805 Sat, Sun and Zafra 0754 Mon-Fri, 0910 Sat, Sun, arr Sevilla 1133 Mon-Fri, 1247 Sat, Sun.|
|Tanger||Frequent ferries to and from Algeciras (1-2hrs) and Tarifa (1-2hrs).
Trains (ONCF) to Rabat (4hrs) and Casablanca (5hrs) every 2 hrs, 4 daily to Fes (4hrs45mins). Marrakech: overnight train, also every 2 hours changing at Casablanca (9-10hrs).
|Tarifa||Frequent ferries to and from Tanger (1-2hrs).
Regular bus (Comes) to Algeciras (30mins).
Occasional coaches (Comes) to Cádiz (1hr45mins)
|Teba||Coach: (Alsa) from Málaga at 1800(Sun), 1830 (Mon-Fri), from Teba at 0715 (Mon-Fri), 1600 (Sun) (1hr15mins).
Also 2 buses (Alsa) Mon-Fri to and from Antequera (45 mins).
|Torre del Mar||Frequent buses (Alsa) to Velez Málaga (15mins), Nerja (25-45mins) and Málaga (40mins-1hr). Bus to Granada at 0800 daily, also 1745 (Sun), from Granada at 1530. (2hrs40mins-3hrs)|
|Torremolinos||Frequent trains to and from Málaga (25mins) via airport and Fuengirola (25mins) via Arroyo de la Miel.
Frequent bus services (Portillo) to Málaga (35mins), Benalmádena Costa (15mins), Arroyo de la Miel (30mins), Benalmádena Pueblo (45mins), Mijas (1hr) and Fuengirola (50mins).
Coaches: Regular coach services (Portillo) to Marbella (1hr5mins), Estepona (1hr35mins) and Algeciras (2hrs30mins). 4-6 daily to Ronda (2hrs15mins), 3 daily to Sevilla (4hrs), occasional services to La Linea (2hrs30mins) and Cádiz(5hrs).
|Trevélez||Daily buses (Alsa) from Granada at 1000, 1200 and 1630. From Trevélez to Granada at 0615, 1600 and 1730 (3hrs).|
|Úbeda||Regular coaches (Alsa) to and from Granada (1hr45mins-2hrs30mins).|
|Ubrique||Buses (Damas): 2 daily to Grazalema (45mins) and Ronda (1hr30mins) with connections and through fares to Málaga. Regular to Arcos de la Frontera and Jerez, 2-3 daily to Cádiz, 2 daily to Sevilla.|
|Vélez Málaga||Frequent buses (Alsa) to Torre del Mar (10mins) and Málaga (1hr-1hr20mins). Bus to Granada at 0810 daily, also 1800 (Sun), from Granada at 1530 (2hrs30mins-2hrs50mins).|
The Rough Guide to Andalucía is my preferred guidebook. The most recent edition was published in June 2018. The Andalucían Government tourism website is www.andalucia.org . The privately run site www.andalucia.com has comprehensive information including pages for each city. town and village. Almost every place has its own municipal website, though those for the smaller places are likely to be in Spanish only. Ted and I may be able to provide further information and can be contacted at email@example.com
Steve Gillon, April 2018. Updated March 2019
Photographs: All the photographs are by Steve Gillon except for the map of Andalucía which is from http://www.mapsofworld.com and El Toro de Osborne and the Sevilla poster which are from a very early paper version of this guide with no source mentioned.
Copyright: All text and photos (except those mentioned above) are © Copyright 2018, 2019 Steve Gillon.