Costa del Sol

7 quiet places on the Costa del Sol

By Eddi Fiegel

13 February 20246 min read

A view of the white-washed village of Frigiliana in the Costa del Sol

Frigiliana Seek out the Costa del Sol's quieter side in hilltop Frigiliana.

The Costa del Sol may be best known for big name resorts like Marbella and Torremolinos but if you know where to look, you’ll also find another side to the region, one where time seems to tick slower.

With breathtaking countryside and whitewashed villages, as well as sandy beaches and small coves, here’s our choice of the best quiet towns on the Costa del Sol.

1. Torrox

Built on a steep hill in the Axarquía region, less than an hour’s drive east of Málaga, the lovely, whitewashed village of Torrox makes a perfect base for a holiday on the Costa del Sol. Not only do you get beautiful, sandy beaches but there’s plenty to see and do.

While away lazy afternoons in the village sipping a sangria in the central town square, lose yourself amidst the narrow, cobbled streets, or visit the local Miniatures Museum. If you’re craving the beach, you’ll find no less than seven, wonderfully sandy Blue Flag beaches only 15 minutes’ drive away in Torrox Costa.

Where to stay in Torrox

The family-run Hotel La Casa and Hotel Al-Andalus are good local choices, and both have terraces with lovely views across the mountains. In Torrox Costa, the four-star Iberostar Málaga Playa is a lovely, laidback all-inclusive right on the beach.

2. Frigiliana

The gorgeous, whitewashed mountain village of Frigiliana is another great Costa del Sol choice. Just 15 minutes’ drive north of Nerja and its beaches, you’re far enough away from the hubbub to feel like you’ve got away from it all, but near enough for a stroll along the seafront promenade.

Wander through the town’s fantastically photogenic, steep, cobbled streets, past burbling fountains, black-iron balconies laden with pretty pot plants and geranium-filled hanging baskets. If you don’t mind a climb, the ruined Moorish castle above the town is the place to visit for spectacular views. Otherwise, the Sierra Tejeda y Almijara National Park is on your doorstep for scenic walks and cycle rides.

Where to stay in Frigiliana

There are some lovely villas in the countryside surrounding Frigiliana for a truly off-the-beaten-track feel. If you prefer to stay in town, Hotel Villa Frigiliana has a pool and rooms with balconies, while Casa Rural Miller’s of Frigiliana boasts a sunny rooftop terrace and both couples’ and family suites.

3. Benajarafe

The Costa del Sol might seem like the last place on earth you’d find an almost virgin beach but at Benajarafe you’re not far off.

The eastern part of this long stretch of dark sand feels so secluded you’d never believe that just a few yards away, the more western part of this Blue Flag beach has chiringuitos and restaurants as well as a children’s playground.

There’s plenty to see and do nearby, from golf courses to walking routes to an 18th-century watchtower – the Torre Moya (also known as Torre Gordo). The towns of Velez-Málaga and Torre del Mar are both within 20 minutes’ drive.

Where to stay in Benajarafe

The Hostal Esperanza hotel just behind the beach has excellent value rooms as well as a lounger-lined pool. For more of a countryside vibe, Casa Rural Paloma is just a quiet spot just ten minutes from the beach with its own outdoor pool and jacuzzi.

4. Manilva

If you want somewhere that feels a little more authentically Spanish than the better-known resorts without giving up blissful beaches and whitewashed villages that you’d expect from the Costa del Sol, Manilva could be just the ticket.

Just a few minutes’ drive west of Estepona, Manilva has several beaches, from broad, sandy beaches like the Blue Flag Sabinillas to more private, rocky coves.

The low-rise village just behind the beach is a world away from the high rises you’ll find in some other resorts but there’s no shortage of shops, restaurants, tapas bars or supermarkets.

Golfers will love the choice of nearby courses and there are plenty of scenic countryside trails.

Where to stay in Manilva

Hotel Apartamentos Manilva Sun has an outdoor pool and family rooms, as well as its own restaurant. Otherwise, there’s a good choice of local apartments to rent.

5. Maro

At the lovely whitewashed, hilltop village of Maro, you’ll feel the stress of modern life dropping away almost instantly. Not only do you get a pretty village but there’s also a small sandy beach cove just a short drive away with crystal clear water that makes it ideal for snorkelling and scuba diving.

If you’re a keen walker or cyclist, there are lovely routes through pine forests and the spectacular cliff walk at Maro Cerro Gordo is about 20 minutes away. The impressive Acueducto del Águila, the Nerja Caves and Nerja town centre are also nearby.

Where to stay in Maro

You won’t miss colourful Hotel Casa Maro, a fuchsia favourite in the centre of town where rooms start at just €40 a night. Families will prefer the roomy apartments and rooftop pool at Hotel Playamaro.

6. Rincón de la Victoria

Amazingly, given it’s only half an hour’s drive of Malaga, the slightly under the radar Rincón de la Victoria feels a world away from the Costa del Sol’s better-known, more hectic resorts.

That doesn’t mean, however, that it hasn’t got fabulous beaches. A popular choice with Spanish families, there are no less than four sandy beaches, as well as a town centre that’s laidback but lively in the evenings.

If you feel like sightseeing, visit the Jurassic caves of El Tesoro, explore ancient watchtowers and fortresses or hit the green for a round of golf.

Where to stay in Rincón de la Victoria

Fancy staying within a pebble’s throw of the beach? Both the Hotel Rincón Sol and Fay Victoria Beach sit directly on the seafront promenade, where you’ll also find a handful of well-rated Airbnbs with lovely ocean views.

7. Riogordo

Surrounded by dramatic mountain scenery and filled with walking and cycling routes, the countryside around the small, whitewashed pueblo blanco of Riogordo is as gorgeous as you could hope to find.

You won’t find beaches nearby, but this hilltop village in the midst of olive groves, named after the River Cueva that runs through it, makes a perfect base for a walking or cycling holiday.

As you wander through the village’s narrow, orange-tree-filled streets and alleys, stop at one of the bars or restaurants. Or, lace up those walking boots and head for one of the other villages nearby including Colmenar, famous for its food and honey. Don’t miss the breathtaking views across the sierras at sunset.

Where to stay in Riogordo

To stay in the village itself, the Hacienda Riogordo B&B has an outdoor pool or look out for holiday rentals nearby.

Hotel Club Palia La Roca

  • Benalmadena, Costa Del Sol, Spain
  • 25 April 2024
  • All-inclusive
  • From Gatwick

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