Opened to the public in 2015, the new Parque Botánico-Orquidario is located in the centre of Estepona, in the new central park. Covering more than 1,000 square metres, the modern building with prominent glass domes attracts the attention of people strolling down the Calle Terraza.
Estepona’s Orchidarium boasts more than 1500 varieties of Orchids – it’s the largest collection in Europe. In the centre of the vast plants exhibition there are three huge waterfalls which make you feel as if you were in a real rainforest! Stand on wooden bridge just in front of them to enjoy the refreshing coolness of the intense vapour – best appreciated in summer. There is also nice bamboo forest and other rare subtropical species of plants spread across two floors of the Orchidarium. must see for the flower enthusiasts! The entrance for adults is 3 euros. Remember that the Orchidarium is closed on Mondays.
Set in the tranquil and rural landscape between Manilva and Casares, Hedionda Roman baths are the remains of the ancient bathhouse which dates back to the 1st century BC. The structure is still available for use today, free of charge. The remains of the underground bathing facility consist of two chambers – a smaller outer chamber and a much bigger inner chamber.
Roman baths are not very popular among tourists and most of the time the place looks almost abandoned. However, during hot summer weekends you will find there lots of locals taking advantage not only of the healing properties of the water, but also of the curative mud scrapped from the popular mud wall.
Follow in Julius Caesar’s footsteps
According to the ancient sources, the sulphurous spring was very popular among both Romans and Arabs. One of the old stories holds that Julius Caesar himself took to the waters on a regular basis to cure himself of a skin infection when he was a governor of southern Spain.
Canuto de la Utrera and Charco del Infierno/Diablo are two spectacular walking routes available for tourists near the Roman baths. The first one takes you into a valley-gorge with beautiful limestone rock formations on both sides. Because of the unusual rock forms, Sierra de Utrera is called by some people ‘small Torcal de Antequera’. The second route leads along the Rio de Manilva, and a couple of times across the river, to a charming swimming pond with a waterfall. It is possible to connect both routes into one 8 km long circular route.
Charco del Diablo near Manilva
From the coastal A7, take a turn inland at the Lidl roundabout in Sabinillas. Follow the Camino los Baños road. Just before the road passes under the highway bridge, turn slightly to the right on a dirt track. After 200 meters, you will find a small parking space on the left, opposite the old Los Alamos restaurant. Continue on foot until you reach Baños De La Hedionda. The Roman Baths are also easily accessible from the A7 highway.
Rio Chillar, the chill-out river, is located just five minutes’ drive from the Nerja centre, at the Sierras de Tejeda mountains. It’s a very popular spot for Spanish families. Both kids and grown-ups can enjoy fantastic walk full of splashing in the crystal clear water.
Step by step
The route down the river starts very inconspicuously as initially the water barely covers your feet. On the sides of the river bed you will see some bushes, rocks and trees. Nothing spectacular. After 20 minutes of walking, the landscape gradually changes. The river enters a narrow gorge and the water starts to get slightly deeper, but don’t worry, in most places it should never reach your knees. The high cliffs provide plenty of shade, making the walk really enjoyable for everyone.
And that’s when the real fun starts! Jumping and splashing around, dipping in one of the several natural pools formed by the river, sitting underneath a waterfall – all these irresistible attractions can be found in Rio Chillar. Your kids will burn all their energy in no time. It takes around 3-4 hours to complete the whole route. However, you don’t need to reach the very end of the river to experience all the joys of Rio Chillar. Enjoy!
Tips for the trip
A good pair of shoes is recommended as there will be lots of slippery pebbles and rocks under your feet most of the time. If you haven’t got anything suitable, visit a good sports shop with a wide range of light water shoes. During summer weekends Rio Chillar can get a bit busy, try to avoid that time. However, arriving in the morning can be a a good way of avoiding the crowds. Never visit Rio Chillar right after intense rainfall or when there is a forecast of rain as heavy rain causes water levels to rise very quickly.
Oasys Mini Hollywood is a Wild West town theme park, one of the three Western desert parks located near Almeria. The entry price is 22 Euros for an adult and in our opinion it represent best value for money. What makes a difference between Oasys and the other two nearby studios, Fort Bravo and Western Leone, is that the visit to the large zoo which is also included in the price of the Wild West ticket!
Wicky Wild Wild West
As you start exploring the authentic looking western town with a stunning mountain backdrop, you can have a closer look at the 18th century houses or pop into the local bank, church, various shops or even local cemetery at the town’s outskirts. It’s all very atmospheric and instantly takes you back in time whether you want it or not! You can also buy one of the many souvenirs or head to the town square to take a photo on the horse next to a friendly cowboy. There is plenty of attractions and fun all around the place!
The main attractions, which always draw crowds, are live shows, both played twice a day: a pleasant to the eye can-can show staged in the Western-style saloon and a bank robbery show featuring gunfights and some chilling cowboy-style fist fights.
Lights, camera, action!
The famous Tabernas desert, in the middle of which the Oasis Mini-Hollywood is located, was once a favourite location for many film makers. In 1960s and 1970s, in the golden era of the European Westerns, many film producers preferred to shoot their films in the Spanish desert instead of going to the distant America or Africa. That’s because Almeria’s desert bears lots of resemblance to the stereotypical image of the Wild West. Three studios were created at that time: Texas Hollywood, Mini Hollywood, and Western Leone. The Italian film producer, Sergio Leone, shot “A Fistful of Dollars” as well as “The Good, or the Bad and the Ugly”, both starring Clint Eastwood, on the Tabernas desert. The Tabernas desert is occasionally used today for some smaller productions.
More than ordinary zoo
If seeing all the attractions in the western villages took you more than half a day, the rest of the day needs to be reserved for the unique zoo which is also part of the Oasys Park. You will find there lots of species which you won’t find in many zoos. There is a white tiger, lions, Iberian bear and many more. The enclosures for animals are very spacious and ingeniously made. Also, in the summer season the swimming pool complex is opened allowing you take off the heat quickly.
Los Canos de Meca is a quiet little seaside village located between Barbate and Conil de la Frontera. Sandwiched between Atlantic and large pine forests and cliffs, the village seems a little secluded from the outside world. The name of the village – caños – comes from the fresh water springs that emerge from the nearby cliffs. Los Canos de Meca is also quite popular among nudists.
Western side of Los Canos
Once you are in Los Canos de Meca, you will quickly notice a tall white lighthouse that overlooks beaches in the western part of the village. It’s the landmark of the famous Cape Trafalgar, where the Battle of Trafalgar was fought in 1805. In the sea battle that lasted less than three hours, outnumbered and outgunned, Admiral Nelson defeated the combined forces of the French and Spanish Navies. Because of the defeat, Napoleon abandoned his plans to invade Great Britain which soon became the world’s dominant colonial power.
Another reason to visit Cape Trafalgar are some nice seashore rock formations on Playa del Faro de Trafalgar, popular among nudists. Cape Trafalgar provides a great view of the Zahora beach to the west .Zahora beach is a beautiful tranquil and wide beach with golden sand, shallow water, perfect for families and most importantly never overcrowded. The main beach in the western side of Los Canos is the long east-facing Marisucia beach, located along the way to the lighthouse. It is popular among both families and young people, however tends to get a bit dirty after seaweeds are washed onshore by strong Levante.
Eastern side of Los Canos
The eastern part of Los Canos boasts a small cosy beach closer to the centre and a wider beach backed by cliffs on the outskirts of the village. From here you can also go for a hiking route that leads up through the pine forest to the old watch tower Torre del Tajo nestled on a 100 metre tall cliff. Once you reach the top you will be rewarded with magnificent views of the sunny coast and sensational cliffs. From the top you can also hike down to Barbate.
Recently, beautiful Estepona got some good publicity when it started opening incredible wall arts, one after another, in different parts of the city. Those gigantic wall murals are scattered around different barrios, from bullring to northern parts of the city. At the time of writing there are more than 20 murales artisiticos. It takes about 2 hours walk to see all of the murals. You can download and print a small map online by clicking here, or visit Oficina de Turismo in Estepona to get a bigger map. Have a look below at some examples of the incredible street art in Estepona!
Ruta de Murales Artisticos in Estepona
1. ANGEL EL BUCEADOR (Bda. Tres Banderas)
2. LA CASA DE LA BUENA GENTE (C/Colon)
3. SIGLO XXI (Plaza ABC)
4. LA PODA DE LA BUGANVILLA (Avda. San Lorezno)
5. FUNDACION ANTONIA GUERRERO (C/Nuestra Senora de los Remedios)
6. REGANDO EL JARDIN (Avda. Andalucia)
7. ALMAS DEL MAR (Prolongacion Avda. San Lorenzo)
8. ALMAS DE MUSICA (Plaza San Frenando)
9. LA HUERTA DE IRENE (Avda. Andalucia)
10. TIEMPOS DE CLARIDAD (Avda. Andalucia)
11. PASEN Y VEAN (C/Goya)
12. MADRE AMOROSA Y LA MIRADA DE UN NINO (C/Terraza)
Spain is definitely the best country in Europe for windsurfing. Thousands of kilometres of coastline, warm climate almost all year round and excellent winds statistics. Have a look at our ranking of the best beaches for windsurfing in Spanish Andalucia.
Top windsurfing spots on Costa de La Luz
1. Tarifa windsurfing – Playa de los Lances is one of the favourite spots for windsurfing in the Andalusian capital of water sports. You will find here lots of kitesurfers and windsurfers all year round. Another very busy spot, bordering Los Lances beach, is Playa de Valdevaqueros. In Tarifa, you will find lots of windsurfing schools and renting shops. Recommended to everyone.
2. El Palmar near Conil de la Frontera windsurfing – very long beach, nearly 5 kilometre long, with good surfing schools. It is directly exposed to the wind what makes it absolutely excellent for windsurfers and surfers.
3. Ayamonte windsurfing – located at the border between Spain and Portugal, the tranquil and peaceful Ayamonte offers excellent conditions for windsurfers. The sandy beaches of Isla Canela provide a beautiful backdrop for windsurfing. Because of the proximity of Atlantic Ocean the currents and winds tend to be much stronger here. Recommended to experienced windsurfers.
4. Valdelagrana windsurfing – in Puerto de Santa Maria, near Cadiz – large beach, nearly 2 kilometre long, very popular among windsurfers from Cadiz. There are some good chiringuitos and restaurants near the beach. There is a big parking available there as well.
5. Chiclana de la Frontera windsurfing – nearly 6 kilometre long Playa de la Barrosa is another great windsurfing spot. The winds are moderate here, so it might be a good sport for beginners.
6. Embalse de Bornos windsurfing – big reservoir near Arcos de la Frontera might be a good choice for beginners.
Top windsurfing spots on Costa Tropical
1. La Herradura windsurfing – near Almuñécar on the Costa Tropical – tropical vegetation, beautiful virgin landscape all around you, wide beaches and the blue Mediterranean sea. All this has helped La Herradura become the capital of water sports on Costa Tropical. You will find here windsurfing schools, shops with equipment quality chiringuitos and great atmosphere for windsurfers.
2. Roquetas de Mar windsurfing, near Almeria – this popular resort, boasting more than 10 kilometres of beaches, has become increasingly popular among windsurfers in the recent years. Recommended for beginners.
Large bay with shallow warm water, perfect white sand, the opportunity to run down the sand dunes, one of the largest in Europe. Your kids will fall in love with the Bolonia beach!
There is something for adults as well. First of all, there is plenty of free parking space, a couple of nice restaurants with a splendid view of the beach. Roman Ruins of Baelo Claudio are in a walking distance from the beach .
Check all the important information, helpful tips and opinions on holidays in Bolonia, Spain. Check out Bolonia’s top-ranked attractions, recommended places to stay and best things to do. Read about restaurants serving best food in Bolonia, Andalucia. Plan and book your vacations online now with Best Andalucia guide. Bolonia is an ideal place for lazy summer family holidays.
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If you want to enjoy the best panoramic views of Costa del Sol, the Cable Car in Benalmadena is something you cannot miss. The 15-minute 3-km long cable car ride will take you the summit of Mount Calamorro, around 800 above sea level.
Once you are on the top, you will see several paths with rocky steps and handrails built around the top of the mountain. That’s how you will be able to access several viewing points with sensational panoramic views in all directions of Costa del Sol. Try to plan your ride on a clear, as you will be able to see much more in this way. You will even be able to see Gibraltar, Morocoo or the snowy range of Sierra Nevada!
Twice a day, usually around 1 p.m and 8 p.m., there is a birds of prey show on the top. Make sure you plan your visit around those times as the show is very interesting. You can get close to birds and you will also be able to hold one of the eagles and then get your photo taken. There is a small restaaourant and gifts shop on top of the mountain as well. If you are mountain biker, you will be able to take your bike to the top and go downhill.
To get the best value from your money, we recommend to buy a full Selwo ticket that includes all the three Selwo attractions: Teleferico Benalmadena, Selwo Marina in Benalmadena and Selwo Aventura near Estepona. The full Selwo Ticket is cheapest off season. In winter the full Selwo ticket for an adult costs as little as 30 Euros (as of 2014/15 season)! Another way to save up some money, is to get a 10% discount card from the tourist information centre in Benalmadena.
Selwo Marina in Benalmadena is the only dolphinarium in Andalusia. Out of the 11 dolphinariums in Spain, Selwo Marina is one of the most popular.
Multiple attractions await you in the Benalmadena’s dolphinarium. Altough Selwo Marina is small, each and every experience there is simply unforgettable.
The Dolphin Show, which takes place twice a day, combined with a Sea Lion show, is of course a must-see for everyone. The show includes, for example, fabulous dolphins performing elaborate synchronized swimming with their trainer and catapulting the trainer into the air so that he can perform a dive. Dolphins can perform amazing gymnastic moves themselves – jumps, flips, somersaults 20 feet above the water, easy work.
During the Exotic Birds exhibition, with beautiful parrots flying literally inches above your head, you will understand why parrots can have the intelligence of a 5 year old child. Cockatoos, macaws and African grey parrot are the main actors there. In the Isla de Hielo you will see a small colony of penguins’ awkwardly climbing the rocks, swimming as swift as an arrow and socializing with each other.
Amazonia is another section of Selwo Marina that causes amazement among the visitors. Cuban Boa, Cuvier’s Dwarf Caiman, Poison Dart frog, Red-Bellied Piranhas or Tarantula are the main celebrities here. If you come during the feeding time, you will be able to see how piranhas relentlessly and quickly bite whole chunks of flesh thrown into the water!
To get the best value from your money, we recommend to buy a full Selwo ticket that includes all the three Selwo attractions: Teleferico Benalmadena, Selwo Marina in Benalmadena and Selwo Aventura near Estepona. The full Selwo Ticket is cheapest off season. In winter the full Selwo ticket for an adult costs as little as 30 Euros (as of 2014/15 season)!