When you say Marbella, people quickly think of luxury and the beach. Jet sets, shop windows full of Gucci and Chanel, chic cocktails, expensive champagne bottles and big cars. 

But there is more than that... Marbella also has an undiscovered side in that regard. In this blog I will tell you about the local side and what to see when you are in the Costa del Sol. The cute narrow streets, golden beaches and loving people.

First tip: rent a car! To reach the places where there is no mass tourism, you often cannot come by public transport. That's why it's handy to have a car at your disposal and go out and about!

  • If you have enough time it is a nice idea to make a day trip to Zahara de la Sierra. This is one of the most beautiful villages of the Sierra de Cádiz. With barely 2.000 inhabitants, this town is located 16 kilometers north of Grazalema, stretched out under the rock on which the spectacular castle is built. You can see Zahara de la Sierra in the distance long before you reach this beautiful village, which is full of charming squares and sloping streets that adapt to the terrain along different levels. The best photos are taken from the vantage point just before you enter the village. You will also find breathtaking views from the Alameda de Lepanto viewpoint, halfway down Calle Ronda. When you walk around the village, you will see beautiful streets and many houses with colorful flowerpots. If you love nature and rest, this is the perfect place for you to visit. 

Zahara de la Sierra | Alcalaina | Flickr

  • Nearby Marbella you will find a small village called Ojén. If you are thinking about moving to Costa del Sol, this place could be a great opportunity for you, because this village was added to the list of the 50 best places to live by The Times Magazine and that is not surprising when you consider the pleasant atmosphere that surrounds it. Ojén has a number of sights that you can visit; the mill museum, the caves and the church. You can also enjoy local refreshments such as 'Bolo de Hinojos'. That's a chickpea stew. Or try the 'Salmorejo', or the cold tomato soup; Gazpacho. This is the perfect place for active travelers and nature lovers. Ojén is located in a green hilly area where you can enjoy walking. You can take a hike to the Sierra Blanca or to the Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park. The closest viewpoint from the village is the hiking trail to the monument of the mountain goat, an important animal for the mountain people for centuries.

File:Ojen.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

  • If you want a day off, but also then want to avoid the mass tourism, you should go to Saladillo Beach. This place is a very popular beach for the local people, so it will be busy and you need to be there early to secure your place. You can have a drink at one of the bars and eat a Spanish paella. This beach is a few kilometers from Estepona. This is also a very popular place for families and there are toilets and showers at your disposal. This beach is 3 kilometers long and 35 meters wide. 
  • You do not have to go far away for a lovely day in the Costa del Sol. The old town of Marbella has a lot to offer. Here you will see the other side of the city and meet the local people and see their 'normal life'. You won't see jetsets, big cars and other luxious. This place has a lot of history. When you go here, you have to go to the most popular square Plaza de los Naranjos. There are a lot of cute small streets and you will love it! If you love history, this is a good place for you. There are many historical buildings you can visit, so you can make a day trip of it and let fully inform you about all the history this place has to offer. 

File:Marbella old town (5).jpg - Wikimedia Commons

  • Living the life like a local and eat like them cannot miss during your stay in Costa del Sol. Spanish people drink a lot of wine, for fun and when eating. That is why you need to go to Bodega Morosanto in Ronda. For all the winelovers this is probably the best part of the whole trip ;) This place produces more than 60.000 bottles of wine PER YEAR! It is a great experience to be guided by real wine connoisseurs. Here you will learn all about the winemaking process and what happens to the wine during each stage of maturation. And of course... you can taste the wine after the guidetour.

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