The Andalucían coastline is a beautiful part of the world, full of tourist hotspots and stellar cultural locations that exist off the beaten track. The 45 kilometre route from Málaga to Calahonda is a great stretch to discover lesser known gems, where the discerning traveller can really see what this region of Spain is about. Driving is the best way to access these towns, and there are taxis from Málaga airport that can shuttle you all round the local area. |
Molino de Inca Botanical Gardens
The first stop is Torremolinos, and it’s small but stunning gardens. It is a wonder of bucolic paradise, all the better for its relative anonymity behind the more popular Aqualand Water Park. With rich trees and foliage, connected by garden furniture that melts into the lush green background, the Molino de Inca feels like a million miles from anywhere.
That sense of rapture cocoons its visitors, regardless of whether botany is your bag. But if flora is your passion, there are 300 species of tree – 150 of palm alone – and all manner of ferns, bushes, shrubs, flowers and aquatic plants to wrap your eyes and camera lens around. Add to that a renovated medieval flour mill, Japanese water garden and an exotic bird collection – the treats are never-ending.
Crocodiles of the World
Slightly less zen is this crocodile farm. With a focus on conservation and respect, this reservoir for one of the world’s most dangerous animals is almost unique. Even the bravest traveller will be unnerved by a staring contest with this prehistoric carry-over. While you’re there you can hold a baby crocodile; attend talks about the animals, and observe feeding time with the great predator.
Colomares has a curious provenance: an American doctor surprised at the lack of tributes for Christopher Columbus in Europe, built an elaborate fairy-tale castle in his spare time to mark the discovery of America (which Columbus did representing Spain). It’s a grand monument to Columbus’ life, with numerous references to his exploits manifested in the architecture itself.
This is as much a symbol of the determination of one man to make something as it is for Columbus, but still well worth the visit. Perched on a hill near the ocean, enveloped in trees, €2 is a fine price.
The Stupa in Benalmádena
A little south of Torremolinos is the largest stupa in the western world. The stupa – a roughly, domed temple of meditation – was built under the guidance of Lopon Tchechu Rinpoche, a Buddhist, in the 1980s. A striking white monument perched on top of a hill, this is unlike anything else in Andalucía. Thirty metres tall and boasting nearly 100 square metres of meditation space, this is a great spot to be alone and at one with yourself.
How to Get to Calahonda
There are great flight links from London to Málaga’s international airport, from a variety of operators, all of which are direct. There are also several shuttle companies offering pre-booked taxis from Málaga airport to wherever – Calahonda is 30 minutes away so you won’t need to waste your holiday time in the queues that inevitably clog the exit of the Arrivals terminal.
Lukas Johannes is a driver for Shuttle Direct, the number one provider of shared and private airport transfers all over Europe and northern Africa. If you’re looking for affordable taxis from Malaga airport, Lukas and his colleagues can make sure that you and your luggage get to and from the airport swiftly and safely.
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