How to Spend a Week in Costa del Sol With Kids

When it comes to action-packed family getaways, Costa del Sol won’t disappoint. From its thrilling waterparks in Torremolinos to zip-lining the Andalusia tropics, fun is at the heart of this resort. Famous for its 125 sun-kissed beaches, little ones will have no problem building sandcastles or hiring a pedalo. And when you’re not jet-skiing the Mediterranean, there’s an array of inexpensive beachfront eateries with menus for smaller appetites.

This Spanish hotspot has some of the mildest winters in Europe providing endless opportunities to escape with the whole clan. So grab your newborns, tiny tots and thriving teens, as we explore how to spend a week in Costa del Sol with the kids.

Day 1 - Stretch out on over 800m of beach

baby relaxing on the beach in chair

Highlights for families:

- Baby changing facilities
- Three volleyball courts
- Fun-filled play park
- Ice cream parlours

After a day of travelling, there’s no better way to relax than with the sand between your toes. Luckily for you, Costa del Sol has an impressive line-up of coastal delights including the Blue Flag-awarded Burriana Beach. Based in Nerja, light waves and shallow depths make the swimming conditions perfect for paddling. And there’s a whole range of watersports including banana boats and parasailing to keep active-types entertained.

When you’re not catching rays from your rented sunbed, kayaking adventures to Maro cliffs are a must. Float past waterfalls before exploring hidden caves and discovering bird habitats. Don’t be afraid to jump in the Mediterranean for a spot of snorkelling along the way.

Forgot to pack those all-important armbands? Or, maybe you want to splash out on a fancy inflatable. Either way, you’ll find shops teeming with buckets and spades, rubber rings and extra suncream. When it comes to food, this flawless stretch is backed by a promenade of restaurants specialising in barbecued meats and there’s a handful of bars dishing out fruity concoctions.

Top tip: For budget-friendly fare, Restaurante Ayo is famous for its huge paellas cooked on an open fire. For around €6 you can indulge in traditional Spanish fare and even go back for seconds.

Day 2 - Get wet and wild at Aqualand Torremolinos

family on inflatable in the water

Highlights for families:

- 15 kids slides
- Lifeguards in all areas
- Home to the highest waterslide in Europe
- 18-hole mini golf course

When you need an upgrade from the hotel pool, Aqualand Torremolinos should be on your to-do list. As the largest waterpark in Costa del Sol, there’s no such thing as ‘I’m bored’. With over 20 attractions at your disposal, adrenaline-seekers can make a beeline for the Boomerang and its vertical drop, while mini swimmers will race down small slides or shoot water from cannons at Kidz World. Over at Surf Beach, there's a wave pool and bubbling hot tub surrounded by sunloungers tempting you to relax.

Before you take on the wild rapids and Kamikaze, grab a bite to eat at the buffet restaurant teeming with pastas, pizzas as well as home classics such as fish fingers and chips. There’s also a snack spot dishing out hot dogs and burgers. Once you’re refueled, go head-to-head as you freefall down the Speed Racer, or check out the giant aquatic mushroom with its exciting splash zones. Make sure you complete the day with a pitstop at the gift shop for a souvenir.

Top tip: Upon arrival you can snap up fast pass tickets for €16 allowing you to skip the queues on your favourite rides.

Day 3 - Horse ride the Andalusian countryside

little girl stroking a pony

Highlights for families:

- Suitable for all ages
- Different trails and experiences
- Pony rides for little ones
- Only 30 minutes from Marbella

Whether you’re an experienced rider or a total newbie, taking in Costa del Sol’s breathtaking scenery on horseback will be unforgettable. Mini travellers as young as four can enjoy pony rides led by walking staff members, while parents gallop beside them admiring mountain views. You'll spend two hours exploring the Andalucian countryside. While trotting between quaint coastal towns and villages, you'll be able to spot places like Gaucin, Gibraltar and even the northern tip of Africa.

Extend your day with a four-hour trek along Rio Genal river where you’ll encounter cascading waterfalls. And for those who are comfortable horse riding, take advantage of full day adventures along the beach which include plenty of cantering.

Top tip: If you want to make your trip extra special, private rides are available for birthdays and romantic gestures. You can also request exclusive experiences for yourself and the family with your very own tour guide.

Day 4 - Climb the treetops at Aventura Amazonia

Little kid doing an aerial course in the trees

Highlights for families:

- 103 outdoor challenges for all ages
- Largest zipline in Costa del Sol
- Group games
- Open all year round

When your tiny tots need to burn off some energy, Aventura Amazonia and its six circuits will do the trick. It’s the largest adventure park in the Andalusia region and you’ll find it in the heart of Marbella. Kids as young at four can pretend to be Spiderman as they climb a web of nets three floors high. And did we mention the mini ziplines and archery classes?

For those seeking a challenge, the sports circuit has the highest difficulty rating and is nine metres above ground. Teenagers and adults alike will make their way across treetop platforms before freefalling 12 metres (if you dare) off its jumping platform. But if you want to take it easy, there’s a crafts workshop and native garden where little ones can learn about nature.

Top tip: After soaring, climbing and jumping across over 83 different activities, walk to Elvira beach for adventures of the sandy kind.

Day 5 - Spot your favourite animals at Selwo Marina

kids watching the sealion at the zoo

Highlights for families:

- Meet more than 1,000 animals
- Three tasty dining options
- Live shows
- Educational talks

Selwo Marina is a sea life park and conservation centre in Benalmadena where you can encounter species from around the world, as well as learn how to protect their natural habitat. Split into five zones, you’ll discover the only ice penguinarium in Costa del Sol, catch educational talks about dolphins and watch exotic bird presentations.

Little ones fascinated with creepy crawlies should head straight for the Amazon area where dart frogs and reptiles await. Over at Los Tropicos you’ll be transported to the jungle with monkeys and iguana encounters. And for a truly unique experience, meet the sea lions!

It’s easy to spend the day here and you won’t go hungry in doing so. Las Delicias is your go-to for ice creams, crepes and all things sweet. While La Colonial has a self service section with burgers straight from the grill and hot dogs covered in onions. For a quick fix, there are kiosks serving snacks and slushies.

Top tip: Never miss a live show when you download the Selwo Marina app. Simply set up your alerts and you’ll be notified of any activities. Not to mention you’ll have access to a park map, restaurant guides and tickets at the touch of a button.

Day 6 - Visit the world’s smallest chocolate factory

chocolate being made in a factory

Highlights for families:

- Workshops
- Tasting sessions
- Ice cream parlour
- Museum dedicated to chocolate

Calling all chocolate lovers, this one’s for you! Hidden away in Mijas lies the Mayan Monkey chocolate factory and all its gooey delights. As you walk through the door you’ll be greeted by the aroma of cocoa before exploring how its famous chocolate creations are made. Knowledgeable staff will share stories of its origins while you stuff your face with mouth-watering goodies, do we need to say more?

Workshops allow you and your little bakers to get creative with over 54 flavours ready to tantalise your taste buds. From nutty dark options to creamy milk bars stuffed with honeycomb and marshmallows, there’s enough sugary goodness to tempt any sweet tooth. Children as young as three will mould, decorate and sample their very own chocolate bars. And when you’re finished, you can tour the museum or head straight to the ice cream shop for further indulgence.

Top tip: Go on an empty stomach!

Day 7 - Inflatable fun at Costa Waterpark

Kids tackling an inflatable obstacle course

Highlights for families:

- Various locations
- Open until 8pm
- Fun for all ages
- Life jackets provided

Located 50 metres off the shores of Benalmadena and Fuengirola is an all-singing, all-dancing inflatable water obstacle course. Waterslides will see you plummet into the Mediterranean while jumping cushions and trampolines will challenge you to keep your balance. Adrenaline junkies will head straight for the wobbly bridges and climbing walls. But can you take on the monkey bars without falling in?

This floating playground will have the whole family running, climbing and crawling to the finish line. As for age limits, all generations are welcome, but tiny tots under six must be accompanied by an adult. And if you don’t feel like getting wet, you’ve got miles of golden sands to stretch out on.

Top tip: Don’t just stop at one, there are three courses to complete around the Costa del Sol coast.

Danielle Gunner

About the author

As a frequent jetsetter, Danielle is an expert in all things travel. From foodie trips in Rome to hunting down the best beaches in the Balearics and Christmas shopping in New York. She’s also the mum of a very cute but mischievous toddler, meaning she has some great family holiday hacks too. Check out all her travel tips & tricks!