Stop. Before you get there. In Spain...

JanBaby, pixabay

Whether you’re on a city break, heading down to the coast or into the great outdoors, renting a car abroad keeps you in control of your holiday and helps you get the most from your experience. Often the journeys are as memorable as the destinations themselves; stopping off to see natural wonders and picturesque towns gives you a greater sense of connection to the country you’re visiting. With Hertz you can have just that: a hassle-free experience with a great range of vehicles to choose from, whether you want to feel the coastal breeze through your hair in a convertible, tackle winding country roads in a four-wheel drive or zoom around in a small, fun city car.

Coffee at the Picasso Museum

Málaga’s best-known art museum, the Picasso Museum, is housed in the beautiful 16th-century Palacio de Buenavista, the internal courtyard of which is a great place to stop-off and refuel with a morning coffee. And if you’ve time during your stop over, have a wonder around this superbly maintained museum to see some of the finest works of Malaga’s famous son, who was born just up the street – on Plaza de la Merced – in 1881. The museum was opened in 2003 by Christine and Bernard Ruiz-Picasso, Picasso’s daughter-in-law and grandson, and the permanent collection features over 200 works from every stage of the artist’s prolific career.

Opening Times: July – August: 10am–8pm, Sep – October: 10am–7pm, Nov – Feb: 10am–6pm, March – Jun: 10am–7pm

The courtyard of Málaga’s Picasso Museum | © Martin Haisch / Flickr

Málaga Cathedral

After coffee with Picasso, you needn’t even park your car in order to reach your next stop, as it’s just a five-minute walk away to Málaga’s great cathedral, known locally as ‘La Manquita’, or ‘The One-Armed Woman’, due to its uncompleted second tower. Built between 1528 and 1782 near to the site of an early Almohad mosque, original plans for this huge Renaissance and Baroque-style cathedral had included two towers, but the second was never built because of a lack of funds. Construction dragged on for over 200 years before the Mayor of Málaga commissioned Aragonese architect José Martín de Aldehuela (1729–1802) to finish the cathedral off in the late 18th century. Aldehuela’s other iconic contributions to the province include Ronda’s stunning ‘New Bridge’ (see below) and bullring.

Opening Times: Mon – Fri, 10am–6pm; Sat, 10am–5pm; Sun, 2pm–6pm

© Grisha Bruev/Shutterstock | © Grisha Bruev/Shutterstock

Lunch at La Alcazaba Restaurant in Mijas Pueblo

Once you’ve taken in Málaga’s huge cathedral, it’ll be time to stop off for lunch – the most important meal of the day in Spain and one which often lasts for two or three hours. For some of the best views in the province, head about 20 miles (30 mins drive) out of Malaga to La Alcazaba restaurant in the whitewashed village of Mijas, where donkeys are still used as taxis. Opened five years ago by a group of young entrepreneurs, Alcazaba offers a high-end, pan-Mediterranean menu that can be enjoyed in one of several spaces with panoramic views over the countryside and ocean.

Opening Times: Tues – Sun: 12.30am–4pm, 7pm–11pm, Mon: Closed

Ronda Old Town

You’ll be reluctant to tear yourself away from Alcazaba, but a stop off at Ronda – located about an hour and half’s drive to the north of Mijas – is well worth the detour. The clifftop location of this beautiful pueblo blanco has led to it being one of the most visited locations in the province. The original Moorish part of Ronda: La Ciudad – or The Town – is a typically labyrinthine web of cobbled lanes centred around the main thoroughfare, Calle Armiñan, on the south side of Puente Nuevo. The best time to explore this ancient barrio (Ronda was under Muslim dominion from 712 to 1485) is in the evening or at night, when the coach-loads of tourists are in their restaurants or hotels on the other side of the El Tajo canyon.

Ronda | © Atly/Shutterstock

Ronda New Bridge

Cruise through El Tajo, Ronda’s epic Puente Nuevo, or New Bridge, which links El Mercadillo (The Little Market), the newer part of town, with La Ciudad. Completed in 1793, it took some 40 years and the lives of 50 construction workers to build. For just 2.50 euros you can park up and visit the museum in a little stone-walled cavern in the middle of the bridge, which was used as a prison throughout the 19th century and during Spain’s Civil War of 1936–1939. It is also said that during the Civil War both Republican and Nationalist prisoners whose luck had run out were thrown from the bridge to their deaths.

Opening Times: Mon to Friday 10.00am–18.00pm (19.00 spring and summer), Saturday 10.00am–13.45pm and 15.00pm–18.00pm, Sunday 10.00am–15.00pm

Puente Nuevo | © K. Roy Zerloch/Shutterstock

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