I GOT married in southern Spain – and a decade later I’m back with the wife and our two kids.
But rather than romantic relaxation on a sunlounger with a sangria in hand, I’m whizzing through a rainforest on a zip-wire, struggling to keep up with my two daughters, Savannah, 10, and Scarlett, eight.
They loved every second of their three hours at Aventura Amazonia, the largest tree top adventure park in Spain, just outside Marbella.
Unlike me, the youngsters had no issues launching themselves down ziplines and crossing precarious, wobbling rope bridges.
Thankfully, they were too short to attempt the Monkey Jump, a daring jump into the void from a 12-metre high platform.
High time to make the short drive back to our hotel – the Wyndham Grand Residences Costa Del Sol in Mijas – for a stiff drink on our stunning, sea-view terrace and a dip in the hot tub.
With aching muscles soothed, we headed out for a romantic meal – for four – at the hotel’s Safari restaurant.
After our adrenaline-packed afternoon, we decided to treat ourselves to the full Spanish experience by ordering the show-stopper seafood paella washed down with a smooth Rioja.
The resort offers the best of both worlds for holidaymakers, with one, two and three bedroom suites equipped with slick and spacious kitchens for those who wish to self-cater and plenty of space to spread out in the open-plan living and dining areas.
Even the one-bedroom suites were roomy enough for a family of four, with a separate bedroom and sofa bed in the lounge – perfect for those with young children as there is always somewhere for the adults to relax once the little ones are in bed.
All suites have balconies or terraces and you can choose from garden or sea views and even upgrade to one with an al-fresco hot tub.
And while our children insisted on joining us in the evenings, the hotel offers a Kids’ Club for four to 11-year-olds.
This free service offers a range of activities, including multi-sports, cookery classes, movie nights and mini-discos.
The next day was a more sedate affair.
With the sun blazing, we spent the day chilling by the pool, with the occasional stroll to the nearby Cascades bar for coffees, ice-creams and bottles of the local Malaga beer.
The heated pool was extremely popular with young families, so we found it slightly quieter to sit by the large pool close to the excellent Sunrise restaurant that is open for lunches and drinks.
If you need a snooze afterwards there are half a dozen cabanas perched on the immaculate landscaped lawns, looking out towards the Mediterranean Sea.
We were soon itching to explore again and in spectacular Andalucia, we were spoilt for choice.
We opted to jump on the train for a 40-minute ride into Malaga, a city whose history dates back some 2,800 years.
Once overlooked as a gateway to the coastal resorts, the hip and elegant city is now a destination in its own right.
The family were spell-bound by the buzzing Picasso museum which holds hundreds of his paintings, sculptures and prints.
For some peace and quiet, we climbed to the top of the Alcazaba, an Arab fortress high above the bustling city with breathtaking views.
And we couldn’t return home without seeking out a traditional Spanish flamenco show.
A weekly performance, each Wednesday at midday in nearby Mijas Pueblo, entertained us along with hordes of tourists of all ages in the dazzling central square.
Closer to our base, we headed out on a few trips to explore the local area.
For the nearest beach, we jumped on the hotel ‘train’ which saves you a 400 metre walk down the steep path to the golden sands of El Castillo.
From here, you can pick up a pathway into ever-popular Fuengirola for a wide range of bars and restaurants.
If you are after a traditional dish as you walk along the beach, do make a stop at one of the dozens of Chiringuitos – beach BBQ bars – serving skewers of sardines sprinkled with sea salt, along with other fresh fish and seafood.
Down at Fuengirola port, we booked a trip on the Bombay Sapphire yacht for a sunset cruise. Costing around £30 for adults and £12 for children, it was worth every penny.
The two-hour trip, which includes a constant flow of prosecco, beers, soft drinks and snacks, sailed along the spectacular coastline to watch the sun disappear behind the mountains.
We had tried – and failed – to book a daytime dolphin cruise but with the number of British tourists flocking back to the region, the tickets were sold out weeks in advance.
Although we missed out on the dolphins, we won’t be waiting another ten years for our next trip to the Costa del Sol.
GO: COSTA DEL SOL
GETTING THERE: Compare flights to Malaga from airports across the UK at skyscanner.net – prices from £21 one-way in June.
COVID: Travellers over 12 must be fully- vaccinated or show proof of recovery from Covid in the last six months. If your second dose was more than 270 days before entry to Spain you must show proof of a booster jab.
STAYING THERE: A one-bedroom suite with kitchen, living and dining area sleeping four is from £92.95 per night.
OUT & ABOUT: See visitcostadelsol.com