This lively, cosmopolitan port city is the gateway to Spain’s ever-bustling Costa del Sol. With its Moorish architecture, superb climate and beautiful beaches, it’s now one of the country’s most popular seaside destinations.
There’s plenty in the way of history and culture too, and if you’re after a bit of variety on your hols, the resorts of Torremolinos and Marbella are easily reached for a day. There’s a wide range of accommodation, from budget self-catering apartments to big five-star hotels. Year-round temperatures are good but May, June and September are ideal if you want to avoid the crowds in the height of summer.
Getting there/around Malaga
There’s a fantastic local bus service in Malaga, and a journey anywhere in the city, regardless of the distance you want to travel is a standard 60p. There’s also a tourist bus so you can take a guided tour.
There are loads of taxis and the fare from the airport into the city shouldn’t set you back any more than £10. If you want to explore more of the beautiful Andalucian countryside, then hiring a car may be the best option.
There are several beaches in and around the city. Playa Caleta, is clean, has good facilities and is a short walk from the town centre. The promenade behind it has lots of restaurants and bars if you fancy a snack.
La Malagueta is just over one kilometre long and again it’s a clean beach with good watersports, showers and plenty of sun loungers for hire. The promenade behind the beach is lovely for an evening stroll too.
Art lovers will be in heaven as Picasso was born here and his house, the Casa Natal de Picasso, is open to visitors. Also visit the new Picasso museum, a 16th- century palace which has a large collection of his works, donated by his daughter-in-law. The Museo de Bellas Artes has a good collection of Ribera, Zurbaran, Murillo and Alonso Cano.
Also check out the Alcazaba, or fortress, and the Gibralfaro, an 8th-century Muslim castle as both are really spectacular.
Malaga family attractions
There’s tons to keep the whole family entertained. In nearby Torremolinos, you’ll find the huge slides of Aqualand as well as a chance to get up close and personal with crocs at Crocodile Park.
If you want to instil a bit of culture into your loved ones, then take them to Malaga’s Museo de Artes y Costumbres Populares, the Museum of Popular Art, where there’s a top collection of little clay figures (barros).
Malaga day trips
To get away from it all for a bit of adventure, head into the dramatic surrounding countryside. To the north of Malaga lies the Sierra de las Nieves national park, near Ronda. It’s a great place to go hiking and to check out some amazing prehistoric rock art.
Ronda itself is incredibly picturesque too, or you could visit the city of Granada to marvel at the Alhambra, one of the finest examples of a medieval Arab palace in the world.
Traditional Malagan cuisine is predominantly based around flash-fried fresh fish. Fritura malagueno is a delicious mixture of fish, anchovies and squid, which is best washed down with a glass of the local sweet wine, moscatel.
You’ll probably have heard of gazpacho too, a cold tomato, garlic and veggie soup which is also a local speciality. But if you’re missing your home comforts and fancy some British food, there are a couple of mini supermarkets that cater for the ex-pat crowd and sell all your favourites such as Marmite aand Walkers crisps.
There’s buzzing nightlife year-round in the resort and after you’ve had your fill of wandering slowly from tapas bar to tapas bar, hit the clubs to dance it off. You’ll find most of the action along Calle Granada which is lined with bars, restaurants and nightclubs which seem to stay open all night. If you want to party with the locals, then don’t hit the dancefloor until at least 11pm.
Be sure to catch a traditional flamenco performance too. A great way to find out what’s going on is to grab a copy of the English edition of the local daily newspaper El Sur.
There’s everything a serious shopper could want in Malaga. The best areas for a splurge are Centro Comercial and Malaga Plaza where good buys include rugs, blankets, ceramics, leather goods (shoes, boots, bags, belts, jackets etc) and pottery.
Remember that the Spanish always take a siesta in the middle of the day so the shops will shut for around three hours. Don’t worry though – you won’t lose shopping time as they then stay open late into the night.