Visiting Malaga - What to See and Do
(Malaga Airport AGP, Spain)
The queen of Spain's Costa del Sol was inspiring enough for Picasso (a native son) and it will surely capture your fancy as well. Malaga
is the centre of the action along this sunny southern Mediterranean stretch, being a hub for travel and a thriving bustling city unto itself. Whether you pass through on the way to a seaside resort or spend your whole trip here, Malaga is up to the task.
This fun-loving beach city is Andalucia
at its liveliest. The bars just line up for your attention at the beaches of La Malagueta and Pedregalejo. The weather is nearly always perfect for strolling around town, moving from restaurant to tavern. The Old Town is another hot spot for evening entertainment, especially on the Calle Granada and around the Plaza de la Merced. If this isn't enough action, the huge nightclubs of Torremolinos
are a quick taxi ride away.
There are also plenty of historic attractions in Malaga. Being the home town of Pablo Picasso, you can bet his art museum is a surefire winner. The hilltop Alcazaba fortress shows off the era of Moorish rule, while the city's Renaissance cathedral casts a sultry glow every night. A couple of days here is all you will need to understand the city's allure.
Ten things you must do in Malaga
- The Picasso Museum is definitely one attraction worth a visit, considering that Malaga is where the great genius grew up. Some of his most important works are on display here, in the restored 16th-century Palacio de Buenavista in the Old Quarter. Much of the 200-piece collection was donated from the family vaults, which means that these are pieces never seen outside of the city.
- Although this isn't the most impressive of Spain's many Alcazabas, the one overlooking Malaga's Old Quarter is still worth a visit if you aren't planning a trip to Granada or Cordoba. The remains of this Moorish fortress date to the 9th century and are in relatively good condition. As a bonus, the views from the site are some of the finest on the whole Costa del Sol.
- Half of the fun of a night out here is wandering around in the balmy night looking for the next stop. You can start on the Calle Larios, the main drag, then tuck into the smaller streets like the Calle Granada. Malaga claims to be the city of 1,001 tascas (taverns / bars), and it just might have that tally covered.
- The current Christian era is best represented by its marvellous cathedral in the centre of town. Built in the 16th century, it is a lovely example of Renaissance architecture and really comes to life after dark when fully illuminated from the outside.
- When evening starts to approach, head to the Plaza de la Constitucion in the very heart of the Old Town. This place is Ground Zero for the social scene of Malaga, where people come to meet up, hang out and make plans. There are cafés along its edge where you can grab a cold beer and tapas, and if there is any kind of celebration happening in the city, this is where you want to be.
- The Paseo del Parque is the destination of choice for Malaga residents when they feel like a weekend stroll. This tidy little oasis of palm trees and sparkling fountains is the ideal escape from the noise and bustle of the streets. If you are lucky, you might even catch a band playing on the outdoor stage.
- Get a glimpse of how the locals go about their shopping at the Atarazanas Market. This essential fresh market is at its best in the early morning, when people come down to buy their food for the day. All kinds of edibles are sold here, from fresh fruit to oysters out of the sea. The cafés that line the market square open for breakfast, so grab a sidewalk table and enjoy the parade of daily life.
- You can't come to Malaga and not hit the beach. There are several to choose from right at the edge of the concrete, and all of them are well-equipped with cafés, bars and shops along the fringe. La Malagueta and Pedregalejo are two of the most popular beaches, bustling by day and by night as the city makes time to enjoy its privileged position on the Costa del Sol.
- Malaga's Contemporary Art Museum is another superb attraction if you want to enjoy some art that doesn't involve Pablo Picasso. Modern art is the focus here, with a steady flow of visiting exhibits from big names around the globe, like Damien Hirst and Alex Katz. Photography and unknown Spanish artists are also significant elements within this vast exhibition hall.
- If you have the time, take a day trip out of Malaga and explore the length of the Costa del Sol. There are some lovely seaside towns to visit like Nerja, where the famous Balcony of Europe promenade is located. If time allows, turn inland and experience the whitewashed villages of the Andalucia hills. Frigiliana is one of the easiest villages to reach from the coast, just in from Nerja. There is also Torremolinos within reach, popular among hippy travellers in the sixties.