Located in the south of Spain, the cultural mecca of Malaga intertwines a sunny yellow-sand coast with a robust urban environment. This city is famous for giving to the world Pablo Picasso, so there are many unique museums, gorgeous buildings and a fascinating history. The region also has some of the nation’s best food. On top of that, the weather is mild, the temperature rarely falls below 10° C and it can get very hot in summer. With so many things to do, here are 7 reasons why this hidden gem should be on your holiday destination list!
1) Beaches and the Costa del Sol
Sandy beaches and the weather are one of the main reasons why Malaga is so popular. There is a very wide variety of beaches available! There are urban beaches near the city that allow you to combine city life with water sports and fun. There are also remote beaches that are almost separated from the rest of the world that enable you to find calm and quiet away from the hustle and bustle. For example there is Playa el Palo which is the city’s original fishing neighbourhood, a place steeped in culture is full of restaurants and bars. Then there is Malagueta Beach which is right next to the city’s old quarter, it is famous and easy to get to. Eastwards from Malagueta beach, more sandy beaches line the coast for a few kilometers.
2) Art and culture
Malaga is a hub of art and culture. This city was the birthplace of the master painter Pablo Picasso. Naturally, the museum was built to honour this son of Malaga – the Picasso Museum. The building combines modern architecture and history in an inventive way, but it’s the amazing examples of this great artist’s work displayed inside that attracts people to visit it. Malaga boasts a wide selection of other museums too, such as the Car Museum, the beautiful Pompidou Centre and the Carmen Thyssen Museum. There are also half a dozen new art galleries, a beautiful modern port area and an art district called Soho.
Being one of the oldest cities in Spain, there are many remnants of its rich past scattered all over the place. The Old Town retains its charming cobbled streets and there is a Roman Amphitheatre on a mountainside. There is the Moorish fortress of Alcazaba with a beautiful view of the city and Gilbralfaro castle which is like a portal to a bygone time. There is also the Cathedral of Malaga, a captivating Renaissance structure, nicknamed La Manquita, “one-armed lady”, because one of its towers was never finished.
4) Malagan Nightlife
Since Malaga is the capital of the Costa del Sol, the biggest attractions here are the numerous beach bars that are open both night and day. Malaga is known for its music. There’s an enormous selection of music bars and cafes, and no shortage of nightclubs either. Plaza de Uncibay is home to most of Malagan nightlife, including the area near the Cathedral of Malaga and the streets around the square. La Malagueta is a modern district where young people gather filled with bars, pubs and clubs. Malaga’s most famous pub is La Guarida, an excellent place to have unique drinks at cheap prices before partying downtown. As for clubs Andén is one of the biggest and most famous and Theatro has live performances every day of the week. These are only the most well-known places, within them and around the city there is so much more to do, go explore!
5) Andalusian Cuisine
Malaga has a unique gastronomy and some of the best tapas (a type of appetiser or snack) in the country. After all that swimming and walking in the sun, a good meal is called for! For breakfast you could try Pitufos. These are little breakfast sandwiches that are usually filled with tomatoes, olive oil and cured ham. Another option is Tejeringos, a fried-dough pastry specialty of Malaga. For lunch you could have the Fritura Malaguena, a mix of different fish fried with olive oil and fresh flour. To wind things down for the evening you could have a Malaga salad which is a tapa consisting of salt cod and oranges, along with an Ajo Blanco, a traditional cold soup made with garlic and blanched almonds to get you started and a plate of anchovies to seal the deal.
Even though mainly a port city, Picasso’s hometown isn’t a slouch when it comes to natural beauty on land, either. The Parque de Málaga in the city center is a beautiful place. The lush towering palm trees provide lots of shade over the three main pathways. The most interesting features of the park are the ornate pieces of baroque and renaissance sculptures and fountains surrounded by subtropical plants. Then there is one of the most famous botanical gardens in Europe: The Garden La Concepcion. This is an English-style landscaped garden with some 2,000 plant species from five continents. Fountains, waterfalls, stairways and even a palace grace the Garden La Conception, as well as a small museum full of artifacts from a noble family of American origin that created the Garden more than a century ago!
7) The Water parks
Malaga is a port city, as such it has no shortage of fun things to do out on its sunny waters. Arguably the most popular attractions in this category are the three water parks: Aquavelis, Aqualand, and Aquamijas. Of these, Aquavelis is the most family oriented and preferred by locals. It has eight slides, including two very fast ones and a children’s one and two large swimming pools. Aqualand is the largest and includes landscaped gardens, attractions and swimming pools. There are 19 water slides for adults and 15 slides for children.
It also has Europe’s highest water slide, the 22m high ‘Kamikaze’ – not for the faint of heart! Aquamijas is the smallest of the three, it is suited to families with smaller children. You can sit in the middle of the park and keep an eye on the kids while they try out all the attractions. All three parks include places to eat as well as large gardens and picnic areas, perfect for a day trip!