Capital of the Costa del Sol, Malaga offers sea, mountains, good weather… and thousands more attractions. The influence of Arabic, Roman and Andalusi art can be felt in its streets and monuments, like the Palace of the Alcazaba or Gibralfaro Castle, and in its plazas, fountains and gardens. Joy and light are two of the traits of its personality. Its beaches, true jewels of the coast, delight thousands of tourists every year who come to this Andalusian city to enjoy their holidays. The small fishing villages and natural surroundings impress all who see them. Good food, fairs and traditions also abound in this province that leaves no-one indifferent.
NATURE IN ITS PUREST STATE
If you want a change of scenery and to enjoy nature, visit the Montes de Malaga Natural Park. At only 5 kilometres from Malaga, it is one of the closest Natural Parks to a big city anywhere in Europe. For a more exotic, tropical atmosphere, visit the Historical-Botanical Garden of La Concepcion: the jewel of Malaga. It is the most beautiful and most important tropical garden in the Peninsula and one of the best in all Europe.
The historical legacy of Malaga is enormous. To get to know this beautiful city close up, there is nothing better than to take a stroll through the centre and transport ourselves into the past, through the art that surrounds us every step of the way. The first can’t-miss visit is to the Alcazaba. Built by the Muslims on the remains of an old Roman fortress, in the 11th century, it is located on a hilltop with outstanding views. Behind this building is Gibralfaro Castle, dating back to the 14th century.
Very close by, we find the first-century Roman Theatre. Without doubt, one of the monuments with most personality in the city is the Cathedral, in Plaza del Obispo. It is also known as La Manquita, (“One Armed”) because one of its spires remains unfinished. Inside, it houses an interesting museum. Just next to it is the Episcopal Palace, one of the best examples of Malagan civil architecture.
The footprint of the numerous peoples who have passed through this zone can also be seen in the Basilica and the Royal Sanctuary of Santa Maria de la Victoria, in the Sagrario Church, Santiago Church, San Felipe Neri Church and the Convent of San Agustin. Enter the Palace of the Marquis of Valdeflores and feel the early 19th-century customs of this city. The Arabic mosaics which cover its walls and central patio are spectacular. Some of the rooms of the Convent of San Francisco today form part of the Maria Cristina Royal Conservatory, home of the Malaga Philharmonic. To add to all this, the great variety of gardens and fountains complete an essential route around the city. Also recommendable is a visit to the Genova Fountain, fruit of the Italian Renaissance. And among the many plazas of Malaga, you should not miss a visit to Plaza de la Constitucion, the historical and political centre of the city and a meeting point for many Malagans.
The AVE station in Malaga is just a 10-minute walk from the historical city centre. Inaugurated in 2007, it is already one of the busiest in the peninsula and connects with Madrid and Barcelona by high-speed train, stopping at Cordoba, Ciudad Real and Zaragoza. Within the station itself, there is a shopping centre and four-star hotel. Malaga is well communicated and offers all of the public transport services that you could require. Choose between a great variety of options to move around the city and also to get to know the surrounding areas. We recommend a ride in one of the traditional horse-drawn carriages though, if you have time, a relaxing stroll is also well worth the time.
Apart from the monuments, culture and gastronomy, Malaga also has kilometres of beaches to meet all tastes. From the very busiest, in the city itself, like La Malagueta and Pedregalejo, to the more distant, tranquil beaches, like Guadalmar and Peñon del Cuervo. After a busy morning enjoying the enormous artistic heritage, there is nothing better than to spend a relaxing afternoon sunbathing and taking a dip. All of the beaches are accessible, safe and convenient. And highly recommended is the sight of the sunrise in Malaga from anywhere in the city but especially from the beaches or the seafront promenades. A true spectacle of nature, free of charge!
Visit the Atarazanas Market – people and the hustle and bustle of the numerous stalls selling different produce. And after that, recover your strength with the traditional chocolate con churros, deep-fried dough with a cup of thick cocoa, in any of the dozens of cafeterias in the area. If you like getting together with the people, you cannot miss the popular Verdiales festival. This is an ancestral celebration from pre-Roman times in which colour, flowers and music take centre stage. And, speaking of tradition, you can also enjoy the dozens of flamenco shows or the Malaga Fair. It has been held every August for over 500 years and goes back to the taking of the city by the Catholic Monarchs.
Traditional and creative Mediterranean cuisine go hand-in-hand in Malaga. Fish is the undisputed centrepiece of an infinite number of dishes, such as “pescaíto frito”, traditional fried fish, and the “espeto”, a skewer of grilled sardines. Local meat and vegetables also occupy a leading place.
And signature cuisine is gaining ground. Over recent years, this Andalusian city has earned its place on the circuits of the best restaurants offering this type of cuisine. But if you prefer a more informal meal and to try a little bit of everything, enjoy the numerous tapas, from the best known, traditional ones to the most innovative. There are thousands of bars and establishments where you can enjoy them accompanied by a delicious local wine. And for those with a sweet tooth, one of the specialities of Malaga is its bakery products, cakes and creamy ice creams.
If you like shopping, explore the ample, varied offer of shops in Malaga. From shopping centres to small shops in the city centre to street markets, you will find everything: crafts, antiques, works of art… but also clothes, shoes, handbags and no end of different kinds of gifts and souvenirs. Just in the historical city centre, there are over 1,000 establishments in the area between Calle Larios, Calle Carreteria, Calle Alamos and Calle Alcazabilla. They offer a great day’s shopping while you also enjoy the wealth of monuments in all of their splendour.
And don’t leave the city without visiting some of its 29 museums, most located in the heart of the historical city centre. From religious and popular arts to the most modern, such as the Malaga Contemporary Art Centre which displays some of the works and tendencies of the world’s leading artists. Another of these fascinating museums is the Carmen Thyssen Malaga Museum which houses 230 costumbrist works by 19th-century Spanish painters. You can also visit the original Malaga Motor Museum with its collection of 86 classic cars.
The Museum of Glass and Crystal is the only one of its kind in Andalusia, with collections of Bohemian and Chinese crystal dating back to the 17th century. And we must not forget to highlight the figure of Picasso, to be found in the Casa Natal Museum, in his birth house, and the Picasso Museum with the largest private collection in the world.