Malaga – the capital of the Costa del Sol.
Malaga is situated in southern Spain right in the centre of the Costa del Sol – the major tourist attraction of the country. Birthplace of Picasso and one of the oldest cities in Europe, Malaga is also a perfect place to discover the best of Spanish lifestyle and Andalusian traditions. The sea and the beaches, historical heritage and living traditions offer lots of possibilities for any kind of vacation. When in Malaga, don’t miss the chance to enjoy the traditional Andalusian cuisine, which is by rights considered one of the healthiest diets in the world. The must-try dishes are paella, porra antequerana (Andalusian type of gazpacho), rabo de toro (oxtail stew), pescaíto frito (deep-fried fish), and the list is by no means full.
If sunbathing is not your priority, you should come to Malaga in February to participate in the renowned Carnival, when people dressed in traditional costumes take part in a colorful parade and Flamenco dancing. Another traditional celebration is called the Holy Week and is famous countrywide. The celebrations start on Palm Sunday and continue until Easter Sunday. It’s particularly known for the processions of penitents who wear purple robes and pointed hoods.
Things To Do In Malaga.
In summer, the sea is Malaga’s main attraction. Although La Malagueta is the nearest beach to the city centre, it is not the only option. If you hire a car or decide to stay in one of the hotels in the district called El Palo, you will find more secluded beaches, where you can savor relative solitude and crowd-free sand.
If it’s too cold for swimming, you can go straight to sightseeing, and there is a lot to see. The most important historic buildings are located in the Old Town, the heart of which is the Plaza de la Constitución (Constitution Square). Strolling down such streets as the Pasaje Chinitas, calle Cister, calle Larios, calle Fresca and calle Granada is a pleasant past-time and an easy way to get acquainted with the city’s history. Malaga can boast a nice collection of castles and palaces. The fortress of Alcazaba (built between the 8-11th century) and the Gibralfaro Castle (the 14th century) provide breathtaking views over the city and the sea. The Buenavista Palace, built in the 16th century, houses the Museum of Pablo Picasso – the famous painter who was born in Malaga. Apart from conventional museums, there are also a museum-aquarium called the Aula del Mar and "La Malagueta" Museum dedicated to the tradition of bullfighting.
If sightseeing is not right up your alley, you can always enjoy shopping in Malaga. The main shopping street is calle Marques de Larios. When planning your shopping, don’t forget that most of the stores are closed on Sundays and during the so-called siesta (an afternoon break from 1:30 PM to 2 PM). Being a modern resort, Malaga doesn’t sleep at night. A stunning variety of nightclubs will tempt you to push the boundaries and experiment trying something new every night. One cannot miss the Latin clubs, such as the Andén, Metropol, Vaticano, etc.; for rap and R&B one should go to the Abyssinia or Bar El Sound; the Velvet Club specializes in hardcore and punk, while the Urbano and Village Green in rock and indie.
Those who are planning a longer stay will no doubt enjoy free Salsa classes offered in many bars and discos. And if you wish to combine business with pleasure, you may attend intensive classes of Spanish at Málaga University or one of the numerous private schools in Malaga.
When to come?Malaga has the reputation of one of the warmest cities in Europe. It stays green all year round and is always a great place to visit. However, if it’s a beach holiday that you are seeking, summer is still the best time to come. The trick is that Malaga is situated near the place where the warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea merge with the cold Atlantic currents, thus making waters near Malaga cold for bathing, except for the period from July to October.
How to get to the city centre from the airport?All the flights are handled by Malaga Airport, which is 10.6 km from the city centre. So, if you go by a rental car or by taxi and the traffic is light, it will take you only 15 minutes to reach the downtown. Taxi will cost about €30. As for the car rent, you should bear in mind that summer is a very busy time of year in Malaga, and booking in advance will ensure that there will be cars available. Those who are on a budget would probably prefer to choose the City Bus, which will cost just €2. However, the trip will take about 30 minutes. There is also an electric train, which connects the airport with the railway station in Malaga’s downtown. This will cost the same as the bus and will also take 30 minutes.
How to get around?As any big city, Malaga offers quite a range of transportation possibilities. Firstly, there are the subway and buses, which are cheap and fast. You can also take a taxi. The price varies from €5 (within Malaga city) to €15 and more (if you are with luggage). You will recognize a taxi by its white color and numbers “1-2-3” on the roof, or you can hire a car. However, most tourists prefer the cheapest and the most entertaining way of getting around, which is…. walking. If you are staying in the historic city centre, you will be pleased to find all places of interest within a walking distance.
Where to eat?Eating out in Malaga is a pleasure one cannot miss. This is not just a chance to try new dishes and give due credit to the exquisite savor of the local wines, but also a great opportunity to try the Spanish lifestyle for a change. The best places to eat can be found right in the city centre. The Antigua Casa de Guardia is number one on the must-see list. Here you will discover a variety of Malaga wines, including the famous Malaga Seco, at very reasonable rates: from 80 cents to €1 for a glass. Spain is known for its wines, but it’s also known for the tapas. Tapas are a kind of canapés, which are served everywhere and cost from 50 cents to €1. The Tapeo de Cervantes is arguably the best place for going for tapas, as the Spanish say. If you want to enjoy both the meal and the view, it’s the Parador de Gibralfaro that you need. The restaurant is situated on the hill and provides fantastic views over the city and the sea. However, make sure that your budget can stretch to the prices. You should also try the Adolfo, the Mesón Astorga and El Higuerón, which offer delicious food for quite reasonable prices (starting from €40 for a meal).
Where to stay?An estimated 6 million tourists that flock Malaga every year have no problem with finding where to stay. The only problem they have is the problem of choice. The city is dotted with multiple hotels, hostels and accommodations, which vary in price and style. However, two areas are particularly popular with tourists. Those who prefer sightseeing choose the old town, those who are seeking a vacation on the beach would find it more convenient to live in the area called El Palo, which is closer to the sea. As for the price rates, there’s also a lot to choose from: a standard double room in a budget hostel for €37, the same room will cost €40 - €100 in a mid-range hotel and will start €100 in a luxurious one.