Malaga is one of the oldest cities in the world, with a history that reaches back over 2,800 years. As a common departure point for tourists making their way to the beach resorts of Costa del Sol, Malaga is sometimes dismissed as too crowded. Read more.
Malaga is one of the oldest cities in the world, with a history that reaches back over 2,800 years. As a common departure point for tourists making their way to the beach resorts of Costa del Sol, Malaga is sometimes dismissed as too crowded. Stop a while though, and you’ll quickly find that the port city has a charm of its own, with its pretty historical centre, a flourishing cultural scene and some of the best tapas in the Andalucian region.
Mosques, museums and markets
Founded by the Phoenicians around 770 BC, then coming under Roman, Arabic and Christian rule, Malaga’s fascinating history is reflected in her architecture. Start your day at the Castillo de Gibralfaro, which offers the best views across the city from its ramparts, then walk down the path that connects to the restored palace and lush gardens of Alcazaba, a Moorish castle and fortress dating back to the 11th century. At the base of the fortress lie the ruins of a Roman amphitheatre which sometimes has free open-air performances.
Step forward in time and into Malaga’s Gothic cathedral - started in the 16th century when architects began transforming a mosque into a magnificent cathedral - at great expense. The cathedral was never finished and today only has one bell tower, but is beautiful nonetheless and houses incredible treasures and artworks. For a contrast visit Museo Picasso. The renowned artist was born in Malaga and the museum displays an impressive collection of his works - both owned and loaned - in the beautiful setting of the 16th century Buenavista Palace. At lunchtime dive into the bustling Mercado Atarazanas, you’re bound to find the perfect picnic among the colourful stalls of seasonal produce and local dishes.
Sardines by the beach
Daytime temperatures in Malaga rarely dip below 15 degrees - even in winter - but there are plenty of ways to make the heat bearable. One way is to visit La Concepcion botanic gardens, a lush tropical paradise created in the mid 19th century by an English couple where you can easily spend a day wandering amongst the leafy paths. Or head to the beaches where you’ll find restaurants and stalls selling sardines, skewered and grilled, a true local specialty. At night explore Malaga’s many fine tapas bars.
Malaga is compact and easily navigable on foot. The city has a multitude of accommodation options ranging from budget to five star, although it pays to book ahead in summer months as it can get very busy.