Due to its proximity to some of Europe’s largest resorts, Malaga itself is often overlooked as a destination, it is however perfect for a long weekend; especially as a quick escape from the cold of the northern Winter.
There are lots of flights from almost any UK airport, and at most times of year there are bargains to be had – apart from the peaks in Summer and at Christmas.
The city is very compact, so stay central and you won’t have to travel far to get anything. Being southern Spain, dining is late; most restaurants get going around 10, and will serve until well after midnight.
Most restaurants are of the taverna style and quite informal – which is fine with me…
There is a wide choice across the city, but in particular Calle Granada has a good selection:
- El Piyayo
- Los Dos Gatos
- Restaurante Mariano, more formal, in the square at the start of Calle Granada, good terrace for people watching, check the inside too…
‘Style bars’ in Spain have lives shorter than fruit flies, but there is a good selection in the Calle Granada area. Also here is El Pimpi; one of Malagas oldest and most traditional bodegas – be sure to wander through the whole complex to the terrace on the other side (under Castillo del Gibralfaro). There are a lot of signed photos of visiting dignitaries and stars on the walls (Antonio Banderas features a lot) – and the prices are amongst the most reasonable I found.
Another old timer is Antigua Casa de Guardia, which has been in operation since 1840, so it will probably still be there if you visit for a small sherry. Not really near the other bar areas but worth a detour at lunchtime.
Marques de Larios – main shopping street. Market at the port end on Sunday mornings (opposite end to where this photo taken).
There is another shopping area a few hundred meters south west of the old town; along Avda Aurora (runs parallel to and south of Avenida de Andalucia). This part of town is modern, residential and much more ‘local’, so prices drop accordingly. Large selection of shops in the Larios Centre, including a huge Eroski hypermarket and a 10 screen cinema.
There is a small square just off the Avda, called Plaza Villa De Castelldefels – lots of cafes and bars, look out for La Canasta on the main Avda and you are in the right area. La Canasta is a deli, come bakery, come tea shop and is open 7.30 to 22.00, handy…
Malaga was the home town of Picasso and as well as his birthplace there is a Picasso museum with a collection of works and a trail across the city; the latter identifying notable sites in either his and/or his father’s life.
The city is reinventing itself as a destination and has over 20 existing museums, with a new building going up to house pieces from the Thyssen-Bornemisza collection. (Returning in September 2009; this building is still ‘in progress’ and there are complaints in the local papers about how long it’s taking… watch this space).
Stuff to do
Wandering about, eating and drinking are pleasant past times here, but amongst the sights are:
Castillo de Gibralfaro, which looms over the city is worth a visit, mostly gardens amongst the ruins, but very picturesque and good views.
Castillo de Gibralfaro, with Roman amphitheatre in foreground.
Castillo de Gibralfaro
Castillo de Gibralfaro
Worth a visit to see the inside of this huge building – with the unfinished tower…
Blimey, this must have cost a fortune… many people think I’m anti religious, actually I’m not, it does serve a purpose in my view; it keeps the deviants off the street – on Sundays at least…
Contemporary Arts Centre Malaga
Otherwise known as CAC Malaga (some jokes just write themselves…), there is – of course – some strangeness in here, but some interesting stuff as well, and visiting collections – web site here.
There was a fantastic collection of Mapplethorpes when I visited last (September 09).
This piece was rather nice, and through the magic of the web you can see it in action, also in HD if you have a good connection…
Where to stay
There are many hotels in the central area, but these can be pricey due to location, just to the west of the river there is an Ibis and a NH Hoteles branch (see the Travel Resources page). This location is a very short walk to the old centre, and is actualy better placed for the newer shopping area, but the prices are often less.
I have stayed twice at Malaga Centro on C/ Marmoles, prices are similar to Ibis, but they have a roof terrace with small pool, which is a great place to sunbathe or just read – plenty of shade available.
It’s not always easy to find outside space in city hotels, so this hotel is recommended. They also have free wifi. I booked via Booking.com – see Travel Resources page for other agents.