Málaga airport is used by millions of holidaymakers as the gateway to Spain’s most commercialised coastline with the ‘super resorts’ of Torremolinos and Marbella, just a few miles west. Direct holidays to Málaga are available throughout the internet.
Málaga has a busy commercial port, bars and restaurants where local food and language are the norm, and Malagueños going about their daily business. If you want to spend your holidays in a typically Spanish city, Málaga is the place for you.
Since the turn of the century Málaga has been a city in transition, with an increase in building projects, new hotels and an increasing number of high quality ‘Spanish-cosmopolitan’ restaurants, cafes and bars.
Location – Province of Andalucía, on Spain’s southern coastline.
Time zone – GMT + 1 (GMT + 2 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).
Average January temperatures – 17°C (62.5°F).
Average July temperatures – 29°C (84°F).
Annual rainfall – 9 inches.
Currency – Euro.
The Old Town, which contains the vast majority of Málaga’s sights, is bordered to the west by the Río Guadalmedina, south by the port and east by the Castillo de Gibralfaro and Plaza de Toros (bull ring). To the north the border is regarded as Calle Carreteria, though beyond the Plaza de la Merced there is little of interest with the exception of the Santuario de la Victoria church.
The main east-west axis is along the attractive boulevard of Alameda Principal/Paseo del Parque. The Paseo del Parque is lined with tall palms and botanical gardens.
Pablo Picasso was born in Málaga in 1881. A collection of around 160 of his works is housed in a 16th-century Andalucian palace. It includes paintings, drawings, sculptures and ceramics from his earliest works up to the 1970s and is notable for the portrayal of the women and children in the artist’s life.
Built between the 16th and the 18th centuries (but still unfinished), Málaga’s cathedral is an impressive soaring structure, with carved choir stalls and two organs.
Opposite the Catedral is the imposing Bishop’s Palace which stages art exhibitions.
Plaza de la Merced
This is Málaga’s liveliest square, lined with bars, cafes and restaurants. It is home to the Fundación Picasso Museo Casa Natal, the artist’s birthplace, and now a small museum.
This mini-Alhambra, with its horseshoe arches and geometric Islamic decoration, was the palace-fortress of the city’s Moorish rulers. It was built mostly in the 11th century, hugging the hillside with fascinating terraced gardens (best viewed from the fountain on Paseo del Parque) and a Roman amphitheatre below.
Castillo de Gibralfaro
Málaga’s highest ground is occupied by the crenellated walls and towers of this 14th-century fortress built to defend the Alcazaba immediately below. It has a small museum, pretty gardens and wonderful views.
Museo Unicaja de Artes Populares
Set in a charming 17th-century house, this museum is full of colourful displays of ordinary Andalucian life from the last three centuries, including farming, wine, fashion, bullfighting, ceramics and fishing.
Centro de Arte Contemporáneo (CAC)
This gleaming white space, set in a former warehouse, has a small permanent collection of contemporary art.
MALAGA AT NIGHT
Málaga is a buzzing city at night, with most of the action taking place around the Plaza del Merced and Plaza Uncibay, where the city’s most popular bars are located. Calle de Bruselas in the Plaza del Merced is one of a row of six trendy bars and cafes with terraces spilling onto the square. El Pimpi is a very traditional but lively warren-like bodega.
In summer at the weekends and holidays there is also a lively young beach nightlife scene at Malagueta and Pedragalejo.
Good clubs include Karma and Casanova, with the latter attracting an older, more mature crowd.
The biggest and best live venue is the Sala Vivero, near the airport, which has an eclectic policy, from rock and blues to hip hop.
Flamenco is a passion in Southern Spain. Regular shows are held at Restaurante Mesón ‘La Mesonera’ and at Vista Andalucia, near the airport.
Jazz fans will enjoy Onda Passadena and Ragtime. Both venues also feature flamenco nights.