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Málaga has almost 3,000 years of history. The Phoenicians, known for their ancient alphabet, established the city around 800 BC, settling there in order to take advantage of mineral deposits.
The Carthaginians obtained control around 550 BC, but lost it to the Roman Empire just over three centuries later. They built the city up in to an important trading centre and expanded the port dramatically.
The city’s volatile story continued when the Visigoths ousted the Romans in 623 AD after decades of minor invasions and skirmishes. Then they in turn lost Málaga to the Moors in 711, marking the start of a period of great change that is clearly visible in the architecture today. During this period Málaga was filled with communities from many religions—Jews, Liberian Christians, Southern Arabs and others lived together in (relative) harmony.
In the 15th century, Spanish Christians expelled the Moors, and have maintained control ever since. During the 17th and 18th centuries, diseases and natural disasters, including a massive earthquake, devastated the city; the reconstruction from the latter took over 100 years.
In the 20th century, the city faced the Spanish Civil War, agricultural challenges, and economic hardship. Then the 1960s brought a flood of tourism, which is still the flagship industry today.
Spend a weekend in Malaga, a vibrant, traditionally Spanish port city located on the azure Mediterranean that has been grabbing the attention of travellers for decades.
Málaga is at once historic and modern with its windy streets and impressive monuments stand shoulder to shoulder with new museums and chic fashion boutiques. The port area is being revitalised as a leisure area and you can enjoy the famous nightlife all night long.
You are sure to be charmed by such a magnificent city, so book your flight to Malaga today!
This was the palace and fortress of Muslim governors and was built back in the mid-11th century. Once inside, you will see Roman artefacts, stone walls and striking views of the harbour. During the summer months, it is wise to go before noon and avoid the blistering afternoon heat, as well as the larger tour groups. A lift from Calle Guillen Sotelo delivers you right to the centre of the Alcazaba.
Construction on the city’s principal cathedral began in the 16th century on the site where the most important mosque once stood. Because the construction went on for the next two centuries, there is a mishmash of Gothic, Renaissance and 18th century baroque architecture. It bears the nickname ‘La Manquita’ (One-Armed) because the southern tower is incomplete. Be sure to see the wooden choir stalls from the 17th century; they were carved by renowned Andalusian sculptor Pedro de Mena.
As soon as you walk through the huge archway, you will be enthralled by this frenetic Neo-Islamic daily market. There are piles of delicious bites for sale: seek out some quality ham, cheese, sausages, fruit and sweets and then sit with a coffee and people watch from one of the cafes on the nearby pedestrian street.
This museum boasts 200+ Picasso works, thanks to the eccentric painter’s daughter-in-law and grandson, who donated and lent the pieces. There are different temporary exhibitions showcasing Picasso themes and many of the drawings, paintings and engravings have never been shown to the public before. There is a heavier concentration on Picasso’s earlier works, but the works on display represent every phase of his admirable career.
There are no pools at this bath house, but it is an ideal place to sweat out all your body’s impurities and relax in the steamy darkness while listening to soothing music. It is best to book your visit in advance, especially if you decide you want to indulge in a specialist massage because they are by appointment only.
Spend a day at the stunning fortified palace atop the Gibralfaro hill. Take in the gorgeous views, and navigate your way through ancient Roman artefacts.
Work on your tan or take a relaxing stroll through the sand on this beach. Head over and indulge to nearby shops and restaurants afterward.
Featuring 204 Picasso paintings, this museum is one of the hottest attractions in the city for visitors.
Test your stamina with a power walk up to this castle, featuring a small museum and great views of the surrounding areas.
The lush botanical garden includes waterfalls, lakes and thousands of tropical plants for visitors to enjoy.
The birthplace of Picasso is now a major spot for modern artists, with exhibitions and research ongoing.
The impressive Gothic architecture of the building is the perfect backdrop for photos and a must-see when in the city.
Take a tour and soak up the history of the building as well as the modernistic design.
Spend a day at this amusement park with your family and friends, and enjoy dozens of rides, shows, music and restaurants.
The subtropical Mediterranean climate of the city makes for hot summers and comfortable winters. With an average of only 50 days of precipitation occurring a year, the city is great for outdoor lovers. The most rainfall occurs between November and January, so travellers should plan and pack accordingly. The best weather with the most comfortable temperatures for travel falls between April to June and then between September and October. Visiting Malaga during these times is ideal, but be sure to avoid Palm Sunday to Easter if you prefer uncrowded travel, as the Holy Week is most popular in this city.
This modern tapas bar is the perfect place to stop in for a bite to eat. Nestle yourself in the eccentric dÃ©cor, and enjoy the tasty wine selection.
The shop sells genuine Andalucian pottery pieces that are handcrafted.
A local favourite, this restaurant is a great spot to visit and immerse yourself in the sights, tastes and smells of both Latin and European cuisine.
Every Sunday morning, there is a flea market by Estadio de la Rosaleda. It's worth the trip to pick up fresh produce, souvenirs and crafts.
Treat yourself to dessert and choose from pastries, ice creams and more to satisfy your sweet tooth.
The sleek four-star Monte Malaga Hotel will make your vacation a gentle haze of luxury and comfort. The clean, modern structure overlooks the sea, putting you a few paces away from the beaches, and most guestrooms enjoy a sea view. There are also gym facilities, a spa, pool and Turkish bath to take your level relaxation to new highs.
Hotel Molina Lario is a beautiful establishment located just across from the Cathedral, right among the city’s best attractions. Completed in 2006, two of the hotel’s three structures were entirely reconstructed while preserving the beautiful 19th century facades, while the third is entirely brand new. There are 100+ luxurious sound-proofed guestrooms that will make guests feel more comfortable and relaxed than they feel in their homes. There are even special rooms for disabled guests and—a rarity these days—guests who smoke. Enjoy coffee breaks and cocktail hours on the various balconies and terraces, or take a dip in the swimming pool.
The recently-built five-star Vincci Posada del Patio Hotel is absolutely gorgeous and elegant. It has an avant-garde style and is ideally situated in the middle of the historic city centre.
This established tourist hotspot has accommodation for all ages and budgets, so if these aren’t to your taste, you can take a look at other possibilities for a hotel in Málaga here.
Malaga’s international airport is the primary gateway to the Andalucía region. From the terminal, there are special buses that whizz excited new arrivals to their hotels and resorts.
Speak to your hotel’s concierge about exactly how to arrange for a transfer service. Of you can’t sort one out beforehand, there is also a Malaga airport shuttle that is ideal if you are travelling with a large group of people.
Taxis are plentiful; all you need to do to grab one as you step outside of the airport doors. However, note that some drivers charge extra for trips to and from the airport.
The city has excellent public transport, but for those who love to walk, Malaga is easily traversable on foot. From the city centre, everything you need or wish to see can be reached with a brisk walk, and this way you can work up an appetite for lunch.
The local metro system is made up of a single line and makes 15 stops between its two end stations. The train departs twice an hour, and the metro station is located next to the central post office.
There is an extensive bus network in the city, and most lines operate from 6.45 a.m. until 11.00 p.m. You can find the timetable and prices in English on the official website.
Malaga car hire is a great option because of the extra freedom it give you to discover less touristy parts of Andalucía, and there are so many companies that prices are kept fairly low.
Malaga isn’t dangerous, but you shouldn’t walk alone at night or in poorly lit areas wearing expensive jewellery or carrying large quantities of cash.
Avoid driving after dark if possible and do not stop for hitchhikers anywhere. Do not stop if you see a broken down vehicle, and don’t drive whilst using a mobile phone unless it functions with a hands-free kit. Motorcyclists and drivers should have two reflective triangles and high-visibility vests on hand.
Don’t miss Adolfo (Primero Marítimo Pablo Ruíz Picasso, 12), one of the city’s most illustrious restaurants. The innovative dishes are made with fresh ingredients and there is an exceptional wine list. The service matches the high quality of the cuisine and better yet, the bill always ends up lower than you expect.
For some really authentic local food, go to Mesón Astorga (Gerona 11). The quality is superior the most, yet the prices are agreeable. Enjoy superb wine, attentive service and the convenient option of ordering half portions.
The Mediterranean cuisine at Escuela de Hostería (Finca la Consula, Churriana) is sensational. The locals flock here to savour freshly caught seafood and seasonal dishes such as loin of deer in autumn. The menu changes each month to best utilize fresh, seasonal ingredients, which are procured locally. Also try the lamb in red wine sauce and the beef tenderloin. The dining room is housed in a 19th century villa and has a charming garden.
Locals also love El Chinitas (Moreno Monroy 4) for its seasonally-changing Spanish/Portuguese cuisine. The menu might feature mouth-watering shellfish soup, a mixed fish fry, grilled red mullet or sirloin steak, depending on what time of year you show up. To get you in the mood, grab a drink and perhaps some tapas at the adjoining Bar Orellana.
This is a hop-on-hop-off tour that goes around the whole city, stopping at all of the major sights. The buses are open-air and child-friendly and once you buy your ticket, it is usable throughout the subsequent 24 hours.
This remarkable old theatre was only discovered in 1951 buried underground and it seemed as if it had not been used since the 3rd century. Much of the theatre has been undergoing restoration efforts, and you can assess the work for yourself for free.
With almost 40 courses to choose from, gold enthusiasts will quickly come to think of the Costa del Sol as heaven. The mild climate makes golfing at any time of year even more enjoyable, though an afternoon round at the height of summer will be a test of endurance. Luckily, the facilities are state-of-the-art and the hospitality is impeccable.
Like most Spaniards, the people of Malaga are fanatical about their football, and Malaga Football Club is a successful Primera Liga team. If you are lucky enough to be in town for a home fixture, don’t miss the opportunity to see them play at La Rosaleda. Visit the team’s official website for more information about the schedule and tickets.
There are myriad ways to spend your leftover euros in Malaga’s shopping streets. Alfajar sells beautiful, one-of-a-kind Andalusian ceramics, perfect for souvenirs. El Corte Inglés is a department store where everything from tailored suits to cured ham and chocolates can be found.
There are no mandatory vaccinations: as long as you have received boosters for vaccinations included in the typical medical schedule, you should be fine. Children will need to receive those earlier, though.
Spain has a great network of health care facilities, including for emergency care. Before you leave, it would be a good idea to ask your local GP or post office for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
In the case of an emergency, dial 112, and for on-call pharmacies, 098.