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A dizzyingly combination of ancient war castles, Renaissance-era ruins, and modern high-rises nestled against the flawless Mediterranean Sea, Málaga can be an adventurer’s paradise, a gateway to the past, or a luxurious beach-side mecca. Why not all three?
See: Check out the entire city from the peak of Mount Gibralfaro.
Eat: Wendy Gamba is famous for its bull burger – bull meat and smoky cheese.
Drink: Málaga may be known for its wines, but hit up La Tranca and try their range of beers.
Relax: Take some time out and enjoy a magic experience with the Arab Baths at Hammam Al Ándalus.
History: The Cathedral of Málaga is one of the city’s most breathtaking buildings, and contains a museum, too.
Adventure: Check out the jabega boat league, who host competitions every weekend from May through to September.
Shopping: The Vialia Shopping Centre contains clothing from some of the most high-end fashion labels in the world.
Art & Culture: The Contemporary Art Centre of Málaga focuses on 20th and 21st Century art and contains over 400 pieces from all around the world.
Málaga was the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, and, as such, features many tributes to the famed artist. Most impressive of these is the Museo Picasso, which houses 235 of his works, many of which were donated by his family – others are on extended loan from private collectors. Not just a ‘greatest hits’ collection, the museum houses early etchings and works-in-progress, as well as a number of pieces from his Cubism period and late-era Masters reworkings. The building – a former palace built in the early 16th century – is stunning in its own right, and also contains a research library and archive with close to a thousand titles published about the artist.
A mere 200 metres from the museum is the Fundación Picasso – a second smaller museum dedicated to the artist, which, although more modest in scope, sits in the location of Picasso’s birth. The same street contains the nursery school where he was educated, and where he did his early drawings.
Overlooking the port and looming over the centre of the city is one of the most impressive historical parts of Málaga: the Alcazaba, which dates back to the early 10th Century.
Military and history buffs alike will be taken aback by its double walls, winding entry and fortifications, but despite its design being intended to keep intruders out, you can now access the glorious architecture — outer and inner citadels, well-kept gardens and fountains — by the use of an elevator. Now that’s progress! Make sure you check out the ruins of an ancient Roman theatre that sits adjacent to the entrance and dates back to 1st Century BC.
Nearby is another high-rise wonder, the 130m Mount Gibralfaro, which offers stunning views of the city, and the Mediterranean Sea. A double-walled pathway connects the Castle of Gibralfaro, which sits at the peak and was built in the early 14th Century, with the Alcazaba – or you can just take the bus from the city centre.
Not surprisingly, food is one of the main drawcards of Málaga life. Live like a local and start the day with a ‘pitufos’ at one of the many open air cafes. Basically a fist-sized sandwich with olive oil, cured meat and tomato, these go a treat with tejeringos, which are a sweeter churro (hit up Casa Arnada for the city’s most popular churros spot), or try some toast with zurrapa: a popular hearty spread made with lard and grounded meat (also used for dipping). It’s not for everyone, though – especially first thing in the morning.
Later in the day you may wish to hit up one of the numerous tapas bars that have opened in the city over the past decade. The prices vary wildly at these places: a general rule of thumb is the more traditional the place, the cheaper the drink and tapas options, although your best bet is to simply bar hop and try your luck. Málaga is famous for its locally-produced sweet wines, which are made from Moscatel grapes, so don’t leave before trying these. They are quite sweet and surprisingly acidic too. El Pimpi, Los Gatos and La Tranca are three popular bars within walking distance of each other, should you need a place to kick off your evening.
Finally, hit up the Mercado De Atarazanas, a fresh produce market built in the old Málaga shipyards which now houses the best fish markets in the city. Fried fish is one of the city’s delicacies, so take their lead and be adventurous.
Posted by Nathan Jolly | Images sourced from Shutterstock
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