A Fresh Look At Málaga City
Many visitors arriving at Málaga airport board the bus and head for resorts further along the coast. This is a great shame, since the city has more to offer in terms of local culture, beaches, food, drink and fashion than the tourist spots could ever manage. It’s a sprawling vibrant city and one that requires some considerable energy to explore – especially in the summer when the temperatures soar into the late 30’s and above.
Málaga’s great strength is its history which spans 2800 years, making it one of the world’s oldest cities. There are numerous sites of historical interest including the spectacular Alcazaba fortifications built by the Hummudid dynasty in the 11th century. For lovers of art, there are many galleries, and the Picasso museum with collections of his most personal works.
Restaurants, cafe and tapas bars are abundant, and many fiestas take place throughout the year, including the Feria of Málaga in August, a colourful nine-day event of dance, food, flamenco music, processions and just about every conceivable form of entertainment that leaves even the seasoned locals praying for mercy and a bit of rest at the end of it.
Eating out – and eating generally – is a great pastime and tradition in the city, with the local tapas being a specialty. Be aware that some of the more central cafes and bars can be pricey by Spain’s standards, but heading into the backstreets will reveal many options with tables laid in the bustling streets or inside the cosy bars and restaurants.
The city centre has a sophisticated shopping area and many reasonably priced pensions and hotels of excellent quality for the budget minded traveller. Usually you can book on spec, but in the busier summer months, you may wish to call beforehand or even make a reservation. Often the amenable receptionists are open to a little negotiating if they are not too busy, so a discount on the already reasonable prices is not out of the question.
If you like beaches, Málaga is a real treat; within a bus short ride from the city centre are a number of beaches with excellent facilities including lifeguards, bars, restaurants and cafes. The beach culture is busy and popular with youngsters, so make sure you get down earlier on the busier spots such as Playa Las Acacias and Playa de la Malagueta.
To really enjoy Málaga, the best option is to embrace the culture and try to learn a bit of the local lingo. There’s so much going on and so many streets to explore that sometimes, having no plan is the best plan – just wander around and take in the action, a few beers, and of course some tapas.