Málaga is a revelation. For years I’d just viewed it as an airport with an unremarkable city on the outskirts. But having visited recently with Julian, I am glad to report that the city is so much more.
As one of the oldest cities in the world, Málaga has been occupied at various points through its history by the Phoenicians, the Romans and the Arabs, all of whom left their mark on the city giving it some rather lovely architecture and design.
But as an oily, salty working harbour town (it still is), Málaga fell out of favour and spent many years being bypassed by holiday makers heading for the Costa del Sol. However the city has undergone a bit of a renaissance, thanks in part to two people: local lad Pablo Picasso and the current mayor, who had a vision to turn the once gritty city into a glitzy seaside cultural hub. Now the whole place has been spruced up and is perfect for a laid back couple of days.
On the cultural front, Málaga has around 30 museums so you do need to be selective. Of course the Museo Picasso is a must. Not just because Picasso was born in the city, but because it’s actually an excellent museum with more than 200 works of both paintings and pencil drawings.
Málaga also has the only overseas outpost of Paris’s Centre Pompidou, which is housed under a multi-coloured cube down by the harbour.
It’s a very pleasant stroll down to the Centre Pompidou through the lovely Paseo del Parque and along the striking Palmeral de las Sorpresas promenade.
For the best views of the city hike up to the 14th Century castle walls of Monte de Gibralfaro.
Then there’s the handsome old town, set around a massive renaissance cathedral.
With its grand public spaces and narrow alleyways, the old town is best enjoyed without an aim in mind and ambling is definitely the order of the day.
Also take a stroll to the Soho area of the city to check out the impressive street art.
The revolution in Spanish food has definitely reached Málaga and I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised. We started our trip with lunch at Atarazanas Market, where we pulled up a stool on the pavement and joined the locals devouring the freshest fish and seafood. Obviously we had to step inside the market to purchase some mouth-watering jamon, fish, cheeses, tomatoes and olives to take home.
You can’t travel to Spain without tapas. The tapas scene in Málaga is a mix of old and new, so you definitely have to try one of each.
Add to the above the fact that the southern coast of Spain possibly has one of the best climates in Europe plus the legion of cheap flights from the UK to Málaga, and you have a rather attractive and unusual weekend destination.
If you would like to hear more about why Málaga makes the perfect place for a short break or would like to enjoy a few days elsewhere, please do get in touch.