Avenue Calle Leiros is shopper’s paradise and a great place for people watch
MALAGA, SPAIN: The city has reinvented itself in recent year. The birthplace of Pablo Picasso, Malaga has museums for all taste and does not lack activities and things to explore. Here are 16 beaches, lots of sunny days year around and city of great fun and friendly locals. Tourists I met enjoyed Malaga and they want to return and discover more. Since everyone says that Malaga is prettier than ever then it must be true. We have listed up more than 12 things to do in Malaga – and those are just a start off.
#1 Walk on the Port side
The Malaga harbour area was recently transformed to offer a more modern image. You should definitely take a walk on the port side of Malaga. Nearby the beach you find Muelle 1, the port promenade full of shops and restaurants. This area is perfect for a sunset stroll to La Farola, a lighthouse much loved by the city´s inhabitants. La Farola was finished in 1816. The expansion of the port and transformation of Pier One are reasons not to miss this interesting part.
DRINK LOCAL – NOT A BAD PLACE TO START
#2 Larios Street – Calle Larios
This is no less than a shopper’s paradise, and a great place for people watch. Calle Larios is the most symbolic street, the most important avenue in Malaga where the exclusive stores are located. Even the street is just 350m long and 16m wide it is one of the most sought-after business addresses in the world.
Calle Larios is decorated according to the season. During the summer, a large sunshade to protect people without getting melted. If you have the opportunity, enjoy the street during Christmas with lighting, décor and a treat for the senses.
#3 Picasso and the Museums
Malaga is the city of Picasso, and you can visit Picasso Museum and the home where he was born. But here are far more artistic works to explore. Such as Carmen Thyssen Museum in Calle Compañía 10, the only Pompidou Centre outside France in Malaga Port, and Centre for Contemporary Art in Calle Alemania.
Further interesting museums are: Coleccion del Museo Ruso, Museo Automovilistico y de la Moda, Museo de Malaga, and Alcazabra of Malaga – a great place for Spanish Moorish history.
#4 Try Espetos in Pedregalejo
Head off to Pedregalejo, a 1km long beach between Baños del Carmen and El Palo Beach. Here are numerous bars and restaurants for fish and seafood lovers. Especially those out for espetos, a number of fish and sandiness on stick for roasting on the coal or directly on the grill. The only seasoning is a bit of olive oil and sea salt. And remember, in Spain you are never far away from a tapas bar.
#5 Up to the Castle of Gibralfaro
The Castle was built in the 14th century to house troops and protect the Alcazabra. At the Visit Centre you can discover the history and have the best views over the city. On clear days, you can see the Strait of Gibraltar and even some mountains of the Sierra del Rif in Africa. At the foot of the castle there is a Roman theatre and an old town to stroll around.
#6 One-armed Malaga Cathedral
Take a closer look at Malaga Cathedral and you will see that something huge is missing: a main tower! That´s why she is known as “La Manquita”, meaning one-armed, due to its unfinished right tower. Since building work stopped in 1872, they have debated completing the second tower but never taken the plunge. The best way to see what´s missing is visiting the roof, even though you have to climb 200 steps.
The interior has influences of the Renaissance and baroque styles. Visit to see fabulously ornate religious iconography carved the choirstall.
Check info for a Cultural Visit
#7 Holy Week and Semana Santa
From a balcony in Malaga’s main street I was invited to watch the procession of The Holy Easter Week. From time to time with an eye on Hollywood-star Antonio Banderas at the balcony next to ours. For many, Holy Week turns out to be the religious highlight of the year.
During Easter the streets are filled with medieval robed and hooded figures. The floats processing slowly behind swaying religious statues, accompanied by the deep dull sound of drums and crying trumpets. For a whole week, this is a famour tourist attraction.
#8 Traditional Food in Malaga
Certainly, they serve pizza, tapas and Argentinian steak along with fresh fish and seafood. But Malaga has some speciality you should taste. Such as the typical soup Gazpachuelo Malagueno, originally made by fishermen.
Ensalada Malaguena combines the taste of sea and the fresh vegetable. It´s a mix of cod, potatoes, olives, cachorreñas oranges, onion and a splash of olive oil.
Porra Antequerana is another Andalusian soup, basically made of tomato and dried bread.
Ajo Bacalao is very deep-roated in the local cuisine with ingrediencies such as cod, garlic, olive oil and sweet pepper.
Almendras fritas are an authentic tapa – the almonds are traditionally deep fried and then salted and spiced, and served either warm or at room temperature.
Vino de Malaga is a sweet wine. But Malaga also produce reds, white, rose and even sparkling wines made from the Sierras de Malaga.
#9 Meet the locals
They are called Malaguenos, they are outgoing, and generally happy people. There are two really famous citizen; Actor Antonio Banderas and Pablo Ruiz Picasso.
When in Malaga, do as Malaguenos do – order coffee in the right way. Well, there are 10 ways to order coffee in this city, depending on the amount of milk and coffee. They are very proud of this complex habit.
If you prefer one with 50% coffee and 50% milk you order a mitad. Do not try a “mitad” in another city in Spain. In Malaga, you will feel like a real Malagueno when you can say “Un mitad, por favour”. That is awesome!
#10 Fun in the City
Feira de Malaga is a week-long street party with plenty of flamenco and sherry. Taking place every August in the city. However, The Feira 2020 was cancelled due to the Corona-situation.
Lots of fun on Malaga Beach or Playa de la Malagueta – a sandy beach allows you to do fun activities and even perfect for a moonlit stroll.
The bullfighting season runs from April to September at La Malagueta Bullring. The highlights taking place during Semana Santa, and the Malaga´s August Feiras.
#11 Music and Nightlife
The nightlife in Malaga is the right place for fun. This is a city of music and there is a selection of music bars, and no shortage of night clubs either.
For fun and taste of old Malaga, visit the most iconic bar with its old barrels and dense yeasty aroma. Casa de Guardia offers a variety of sweet and dry wines, sherries and vermouths, served from morning to ten in the evening. Address: Alameda Principal 18.
Malaga is a safe city to visit, the overall risk for crime is low. According to locals, you should avoid Barrio Palma and Barrio Palmilla, which are just north of La Rosaleda stadium.
#12 Art of the Sun Hat
A crushable summer hat is a headpiece for contemporary women. This one is designed and crafted in Spain by the brand Maar, a new model named Lula made by 100% waxed Cotton. Soft and shapeable and perfect for carrying and packing. Maar manufacture locally, and in small scale. Lula will set you back 145 euro – but cover your face from sun wherever you are.
MOUNTAIN WALK – THE WILD SIDE OF SIERRA NEVADA
Make it Happen!
Touch Down: Most of the European main airlines has direct flight to Costa del Sol airport in Malaga. Airport is 8km from the city. A local train takes you to Malaga in 15 minutes. It also connects to other places on the coast, such as Fuengirola and Benalmadena. The airport bus, Express Aeropuerto, is available day and night.
Stay: Choose from a variety of hotels, hostels – from luxury to family pensions or boutique-style. Malaga has more than 600 hotels.
Eat: Where to eat and when to eat in Malaga? Most people won’t sit down for lunch before 2pm. Traditionally, lunch is the big meal of the day in Spain. The dinner rush won´t start until 9pm. When travel and eat in Andalusia, this is a tapas focused culture. Also, try the ajoblanco chilled garlic soup. One way to learn about Malaga cuisine is to explore some of the food markets in Malaga. I recommend the Mercado Central de Atarazanas and the Mercado de la Merced Gastromarket.
Play: Try to visit a Flamenco show – a traditional style of folk music originating in Andalucía around 500 years ago. A show with singing, guitar playing, dancing and handclapping.
Mini Guide: A fun night out and you will love the way cocktails are made here. The Manana Cocktail Bar Malaga, 7 Calle San Juan de Letrán, serves a variety of cocktail favourites alongside 30 different beers. The Bodega el Pimpi is one of Málaga’s most famous bars. With traditional Spanish roots, this bar specializes in a wide variety of tapas and features an extensive list of local vintages. Malaga Old Town is the place to enjoy the authentic Spanish bar tradition. The live music scene is impressive. Places such as ZZ Club, Clarence Jazz Club, and Velvet Club offer various music events and international artists. Malaga Tourist Information located by the harbour. Address: Plaza de la Marina 11.