Growing up in the UK, Spain is a place you come to know where Brits go to unwind, kick-back, escape and otherwise get some rest and relaxation from the unpredictable weather. Malaga, however, is one of those cities that, thanks to unruly holidaymakers more interested in a punch up and boozing on the Costa Del Sol, gets a bit of a bad rap. Such a reputation is hardly fair though, as I’ve found, through my extensive travels throughout Spain, Malaga to be a buzzing, cultural and thriving city. What’s more is that, along with Madrid and Valencia, its become among one of my favourites.
What’s so special about Malaga you might ask? Well, getting there is easy enough. Flights to Malaga from the UK are frequent, inexpensive and direct. There’s also the fact that transport from Malaga airport to the centre of the city itself is incredibly easy too. Meaning you can be enjoying a glass of wine in a plaza while the sun cascades down on your face in well under an hour
But Malaga is also full of lots of other fun attractions too. As we’ll come to explore in this article by focusing on five of my favourite ones. Aside from the food and drink, I’m sure you’ll have fun doing and seeing these too.
Spend any amount of time in Malaga and you’ll soon come to learn how proud the city is of its prodigal son, the world renown artist Pablo Picasso. Although the great painter and leader of cubism never returned to his home city after leaving, you’ll still get a sense of the inspiration that helped serve him on his way to mastery.
Visiting his childhood home, where he was born in 1881, is one of the best ways to get a slice of his cultural significance to the region and Spain as a while. Now a foundation dedicated to his work, you’ll get the chance to see personal memorabilia of the Picasso family as well as unique exhibitions of his work.
Just directly in front of the house is a beautiful plaza too, with a statue dedicated to the man himself and many surrounding bars and cafes offering the perfect atmosphere in which to watch the Andalusian sun set.
Although not as impressive as Granada’s labyrinthine Alhambra, Malaga’s ancient fort, built in the time of the moor occupation, is still definitely worth a visit. With its entrance next to the Roman amphitheatre, the climb to the top of the Alcazaba is a gentle ascent among rolling green gardens and fruit trees.
At the top of the fort you’ll get brilliant panoramic views of the city itself but it’s also worth checking into the archaeological museum situated within the former servants’ quarters. There you’ll get the chance to see Ancient Moorish ceramics and pottery, dating back to the 11th-century.
Picasso’s childhood home need only serve as an appetiser to his greater work at large, which, thanks to the Museo Picasso Malaga, you can see up close and personal just as Picasso may have intended.
Picasso Museum is home to 204 works, donated and loaned by the wife of Picasso’s eldest son and his grandson. The design of the museum is impressive itself, with a large central courtyard and two-tiers of wings where Picasso’s artwork is stretched out. Inside you can also see Spain through the ages, as the remains of Phoenician, Roman, Islamic and Renaissance periods lay in the basement below.
Paseo de Espana
Spain’s gardens and walkways are much enjoyed among visitors to the country as ways to unwind and relax away from party-atmosphere of its streets. Malaga’s Paseo de Espana is another great example of that, created in the 1890s on land reclaimed from the sea.
Separated into two sides; the south side is crammed full of tropical plants and shady palms where you’ll see buskers and street performers plying their trade. The north, on the other hand, is home to the grand Palacio de la Aduana, a museum where you can see more classical art works.
Malaga is one cultural city and should definitely not be overlooked on your way to the beaches further south. If these attractions aren’t enough for you, then there’s always the amazing seafood and bars to take in that Malaga offers too. It’s extremely hard not to find at least something you’ll like in a city such as this.