Welcome to Guide to Malaga, a tourist information site run by me, Joanna Styles. I’ve lived in Malaga and the Costa del Sol for over 30 years and during that time, have discovered a true passion for Malaga. On this page, you’ll find out how Guide to Malaga all began; read about our milestones; discover why this guide is different; learn about our values; and find out how Guide to Malaga can help you if you’re a tourist or a business.
And don’t forget – if you own a business in Malaga offering quality services or products to English-speaking tourists, get in touch to find out how we can help you.
Who is Guide to Malaga?
The main face behind Guide to Malaga (and creator and owner) is me, a freelance journalist and copywriter. I specialise in several topics including travel. Not only do I write about travel, but I update travel guides for the American Fodor’s Essential Spain and the UK publications, Rough Guide to Spain and Rough Guide to Andalucía. And most important of all? I’m a real fan of Malaga.
When I’m not writing or researching stuff for Guide to Malaga, you can find me running on the seafront in the bid to get below 2 hours in the next half-marathon (in the 2021 edition I only managed 2’04”!). Or strolling under the Pergola, my absolute favourite spot in town. Or enjoying a foodie treat – usually fish on the beach or tapas in town – with friends, my husband or, best of all, my 2 daughters when they pop back home from London.
You can read more about me wearing my copywriter hat on my website.
How it all started
I first visited Malaga on a grey January day in 1985 on my way to 6 months of learning Spanish in Granada. My first impressions? Noisy, dirty and not much to see. But despite the unpromising start I married a local and ended up living nearby on the Costa del Sol.
Over the next 30 years we visited Malaga often – my mother-in-law has lived in the city for years and my elder daughter was born here. During this time we’ve watched Malaga become a destination in its own right. Literally from ugly ducking to swan. Admittedly, there are still some rough edges, but if you’re like me, you don’t mind a city with some grit.
In January 2015, my husband and I moved to Malaga from Marbella and began to really discover the city. We realised that apart from a few token pages included in the Costa del Sol section, Malaga didn’t get much mileage in travel guides. So, I set about rectifying this and gave the city more space in Fodor’s Essential Spain.
But that still wasn’t enough and Malaga deserved much, much more.
So, I created Guide to Malaga, the only English travel guide dedicated to the city exclusively. The project began life as an app for mobile phones. The 5 Best of Everything in Malaga included personal recommendations on just about anything in the city. I also launched a website to sell the app and included a blog section.
I’m not exactly proud of the app sales figures, but eternally grateful for those who bought it and loved it (and they really did 🙂 ). But the blog was something else – in the space of 15 months, Guide to Malaga started to position itself on Google. Readers wrote asking for more and my fingers whirred away on the keyboard as I produced 1 new article a week.
By autumn 2017, Guide to Malaga was attracting serious traffic so it was time to take the plunge. I discontinued the app and turned the blog into the entire website. 2018 saw an exponential rise in traffic and visitors – every single month broke the previous record. And Guide to Malaga started to make a real name for itself as the go-to source for information about Malaga, events and things to do.
In early 2019, it was time to revamp the website again and this is the result. A faster, slicker site that zips away on mobiles. We’ve also upped the visuals and showcased much more of Malaga. Several of the great photos are by Manuel Rueda, a local photographer who brings out the best of the city.
Guide to Malaga milestones
February 2015 – I move to Malaga and discover there’s no dedicated travel guide in English.
August 2015 – I launch the app and website for Guide to Malaga 1.0.
2016 – the blog section on the website grows massively to reach over 150 posts; Google starts to notice Guide to Malaga; I launch the newsletter. I win the annual Costa Press Club Communicator Award for Guide to Malaga.
2017 – I realise that users are more interested in the blog on Malaga than the app so take the plunge and say adiós to the app (that was harder than it sounds because it was my baby).
January 2018 – Guide to Malaga 2.0 website goes live with the blog converted into dedicated sections.
February 2018 – I bring in the experts (aka Fiona Catchpowle) for the Facebook page and Guide to Malaga starts to make waves especially for information on events in Malaga.
August 2018 – Simon Gompertz from BBC News gets in touch and Guide to Malaga features on the national news in the UK.
July to September 2018 – traffic rises to almost 90,000 visits and over 35,000 users.
October to December 2018 – the website breaks yet more records with over 142,000 visits and over 53,000 users. Guide to Malaga becomes the source for information about Christmas in Malaga.
January to March 2019 – the first quarter of the year used to be quiet for Guide to Malaga, but this year is different. The site receives over 155,000 visits and over 55,000 users. Our newsletter reaches almost 3,000 subscribers and the social media pages see engagement soar.
April 2019 – Guide to Malaga 3.0 website goes live in a bigger and brighter version.
December 2019 – Guide to Malaga publishes its first ebook. Malaga on a Short Break condenses the over 400 pages on the website into one easy to read, downloadable guide to enjoying the city whether your stay is 3, 4 or 5 days.
December 2019 – we launch the Business Directory, designed to showcase companies and businesses in Malaga city and province offering quality good and services.
March 2020 – Guide to Malaga smashes its own record for visitors a month. In March, the website welcomed over 37,000 users! Newsletter subscribers stand just shy of 5,000 and the open rate is always over 60%.
Mid-March 2020 – Spain goes into lockdown and Malaga tourism plummets from record levels to zero. Guide to Malaga is inundated with emails from followers wanting information – do we postpone? Do we cancel? When do you think Malaga will be open again?… As we all know, covid-19 is anything but predictable so we encouraged people to postpone and crossed our fingers it wouldn’t be too long. But we couldn’t bear to think of Malaga so empty and quiet and felt there had to be a way of keeping the city alive so we launched My Malaga At Home. This section took Malaga into people’s homes all around the world and provided a bit of light relief and inspìration during some truly dark times.Our fortnightly newsletter continued and we had the highest open-rates ever (one even reached 75%!).
May 2020 – Malaga comes out of lockdown and welcomes back the first foreign visitors for over 3 months. Guide to Malaga switches back into promoting Malaga mode and launches two new ebooks: Malaga Fine Wining & Dining – featuring 11 exclusive recipes served on menus at Malaga’s top restaurants (including 2 with Michelin stars) and Your Essential Malaga Phrasebook – a fun compendium of useful phrases to say when you’re visiting plus 10 things you’ll only say in Malaga.
January 2021 – Guide to Malaga features on Spanish state TV on their flagship current affairs programme, Informe Semanal. I talk about Malaga and Brexit, pointing out how important it is for an agreement on the 90-day rule for long-term visitors from the UK.
I also talk about tourism in Malaga on Cadena SER radio in their special feature on the sector.
February 2021 – Guide to Malaga launches its biggest ebook yet, Your Guide to Moving to Malaga & the Costa del Sol, 170 pages packed with information on how to have a smooth, easy and stress-free move.
Summer 2021 – tourism starts to return to the city and Guide to Malaga web traffic soars again. The website welcomes around 1,000 people a day, all looking for up-to-date information about Malaga.
Autumn 2021 – our Newsletter subscriptions rises to over 6,000 and the Newsletter opening rates regularly top 65%. (If you know anything about marketing, that’s a massive percentage!) And we celebrate our 6th anniversary – how time flies…
December 2021 – we launch another ebook, The Guide to Buying Spanish Property, which does what it says on the tin, i.e. tells you everything you need to know about buying real estate in Spain.
March 2022 – we feature in a big article in the UK broadsheet, The Times – it was a real pleasure to sing Malaga’s praises and get a mention in such a major publication. Our Newsletter subscribers number over 7,500 and every Newsletter gets an open rate of 70%. (Thank you!). And the website continues to welcome around 1,000 people a day.
May 2022 – we start working in earnest on a sister project that aims to share the Guide to Malaga success with the rest of Malaga province.
July 2022 – we launch Costa del Sol Road Trips, our little sister, selling e-guides to themed road trips around the Costa del Sol. We just love the logo and the look, and have had very positive feedback so far. And also this month, and just for fun but 100% true, Guide to Malaga receives an Instagram message asking us if we’d like to promote dog outfits seeing as we are “such a stylish dog”. 🐶 Either our profile description is way, way off or the dog outfit manufacturer needs some new glasses…
What’s different about Guide to Malaga
It covers everything
And when we say everything, we mean literally that. Guide to Malaga has all the information you’ll need from tourist offices and toilets to tours and tips; from recommended restaurants to great hotels; from monuments to museums; travel tips and advice; and event information that is second to none.
It covers everywhere
You’ll find the well-trodden tourist trail as well as nooks and crannies only known to the locals (that is until we mention them of course 😉 ).
Travel guides go out of date sooo quickly – the minute you print one something has changed. Guide to Malaga brings you the latest information about changes in prices, opening times or closed venues. And we tell you about the new stuff as and when it happens.
It’s a labour of love
Our passion is Malaga and we love to share the best of the city. We cover the places we like, the hidden corners we discover, the restaurants we enjoy…
It’s in English
And only in English (just right click your mouse and get Google to translate the page if you want your own language).
It’s only about Malaga city
There are a ton of websites dedicated to the Costa del Sol and Andalusia, but none exclusively about Malaga city. Except for Guide to Malaga.
The Guide to Malaga values
- To share our passion for Malaga so that every visitor can discover the city’s true potential.
- The positive promotion of Malaga as a holiday destination.
- The promotion of businesses in Malaga with proven quality, value and service.
- Always going the extra mile and providing a value-added user experience – both in the content we provide and the service we offer.
Promoting your business on Guide to Malaga means:
Why do business with Guide to Malaga?
- You reach a highly-targeted audience, all 30,000+ a month of them – our users come to our website for specific information about Malaga.
- Your business is in front of a discerning audience – our users want quality products, services and experiences. Not for nothing is our slogan, “The tourism everyone wants”.
- You benefit from authority – Guide to Malaga has the reputation as a go-to reference source with reliable information about Malaga.
- You benefit from trust and confidence – our users trust us 100%. They know we deliver.
- You get results – promoting your business on the Guide to Malaga really works. Ask us for details.
Find out more
You can get in touch and ask us for specifics.
You can sign up for our free newsletter, fortnightly emails with the latest on Malaga events and news plus information about what’s new on our site.
And of course, browse our website for (literally) everything you need to know about Malaga!