Fans of Guide to Malaga will know that we do like to get off the beaten track and visit unusual places in the city. We love the monuments and museums covered by guide books, but we’re also keen to discover the non-touristy Malaga. It was therefore something of a privilege when Mona Nassef from Cooltoural got in touch and offered us a Malaga like a local tour.
Not just another walking tour
Visit the popular tourist areas in Malaga at any time of year and chances are you’ll come across a walking tour of Malaga. Spot the crowd of people, the umbrella, the earpieces and then listen to the spiel. These tours certainly have their place, but they’re not for everyone and definitely not for us.
Cooltoural offers something at the opposite end of the scale. Walking tours of Malaga that come tailor-made for you (more about this below) and give you the chance for real interaction with locals.
Once you express an interest for the tour Cooltoural phones you to check your preferences. And there are a long, long list of choices. You pick what you’re interested in seeing and doing, tell Cooltoural what you don’t want to do and they create your exclusive itinerary.
I liked the idea of seeing a new side to Malaga, something of a challenge since I know the city pretty well. So I chose the more unusual activities on the list and met my local guide, Mona, outside the tourist office.
Straight away you could see the difference. This was my tour and just for me. No strangers following that umbrella or having to wait for the others in the group to catch up. My tour seeing my things and in my time.
Slow tourism in Malaga
As well as seeing Malaga like a local, Cooltoural also embraces the concept of slow tourism. The tour isn’t a list of monuments and sights you need to rush round so the guide can tick them off the list. This is a walk around Malaga at a pace to suit you. The guides adapt the tour to you and if something extra catches your eye or you want to spend a little more (or less) time on something, you can.
New sights in Malaga
As we strolled round the city centre, Mona revealed some new places and venues to me and told me things I didn’t know about Malaga. Cooltoural goes for snippets of history rather than volumes so no eyes glazing over at long lists of dates. I heard personal anecdotes and stories that all added to the atmosphere.
Our trip included a visit to Atarazanas Market where Cooltoural took things up a notch with the tastings. They also gave me one of the best souvenirs I’ve ever had from a tour of Malaga. (Don’t worry about spoiler alerts – I won’t reveal what the gift was!).
Interaction with the locals
We also talked to the locals. Market stall owners, artisans and shop owners all took an active part in the tour, adding to the authenticity of our visits. Not only did I discover Malaga like a local, I connected with them. All part of Cooltoural’s concept of slow tourism and a way of contributing to making tourism more sustainable and local-friendly.
Ticking all the boxes
In just two hours, Mona managed to include everything that was on my long list of things to do and see. The experience felt individual to me and highly personalised.
And Cooltoural really does include something for everything. Tours adapt to your interests and offer lots of tips such as free things to do in Malaga, the best places to eat a certain kind of food, hiking outside the city, how to get around etc. Itineraries fit into your timetable and to suit your party – families on holiday in Malaga with children of any age are more than welcome.
The company offers tailormade tours of Malaga that last between 2 and 4 hours depending on your preferences. Locals are your guides and offers tours in English, Spanish, French or Arabic. Prices start at €30 for 1 person for 2 hours and at €80 for 3 people for 2 hours. Children under 6 go free.
Guide to Malaga would like to thank Mona and Cooltoural for a great tour of Malaga.