Malaga tapas tour are among the most popular things to do in Malaga especially for people visiting the city on a cruise. Several companies offer them and there’s certainly no shortage of venues to visit to sample tapas. But what does a tour involve and what do you as a tourist get out of it? We joined a We Love Tapas Malaga tour to find out.
About a Malaga tapas tour
First of all, this isn’t just about trying food, although that’s obviously a big part of the tour. A Malaga tapas tour is also about finding out lots of interesting information about Malaga, its monuments and those great factoids that you only get from a local. We Love Malaga tapas tour company offers a range of tours – from a basic tapas tour to one that takes in Picasso along the way. This one even includes dropping you off outside the Picasso Museum with recommendations on what to see. They can also tailormake a tapas tour in Malaga to fit your specific requirements.
Our tapas tour is called ‘Market and Tapas’, and appropriately enough we start at the market where we meet Víctor, our local guide and Malaga expert, Shawn from Azahar Sevilla Tapas Tours (the tapas expert for Seville and probably southern Spain) and Aldara. Together with Shawn, and Víctor, she’s running We Love Tapas tours in Malaga and Seville. We are in excellent hands.
Fresher than fresh
We love Atarazanas Market so it’s great to find ourselves here ready for our first tapas. We make our way to a busy bar in the corner and perch at the counter bulging with plates of fresh fish and seafood. First we asked if we have any food allergies or intolerances – some easier to cater for than others. Gluten-free tapas tours turn out to be a challenge to organise, although not impossible. Now to the serious business of food.
What would you like? says Victor our tapas tour guide. On the grounds that he’s the expert we let him decide.
A good choice as it turns out – octopus, monkfish, king prawns and tuna chunks on a skewer are grilled to perfection. The fried shrimp and anchovies marinated in lemon are finger-licking good and my glass of white Rueda wine goes down a treat.
We’re in the market because here the food is freshest (on some of the stalls the fish is so fresh it could almost jump off the counter) and also because this is a great place to take in some of the best food in Malaga.
A feast for the senses
We then take a tour of the market. First, we take a look at the magnificent outside arch, the only original piece left of the shipping docks. We discover some Moorish inscriptions and learn that this market in Malaga is one of the oldest in Spain.
Next, it’s inside for a feast for the senses. Fish and meat in all shapes and sizes. Fruit and vegetables in all the colours of the rainbow (and this is winter when there’s not so much fruit on offer).
While we’re strolling round, we learn when it’s best to eat seafood, discover a new local produce and see two giant swordfish heads. Their weight – 97 and 102 kilos – is chalked on their swords so these must have been enormous animals.
A gold mine of Malaga information
I know quite a lot about Malaga, but Victor is a gold mine of information and can tell you something about everything. As we move on to our next tapas bar, he offers snippets of facts and anecdotes as well as a fascinating history of Malaga.
We come across a façade imitating the Alhambra in Granada. See a church where there’s a waiting list of 5 years for weddings. And find out why Santiago Church is closing in January for restoration (good tip off for our guide there).
Madrid meets Malaga
Next stop is a busy, busy bar in the centre called Los Gatos. The owner’s from Madrid so he’s taken the nickname for native Madrileños for his bar. And a very successful one it is too. Tables are packed with diners (all locals) and literally groaning with plates of food.
Their Malaga fair dish – plato de feria – apparently has to be seen to be believed it’s so huge. We’re seriously tempted by the grilled meat (with chips as they should be – fat and crispy). But this is a tapas tour and we’ve already had lots of fish so we turn our attention to a wonderful display of tostas (a slice of bread with a mountain of topping).
We also order a tapa of callos, which arrives in a bowl more bucket-sized than tapa-sized. I’m not a big fan of tripe, but even I’m swayed by the fabulous flavour of the sauce and the tender chickpeas. The Manchego cheese is delicious too. Just the right bite.
While we’re eating we discuss the Malaga food scene and swap opinions on places we know. Víctor recommends a couple of new venues including one where the roast pork roll is apparently heavenly. I take note and will be checking it out for the Malaga Guide.
We’re too full to eat any more. Tapas might be small but they’re filling. And then surprise, surprise, a glass of cava each arrives plus dessert. On the house as it turns out. A nice touch and a welcome bit of sweetness after all the savoury.
It’s been a great way to spend a (long) lunchtime. We’ve learnt so much about Malaga and tried some delicious food. No wonder tapas tours are so popular!
Our Malaga tapas tour was organised by Victor at We Love Tapas Malaga. Tours start at €48 per person.