When you’ve lived somewhere for a while, it’s difficult to see it with new eyes. In our first guest blog, we’re delighted to welcome Glenda Young and her first impressions of Malaga. She’s just had a short holiday in Malaga and – we’re delighted to see – loved it!
Hasta la Vista, Malaga
Back home after a wonderful break in the city of Malaga I can’t wait to put pen to paper to share thoughts on my first visit to this magical place.
We arrived on a sunny, windy Sunday afternoon. Taking the bus (3 euros) from the Aeropuerto to Centro it was a short walk to our hotel in the Soho area. This is an area that takes its graffiti seriously, celebrating it as an art form. I’m glad we stayed in Soho, it was less busy and touristy than the centre of the city and had a really cool vibe without being pretentious.
Around the corner from our hotel was El Rincon Del Cervecero Beer Shop and Bar. A more friendly service would be hard to imagine. They served up some fantastic Spanish craft beers, on tap and bottled too. (Editor’s note: this is 1 of the Best Craft Beer venues in our Where to Eat section…)
Everywhere we walked in Malaga the heady scent of orange blossom filled the narrow streets. Orange trees are everywhere in Malaga city centre and in early March the blossom is surely at its best. It’s a smell that was almost overpowering, ever present, it made you want to devour the scent as you walked. And we walked a lot… our visit lasted from Sunday to Thursday and in the time we had there we visited museums (a lot of museums!) the harbour, the shell-covered beaches, the markets, the city centre, the bull ring and botanical gardens.
First impressions of Malaga monuments
My personal favourite was the visit to the Castillo de Gibralfaro and the Alcazaba for the sense of history and the views. Oh, the views! Even a rain shower couldn’t stop us from exploring although without umbrellas or anoraks we did get very wet. Walking downhill from the Gibralfaro in the rain, we fell into the first café bar we reached, needing to get out of the rain and dry off. It was a locals’ café, the staff didn’t speak English and with our limited Spanish “más despacio, por favour ¡no entiendo!” we managed to order from the menu del dia which the waitress gave to us verbally rather than with a menu.
We had some fantastic tapas in Malaga but this little café in a side-street out of the centre of town, untouristy, was perhaps one of my favourites from the whole visit. Not because of the food but because it was uncompromising, gritty, friendly – much like Malaga itself.
Best museums in Malaga
Museums are plentiful and cater for a lot of different tastes. We visited seven art museums and my favourites were the Museo Carmen Thyssen for its lively depiction of Spanish history. I also very much enjoyed the guided tour of the Coleccion Museographica del Vidrio y Cristal which is based in the house where the tour guide lives in an apartment above. I think this wins the prize for the most unique museum I have visited, ever.
The big guns of the Malaga museums were the Centre Pompidou Malaga and the Centro de Arte Contemporaneo, both of which I enjoyed immensely, Less impressive, for me, was the Picasso museum because I felt as if I was being processed and herded with the tourist crowd at this visit. And the sombre tone of the staff and exhibits inside the Russian museum wouldn’t have me running back there for a second look. The Museo Automovilistico set in the old tobacco factory on the Malaga harbour, however, would, and I don’t even claim to be a car fan. But here, the cars are set out as art exhibits just as much as they are history artefacts.
Quirky botanical gardens in Malaga
Being an enthusiastic gardener, another highlight was a visit to the Jardin Botanico-Historico La Concepcion. The gardens were wonderful, and I want to return at another time of the year to see it all again in a different way. Inside, there was an exhibition showing the construction of the gardens. The exhibition was created by an artist using the medium of Barbie dolls! That was unexpected, frivolous and funny. Malaga is clearly a city that doesn’t take itself too seriously and these little quirks made me love it all the more.
I can’t sing the praises of Malaga enough. I went to bed every night in the hotel excited about waking up the next morning to explore more of this wonderful city. It’s easy to get around, it’s compact enough to walk everywhere you want to go. There is a sightseeing bus (25 euros) in the city centre but we decided to swerve this. We took the local buses and travelled by Metro instead to get a proper feel of the place. The Metro is new and very clean and the buses are cheap. Malaga felt as safe as any major city feels safe and the people are friendly, especially if you can use a Spanish phrase or two.
So… Malaga. Hasta la Vista. I’ll be back.
Glenda Young is the editor of Coronation Street Blog – written by Corrie fans for Corrie fans since 2007 and Corrie.net, the internet’s first and original Coronation Street fan site. You can follow Glenda on Twitter and check out her blog.
Photo credits: Glenda Young. See her other (great) photos of Malaga
Thank you very much Glenda for a great post and insight into Malaga!
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