Although the city has improved its visitor figures in leaps and bounds, a holiday in Malaga still doesn’t feature on many bucket lists. Because we think it should, here’s what to expect on a holiday in Malaga.
A small compact centre
Unlike some popular tourist destinations, Malaga comes compact. Most of the city’s attractions lie within a small area and you can easily walk from one to another. This means that apart from travelling to and from the airport, there’s little need to use public transport while you’re on holiday in Malaga.
A history-packed centre
Not many people know that Malaga is one of Europe’s oldest cities. Nor that you can take in almost 3,000 years of history in one small area. Another surprise for many people comes when they discover the Roman Theatre, bang in the city centre. Add to this the Phoenician walls and Moorish Alcazaba and Malaga fairly brims with history.
A pedestrian-friendly city
One of the best things the city authorities did for Malaga was to pedestrianize large areas of the centre. When you’re on holiday you don’t want the stress of crossing big roads (think Paris) or searching for a pedestrian crossing (think London). A holiday in Malaga can almost be traffic-free especially when you’re exploring the city centre. There’s also something extra nice about pedestrian shopping, easily done in Malaga.
A relaxed holiday in Malaga
Most visitors we’ve taken round Malaga are struck by the relaxed feel to the city. One of our friends who’s extremely well-travelled said he’d never felt so relaxed and at ease on a city-break before. Maybe it’s the pedestrian streets, maybe it’s the sunshine or maybe it’s the friendly welcome, but Malaga certainly relaxes.
A green city
Another surprise for many people on holiday in Malaga is the greenery. OK, there are streets that could really do with some trees, but for the most part, the city boasts plenty of greenery in its parks and squares. This means you can always find a shady spot in the summer. And you can enjoy a fabulous floral display – don’t miss the jacaranda trees in May in Plaza de la Merced, the orange trees in the Alcazaba in February or the roses in the Pedro Alonso Gardens in June.
A blank canvas of a city
Few tourists come to Malaga with preconceptions. Unlike Barcelona with the Sagrada Familia and Granada with the Alhambra, no particular monuments spring to mind when you think of a holiday in Malaga. If anything, people tend to have a negative view of the city, not helped by the unattractive high-rises on the outskirts – often the only bit people see as they drive to one of the resorts on the Costa del Sol. They might have heard that Picasso was born in Malaga and have the Picasso Museum on their must-visit list. But otherwise, Malaga is a blank canvas for many visitors.
A not-so-typically Andalusian city
If you’re looking for typical Andalusia, Malaga probably isn’t the place to head for. The city meets hardly any of the stereotypes. Malaga is surprisingly modern and European looking, yet there’s enough essence to remind you always that you are indeed in southern Spain.
The flamenco scene is alive and well, the processions at Easter in Malaga rival those in Seville for tradition and plenty of bars and restaurants in the old town come decked with bull-fighting memorabilia. Yet this is a city offering cutting-edge art, striking modern architecture and music festivals attracting the world’s best artists.
A surprising foodie scene
A few years back you probably wouldn’t have used the word gourmet to describe food in Malaga. Nowadays, however, the city competes with the best in Europe with several world-class restaurants and a thriving foodie scene. Even better, you can still enjoy typical Malaga food – what’s better than a plate of perfectly fried fish? – as well as modern fusion cuisine. And best of all, eating out in Malaga comes with a very moderate price tag.