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City of Malaga: No Longer the Andalusian Poor Relation

Brian Jones (Brian Jones )

I get the same question time and again: "We are flying into Malaga - what is the best way to get to Seville, or to Cordoba, or to Granada?"

I used to offer advice for such journeys, but now I simply ask a question in response: "Have you thought about basing your stay in Malaga, and making day or overnight trips to those other places?"

View of the Port of Malaga from the Gibrafaro

View of the Port of Malaga from the Gibrafaro

And some of those who take that advice have come back to me after, mostly with the same story: "We based ourselves in Malaga, and liked it so much that we stayed in the city most days, making just a few trips out. And we shall be back again!"

For Malaga has transformed itself over the past decade and in particular the last five years. So much so, that it can now be said now to be an all year round city with almost everything.

Malaga's Famous One-Towered Cathedral

Malaga's Famous One-Towered Cathedral

What do you want in a city? Well – just take your pick:

  • great shopping, whether your taste is for designer stores, local handicrafts, or edible delicacies
  • authentic Spanish cafes and bars historical features going back 3000 years, from the Phoenician original settlers through to Roman and Moorish times
  • modern art – the Picasso Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art
  • the city parks – especially the Paseo del Parque, bringing shade and quiet to the very heart of the city
  • the surprisingly uncrowded beaches the coastal promenade stretching for miles along the coast to the East.

And all this set beside the cool blue sea and the mountains behind.

The Lighthouse – La Farola: Linking the Malagueta Beach and the Port

The Lighthouse – La Farola: Linking the Malagueta Beach and the Port

But for me a key attraction – and this may surprise – is the peace and charm of the city. Malaga is a big place, but get into the historical centre and you can find the most delightfully quiet spots – and lose yourself in the real Spain.

So where to go for such tranquillity?

Top of my list would be:

  • the fascinating English Cemetery (beside the Bullring)
  • the wonderful but largely unknown Folklore and Costume Museum (beside the ‘river’ – and a ‘must’ even for people not enthusiastic about folklore and costumes!)
  • the gardens and fountains of the Paseo del Parque
  • the cool shade of the Alameda (at least out of rush hour), and
  • the woodland-walk behind the Gibralfaro (a gentle and shady climb).

And what better places than Plaza de la Merced and Plaza de la Constitucion for sitting and people-watching?

So Malaga should no longer feel the poor relation amongst the Andalusian cities. It may perhaps lack the individual ‘showcase’ attraction that those other cities, fabulous as they are, can boast – but when added together what it does offer is really quite a package.

So if you’ve not been there, or not been there for a while, take my advice – get a guide (see below), get on a plane, bus or train, and have a great time.


Brian Jones Author: "Footsteps through the City of Malaga": a guide to the city, describing a circular route around the city taking in all main attractions, widely available in bookshops, and online at www.footstepsguides.co.uk.

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