'malaga. the hidden architectural beauty of spain's costa del sol'
arriving in the city after a few days with a good friend of mine in the nearby resort of marbella. i decided to stay in malaga for a few days as i had heard good things about the city from my friend as malaga can easily be forgotten as just a gateway airport if visiting the south of spain.
so first things first we have to talk about the accommodation. i was staying at the alcazaba premium hostel in old town of the city next to the ruins of the moorish palace. its set a top of a cliff in the centre. its a new luxury hostel that has a restaurant & rooftop bar with amazing views of the old town, the alcazaba (see photo). the hostel is great if your looking for a clean and quite place to stay while in malaga then this is the place. it has everything you need for a short stay alone or with friends. the rooms are large and super clean all with ensuite bathrooms. you also have a personal luggage locker and individual safe for each person. the best thing of course is the rooftop bar. get your friends and head up to this place in the evening its super busy and opens until late.
this is were it gets interesting. i have been to spain numerous times especially to this region but i have never been to malaga as most coming to this area area visit famous places like granada, seville, cordoba. but malaga has somthing a little different to offer especially to the weekend tourists as its so close to the airport and there is no need to rent a car that you would need in the other cities. historically malaga was an important port city in the region and is still a port city now with the cruise ships stopping here on a regular basis. the main hub is the massive cathedral for a small city its truly massive. it cost €5 to enter but for me the best part is in the evening during sunset when the light hits the front of the cathedral a produces some beautiful colours.
this medieval fortress has beautiful views of the old town from high above the roman
amphitheatre. its less than €3 to get in. you can spend a few hours at the top exploring the beautiful courtyards and gardens.
less than 10 mins walk from the centre you'll find the the port / marina. its a quaint little port where the cruise ships arrive but mostly its small yachts. you'll also find here the noria gigante (giant ferris wheel). its give you great views over the city and marina i would recommend going in the night time. (see photo at the top of this post)
it makes me laugh when i see so many tourists in mcdonals in such foodie city as malaga. this area of spain is one of the best places in the world for food. here food is truly part of the culture its not something that you have in a takeaway box. the locals here make time as its a social aspect of life for example if your having coffee in the morning you'll find no coffee shops that have takeaway cups as here the locals always make time for coffee even if it just a few mins the takeaway king starbucks is nearly empty just with a few tourists as the local prefer a simple style of coffee.
while i was in malaga i had the privilege to go on two food tours with spain food sherpas &
we love malaga. i believe that these two companies are are best in malaga after reading reviews and taken the tours i can truly say that both companies are extremely professional. on both tours i truly experienced the food culture in malaga. their is such a rich culture here from the churro's & chocolate in the morning to the tapas in the evening. on both food tours i got to see the central market this is such a beautiful place filled will everything you need to eat well. they also have a few bars on the outside of the market that
are serving great food from the produce inside. go for lunch at one of these places and order some local food you can normally go inside to pick what yo want especially for the fish. malaga has such a abundance of amazing bars and restaurant to choose from and it can be difficult to pick the non touristy places but going on one of these food tours it will give you a true glimpse into the most local places and the cuisine that you can come back to certain places later on your trip. i have to mention 'antigua casa de guardia'. this was my favourite place in the city its the oldest bar in malaga you can defiantly tell as when you walk in its like stepping back in time. they have an amazing assortment of wines. the now you really need to try here is the malaga sweet wine at €1.50 a glass you cannot fault it. they are still using the original barrels for dispensing wine directly to you. i have to say this place has such a great atmosphere in the evening before going out for dinner because remember most people eat here around 9pm.
malaga surprised and delighted me from the moment that i arrived. i had such a vibrance to it. its full of locals and not totally overrun by tourists yet... its a working city and the locals truly enjoy their life after work. if you coming from norther europe or america you cannot help but to smile the place is just so friendly and everyone just seems happy. its infectious. i found my self walking around the city with a huge smile on my face most of the time.
this is the year to go to malaga while most of the tourists visit the other cities in this region malaga is a untapped gem, this adds to the charm of the place its one of the only cities i have visited in spain that i can actually say most of the people were locals as I'm a traveller and not a tousist this is like gold to me.
my recommended places to visit
- castle gibrafalo
- old town
- the cathedral
places to eat & drink
- antigua casa de guardia
- pollos san juan (roast chicken delivered to the beach)
- casa mira ice creams
how to get around
-uber (super cheap here) (use code; carlm5078ue for a free ride)
where i stayed
- alcazaba premium hostel
length of stay
- perfect weekend city its super compact and can mostly be done on foot.
- currency here is the euro. its one of the cheapest countries in wester europe. you can get a meal and wine for less than €10.
country travel tips
atm: any is fine they all charge a small fee.
taxi: can be expensive here take an uber
sim card: if your european then a new law in june 2017 made it free to use your sim.
uber: use code; carlm5078ue
Booking.com: get $20usd off your booking click here
airbnb: get $20usd off your booking here: www.airbnb.com/c/cmuies