Destination Spain: Why Not Choose… Málaga?
Capital of the Costa del Sol, a city of sunshine and sand, Málaga is the place to stay for a laid-back holiday! As Pablo Picasso's birthplace, it is also a city of art and history, with a rich and surprising past. From a simple sunset to the impressive vestiges of the Roman or Muslim times, the city and even the whole province of Málaga offer impressive sights and an unforgettable experience!
A City Packed with History
To start you exploration of Málaga, head for the Plaza de la Merced, one of the city's most beautiful squares with its amazing obelisk. Continue wandering through the streets, and indulge yourself with a little window-shopping on Calle Marqués de Larios, with its many gorgeous fashion boutiques. Then stop off for a good coffee in a trendy, lively area like El Palo or Pedregalejo.
Next on the agenda: culture and history! You can't miss out on the famous Picasso Museum, devoted to the painter born in Málaga. Opened in 2003, this museum is inside the luxurious Buenavista Palace. Through a permanent collection covering eighty years of the painter's work, the museum shows the rigour and creative skill of a world-famous artist.
Just a stone's throw from the museum is Gibralfaro Castle, probably the best place to enviews over Málaga. You can walk along its crenellated walls, which allow you to see almost the entire city. All the evidence suggests that the fortress, built in the 14th century, was constructed to defend the Alcazaba, to which it is connected by a barbican.
Other must-see sites include: the Our Lady of the Incarnation Cathedral (one of the key Renaissance monuments in Andalusia ), or the Málaga bullring built in 1874 and which can host up to 9032 spectators for bullfights and other cultural events.
An Idyllic Coast
If you dream of sunbathing on the beach, you've come to the right place! Just a short distance from the city centre, the beaches here are perfect for long hours lazing in the sun. However, Málaga isn't the only place that offers this idyllic scenery. If you want to explore other parts of the Costa del Sol, there are also charming resorts like Torremolinos, Benalmadena, and San Pedro. Bathing, water-sports, walking or hiking: the Costa de Sol offers 100% sunshine and 100% easy living!
Top 10 Must-Sees
Gibralfaro Castle: built in the 14th century to defend the Alcazaba palatial fortress, it sits on a hilltop overlooking Málaga. Its ramparts offer magnificent views of Málaga, the beaches of the Costa del Sol, the Plaza de Toros and the port of Málaga.
Málaga Alcazaba: don't miss this majestic construction: one of the most powerful fortification systems of Spain 's Muslim era, towering proudly over the city. Its architectural structure is in the early 11th century military style.
The Spanish Contemporary Engraving Museum in Marbella: in the old Bazán Hospital dating back to the 16th century, it contains engravings from the 19th and 20th centuries, including some by Picasso and Dali. It is one of the largest engraving museums in Spain, and will delight fans of art and Spanish culture.
The Guadalmina baths in Marbella: bearing witness to Marbella's Roman roots, the Guadalmina baths date back to the 2nd and 3rd centuries A.D. They consist of a central pool surrounded by an octagonal patio and interconnected compartments. Perfect if you love old architecture!
The Plaza de Toros in Ronda: an arena in the pretty village of Ronda. It is the oldest Spanish arena after that of Seville and also one of the largest, measuring 60m in diameter. Under the 6000-seat terraces is a bullfighting museum.
Málaga Roman Theatre: located at the foot of the Alcazaba fortress, this theatre dating back to the 1st century (and only discovered in 1951) is one of the oldest monuments in Málaga.
The Alcazaba of Málaga: fortress built between the 8th and 11th centuries in the ramparts of Málaga. Built on the summit of the hill, it protected city against invaders. You can sip a coffee on one of the terraces, while enjoying magnificent views.
The Ronda Bridge (El Puente Nuevo): this three-arched, 100m high bridge built in the 18th century connects the two parts of Ronda, over a deep and breathtaking chasm.
Mijas, near Málaga: located on the Costa del Sol, just 30 km from Málaga, this charming village is sure to win your heart. It stretches between the mountain of the same name (Sierra de Mijas) and the sea, with a magnificent hilly landscape along its length.
The El Palo area: this trendy area full of typical bars is the place for an unforgettable night out, with its young and cosmopolitan crowd always ready to party!
World-Famous Local Dishes and Sunny Flavours!
Also a fishing port, Málaga is above all famous for its fish. Fresh seafood, grilled sardines, red mullet, squid and langoustines take pride of place on Andalusian restaurant menus! You can also try a fritura de pescado a la andaluza (Andalusian fried fish platter), consisting of small fish (anchovies, small squid, prawns) which are salted, breadcrumbed, then fried. And of course, you can't leave without tasting the famous gazpacho. All of these dishes will taste even better with excellent local wines, made from Muscat grapes.
January: Cavalcade of the Three Wise Men. On 5 January, the Three Wise Men arrive by boat in Málaga, then parade through the city on a colourful float, throwing sweets to the crowd.
March: Semana Santa. Leading up to Easter, Holy Week is certainly the most important religious event in Spain. Representations of Christ and the Virgin sometimes weighing over a ton are transported through the city, accompanied by the Nazarenos (penitents in traditional costume).
April: Film Festival. This festival, held at the Cervantes Theatre, rewards the best Spanish-language films.
May: El Rocio Pilgrimage Romería del Rocío). This very popular pilgrimage in Andalusia takes place 50 days after Easter in the Huelva province. The procession starts near the Guadalquivir and the pilgrims, wearing traditional flamenco clothes, travel by horse, carriage or on foot along millennia-old paths to arrive at the Blanca Paloma Sanctuary, in the village of El Rocío.
June: Corpus Christi. This religious event celebrates the Eucharist. For this occasion, a representation of the Holy Sacrament is carried by several men along Calle Larios and Calle Granada.
July: Fiesta del Carmen. This festival in honour of Saint Carmen, the patron saint of sailors, began in the days when the fishing industry was the main source of income.
August: Feria de Agosto. This festival celebrates the conquest of the city by the Christians on 18 August 1487. Over 9 days, there are festivities in the city: shows for children, singing and traditional dancing. There are also bullfights every afternoon.
December: Fiesta de Los Rondeles. On 12 December, Saint Lucy's Eve, the town of Casarabonela in the province of Málaga celebrates the Fiesta de Los Rondeles. This tradition pays tribute to the oil millers who carried their basket torches (rondeles) to the Divina Pastora (Divine Shepherdess) to thank her for the harvest.
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