The birthplace of Picasso and the home of a thriving contemporary arts scene, Malaga is a city buzzing with life. Many visitors take flights to Malaga to access the Costa del Sol and its extensive beaches, but there is plenty to see and do in this laid-back alternative to Madrid or Barcelona.
With the sparkling Mediterranean glimmering in the background, visitors can enjoy strolling around town and enjoying the contrast between broad boulevards and narrow cobblestoned streets. The historic city centre is in the process of being restored, and the port is being redesigned into a late-night entertainment hub. There's something for everyone in Malaga and the Costa del Sol. Backpackers and singles will enjoy nearby party hubs like Fuengirola and Torremolinos, located a short bus ride away from the city centre. Couples looking for the quiet, romantic side of Malaga will find it in the old town of Marbella or from the panoramic viewpoint at the top of the Monte de Gibralfaro.
Getting In to Malaga
Most visitors to Malaga will fly directly into the Malaga International Airport, which is the third largest in Spain. Many budget airlines run flights to Malaga, including Ryanair and Easyjet. The airport is only 11 km outside of the city, making it easy to get into town using local transportation links or by taxi. The other airports serving the Costa del Sol region include the international airports in Granada and Gibraltar.
What to Budget?
Malaga is more affordable than larger cities like Barcelona or Madrid. Budget travellers can find accommodation in youth hostels, budget hotels, or choose to rent private rooms. Dining is cheap and delicious in the city's tapas bars and taverns, making it possible to enjoy a trip to Malaga on a budget.
Can't Miss Attractions
Aside from its easy access to nearby beaches like La Malagueta, one of the top reasons to visit Malaga is to see the new Picasso Museum. This comprehensive collection of Picasso's work is housed in the Buenaventura Palace and opened in 2003. A new contemporary art centre and fine arts museum are also draws for art lovers, along with a bustling gallery scene. For a quirkier museum experience, the Interactive Museum of Music offers one of the largest collections of bizarre instruments in Europe.
Take a stroll around the romantic old town and enjoy the crumbling remains of Moorish architecture. The Alcazaba is a Moorish castle dating back to the 11th century, perched on a hill in the middle of the city. There are also Roman ruins situated near the Alcazaba, with the remains of an old Roman theatre overlooking the city. You'll find an abundance of natural beauty in and around Malaga, including sunny Mediterranean beaches and the stunning El Chorro gorge. Day-trippers to El Chorro can try their hand at rock climbing and enjoy the views from the King's Pathway, suspended high above the gorge.
- If you've come to Malaga to work on your tan, there are two main city beaches to choose from. Playa de la Malagueta is the most central option, but the Playa de las Acacias is cleaner and more spacious.
- The Night of San Juan is a festival taking place on June 23 each year, featuring bonfires and parties on beaches throughout the Costa del Sol.
- Torremolinos is an area with a large gay community. It boasts a lively club scene and drag queen shows lasting well into the wee hours of the morning.
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