“Málaga is turning into the coolest city in Andalusia – not temperature-wise, obviously, as it is warm throughout autumn, and even in December and January you can usually sit outside or walk along the waterfront without a jacket – but in a cultural sense.”
The historic centre is a warren of little streets with interesting shops and some fabulous bars and cafes where you can sip a chilled drink or sample some of the distinctive local cuisine.
Opposite the cathedral is El Jardin with its wonderful Art Nouveau style décor.
A few streets away is El Pimpi, haunt of flamenco stars, where the walls are lined with aged barrels of sherries and local wines, and posters signed by local celebrities – including Antonio Banderas!
Nice Things is the home of gorgeous local fashion designer Paloma Lanna, selling pretty accessories and jewellery and unusual clothes for women and children.
There are shops specialising in Andalusian decorative fans, flamenco dresses and shoes, and lots of little food shops selling the delicious local ham, olives and manchego cheese.
If you’re a foodie, Malaga market is a must. There are stalls selling a cornucopia of fruits and vegetables, herbs and leaves, fresh cherries, mangoes and peaches in season. The market stalls sell cheeses, Iberican cured salamis, chorizos and hams, there are Moroccan stalls selling olives and pickled lemons and Moroccan pastries and flat breads, and the most incredible variety of fresh fish and seafood.
If you’re a culture vulture, Malaga will not disappoint. There are museums, shows and galleries to suit every taste. Malaga is the birthplace of Picasso, and as well as the famous Picasso museum, visitors can explore the town house in the Plaza de la Merced where Picasso was born.
The Thyssen museum is tiny but has gorgeous and regularly changing exhibitions including Pop art and Impressionism.
The pop-up Pompadou gallery at the port holds some 80 paintings and photographs including Picasso, Rineke Dijkstra, Tony Oursler, Frida Kahlo, Francis Bacon, Max Ernst, René Magritte, Chirico, Alberto Guacometti and Sophie Calle.
Other museums include the Russian museum with the St Petersburg collection, and the eclectic CAC Contemporary Art Centre
For sightseeers, the Alcazaba and the ruined Gibralfaro are two famous Malaga landmarks,both dating back to the time of Moorish rule. The city also features a Renaissance cathedral and a Roman ampitheatre.
El Corte Ingles is Spain’s Selfridges – a multistorey department store selling everything from sellotape to Apple Macs to fashion to food. The food market on the 6th floor has a variety of different eateries - you can pick and choose and, if you wish, take your food outside to eat on the very pretty rooftop terrace overlooking the city.
We like to visit the newly renovated port in the evening and see the Malaga coastline with ships in the distance and the lights of the town and the harbor all laid out below. There are covered walkways and gardens, restaurants and bars, and lots of shopping opportunities.
Whatever the season, if you’re visiting the Axarquia, Malaga makes a fantastic city for a day out!
Thanks to Chloe Gavin for some of the gorgeous pictures of Malaga port!