Most of us only know Malaga as the gateway airport to the Costa del Sol, but Malaga is now becoming the latest hot city break destination. Claire joined Kirker Travel and the Malaga Tourist Office for a weekend to discover all that Malaga has to offer:
An early morning flight meant we would have the full day to start discovering the delights of Malaga. Before lunch we were checking into the amazing Gran Hotel Miramar. Originally opened in 1926, this hotel is steeped in history and was even used as a hospital during the Spanish Civil War. After a multi-million pound refurbishment and the hotel has reopened as Malaga’s leading 5 star deluxe hotel. Set on the seafront promenade but only a 15 minute stroll into the centre of Malaga, the Gran Hotel Miramar is absolutely stunning. A beautiful historic building that has been restored to its former glory but updated with all the latest modern touches today’s travellers love. A quick stroll around the pedestrianised centre and we had our first taste of Malaga’s fabulous restaurants at the Los Patios de Beatas restaurant. Part winery and part restaurant this is a lovely place to try out the local tapas and wine! Our first afternoon was spent getting to know the area and discovering the delights of our amazing hotel. As the sun set it was time to stroll back into the centre to discover another of Malaga’s restaurants, the Rescaldo. A lovely evening trying out the local cuisine – it’s becoming apparent that the quality of food on offer in Malaga is one of the appeals of this city break destination.
This morning we set off on foot to visit the Roman Theatre and Alcazaba Fortress. Constructed in the 11th century on the hillside overlooking Malaga, the fortress was also a palace for the ruling Muslims of the time. At the foot of the fortress is the impressive Roman Theatre which was only discovered by chance in 1951. We spent a lovely morning strolling around the fortress and taking in the history and views over Malaga. Our next stop was the Cathedral – where if you are feeling energetic you can climb the 200 steps up the 18th century North Tower to the rooftop to take in the spectacular views. Or not feeling like the climb, we chose to have a coffee at one the outdoor cafes in Bishops Square, overlooking the Cathedral, and took in the atmosphere of all the locals breakfasting in the square. A further walk took us to Casa Natal de Picasso – Picasso birth place, and the Malaga Picasso Museum en-route to the El Trillo Restaurant for lunch. This afternoon we visited the Automobile museum which is an unusual mix of vintage cars and fashion! In the evening we strolled to the port area, Muelle Uno, which is a lovely place to spend the evening with an array of shops, bars and restaurants overlooking the marina. After an excellent meal at El Palmeral Restaurant, we strolled back into the centre of Malaga to take in the Spring Carnival. It was fabulous to see the streets packed with families enjoying the music and atmosphere of the Carnival into the early hours.
This morning we discovered more of the culture on offer in Malaga visiting the Centre Pompidou Malaga, close to the Muelle Uno and housed under a glass cube. This is the centre for modern art and we later discovered 19th century Spanish art at the Carmen Thyssen Museum. We had a wonderful afternoon at El Balneario Restaurant at Banos del Carmen, a couple of miles outside Malaga along the promenade. Popular with the locals, this restaurant on the waterfront was full of atmosphere as they enjoyed their Sunday lunch in the sunshine. After a leisurely lunch in the sun we strolled along the promenade back to Malaga – a lovely walk that took just around an hour – and allowed us to pop into the beachside chiringuitos and enjoy some more winter sunshine and refreshments! All too soon it was time for our short transfer back to Malaga airport and our evening flight home.
So if I had to sum up Malaga as a city break – short flight, quick transfer, beautiful pedestrianised city centre - bustling with shops, bars and fabulous restaurants - beach, promenade, harbour area, lots of history and culture – and amazing value for money!