Many holidaymakers, however, use Málaga’s airport as the segue on their way to the popular sun-drenched resorts of Puerto Banus, Marbella, Torremolinos, Nerja and Belamadena, all of which are less than an hour’s drive when you arrive at the main terminal.
However, if the city is your thing, the first thing you’ll spot in Malaga’s historic centre is its large cathedral. Built between 1528 and 1782, the structure was designed to have two towers but, due to a lack of funds, ended up with just the one. This earned the cathedral the unfortunate nickname, “The One Armed Lady.” Gothic on the outside with a Renaissance/Baroque interior, entrance to the Cathedral will set you back around €6. About 30 minutes north of the centre you’ll find the awe inspiring Jardin Botanico-Historico de Malaga (€4), one of the best botanic gardens in Europe. Known as “La Concepcion”, this 19th century garden is packed full of exotic flora.
Pablo Picasso is Malaga’s most famous son – unsurprisingly there are several galleries in the city showcasing his ground-breaking work. The most popular is the Museo Picasso Malaga which is located only 200 metres from the Plaza de La Merced where Picasso was born. €6 grants you access to over 285 of Picasso’s works and a free guided tour in English. The Picasso Museum offers free entrance on the last Sunday of every month. However, queues form quickly so get there early. Doors open at 10am.
Image used under Creative Commons from gastromartini
After sampling Malaga’s culture, why not try out its cuisine? Malaga is famous for its exceptional tapas. Some of the best include Albondigas de Pescado – fish balled and fried in a mixture of eggs, breadcrumbs, flour, and salt; and Gambas al PilPil – spicy prawns fried in garlic, parsley, paprika and olive oil. El Pimpi on Calle Granada, a favourite spot with locals and tourists alike, has a wonderful patio with a scenic view that matches the fabulous tapas on offer. If you can’t get a table there, the strip along Calle Strachan is full of charming terraced eateries.
Shopping and Nightlife
Money burning a hole in your pocket? The best shopping can be found along Calle Marqués de Larios. This pretty pedestrianised avenue is best known for its numerous quality shoe stores. Once day turns to night, look no further than Vista Andalucía, arguably the best flamenco bar in the city. But remember, Spaniards don’t go out at night until the average person has gone to bed – many bars open at 11pm and close at 6am!