When on a visit to Costa del Sol, before hitting the hot, sandy beaches, make a stop-over (even if it’s a brief one) in Malaga, a vivacious and welcoming city in the heart of Andalusia, pulsating with young energy and creativity.
First Things First – Food.
Well, as every single traveller I’ve met, every time I venture out to Spain, food is something to be discovered here again and again – how wonderful that our bodies need to refuel a few times a day!
So first, a caffeine fix, and the best place in Malaga to get a coffee exactly how you like it, is at Café Central Málaga serving Santa Cristina coffee – they are even more meticulous about your coffee than you are, here’s the proof.
You choose between 10 different variations of coffee strength – a great way to experiment for those who aren’t really sure how they like it exactly. Coffee lovers and those who just found themselves suddenly in love with Spanish coffee, like my companion, will not be disappointed with this Malagese (does this word exist?) ritual!
If you are staying in a self-catering accommodation (and even if you aren’t) Mercato Central Atarazanas (or simply Malaga market) is an exciting place to pick up some local specialities, such as cherimoya, a fruit I had never heard of before visiting Malaga, and did not know what to make of it the first time I tasted it – I just could not decide whether I liked it or not…. my taste buds were really playing games with my brain….
A huge variety of usual suspects like olives, fish, seafood, nuts is there for you to enjoy – just grab a few things and head to the beach!
In restaurants, of course, there’s a huge variety of local dishes and, as always, it’s best to follow the lead of the locals – they usually get a few different dishes (media ración, i.e. half portion, or tapa size) and share them with friends, it’s the best way to sample more of the menu without overindulging.
If you are going out for a drink, there’s a Bodega Bar with a character called El Pimpi (the link takes you to Trip Advisor comments) – always packed full with a lively crowd enjoying each other’s company. The atmosphere is absolutely fabulous – you won’t want to leave the place.
When you are there, notice the décor, especially the hand-painted vintage posters – each of them is truly a work of art, reminding the visitor of the richness of Andalusian culture and history.
A place every wine-lover should pay a visit to, even a fleeting one, is La Vinoteca-Museum los Patios de Beatas – it’s not only a wine cellar in the heart of Malaga but also an in-depth lesson on wines and winemaking with colourful displays and thorough explanations as well as endless options for wine tasting.
So, before visiting, make sure you are thirsty and have a lot of time on your hands!
Street Art and Architecture
Malaga has plenty to offer to those, who like to indulge in the beauty of architecture and street art.
As the visitor roams around the city she is surprised by unexpected and quirky art dotted here and there around the corners and in the alleyways, reminding of vibrant talent residing in this warm and welcoming place.
Puerto de Malaga (Port of Malaga) is a beautiful example of modern architecture and art, enhancing visitor’s experience of seaside spaces.
History lovers will be thrilled with their visits to ‘La Manquita’ (‘one-armed’ Malaga Cathedral), Medieval Moorish Palace Alcazaba or any other historical attraction – there are plenty of those here dating as far back as Moorish times and even earlier.
My Spanish friend, who was showing me around, absolutely loves her native city’s ‘One-armed’ cathedral (it got this name because it’s unfinished and lacks one tower), but was telling me that, apparently, authorities recently announced plans to finish the cathedral, which stirred some sentiment in many locals – they feel that, if finished, the cathedral will not be the same anymore.
Although, when I think about it, these enormous churches and cathedrals were never built in one or a few years, sometimes it used to take hundreds of years to finish them…as in this case… so, and this is just a thought, maybe it is not such a contradiction when people want to finish something today, what was started a few hundred years ago…?
Overall Malaga leaves an impression of a warm and lively place streaming with diners, shoppers, and artists – you’d think nobody has to work here, there’s so much leisure and happiness on the streets!
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