Málaga is the second largest city of Andalusia and the fifth largest city of Spain. Málaga is one of the oldest cities of Europe, founded by the Phoenicians in the 8th century BC. Since the tourist boom of the 1960s and 1970s it is both a notable cultural as an economic centre on the Mediterranean coast. The centre of Málaga can be reached in less than 1 hour from the Costa Tropical.
The old part of Málaga around the cathedral is very charming and a nice place to explore. Calle Larios, which is famous for its shopping, is surrounded by attractive small streets and plazas, as well as the magnificent cathedral. The Picasso Museum is also in this area. One of the highlights of the city is the Alcazaba Málaga. This Moorish fortress, which dates back to 1057, was recently restored and now includes an impressive archaeological museum, filled with Phoenician and Arab treasures. It is perched on the hillside above the city, affording visitors a glimpse of the distant North African coast. The structure, inspired by the Alhambra in Granada, houses three magnificent palaces and is surrounded by beautiful gardens and ornate fountains.
In the centre of the city, just behind the cathedral and the historic quarter, is the beautiful Alameda Gardens and the Paseo del Parque. This gorgeous avenue is lined with gardens featuring gigantic palms, fragrant jasmine and exotic vegetation, as well as hidden statues, fountains and resting places. The park runs alongside the port of Málaga and its commercial area “Muelle Uno”, a fantastic leisure and cultural space that opened in 2011, offering lots of nice restaurants and shops, but also cultural events and concerts. One of the greatest attractions is the Centre Pompidou Málaga, with an extensive modern art collection.
Just outside the city on the way to Antequera, there are the picturesque grounds of Jardines de la Concepcion feature breath-taking greenery, ranging from lush, tropical vegetation to desert-like landscapes. There is a mansion and a botanical museum here.
As well as being a cultural centre, Málaga is also a great place to eat out. The Malagueños love their food and the bars and restaurants here are where the real social life takes place. Tapas, small portions of many different dishes, is an Andalusian tradition and a wonderfully inexpensive way to try a variety of local food. The best-known local fare in Málaga is “pescaito frito”, an assortment of fried fish, including small sardines and red mullet, best washed down with a glass of ice-cold vino at one of the many old-fashioned bodegas in town.