A few weeks ago, we decided to head over to the Spanish Costa del Sol to visit a friend who’s lucky enough to live there. The weather was absolutely terrible in Bristol, and we were looking forward to escaping the damp to bathe in the Andalucian heat.
Malaga’s rich history
Malaga boasts a long, rich and colourful history. First founded by the Phoenicians around 770 BC, Malaga became part of the Roman and the Byzantine Empires, before being ruled by the Visigoths. After the latter were defeated by the Umayyad Caliphate, Malaga stayed under Muslim rule for over 800 years, before the Spanish Reconquista in the 15th century.
This mix of cultures and religions makes Malaga a unique place to visit. Far from a boring sea side destination, it’s a pleasure for the eye as well as the tastebuds. The Roman Theatre is amazingly preserved even if some of its stones were used by the Moors during the construction of the Alcazaba, the fortress or citadel, overlooking the city.
The food of Malaga
Our little one gorged on the tasty seafood and particularly loved the sardines, grilled on the beach in miniature boat like barbecues. I couldn’t get enough of the Fritura de Verano, a delicious mix of fried vegetables (and seafood for the pescatarians). Try Casa Kiko in the Rincon de la Victoria for some of the best seafood!
The high temperature meant that it was best to stay cool under the cover of the beach restaurants drinking a few cold cañas (local beers), or to immerse ourselves in the pool. A tough life indeed!
We waited for the early evening to head over to the centre of Malaga. We really enjoyed the harbour and its night life with shops and restaurants open late and beautiful yachts waiting for the wealthy owners.
Malaga old city
The streets of the old city were a marvellous discovery, and its beautiful architecture reflects its rich past. I couldn’t resist snapping the lovely tiles used for street and building names.
The cafes and bars are a real invitation to sit down with a cup of coffee to watch the city go by. The famous ‘bodega’ El Pimpi didn’t disappoint with its traditional decor, series of rooms, flowery patio and wine barrels autographed by famous Spanish artists.
For the sweet-toothed amongst us, try some of the city’s heladerias (ice cream shops) or sweet shops . Casa Mira does some delicious turrons (nougat)!
We loved the cathedral, called La Manchita (the one-handed) after one of its unfinished towers.
But my favourite experience was heading above the city, on the restored moorish ramparts of the castle of Gibralfaro, dating back to the 10th century. It offers amazing views of the city below and walking around under the cool pines is a welcome sensation away from the bustle of the centre.
Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to visit the museum dedicated to one of Malaga’s most famous sons, Pablo Picasso, the Botanical Garden or the famous Mercado de la Merced market, but the good news is that we have good reasons to return to this beautiful city!
For more Spanish treats, read the post about our trip to Seville.