Málaga is a city full of history and tradition, but it is also the capital of the Costa del Sol. Cosmopolitan and welcoming, it is a home away from home for the traveler because of the locals' deep sense of hospitality. We will give you just a sampling of what this city of light and sand has to offer, because we are sure you will want to come back to experience more.
Málaga’s Old Town is home to the bulk of the city’s historic buildings, some of which date back to the first century BCE. The city’s Old Town is also where you will find the majority of the museums, like the
Port of Málaga & the Coast
The whole of Málaga is a never-ending beach, stretching from
Los Montes & Outside the City
You take the old Granada road to reach the most beautiful area of Málaga. The many natural scenic lookouts along this route offer magnificent views of the bay, and there is the added interest of experiencing the unique gastronomy, anthropology and history of the area. The whole area is dotted with inns. Some are in the style of rustic taverns, like
Cosmopolitan and attractive, a meeting point for diverse cultures and nationalities, Málaga offers the visitor an great variety of cuisines: from the most traditional and native to the most exquisite and innovative. If its strength is pescaíto frito (small, whole fried fish), it is not weak when it comes to meat, rice dishes and even exotic dishes. As they say round here, there are places to give away, but being Málaga it could not be that simple.
A culinary tour of the south coast's capital should start with taverns - some of which are more than 100 years old - and wines. All over Andalucía and also in other regions is the tradition of the Via Crucis: a procession route with penance stops in each of the churches along the way. We propose a very different type of procession. Start from one bar and then try stopping in all the others along your route. The penance is a (small!) glass of wine. This is not a British pub crawl, mind you; it's a very Spanish social practice.
Start in the Campana with a glass of moscatel (sweet wine), then on to the Antigua Casa del Guardia (Old Guard House) - the oldest in the city - and ask for a Pedro Ximenez. From there to the Quitapenas, and have another one. In Orellana you can have some tapas - rice or grilled prawns would be the best choice. In the Inn a Barbadillo de Sanlúcar of Barrameda and in Ajo Blanco a glass of rosé to accompany the porra antequerana.You have to give your body something solid so that it can carry on. A Ribera del Duero in the Rebaná and a fruity wine from the Canaries in the Tapería Siglo XXI. And now a good siesta.
From the Paseo Marítimo Antonio Machado (seafront promenade) to the Avenida Pintor Sorolla you will find all types of restaurants, and rest assured that they are all first class. For fish and seafood Sal Gorda, in the Malagueta; for Basque cooking, the 7 de Julio. For pasta enthusiasts and those who love traditional Italian cuisine the Commendatore or Tommasino are good bets. A grill with tangos and lassoos at the Malena and mariachis and enchiladas in Nacho's Tex-Mex. Ox chops and lamb chops in the Madre del Cordero and paellas and delicatessen in the Conde Ansurez.
But if you want to go somewhere really original, where the decor, service and cooking deserve top marks, then head for Bodegón de Gurpegui, in the area of Cerrado de Calderón. Bandit Style
It is best not to drive because the wine of the Montes is strong indeed, but the decision is yours. Whilst you are admiring the impressive scenery of the Montes de Málaga (surrounding hills), try the best of the best moscatel in the Venta Nueva, and the next place to visit is the Olivos, on a little detour off the main road and where you can try fried breadcrumbs with wine from the area. The winding road will take you to the Mirador, which is approaching heaven and one of the best places for lunch. The chef, María, has been using garlic, tomatoes and meat to make soups for over 50 years. The wine, whether you choose house or sweet, is from the Montes. If you prefer to go straight to a country inn, we suggest the Túnel, a perfect place to go with children and all the family. Pre-order one of their rice stews by telephone; these combine seafood and chicken paella that would raise the dead.
Seafood and pescaíto (fried fish)
Huelin is a seaside neighborhood par excellence; here there are plenty of restaurants where you will probably eat the best seafood you have ever tasted - although many people say the place for that is Madrid. One of the most traditional places is Mario-Eva, whose specialties are prawns and fried fish. For fried fish the place is Dos Erres, where they use pure olive oil and a little seasoning. Seafood and shellfish, finas and mussels at Santa Paula are heavenly. And if you want to eat beside the sea, go to Pedregalejo and El Palo. At the Tintero try the boquerones vitorianos (fresh anchovies), at Casa Pedro, the salpicón de marisco (a mixed seafood dish) and at the Cobertizo red mullet and calamari, Málaga-style salad and a good moscatel to celebrate.
In the capital of the Costa del Sol there are endless ways to spend a weekend, a month or your whole life. Here we offer you a broad range of accommodation options: luxury, modest, rural, charming, by the sea or in the mountains. It is simply up to you to decide when, how and with whom.
The Capital and Vicinity
Málaga itself does not currently have any five-star accommodation, but the extensively renovated Málaga Palacio and the new NH Málaga, both four-star hotels, will surely fulfil all your requirements. Smaller, but optimally located in the very heart of the old town, is the Larios. You might choose a three-star hotel near the sea like Las Vegas, or the Don Curro, which is popular with business travelers.
If you'd rather have a dream weekend outside of the main urban area, stay at the Parador Nacional de Gibralfaro (paradores are tourist hotels which were initially set up by the Spanish government; they are of high quality and fairly exclusive) or in the Humaina in the Parque Natural de los Montes. In the districts closest to the capital you will find the Meliá Torremolinos, Aloha Puerto and Costa Lago, all four-star hotels. If you prefer camping, the Baños del Carmen camp site is located on Pedregalejo beach in Málaga.
There are innumerable hotels, apartment-hotels, pensiones and camp grounds spread all over Málaga, from Estepona to Torremolinos. La Duquesa Golf & Resort, in the district of Manilva, is a true sports and leisure complex guaranteed to provide an unforgettable holiday. Some famous resorts are located in Estepona and Marbella: Kempiski, the super-luxurious Las Dunas. For smaller budgets we suggest Pueblo Andaluz. They are apartment-hotels located within a replica of a typical Andalusian village, with white-washed walls, stone arches and flowerpots.
In Fuengirola you might try Las Palmeras, El Puerto (part of the multinational Transhoteles chain), and the more modest three-star Ángela, situated beside Los Boliches beach. In Mijas Costa is the fabulous, top-class Byblos Andaluz, offers thalassotherapy (therapeutic sea bathing) and beauty therapy centers. In Benalmádena Costa is the Torrequebrada, with its impressive casino where you can while the nights away amidst the grand show of music and bright lights. Back in Torremolinos we find both Las Pirámides, and the apartment-hotels Los Alamos beside the beach of the same name.
East Coast and Inland
El Rincón de la Victoria is the first district you come to in the eastern part of the province. We suggest you try the historical Rincón Sol, or the new Nuestra Señora de la Victoria, part of the Summa chain. In the Axarquía region you will find all types of accommodation, but we recommend you opt for the excellent camping grounds or the casas rurales (country homes).
There are two other national Paradores in the province, one in Antequera and the other in Ronda. The new Maestranza is located in the city of Tajo, opposite the bullring. The five-star Alhaurín Golf in Alhaurín de la Torre is excellent, as are the spa resorts of Tolox and Carratraca, two lovely villages inland from Málaga city. The Refugio del Juanar, a hotel in the country in the Ojén region, is an absolute marvel. The same can be said of Molino del Santo in the Serranía de Ronda, and the Posada del Canónigo, a delightful spot in the Sierra de las Nieves.
Málaga has two naturist camp grounds catering to more daring visitors. The Benalnatura, in Marbella, has bungalows and open green spaces for campers beside the beach. The Almanat in Vélez-Malaga, on the east coast, is also beside the beach.
There is a fantastic selection of apartment-hotels at Playa de Maro in the Maro region near Torrox and the Granada coast. However, if you prefer the country to the beach, El Sur, in Ronda, offers a camp site, restaurant, swimming-pool, tennis courts, bungalows, horse rides, cave exploration...everything you can think of.
Although the founding of Málaga is attributed to the Phoenicians, archaeological remains in various parts of the province indicate that prehistoric man had already left his mark on the area. Later on, the Carthaginians and Romans would come. The latter bestowed upon the city the status of a confederate city of Rome, a privilege enjoyed by only three cities in Andalusia. The Roman Theatre and Lex Flavia Malacitana, the remains of which were found in the 19th century, date back to this era, the first century CE.
Three centuries later the Christians arrived, and the Visigoths made their presence felt. Their might was definitively established in the 7th century. The Arabic invasion occurred in 711 and with it the capture of Málaga. During the time of the taifas (small Spanish kingdoms), Muslims from the kingdom of Granada established themselves in the city. From 1057 this had a positive effect on the city's growth, and was the period during which the Alcazaba (Citadel) was built. Five centuries after this, on the 18th of August 1487, Málaga surrendered to Castilian troops after a cruel battle in which Ferdinand the Catholic King acted without compromise in dealing to the Arabs. Any survivors were sold as slaves, or exiled. The void left by the Arabs was filled by Christians from all parts of the country.
The 17th century was a tragic time for the city. Added to the poor harvests, famine and epidemics were the huge floods in the years 1580, 1621 and 1661, and the earthquake of 1680 that damaged many buildings. Surprisingly, one that was saved was the cathedral.
Málaga would not return to normality until well into the 18th century. This was a time of renewed commercial activity, largely thanks to business dealings with America. However, just as the city had recovered from the tragedies of the 17th century, it again suffered a harsh setback with the outbreak of yellow fever in 1803 and 1804. This set off another downward trend that the city would take years to recover from. There were also the effects of the French invasion, despite the achievements of the guerrilla resistance movements of Serranía and Axarquía. During the absolutist reign of Ferdinand VII, altercations never ceased between his followers and the liberals. The King's troops in Málaga arrested the liberal General Torrijos along with some of his companions. In December 1831, they were executed by firing squad on the beaches of Málaga. Years later a memorial obelisk was erected in their memory in the Plaza de la Merced (Square of Mercy).
Following the death of Ferdinand VII in 1833, the liberals took power and Málaga assumed an important role in the nation thanks to industrialization. Iron and steel works and textile factories were established. The latter were instigated by the Larios and Heredia families. They jointly founded Industria Malagueña in 1846, which made Málaga the second most important industrial center in the country after Barcelona.
Málaga began the 20th century with an industrial crisis that had started at the end of the previous century with their inability to compete with Catalan industries, and the high price of coal. The agricultural sector was also in crisis due to the destruction of the vines by phylloxera (similar to green-fly). The economy deteriorated with the loss of Cuba, and commercial activity slowed. The situation did not change until the Primo de Rivera dictatorship (1923-1929). Agricultural prosperity had a positive influence on external commerce and industry. The economy once again suffered with the proclamation of the Republic. The working classes were constantly striking over conditions and increasing unemployment. The torching and sacking of religious institutions in 1931 were manifestations of this discontent.
After the military uprising on the 18th of July 1936, Málaga remained under Republican control until their defeat in February 1937. With the Civil War over, the arduous task of rebuilding the city began. Some industries began to recover, but true recovery began in the 1950s with the tourist explosion. This generated enormous economic activity, making public works possible. The service sector then developed, and it remains the basis of today's economy. By exploiting its sun and its beaches, Málaga has become one of the most important tourist destinations in Europe.