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Málaga on the Costa del Sol: More than just an airport

Panoramic view of the Alcazaba in Malaga, Spain
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Visitors to the Costa del Sol in southern Spain normally arrive at the Málaga–Costa del Sol Airport. From there, they collect their rental car, jump in a taxi or climb on a bus to their holiday destination. The popular coastal resorts on the Costa del Sol include Benalmádena Costa, Torremolinos, Fuengirola, La Cala de Mijas or Marbella. Few choose to spend some time in the capital of the Costa del Sol. However, Málaga an attractive destination all by itself. Read a brief introduction into the some of the city's top attractions below.

What can Málaga offer tourists?

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1. Endless beaches Yup!
2. Fascinating museums Yup!
3. Art galleries Yup!
4. Theatres & entertainment Yup!
5. The best in shopping Yup!
6. Multi-cuisine dining Yup!
7. Moorish ruins Yup!
8. Roman ruins Yup!
9. Parks, plazas and gardens Yup!
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Malaga on the Costa del Sol in southern Spain

Endless beaches of Málaga

One of the best beaches in Málaga is Playa de la Málagueta. Close to the centre of the city, you can enjoy 0.6 mi of clean beautiful sand, as well as a promenade which takes you to the Port of Málaga. If the sun gets too hot for the beach, you can choose a sunbed and thatched parasol, or lie on the grass under a waving palm tree. There are several restaurants, cafes and chiringuitos (beach restaurants and bars) along the way to enjoy a tasty snack and a refreshing drink.  Playa Caleta is another charming beach with bars and restaurants and all the amenities.
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Playa de la Malagueta, Malaga, Costa del Sol, Spain
Photo: Playa de la Málagueta by Stefan Krust on Wikimedia Commons

Fascinating museums of Málaga

Málaga is the birthplace of artist Pablo Ruiz Picasso and actor and movie star, Antonio Banderas. among the many museums on offer, it is recommended to pay a visit to the house where Picasso was born. A separate attraction relating to the artist is Museo Picasso Málaga, an art gallery exhibiting 285 works donated by members of Picasso's family.
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Picasso's birthplace
Museo Picasso Malaga
Photos copyright © Anne Sewell
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Museo Automovilístico de Málaga (Málaga Automobile Museum) is another fascinating visit, where approximately 90 classic cars can be seen along with displays of around 200 pieces haute couture fashion, luggage items and hats from various eras.
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Malaga Automobile Museum
Malaga Automobile Museum
Photo: Jorbasa Fotografie on Flickr

Theatres and entertainment in Málaga

Málaga is one of the most cultural cities in Europe, and Teatro Cervantes is the theatre to visit for excellent stage performances, concerts and shows, set in a beautiful 19th-century building with an ornate ceiling. This is where Antonio Banderas first "hit the boards" when he became an actor. Incidentally, although Banderas has spent a lot of time in the USA while starring in many popular films including "The Mask of Zorro," "Interview with the Vampire," "Imagining Argentina," "Evita," and more, he now has an apartment in the heart of Málaga.
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Teatro Cervantes
Teatro Cervantes
Photo: Dguendel on Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Reeebbbeeecccaaa on Wikimedia Commons
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Speaking of films, Málaga has a number of cinemas and multi-cines where all the latest films are screened.

Shopping in Málaga

The city has many great shops throughout, but of particular interest is the pedestrian-only Calle Marqués de Larios, or Calle Larios for short. Among the fashion houses represented here are Zara, Mango, Massimo Dutti, Bimba, Lola, Woman's Secret, Victoria's Secret, Oysho and more. A selection of banks, restaurants and coffee bars can be found along the street. A number of street performers and human statues can be seen as you stroll Calle Larios.
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Calle Larios, Malaga, Spain
Calle Larios, Malaga, Spain
Photos copyright © Anne Sewell
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Besides the upmarket shops of Calle Larios, there a large branch of the department store El Corte Ingles in the city as well as several shopping malls in the city and on the outskirts.

Dining in Málaga

The city offers a huge range of restaurants an eateries, serving virtually every type of cuisine you can think of. According to TripAdvisor, the top restaurant according to reviewers is Trattoria Mamma Franca, serving authentic Italian cuisine, followed by AnyWay Wine Bar, serving Spanish tapas and excellent wines, Mura Mura Osteria Cafe, serving meat and vegetarian dishes and El Descorche Sorbos & Mordiscos, serviing Spanish, Mediterranean and vegetarian-friendly dishes. The city also has a variety of tapas and coffee bars on virtually every major street.

Moorish and Roman ruins of Málaga

The Moors left their mark during their occupation of this region of Spain, including the Alcazaba, a palatial fortification built in the 11th century by the Hammudid dynasty. This is considered to be the best-preserved Alcazaba in Spain and at the base of the same hill, the remains of a Roman amphitheatre can be seen.
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Alcazaba
Gibralfaro Castle
Photos copyright © Anne Sewell
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On top of the hill of the same name stands the Castillo Gibralfaro which offers spectacular views over the city of Málaga and the Mediterranean Sea. Of interest to note, the emblematic Parador de Málaga Gibralfaro stands next to the castle - one of the famous Paradores of Spain and a luxury hotel. The images below show a view of the castle at night from the Parador's swimming pool and another view taken from the castle itself.
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Gibralfaro castle at night from the Parador de Malaga Gibralfaro
Gibralfaro Castle view
Photos copyright © Anne Sewell

Parks, gardens and plazas of Málaga

Málaga offers plenty of green spaces, city squares and pretty gardens for fresh air relaxation including the Botanical Garden which runs through the centre of the city, where statues frown at the pigeons nearby. One of the major city squares or plazas is Plaza de Merced, which has been a part of the city since the Roman colonial era. The reason for its name is that the square is also a market place where weekly markets are held, and has been since the 15th century.
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Botanical Gardens, Malaga
Plaza de Merced, Malaga
Photos copyright © Anne Sewell
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We hope you have enjoyed this brief tour of Málaga on the Costa del Sol, in southern Spain. Take time out to visit the city next time you travel to Spain.

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Latest update: November 23, 2019