As most of you who read this are Anglophones, I’m going to assume you’ve heard of Malaga. After all, it’s one of the top destinations in Spain for expats, and what most people have heard of when they hear of the Costa del Sol. Nearby Marbella is a haven for the English-speaking and otherwise (German, Scandinavian, etc.) population, and Malaga is therefore the commercial hub of this region.
We never really made a point to go to Malaga, due to its Anglo reputation and our preconceived notions of how things are there. Really, though, most of the expats stay closer to Marbella, and come into the city for city reasons. Naturally, too, Malaga has a large swath of tourists that come in and out every day, be it via plane, train, automobile, or cruise ship.
We were told by friends, though, that it’s actually a nice place to visit and that it gets a bad rap due to all of the above. So, when our German friends, Viviane and Christine, said they wanted to check it out as it’s full of beaches and other sun-soaked treats, we decided to hop in a rental car and investigate the city for a weekend.
Before you enjoy these photos of Malaga, a couple more things. First, I’m automatically attracted to it as it possesses my favorite combination of mountains and water. Second, it’s a very busy city. Not only is it full of tourists, expats, and locals, but it has a large university at the center. While Seville does as well, Malaga is smaller and therefore feels rather chaotic in the center.
We did not find ourselves in love with it, but we enjoyed our visit and I don’t think we’d hesitate to go back. You can almost think of it as a more laid-back, more Andalusian, less mad, and smaller version of Barcelona. Many of you might not agree with me on that, but this is the vibe I got. And that’s not a negative!
So, let’s get it on!
Views and drinks atop the AC Hotel Malaga Palacio…
I mean, crass, but I can’t really argue with this sentiment…
The city market, previously pictured with those huge, stained-glass windows on the outside…
The beaches! Viv and Christine sincerely wanted to get to some sand and sunshine. We hung out at the famous Malagueta beach, as well as a few stretches nearby.
Walking along the port and seaside boardwalk, there’s plenty to take in as well. Malaga has its own Centre Pompidou – whose original you’ll know if you’ve ever been to Paris – and you can visit it right next to the water. In addition, there are a host of sculptures, bars, and other things to take in as you walk about.
Now, how about some food and drink? The restaurants in Malaga were packed on Friday and Saturday, so much so that we couldn’t even get a reservation at most places we called. This is quite a 180 from Seville, where it’s pretty easy to go and eat without a res, even on the weekend. If not, a res is easy to get.
Because of this, we ended up eating at restaurants right next to our apartment. Fortunately, both were very, very good, and we definitely recommend them.
The first was Andino Gastrobar…
Second, d’Gustar Vinos…
Mmmmm. Churros have a Grade-A reputation in Malaga, so we were sure to seek some out. The closest to us was the famed Casa Aranda, and it did not disappoint. Founded in 1932, it can rightfully be considered a Malaga institution.
We also hit up Cervecería Arte&Sana for some craft beer and to get a little action for our Hopsmash project.
Outside of our apartment, we ran right into a paso, because of course we did. Welcome to Spain! 🙂
Before we left back to Seville after our brief but action-packed couple of days in Malaga, we headed up a mountain to the Mirador de Gibralfaro, which is also home to a castle and parador, and provides sweeping views of the city in all its beauty.
And there you have it! A great weekend away with friends in a new city to explore, and one that, while quite crowded in a lot of places, doesn’t hesitate to impress. It definitely has a lot to offer, and there are plenty of reasons to go back at some point.
Be sure to check out our other Spain posts right here, and our Hopsmash project right here if you love delicious beer.
A very special and very big thanks to everyone in Malaga, and to our friends for coming to visit and getting us to take our first trip to this city.
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Have you ever been to Malaga? If so, what’d you think? If not, what say ye? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!