When you say Malaga city it isn’t somewhere that you would immediately plan to visit. Usually for us in the UK, Malaga is somewhere to fly into so we can be transferred to one of the numerous resorts along its coast. So on my first visit to this city I was truly surprised by its charm and authenticity and surprisingly no English breakfasts in sight and hardly any British tourists. Only a short journey away from coastal resorts such as Fuengirola, Benalmadena and Marbella and a few hours from large cities such as Granada and Seville this city is a great base for anyone wishing to visit the region of Andalusia.
We decided to stay in a traditional Andalusian house
in an area called Ciudad Jardin, meaning Garden City it is a lovely, leafy and quiet neighbourhood full of palm trees, orange trees and white tiled houses. The house contained a small garden and as you approached the property the sweet smell of jasmine cascading over the wall filled your nostrils. The living space was over two tiers with the living/dining area, twin bedroom and bathroom on the bottom floor and a double bedroom on the top overlooking the ground floor from a mezzanine. Although small it was perfectly formed, very quirky and its beautiful tall windows allowed light to pour in throughout the day. Close by there was direct access to the city centre by bus or as I preferred a twenty minute stroll into the centre of town which allows you to take in the sights of all the surrounding area.
On the corner of the beautiful Calle Granada is the historic Café Madrid
. Opened in 1892 this establishment was a gathering for writers, journalists and very important people throughout Malaga and is renowned for its Coffee, chocolate and Churros. Today it still sits in its familiar setting and attracts everyone from all walks of life. As I walked into its entrance the first thing I could smell was the sweet aura of chocolate. The place was full of people laughing and talking, the white shirted waiters rushing around the maze of tiny wooden tables carefully balancing everything on their small circular trays. Considering the place was full, our chocolate and Churros arrived in no time. The chocolate was thick, sweet and creamy and the churros deliciously warm and crispy. Dipping them into the velvety dark mixture was all part of the experience but the taste was even better. A true recommendation for some traditional sweet treats in Malaga City.
Established in 1890 this simple yet inviting establishment is the place to visit if you wish to experience the regions beautiful smooth ice cream (Helado) and the traditional Turron. Casa Mira
isn’t a fancy place the floors are white marble, the tables stainless steel and walls of mirrors but its cool interior is welcoming from the warmth outdoors. As you arrive you are greeted with a menu with a huge array of flavours to choose from. I must admit I was here on a daily basis and the woman began to know our faces and always greeted us with a smile. Its one thing I don’t eat at home so trying lots of different flavours was fun. Hazelnut, Leche Merengada, Bounty, Pistachio, Toasted caramel, turron, blanco y negro the list goes on! My ultimate favorite is Leche Merengada! I first tasted this in a drink form in Salobrena a small town on the Costa Tropicale, I got so addicted to it I often tried to replicate it at home. It’s a simple yet tasty treat consisting of cream, merengue (in its soft form), cinnamon and lemon. You can experience it as a drink or as an ice cream and both are delightful as each other.
When you see the word hostel you don’t automatically think of cool funky rooms and a contemporary roof top bar. The Alcazaba Premium Hostel
is a four story building in the historic centre. As you enter the hostel you are greeted with a very friendly receptionist behind an ultra-modern desk. The lift takes you to the very top floor and when the doors open you are transported to a sleek swanky roof top terrace. The white furniture and the wood and glass floor is illuminated with ultra violet light. The terrace is surrounded by a glass barrier so that the view aren’t interrupted, from the back drop of the Alcazaba to the marina and its London eye style wheel over to the historic centre there are certainly worst places to have a drink. The vibe is cool and laid back and the bar sells an array of fantastic cocktails at affordable prices, a large mojito being only 7 Euros and they didn’t skimp on the alcohol as they do here in the uk. I had a snoop around this little hostel and it was very sleek and individual with small nooks and crannies, a glass lift with artwork rolling past as it moved, a great looking restaurant and fantastically clean it would definitely be somewhere I would consider staying in the future.
This fortress palace located high above Malaga city centre can be seen from all around the city and its vantage point reminded me of the castle here in the city of Edinburgh. Alcazaba whose name in Arabic means citadel, is one of Malaga’s most visited sights because of its history and beauty.
If you are unable to climb the steep path towards this beautiful fortress there is the option of a lift which on a very hot day can be a godsend. However a climb or descent on this path is must to see the numerous gardens, architecture and fountains along the way.
When you reach the top you are greeted by a spectacular construction and mixture of Roman, Arab and Renaissance architecture all within a small distance of each other and the views out the city and fantastic. The building is adorned with an array of different military components and you can’t help but see why it is situated in such a location, perfect to defend from any side of the city.
It is a perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city below. A small piece of paradise contained within historical walls, full of interesting rooms and areas, palm trees filled with chirping green coloured parakeets and trickling, soothing water fountains.
A short walk from the historic city centre is the beautiful beach called La Malagueta. Although this is a man-made beach it doesn’t disappoint. Its huge expanse of golden sand stretches out and is not over crowded by a swarm of tourists which is often the case in this part of Spain. Scattered along the beach is a few informal café’s and restaurants where you can take shade from the sun and eat or drink as the soft sea breeze caresses your skin.
Close by you can see the fishing area and lazily watch fisherman untangle there nets as the sun twinkles on the water’s surface. If laying on the beach isn’t your thing you can take a walk to the beautiful marina which has an array of upmarket shops, gelateria’s and bars or you can visit the famous Pompideu museum.
Malaga, In the beautiful words of Vicente Aleixandre,
‘My eyes always see you, the city of my seabound days.
Perched on a majestic mountain, barely standing still
In your plunge into the wavy blue,
You rule under the sky and above water,
Frozen in mid-air as if a joyous hand
Had kept you there, in a picture of glory,
Before you sink down the loving waves.’