I didn’t like Malaga when I first visited the city a few years ago, but now, several trips later, I think it might be one of the most interesting cities in Andalusia (in fact, along with Cadiz, Madrid, and San Sebastian, I think it might be one of my top four cities in Spain.) Once you get away from the traffic-heavy thoroughfare next to the port, the old town that extends away from the cathedral is a fascinating mix of polished shopping streets, and crumbling alleys and hidden plazas, filled with beautiful people taking life easy and having a really good time!
Here are a few things we would recommend if you find yourself wandering around this classic provincial capital:
1. Have a glass of Malaga Seco (fine local dry sherry) in the Antigua Casa de Guardia, at Alameda Principal 18. Drinks are poured from rows of vast oak barrels, and your tab is written in chalk on the heavy wooden bar top. They really don’t make places like this any more. Careful with the Seco… a few glasses of this can be fatal later! See our Google Malaga map below for directions.
2. Have a drink at the Parador de Gibralfaro, high on the hill next to the Moorish Alcazar. The views over the city (photo above), the port, the sea, and the bullring (photo below), are worth the price of the beer. You can walk up there from the old town, but personally I’d take a taxi up, and walk back (there are two Paradores in Malaga – make sure the taxi driver doesn’t take you to the Golf Parador instead.) If your budget can stretch to it, then sleep up here as well, it’s one of the nicest Paradors in Spain.
3. Not sure where to have dinner? Everywhere looks a bit toursity? Have a plate of Jamon Iberico, fried eggs and chips, at Restaurante Mariano, tucked away in a corner at Plaza de Carbon 2 (see map below). There’s more about this heavenly culinary experience in a previous post.
4. Pick up a twist of fried almonds from the friendly guy outside Cafe Bar Central in the Plaza de la Constitucion. Best damn almonds on the planet!
5. Wander aimlessly through the back alleys and plazas to the North West of Calle Marquis de Larios (see the blue shaded area on our map below). The streets here often seem to have fallen into a beautiful state of disrepair (as strange as that may sound). This must be one of the few remaining places in the world where you’ll find large shops dedicated to selling nothing but buttons, or fiesta dresses, or fans…
6. Head down to the city beach at dusk to eat sardines grilled at a wood fire which, improbably, has been lit in an old wooden boat!
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Do you know the city? What would you add to the list?