Malaga, the capital of the Costa del Sol

Malaga, a beautiful seaside resort in the centre of the Costa del Sol, is the capital of the province of the same name and belongs to the region of Andalusia in the south of Spain. Malaga is magnificently located between Gibralfaro Hill and the Mediterranean Sea on the mouth of two rivers, the Gualdalmedina and the Gualdahorce. Officially, this “town without winters” has 550,000 inhabitants, but when we add the number of Europeans who spend winter here, this number easily reaches 700,000. With its large port, Malaga is the gateway to Africa and the Canary Islands. In Malaga, people make a living mainly from fishing and the wine industry, but since the increase in tourism in recent decades, Malaga’s main source of income now comes from tourism. Modern infrastructure, both on the beaches and in construction, has made Malaga one of the most pleasant seaside resorts. Malaga owes its pleasant climate, with 300 days sun per year, to its privileged geographical location.

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Malaga throughout history

There are an infinite number of things to see in Malaga. Here you can see the Plaza de Toros with the sea in the distance.

Malaga’s history goes back far in time. The town was probably founded by the Phoenicians, and then became successively a Carthaginian, Roman and Visigoth colony and then a Moorish town. In the 15th century, Spanish Christians conquered Malaga, and in the 19th century two rich bourgeois families then led Malaga to economic expansion. Industrialisation and the wine industry were the main sources of income until tourism took over. Malaga inherited a rich cultural heritage from all of its colonisations, and this is still visible today when you visit the old districts with their beautiful monuments. The inhabitants of Malaga are very friendly and open, with a trait of character which they probably inherited from all of these invasions.

Malaga and its rich historical heritage

After the Christian conquest of Malaga, many of the Muslim buildings were demolished, but not all of them. In Malaga’s town centre, just behind the port, you will find the oldest districts like the one around the cathedral and the Alcazaba and Castillo Gibralfaro districts. Apart from its monuments, Malaga also has so many museums that this town is often nicknamed the town of museums. Malaga is the town where Pablo Picasso was born, and inhabitants of Malaga are genuinely proud of that. In the old town, the main monuments are within walking distance. A stroll in the historic centre will lead you through the history of Malaga.

After the Spanish conquest, the Catholic kings built many religious buildings in Malaga with the aim of erasing Islamic traces as much as possible. The Cathedral of the Incarnation was built between the 16th and the 18th centuries on the foundations of the old Aljama Mosque. The tower to the right was never completed. The magnificent carvings which decorate the arches and the pillars of this cathedral are remarkable and leave a majestic impression. The 42 sculptures on the stall are lovely to look at. The magnificent 18th century organ, with no less than 4,000 pipes, is still in perfect condition. Apart from the cathedral, Malaga has a series of other beautiful churches.

Alcazaba, a magnificent fortress which you absolutely must visit if you go to Malaga

Alcazaba is the old fortified palace of the Arab governors of Malaga, built by King Badis between 1057 and 1063 inside the walls of Malaga. At that time, it was the most powerful citadel in Islamic Spain, composed of a maze of walls, corridors, doors and interior courtyards. Around 200 years later the inhabitants of Malaga built an urban district within the walls of the Alcazaba. In the year 1934, archaeological excavation work took place and revealed interesting discoveries like the Granada chambers. Then restoration work began.

A steep path leads to the Alcazaba at the summit of the Gibralfaro hill where, at a height of 427 ft (130 m), there used to be a lighthouse (faro). It was the Moors who built the Castillo Gibralfaro with the aim of defending the Alcazaba. This Moorish building dates back to the 14th century and offered living and storage areas, springs, baths and a mosque. In this place, there is a magnificent view over the town of Malaga, the Costa del Sol beaches, the Plaza de Toros, the port of Malaga, the town hall and the long boulevards on the seafront.

The Teatro Romano is at the foot of the Alcazaba and was built in the 1st century BC in the time of Emperor Augustus. Later, the Moors used the theatre as a quarry for the construction of the Alcazaba. The Roman theatre was discovered during excavations in 1951 and can currently be visited free of charge.If you are a keen museum-goer, you will love Malaga. It is with good reason that it is also called the town of museums. Currently there are at least twenty museums, most of which are in the historic centre of Malaga. One of the rooms of the Museum of Fine Arts in the Palacio Buenavista is dedicated to Picasso.

For true Picasso fans, there is also obviously the Malaga Picasso Museum. And you can even visit the house where Picasso was born. Malaga also loves its beautiful gardens. They are an integral part of the monumental and historic heritage of Malaga. The exotic gardens were designed architecturally with magnificent plants which grow easily in high temperatures like those in Malaga.

During a walk in the town, you may want to spend a quiet time in these beautiful parks and gardens and relax in the shade. The most beautiful gardens are those belonging to the cultural and historic heritage of the Alcazaba and Gibralfaro districts. The harbour district of Malaga is the lively modern centre of town. In the 19th century, the fortified walls in this part of the town were demolished to create access to the seashore. A magnificent esplanadelined with palm trees, and with its fountain, borders the entire harbour.

Beaches in Malaga

For those who prefer beach holidays, the province of Malaga has several beaches on its 25 mile (40km) long coastline. You can choose between sandy or rocky beaches. Most of the beaches in Malaga are equipped with all sorts of facilities like showers, lifeguard service, beach pavilions, sunbed and parasol rental and a wide range of beach activities and water sports. The town of Malaga has four beaches:

Come and relax on magnificent Malagueta Beach

– The famous 1 mile (1.5km) long Playa de la Malagueta is an urban beach in the centre of Malaga, particularly popular with locals.

Playa de la Caleta, also a town beach, is well maintained and has impeccable facilities. This beach is about one kilometre long and is characterised by its dark sand.

– The beaches of Pedregalejo and Acacias are also well maintained but smaller and more suited to families. They are perfectly accessible to people with reduced mobility and to families with children.

Malaga and its culinary delicacies

In the historic town centre, you can still find old wine cellars where you can try some delicious tapas with a glass of good wine. If you are looking for a good restaurant, here are some recommendations: La Meridiana with its traditional seasonal cuisine, El Chinitas with its traditional Andalusian cuisine, Café de Paris with its cuisine which is both traditional and new Andalusian, Adolfo and Palo Cortado for cuisine by two authors and Antonio Martin with his seaside terrace and his traditional Malaga cuisine.

In Malaga, as in most places on the Costa Del Sol, you can eat very well in chiringuitos, typical beach restaurants in cabins. But it is also pleasant to look for a restaurant on one of the town’s squares. Other than breaded fish, sardine kebabs, paella, seafood and herring, you may want to taste some anchovy soup, cod with olives, pili pili prawns, marinades and casseroles, and of course Malaga’s seasonal salads.

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