72 Hours in Málaga City Centre, June 2016
My flying visit to Málaga was a result of a stop-over between a two-week stay at Nerja and then another 2 weeks in Torremolinos. I decided to treat myself to a hotel so I booked a room at the Don Paco Hotel which was only a few minutes walk from the train/bus station.
Málaga is like a mini version of Barcelona; full of bars and shops, buzzing with life, and oh-so cool. Narrow streets lined with tapas bars and restaurants lead out onto big squares full of even more cafés and bars. But wander down another little street and you could emerge by the Cathedral or right infront of the Alcazaba.
The streets are packed with sauntering tourists, playful groups of teenagers, and bustling locals. Groups of street performers pop-up every now and again, and if you’re sitting down in a bar or restaurant, don’t be surprised if you’re serenaded by someone playing the Spanish guitar! It’s worth pointing out that there are quite a few beggars ambling around, so as in all cities, keep an eye on your belongings.
If you like a bit of retail therapy, you’ll love Málaga! There are an abundance of good quality clothes shops, boutique outlets, and high-end perfume and make-up stores. Head to the main high street where, in the summer, the main strip is covered with sun shades to keep the street nice and cool. Whether you’re looking for clothes, shoes, handbags or jewellery, you’ll find a huge choice in this area.
I took the opportunity to head to Springfield and get kitted out in a cute pair of denim shorts and blue-and-white striped t-shirt. Málaga is a city after all, so beachwear is a no-no unless you’re actually at the beach!
To blend in with the locals, you’ll want to don denim or fitted shorts, linen trousers or jeans (if you’re brave enough to stand the heat!) paired with a t-shirt or tank top. Don’t show too much flesh though- keep either your top or bottom half relatively modest, whilst flashing the other half if you wish.
In the outer areas you’ll only pay around €1 for a coffee and €1.50 for una caña, and many cafés do coffee and cake for between €2 and €2.50. You can get tapas for €2 per serving, or una caña and a tapa for €2.50. Tapas can be a little more expensive in the main part of Málaga, but for €4-6 you’ll get a decent-sized portion.
The main meal of the day is at lunchtime (usually between 2pm and 3pm for the Spaniards). The most economical way of eating out at this time of day is by taking advantage of menú del dia, where you’ll get a drink, 2 courses, plus dessert or coffee for between €9 and €12.
In the evening do what the locals do; have una caña or un tinto de verano and a tapa in a bar, before moving onto the next and doing the same again! If you want a proper evening meal instead, note that a lot of restaurants don’t open their kitchens until 8pm (or later!)
Things to See
Like Barcelona, Málaga is diverse with what’s on offer. Head to the main beach, Playa de la Malagueta, where you’ll find upmarket restaurants, beach-barbecues, and lots of people running and cycling along the promenade.
Just a few minutes from the beach, behind the harbour, is Paseo del Parque and Málaga’s city park. Take a stroll down this palm-tree shaded walkway, admiring the beautiful green scenery and then head further into the park to gaze at the fountains and sculptures.
If sightseeing is more your thing, visit the ruins of an ancient roman theatre which sits next to the Alcazaba, an iconic fortress which overlooks the city. The theatre ruins are free to walk around and the Alcazaba is free after 2pm on a Sunday.
Make sure you drop by the Cathedral, known locally as La Manquita (the ‘one-armed woman’) due to the completion of only one its towers, making the cathedral look like it’s got one arm!