Mystique of Malaga, Spain
The cultural hub of the Costa del Sol has come a long way since its discovery 3,000 years ago. Its old-meets-new scene has plenty to offer the 10 million tourists who pay a visit each year. The Mediterranean weather is a major factor with sunny temperatures basking as high as 31 C in the summer months.
The hot weather was an initial reason of why I choose to see Malaga, Spain having had the taste of other Spanish cities such as Barcelona prior to my visit. However, this time I was in search of an authentic flare. The city was founded by the Phoenicians, an ancient civilisation, who used their natural harbour for salt-fishing to gather food back in its primitive days. The Phoenicians also built the fortress now known as the Alcazaba, the rustic building which sits on top of the hillside as a protective gateway to the city. The fortress’s entrance area adjacent to the Plaza de Aduana and the Roman theatre in Calle Alcabazilla forms part of the city walls.
Now in the age of the 21st century, it seems that Malaga has never lost its mystique, in my opinion, a secret component in helping it overcome the decades suffered by the Spanish Civil War in the 18th century.
Authenticity and Attractions
The authenticity that lies within Malaga instantly transported me into the real Spain where paella-eating locals wined and dined in the heart of the city’s traditional buildings. Malaga Cathedral is a must-see known locally as La Manquita, the one armed lady because of its single tower structure due to a lack of funds to complete the second.
I found that the city’s other attractions comprised of a stunning beach and an electric entertainment scene; more on fire than the feet of its colourful flamenco dancers. The beach known as the Malagueta beach is one of the most unique in the world with its central location, literally a pebble throw away from the city centre’s amenities.
One minute you can hear the chatter of locals, and then the historic stone paved alleys become a blaze of live music with merry locals dancing and singing along to songs – I wish I knew the words too.
If you’re in doubt of how to find the city’s amenities, then for 20 euros, a hop-on-and-off tour bus will set your direction straight. I always find the red tour buses most useful when stepping out into a new city. In Malaga, the bus even takes a steep climb, all the way up to the Alcazaba to give passengers the option to jump off and explore the fortress in its entirety with breath-taking panoramic views en-route. So get your camera, smartphone or selfie stick ready. The bus will then take you to the Cathedral so after a gander inside you will find the surrounding streets an interesting intertwinement of outdoor cafés, food stands and designer shops. Calle Larios and Calle Nueva are the main shopping streets in the city with popular Spanish brands such as Mango and Bershka.
As this was my first visit to Malaga, the rising temperatures made all the sightseeing a tad tiring after a while. So I found the perfect watering hole for a refreshing beer, The Sherlock Homes pub, an ode to the famous London detective, which can be found on the street parallel to Malaga Cathedral. The cool Heineken Beer wasn’t enough to satisfy my appetite as a heavenly savoury smell took over my senses. I discovered there was a snack stand across the pub so I took a stroll over. There I was presented with large American-style pizza slices, too tasty looking to resist. For 2.50 euros, it was a done deal.
Malaga is a lively, fun-filled city all year round and even more so in August when the Feria De Malaga comes to town. The festival was created after the city was re-conquered in 1487 by the Spaniards and is celebrated between Saturday to Saturday on the third week in August. This year it ran between the 15th – 22nd of August where an addictive ambience awaited locals and tourists alike.
The festival is a vibrant mix of live entertainment in the form of Spanish bands known as Bandas, dancers and street artists. One minute you can hear the chatter of locals, and then the historic stone paved alleys become a blaze of live music with merry locals dancing and singing along to songs – I wish I knew the words too. Another thing, I discovered during my time in the city is that the locals know a thing or two about fashion.
Whether it’s their festival clad costumes, where it appears polka dots will always be on trend; or the ladies who elegantly finish off their look with a bold flower accessory, Malaga is certainly a city of style. Sure, it’s in its blood, as the city was the birthplace of famous artist, Picasso!
Have you traveled to Malaga, Spain? Let me know your suggestions for a trip to the beautiful city!