I’ve had a short but very sweet stay in Malaga and it has left me with a list of things to go back and see and do. The city almost convinced me to extend my stay here, cutting short Cordoba, but after hearing such great things about my next stop I decided to stick with my plan. Besides, I’ll return to Malaga for sure. For now, enjoy my account of 24 hours in Malaga.
The first thing I noticed about the city was the colour. Every inch of it screams vibrant shades of oranges, yellows, blues and even purple – hence the title of this letter. I was lucky enough to be in Malaga to witness the trees blossoming in bright purple and littering their petals all over the parks and plazas of Malaga. Apparently this only happens for a couple of weeks in May so I was lucky to see it. The buildings in the centre are dressed in beautifully coloured facades encouraging you to wander the tiny alleys and vast avenues. Notable places to visit to see these stunning colours are in Plaza de la Merced, outside the front of the Cathedral, Plaza de la Constitucion and around the Picasso Museum. You may even spot murals, mosaics and graffiti around the city, brightening it up even more. I felt very joyful walking around the streets and plazas of Malaga.
Coming into Malaga on the bus from Nerja, we passed the port. This is a huge spectacle in Malaga and where all of the cruise ships arrive and tourists are welcomed to the city. It’s only a few minutes walk from the centre and is worth a visit – even if you’re not travelling by cruise ship. It’s lined with a long park with tropical trees, shaded benches and small cafes and shops. You’ll also find a line of market-like stalls selling traditional clothing, paintings and souvenirs. I found this to be busy with locals rather than tourists, but I’m unsure if it’s a permanent fixture. Whilst wandering through I came across a stage where flamenco dancers were performing and a crowd of Spanish couples and families enjoying the show. It was entirely in Spanish so I could only understand a limited amount, but everyone seemed to be having a great time. I have been told that the port is really spectacular at night when all of the lights are reflected on the water, but I didn’t have enough time to see this.
In addition to the port gardens, there are other green spaces around the city. I went north of my hostel (mainly to get to the mercadona – my favourite Spanish supermarket) and found a lovely spot called Parque Canino San Miguel which I sat in to eat. It was laced in the purple blossom and filled with locals walking their dogs and kids playing. You can also find potted plants all over the city, adding to the grandeur of many of the streets. Even some of the bars and restaurants have thier own gardens. We were taken to a bar/restaurant called El Pimpi on the walking tour and were able to take a walk through their private courtyards covered in plants. They take their inspiration from the courtyards of Cordoba, so I can’t wait to see them tomorrow.
I learnt a lot about Muslim Malaga on the walking tour I went on and it makes visiting some of the key sights far more interesting. In fact, the Christian Cathedral of the city was originally the main mosque, but when the main religion returned to Christianity, it was extended and built up to form the present cathedral. Another interesting thing is that it’s not finished, and probably never will be. There is only one tower and the centre piece is missing. It’s also a must to go and visit the Castillo Gibralfaro which was a Muslim fortress. There are two and the top one is said to have incredible views across the city. Below these is the Roman Theatre which is quite a sight and when we were passing there was a class of children sat around it rehearsing a song.
One stop that most people make is to walk around the streets that once housed Picasso. They are really beautiful in themselves and also interesting to look up at the windows that he once looked up at. There is also the museum of Picasso which I would have loved to go to. He even appears in Plaza de la Merced as a statue on a bench, a popular photo for tourists I believe.
The walking tour I went on was with Explore Malaga (link to website). I was told about it by my hostel and I would highly recommend it. There’s no need to make a reservation, you just turn up at Constitution square. The guide was very informative and took us to all of the main spots in central Malaga.
The hostel I stayed in for only one night was Patio 19. I thought the hostel was really great. Very authentic, perfect location and lovely breakfast served in a beautiful indoor patio (hence the name). It was also very affordable and I would stay again. Link to page on hostelworld here.
All in all I thought Malaga was great. It felt like a very liveable, friendly city and very easy to get around by foot. I could easily spend a week or two there because there is so much to do and even beaches to spend lazy days on. I’ll be back Malaga!!
PS. Here’s a photo of me that a very nice Spanish man insisted on taking…