My Málaga Favourites – Malaga, Spain

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My Málaga Favourites

After living in Andalusia for a number of years I’ve become very accustomed to where I live almost totally forgetting at times that I’m in a country that isn’t my own. Despite this the city of Málaga continues to surprise and charm me each time I visit. There’s something about the combination of the Andalusian people, the mix of Christian and Muslim history and the location that really brings this place to life. Every Spanish city has its own characteristics but Málaga is quickly becoming a favourite of mine, so I thought I’d share a few of my favourite haunts in the city for anybody who plans on visiting in the near future.

Castillo de Gibralfaro

The Gibralfaro castle is an ancient fortress that dates from the 10th century which played an important role in the reconquering of Andalusia by the Catholic Kings, removing the Muslim Nasrid dynasty from power. It has fabulous views over the city and port, positioned overlooking Málaga on the hills to the north east of the old town. It’s an island of tranquillity in an otherwise bustling city but amazingly is only a few minutes from the prettiest parts of Málaga. It’s one of two fortresses in the city, the other being the Alcazaba of Málaga, although El Castillo de Gibralfaro is definitely my favourite. The castle is protected as a national park, with beautiful gardens and during the summer months is frequently used as a venue for musical performances by Classical, Ethnic and Jazz groups.

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El Pedregalejo Promenade

The area known as El Pedregalejo is a neighbourhood in Málaga about 10 minutes by car from the centre on the Eastern edge of the city. The area itself is not particularly attractive however its beach promenade is the perfect blend of international and local but without the tacky touristy feel. It’s quite a young area due to the high number of language schools in the neighbourhood behind but has a little bit of everything with very traditional family chiringuitos and laid back beach bars next door to each other. It’s also further away from the port compared to other beaches in Málaga which means you get an often fascinating view to watch while you sunbathe without the icky feeling of dirty sea water. The beach area is divided up into a number of manmade horse shoe coves and during the summer evenings offers picturesque sunsets with a lively atmosphere .

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Museum of Art and Popular Customs

This quirky little museum was first suggested to me by a friend from Málaga whilst he tried to describe to me a typical bottle used to keep water cool in summer (a Botijo if you’re interested). He said that I should take a look if I wanted to learn more about the region and these kinds of typical things. I found an immaculate little hidden gem, well off the beaten tourism track in a building (once a 17th century inn) that on its own was worth a visit. It only costs two Euros to enter and although it may not be the busiest of museums, you’ll learn a lot about life in Málaga over the past one hundred years as well as seeing a side to the region that most tourists never get to know.

El Pimpi

My final place in Málaga is one of the oldest bodegas (wineries) in the city and comes with bags of character and tradition. El Pimpi is a bar/restaurant found opposite the Roman amphitheatre at the foot of the Alcazaba. It’s popular with tourists and locals although bear in mind that the Spanish tend to run on a different schedule than the rest of us. For me, El Pimpi is all about atmosphere. The buzz that you’ll find here on a night may well be down to the local sweet wine which in summer when chilled is all too easy to drink or it may be due to the labyrinth of separate rooms which I found fascinating on my first visit. El Pimpi has a very traditional style with rooms decorated with barrels signed by lots of famous visitors. Many of these visitors are national celebrities although you may see a few you recognize such as John Malkovich, Placido Domingo, Sean Connery and local boy Antonio Banderas.

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The truth is that I could go on with all sorts of tapas bars and quirky little places that I’ve found but this is more of a work in progress than a definitive list. I’ll continue to explore and enjoy Málaga and hopefully this little list will send you well on the way to loving it like I do.

 

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by Steve Simons

Steve Simons is a British expat who has lived in Andalusia for over ten years. He’s experienced the Glamour of Marbella, the exotic history of Granada and the laid back atmosphere of Nerja. He now runs his own tourist site explorenerja.com and frequently writes about his adopted home.



One Response to “My Málaga Favourites – Malaga, Spain”

Jackie Evans

Says:

Thanks for the mini-tour Steve. I too enjoyed Malaga when I was there last year, really felt at home and made very welcome. will definitely be going again.

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