High 5: Malaga’s Costa Del Sol
There’s a lot to be said for sitting on a beautiful, sandy beach eating morning-caught fish, or experiencing some of the most stunning architecture in Europe. Malaga offers both.
With the opening of the Pompidou Museum on 30th March – the first time the iconic Partisan museum has opened an exhibition off-shore – along with the hugely popular Picasso Museum and Renaissance cathedral, it’s no wonder Malaga was voted as one of the best places to visit in 2015.
Virgin Del Carmen
Head into Torreblanca and experience the Virgin Del Carmen processions during mid-July. They’re a more intimate version of the hugely popular Semana Santawhich takes place over Easter.
The religious ceremony sees hundreds of locals flock to the beaches to witness the ‘Queen of the Sea’ paraded around the town as it’s believed that this will bring luck and safety to the local fishermen – I’m not sure how concrete this theory is, but it’s a great atmosphere nonetheless. The procession is capped off with stunning fireworks and parties on the beach long into the night.
To make a real evening of it, enjoy fresh, local produce beforehand at the El Rio tapas bar. With a mouth-watering, affordably priced menu (the crab claws are to die for) and brilliant service it’s easy to see why El Rio is one of the area’s best kept secrets.
Cultural day out
You’d be mad not to visit some of the city’s cultural attractions, especially the Picasso Museum situated on Calle San Agustin. Picasso resided in Malaga during his early life and the museum has over eight decades of the esteemed artist’s work. Entry is €8 but there are discounts sometimes available so it’s best to check the website.
Take advantage of the city’s excellent infrastructure and catch a bus to Gibralfaro Castle which should take no more than 20 minutes, or jump in a cab (10 minutes). Admission to the ruins costs just €2.20 and, despite it being a scary climb to get to the top, the views are exquisite. There’s even a bar about halfway up so you can enjoy a celebratory beverage on your way down, or stop for a quick one on the way up for some Dutch courage, if need be.
From here you’re just 20 minutes away from the Pompidou Museum.
Renaissance Church (Malaga Cathedral)
Designed by Diego de Siloe and built between 1572 and 1782, the Cathedral of Malaga is surprisingly one of my ‘must-dos’ for the area. Admission was €3 as I had my university ID however if you can’t get away with your student ID 10+ years down the line don’t take it personally, you’ll just have to pay the full €5.
The building from the outside is spectacular. The interior no less so and there’s information available on a number of different Catholic altars on display. If you’re looking for somewhere to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city, this is the place.
Home to Malaga CF – the European hipster team of choice – La Rosaleda is well worth a visit, especially if you can get tickets on a match day, which is hardly a challenge. Given the level they play at, tickets are very reasonably-priced, starting at around €20 (£14.50) and theMalaguistas have some excellent players to watch.
‘The Rose Garden’ itself holds around 30,000 spectators and is located within walking distance of the central Malaga train station (hop in one of the many taxis – it costs no more than €10). If you’re into football you’ll love it, despite the fact Malaga has the highest number of 10pm kick-offs in La Liga.
Away from Malaga’s busy city centre, the town of Benalmadena and its stunning Puerto Marina is appealing. Indulge in mouth-watering tapas at the port whilst enjoying the views of yachts you’ll never be able to afford under the glorious Mediterranean sun.
After a jug of sangria and as much fish as you can physically get your hands on, the nightlife in Benalmadena is as good as it gets on the Costa Del Sol. Although Fuengirola – which often has a negative stigma attached to it – has some very good bars and clubs, Benalmadena is arguably the best night out in the province.
Marbella is an obvious attraction thanks to TOWIE but with it being a €60 cab one-way, and given the ridiculous entry prices into nightclubs, Benalmadena and its love of deep house takes the crown. Cheap entry, good transport links and friendly locals – it is certainly a worthwhile place to visit.
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