City breaks are ideal for culture and art lovers, with none more perfect than the Spanish city of Malaga. While holidaymakers have just seen it as the entry point to the Costa Del Sol for years, city bosses have spent €100 million on the arts, museums and tourism infrastructure to turn it into a cultural destination in its own right.
In fact, it’s been a breathtaking transformation, making Malaga – the birthplace of Picasso – a now truly world-class destination.
If you’re planning a city break or a week long timeshare holiday to this newly-cosmopolitan and cultured destination and the sun, sea, museums and fine food scene aren’t enough already, here’s why you need to add Malaga to your city breaks list – and pronto.
The “pop-up Pompidou” opened up this spring on the city’s flashy port development, Muelle Uno. Joining forces with the iconic Pompidou Centre in Paris, Malaga will pay €1m a year for the use of the Pompidou name and the loan of art works – you can expect to see plenty of famous names on display including Frida Kahlo, Max Ernst, Francis Bacon, Rene Magritte and Pablo Picasso.
This museum also opened up earlier this year, further strengthening Malaga’s love of the arts. You can expect to see 100 Russian masterpieces, including national treasures such as Wassily Kandinsky, Marc Chagall, Kazimir Malevich and Vladimir Tatlin. There will also be two temporary exhibitions each year, the first dedicated to Ballet Russes founder Serghei Diaghilev, who visited Malaga himself in 1917.
Dubbed “the world’s most dangerous walkway”, this attraction re-opened on 28 March after a €4m renovation. The path was closed when hikers plummeted to their deaths in the 1990s after the walkways, which hang from the sheer cliffs of the El Chorro gorge, fell into disrepair. Newly restored, you can expect plenty of spectacular views, with far less danger. However, this walk is still dangerous enough to require advanced booking and limited access.
The neighbourhood of SOHO makes the perfect community for Malaga’s growing artistic community. This once derelict area took on a new lease of life after the opening of the contemporary art centre (CAC) saw the rise of street artists from across Europe. Now, SOHO is an explosion of urban art, high murals, bohemian cafes and ethnic restaurants.
The Grand Miramar Hotel
Although this beautiful hotel won’t open until 2017, it is perfect for giving tourists an idea of the revival of this historic city. Overlooking the hotel was famed for hosting both Spanish royalty and foreign aristocrats. Architects are now working on restoring the building to its former glory, making it Malaga’s premier luxury hotel, and boating 200 rooms, a state of the art gymnasium, heated pool and full-service spa.