Of course everyone knows the airport, but (too) many visitors fly in and fly out without discovering Malaga’s full-of-flavour neighbourhoods. So if you’re heading down there this autumn, you might want to save this quick guide to some of the highlights of this city by the sea.
Getting to Malaga city centre
Chances are you’ll probably be staying in or around Fuengirola or Benalmadena, in which case the RENFE train runs all day and into the evening from Fuengirola to Malaga airport. It also makes frequent stops at main Malaga’s shopping centre.
Historic Centre/Centro Historico
Eat, shop and sightsee to your heart’s delight in Picasso’s own home town. With a mix of modern malls and small boutiques tucked along side streets, Malaga is a maze of sidestreet tapas bars, gift shops, restaurants and parks.
Meson la Aldea (5 Esparteros, tel. 952 227 689) If you’re in the city at lunchtime, Meson la Aldea does a good menu for around €9 – try the typical Andalucian dishes like seafood soup, grilled dorada (fish) or baked aubergines drizzled in honey, Moorish style.
Malaga’s Moorish influence means you’ll find a lot of Arabic-style tea-shops – called “teterias” – dotted around the city (there are some in Fuengirola, too). Perfect for a refreshing mint tea or a café con leche and something sweet, in between window shopping. Some of the best ones are near the cathedral and Picasso Museum (well worth a visit for its frequently changing exhibitions and beautiful setting). Pop into Tetería La Manquita (Duque de la Victoria 8) or La Tetería (9 Agustín) which are both good and popular with the malagueños.
Many of the main shops in the city centre lie along Calle Larios, lined with pretty flower stalls. It’s Malaga’s most famous shopping street and when you’ve had enough of strolling around it’s the perfect stop for a break, to sit and just soak up the autumn sunshine.
Alameda is the district that separates the historic centre/old town from the park and Malaga’s famous harbour. If you’re in the mood for a bit of music, head for the Interactive Music Museum (Plaza de la Marina) or for a sweet treat midway through the morning, Arte Postre (Carazuela) serves tempting Spanish pastries and chocolate brownies. (If you haven’t had a typical churros with chocolate breakfast yet, they’re calorie-laden and delicious!)
Culture vultures will love the Contemporary Arts Museum – if you’re planning to go there’s a good coffee shop inside the museum called Frankamente. (Alemania).
Want to go where the locals go? The locals love Pedregalejo. Like Marbella it started as a sleepy fishing district but has become something of a destination for a good Frito Mixto Malagueno. This is Malaga’s famous mixed fried fish dish, usually an assortment of fish and seafood, piled on a silver platter and garnished with lemon. For fried fish and sardines barbecued on a skewer try La Cabra (89 Paseo Marítimo de Pedregalejo) or Mari Cuchi (14 Paseo Marítimo de Pedregalejo).
If you need to check your email, many of the bars along the seafront have Wi-Fi – try Nemaste (74 Paseo Marítimo de Pedregalejo) for midmorning drinks.
Transport links in Malaga
Malaga airport lies about nine kilometres from the actual city centre and trains run to and from the airport every half hour. If you’ve just arrived in Malaga from the UK and need to get to Malaga city centre, follow the yellow “tren” station signs from the Departure (not Arrivals) floor.
The Nº19 bus also leaves from outside the arrivals hall approximately every 30 minutes from 7.00am to 12.00pm on weekdays and from 7.05am to 12.00pm on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. The fare is €1.20.
Thinking of taking a taxi? The fare from the airport to the city centre will cost between €18 and €24 depending on the time and day, plus supplements for luggage. And if you’re heading to Benalmadena or Fuengirola, where a lot of the timeshare resorts are, then expect to pay around €50. It’s cheaper, if you have time, to just catch the train to either of these two “regional station stops” – look for Benalmadena/Arroyo de la Miel or Fuengirola station – and get off and then catch a taxi to take you directly to your resort.
Malaga Tourist Office – Malaga’s main tourist office is located at 4 Pasaje de Chinitas 4 (for more information see the official website which is www.malagaturismo.com ). Don’t forget that southern Spain takes its siestas seriously, and the banks, government offices and many shops close during lunchtime and reopen late afternoon until the evening – which is a good excuse to escape to a tapas bar until they open again…
Leading timeshare companies with resorts in the Malaga/Costa del Sol region include Club La Costa, Petchey Leisure, Silverpoint, Hapimag and Holiday Club Resorts and most of the timeshare resorts in and around Malaga are between fifteen and forty minutes from the airport, so they’re easy to get to.