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For many years seen as the gateway to the beaches and resorts of the Costa del Sol, Malaga is fast developing as a city destination in its own right. The city’s most prominent landmark, the Alcazaba, overlooks the city in every direction from its rocky hilltop position. This Moorish fortress, the best preserved in Andalucía, can be seen from the sea many miles away and has greeted millions who have been arriving from the Mediterranean Sea to Malaga for centuries. Below the fortress is a Roman theatre from the 2nd century AD; proof that Malaga was attracting visitors long before the sun-loving tourists came along.
Alongside its ancient heritage, Malaga has its share of unmistakably modern attractions, including the world-famous Picasso museum, celebrating the work of Malaga’s most famous son, and the recently opened Carmen Thyssen museum. Malaga’s airport, meanwhile, has undergone massive expansion in the last 10 years and now welcomes daily low-cost flights from many regional UK airports, with a regular train service connecting the airport to the city in 12 minutes and for a mere €1.30. With so many flexible flight options, it’s now easier than ever to add a night or two to a beach holiday and explore the rich variety of cultural attractions on offer in Malaga.
Cultural attractions and hot spots
Walk up from the cafés on the waterfront and the silhouetted stone towers of the Alcazaba, and it may look too far and too high for a leisurely stroll. But the path up is gentle, and well worth the physical effort as the panoramic view of Malaga and its harbour opens up slowly before you. Once at the top you, can enter the Moorish fortress (€2.10, free on Sunday after 2pm) and walk a full 360° circuit of the wall, admiring superb views of Malaga and the hills beyond. A small museum explains how the Alcazaba was used in medieval times to defend the city against invaders.
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Pablo Picasso was born in Malaga, so it’s only right that the city should house the Picasso Museum, which brings together one of the most comprehensive collections of work by this famous Spanish artist. Spread out over a dozen rooms within the old Palacio de Buenavista, visitors can gaze at Picasso’s abstract interpretations of ordinary subjects, while admiring some of the best examples of 16th century architecture to be found in Malaga. Don’t miss the film in which Picasso’s photographer provides a fascinating insight into his friendship with the man himself. Admission is €6.
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Carmen Thyssen Museum
This celebration of 19th century Spanish art is a new arrival on the Malaga scene, having opened in March 2011. Housed in a grand 16th century baroque mansion, the former Palacio de Villalon, the Carmen Thyssen museum has a permanent collection of 230 works of art. Artists featured include the Andalucian masters such as Zurbaran, Villaamil and Barron. The museum also has a regular and varied programme of temporary exhibitions – an admission ticket with access to all areas is €8.
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As is the case with many other religious buildings in Andalucía, the grand cathedral of Malaga was built on the site of a mosque. Unlike the grand churches in Seville and Cordoba however, which were converted for Christian worship after the defeat of the Moors, the mosque in Malaga was completely demolished in 1488 on orders of the Pope to make way for a grand new cathedral. The church is commonly known as La Manquita, or One-Armed Woman, referring to the right tower conspicuously missing from the façade, omitted due to lack of funds in the final building phase in the 18th century.
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Take the time to walk around Malaga to spot many of the city’s hidden delights. As you make your way around you’ll spot many unusual sculptures and abstract works of art. Among the best-known is Hans Christian Andersen in the Plaza de Marina (he visited Malaga in 1862 and wrote very fondly of his time in the city); but there’s also the rather bizarre Ave Quiromantica, a half-hand, half-pigeon creation by local artist Jose Seguiri. Perhaps best known of all, however, is the Points of View sculpture by British artist Tony Cragg, which can be found on the busy Calle Larios.
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Accommodation in Malaga
Spacious 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom 102 m2 house, only 5 minutes walk from the sea, located in peaceful community with split-level subtropical gardens. Large living room with 42 inch TV, free wi-fi and music system overlooking patio and pool. Modern op...
Cottage located 6 km from the village of Alozaina in the province of Malaga. The setting is a mountain place, ensuring spectacular views of the Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park and the Guadalhorce Valley and the peace offered feel sheltered by ol...
Large villa with beautiful mountain and countryside views, with special care, has a lot of privacy. Great comfort and very spacious. It has a private pool with sunbeds, barbecue, fully equipped kitchen, porch with gazebo. It has 3 bedrooms (two wi...
Villa with great charm in the Sierra de las Nieves (declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO). Spectacular mountain views, typical Andalusian rustic decor, well maintained, private pool with sunbeds and barbecue, covered porch with chairs and table,...
Airy, 1bedroomed apartment in one of the nicest residential areas of Malaga. Floor area 70 m2. Situated in a building with gardens, tennis court, safe play area for children, enormous swimming pool with barbeque area, yet less than 5 minutes walk ...