Birthplace of Picasso and Andalusia's largest coastal city
Enjoy Picasso paintings, crumbling castles and fish suppers by the sea at this Mediterranean gem.
The capital of the Costa del Sol, Málaga is a bustling city that is home to almost 600,000 inhabitants as well as a hub for thousands of annual tourists.
Andalusia's largest coastal city is the cultural capital of the coast, and houses an impressive array of museums and historic monuments, including the museum devoted to Pablo Picasso, who was born in Málaga . Make the most of the city’s relaxed vibe with a stroll along the palm-fringed Paseo del Parque, a pedestrian promenade that runs through the centre of town, complete with fountains and duck-filled ponds.
The city has a selection of beaches (the best being Baños de Carmen and El Palo) but if you’re looking for some serious sunbathing, Málaga is also the gateway to the Costa del Sol, so a selection of top beach retreats are only a short drive away.
Málaga offers Moorish architecture and cutting-edge culture perfectly complimented by Mediterranean beaches and shady parks. As such, a Málaga city break offers plenty of sights to explore, coupled with relaxing spaces so you can enjoy some downtime soaking up the sunshine. For the ultimate unwind, head to the domed Arabian Baths for a hammam followed by a sweet almond oil massage. Then head into the Old Town to taste tempting tapas and sample some sweet Málaga wine. If you’re feeling a bit more active, visit the La Concepción Botanical Gardens 4 kilometres north of the city, or golf fans can take their pick of a variety of pristine 18-hole courses.
When to go?
Málaga enjoys a subtropical climate with scorching summers and some of the warmest winters in Europe, making it a year-round destination. The summer season lasts from April to November, although the thermometer can often tip 20-degrees in December and March. The most festive time in Málaga is the first week in August, when the city celebrates its 1487 Reconquest with a city-wide fair, complete with parades and bullfights.
How to get there?
A whole range of low-cost carriers and charter flights fly direct from major UK flight hubs to Málaga, including easyJet, Aer Lingus, Thomson, Monarch and Ryanair. Flight prices tend to be higher in peak summer months, so book ahead to secure a cheap flight.
Málaga’s cultural highlights include the Picasso Museum, housed in an impressive 16th-century palace, and the Contemporary Arts Centre showcasing provocative modern artworks. For a spot of history, head up to the 11th-century Alcazaba fortress - a Moorish maze with a Roman amphitheatre guarding the entrance. Alternatively, explore the 14th-century Gibralfaro Castle which offers amazing views over the city and port. Be sure to munch breakfast in one of the Old Town's excellent patisseries, where locals dunk skinny churros doughnuts into hot chocolate. In the evening, head to the old fishing village of El Palo for traditional seafood fare, or splash some cash on one of the chic seafront restaurants at Malagueta offering creative Andalusian cuisine. Málaga offers plenty of nightlife: the town's main thoroughfare, Calle Larios, has a plethora of tascas, discos, and pubs. For a spot of culture, head to the elegant Teatro Cervantes, where you can catch opera, theatre, concerts and flamenco.