Following hot on the heels of my previous blog some 12 months ago; I panicked when I got reasonable readership figures and didn’t know how to take my blog to the next level so decided to learn about SEO and how to monetise the site. Evidently, I succeeded in neither of those things due to a number of factors, primarily laziness, so I have decided just to continue writing for the pleasure and to keep my 4 subscribers and my mother informed on life and things to do in Southern Spain. Starting with my recommendations for things to do in Malaga
As my time in Malaga has drawn to a close, it seems the ideal time to reminisce and write my advice and opinions on the place I called home for almost two years. Having read numerous articles featured in national UK newspapers featuring itineraries of what to do in Malaga, I feel well positioned to present a less ‘artsy’ and ultimately more budget appropriate guide for those not earning the wages of a journalist for a national newspaper.
In no particular order here are my recommendations for things to do in Malaga city, whether you’re there for a weekend or have wisely decided to move to the south of Spain:
1. Rent a bicycle – I cannot recommend this option highly enough. For solo travellers, couples or families with children this activity is fun, cheap and in my opinion the best way to see a lot of the great city. The route I would suggest is to take in the sights of Paseo del Parque, an incredibly attractive park considering its central location, passing through the port and cycling along the Paseo Maritimo of La Malagueta beach until you reach the bustling beachside neighbourhood of Pedregalejo.
Famous for its fish restaurants and traditional style of cooking sardines in wooden fishing boats, this area is very popular with locals. For any burger lovers, check out La Calle Burger, which has an excellent panoramic view of the sea from its upstairs seating area and in my opinion the best burgers in Malaga.
Price – It costs around €7 (plus returnable deposit) to rent an urban bicycle for 4 hours which is enough time for a leisurely cycle and a massive burger and chips.
Where – Most of the bicycle rental shops are around Plaza de la Marina, close to the big wheel, and offer similar rates to those quoted. Recyclo Bike (https://www.facebook.com/recyclobikecafe/) in Plaza Enrique García-Herrer is more centrally located for some hotels , and has an adjoining cafe complete with menu del dia.
2. BYOB at La Casa Invisible – A bit of an institution in Malaga, La Casa Invisible features a bar and an enclosed garden right in the heart of Malaga historic centre. It is said to be run by squatters and has a very ´South American surfer spot by the beach´ vibe. The second time that I went there we were allowed to take our own cans of beer and enjoy live music and the blistering summer heat. Highly recommended for the budget conscious with cold cans of San Miguel available at nearby supermarkets for 50c a can! From what I gather, the place is frequently closed down and I believe it has again been recently contested so do check ahead in advance.
Price – On one occasion the bar was open and selling drinks at standard (cheap) local prices, and the other the bar was closed but there was a DJ and we had our own beer.
Where – Calle Nosquera 11, Malaga Centre
3. Viewpoint at Mirador del Gibralfaro – This is the spot in Malaga where most photographs of the city are taken as it captures most of the city fantastically, during daylight hours, dusk or in the evening. It is a moderately difficult walk to the top in terms of steepness, but there is a bus option – I believe it´s the 35. I visited the Mirador around 8 times during my two years in Malaga and all visitors were sufficiently impressed to make the climb worthwhile.
Price – Free. The castle is also free entry on Sundays, and no more than €3 at other times.
Where – You can begin the climb up next to the Alcazaba or from Paseo del Parque, close to the town hall. The 35 bus leaves from Alameda Principal and drops you off outside.
4. Rooftop bar at AC Hotel – This place is what it is, a bit of a tourist trap over-charging for drinks but it provides incredible views of the city, in particular the adjacent cathedral. It also gives the option of taking a lift to the top floor if you prefer that to hiking up to the mirador.
Price – There is an entry fee during peak season (€8 I believe) but this includes a drink voucher so it is still worthwhile. I went on a Sunday in May and it was free entry. Drinks are roughly the same price as other tourist bars in the city, i.e. €3 for a caña (medium beer), €8/9 for a copa (large spirit and mixer). Check at hotel reception for any applicable entry fee. Tip – don’t go hungover if you’re dodgy with heights like I am.
Where – Calle Cortina del Muelle, 1
5. Beach, cans and volleyball with locals – Malaga boasts a number of beaches in walking distance to the city. They may not have pristine white sand or be as idyllic as their Cadiz counterparts but they are convenient and fun. Grab yourself a cool bag and stock up on snacks and more importantly cans of San Miguel and some ice and you are set for the day. Spend your day however you like, but if you are keen on sports there are usually an abundance of local people playing volleyball who are happy to accept extra players. La Malagueta has a mix of local people and tourists, particularly at weekends, whereas the western beaches such as Misericordia are generally less inhabited by foreign tourists. Make sure to position yourself conveniently for the public toilets if following the San Miguel advice.
Price – A full day out for <€10.
Where – La Malagueta and Misericordia beach are between 20-30 minutes walk from Malaga historic centre, to the east and to the west respectively.
6. Eat breakfast like a local – having recently departed Malaga the thing I am missing as much as the weather and the beach is going out for breakfast. Unless you dislike tomatoes like the majority of my visitors seemed to, then the pitufo con tomate breakfast complete with fresh orange and coffee is a no-brainer.
Price- €3 in a local place, slightly more in the historic centre or a popular tourism spot.
Where – Any place that serves breakfast. My favourite spots were all in the Huelin area
7. Get a ‘real’ ice-cream – Another institution of Malaga, Heladeria Inma is an unbelievably popular ice-cream shop. They have an impressive and adventurous range of flavours and they are always busy in the spring/summer/autumn. They are open until 3am during peak season. Whilst I never questioned the quality of Inma, I did have a preference for Fratelly as it was on my street and closer to the beach, and was of a very similar quality. Paseo Maritimo Antonio Banderas is relatively close to both if you want to go for an evening stroll afterwards like a local.
Price – a medium which is more than enough for a skinny, fat lad like me is around €3.50 for two flavours. Recommended – Nutella and white Kinder Bueno. You will feel sick after but that’s how food should be eaten
Where – Both are in the western suburbs and therefore not centrally located, but are both accessible by public transport.
Heladeria Inma – Calle Moreti 15
Heladeria Fratelly – Calle Tomás Echeverría, 6
8. Stroll around Calle Llarios – I am not a huge fan of either shopping or hordes of people walking slowly but around once every month my girlfriend and I tried to get into the centre at the weekend. Malaga is such a beautiful city and it’s easy to forget that when you live there permanently and you live outside of the historic centre. Regardless of the season, as it rarely rains, it is a great city to walk around and take in the sights. Even after a couple of years there I still felt like parts of the city resembled a movie set as they were that grand. There is almost always something going on in the centre on a Saturday evening, be it a procession or a performance.
Price – Free. Prolong the evening with a coffee, beer or tapas and have a night out for less than €10/€20.
Where – Calle Larios
9. Try Menu del Dia – For anyone that has spent time in Spain or South America frequently this is a well-known offer taken full advantage of. However, for the average tourist that is not always the case. It consists of a small starter, main course and sometimes a drink, dessert or coffee for generally less than €10. The standard is always medium or above and there are often a range of choices. If it didn’t include a coffee or dessert, head over to Cafe Bella Julietta for a big coffee done differently to the Spanish standard (better) and a brilliant choice of unhealthy desserts.
Price – Between €7-11 and around €5 for a big coffee and dessert in Bella Julietta
Where – In the centre I would recommend scouting the Soho area and this connects well to Bella Julietta (Calle Puerta del Mar, 20), but Plaza de la Merced also has numerous options.
10. Sunset down the port at Muelle Uno – As I worked almost on the port I thought I would begin to take it for granted but it’s such an attractive location with so many things to do I never got tired of visiting. I would most of all recommend heading there after the beach and taking in the sunset with an ice bucket of small beers from Cevecería La Sureña before heading to Amigos for a meal where you can choose from Indian, Mexican, Greek or Argentinean food. There is a vast range of restaurants from fast food to Michelin star.
Price – Most meals are around the €15 mark in Amigos, the setting is well worth it and the food is generally of a decent standard.
Where – Muelle Uno, Malaga Port
10.5 – Christmas lights on Calle Larios – I have included this as a half option as it’s obviously a seasonal event, but for anyone in Malaga city or region from late November till approximately the 8th of January this a must-do. The lights can be seen in the photo below, but the main attraction is the light show that takes place daily at 18.30 and 21.30. For anyone wanting a Christmas break, a weekend in Malaga and taking in the lights is a great festive option without the extreme cold weather of northern Europe. The centre does get extremely crowded for the 15 minute shows so arrive earlier for a good spot.
Price – Free
Where – Calle Larios
Obviously there are many more things to do in Malaga, and I haven’t made any mention of museums or cultural events. For a more cultured weekend see this article in The Telegraph from 2017 (https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/spain/andalusia/malaga/articles/a-weekend-break-inmalaga/). At different times of year there are festivals which have their own specific attraction. This list is compiled for someone visiting Malaga for a weekend or a week, living there permanently or on a day trip from down the coast. Someone who perhaps isn’t overly keen on museums and loves a 50c can of San Miguel. These are budget-friendly activities that can be done any time of the day or year, just perhaps avoiding one of the few days of heavy rain in Malaga. That’s what museums or the cinema were built for.
For any questions about the activities listed or indeed anything at all to do with Malaga, or Andalucia, please feel free to comment below.