Famous as the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, Malaga is a beautiful city on the Spanish Costa del Sol. With a population of over half a million, it’s the biggest city in the province of Andalusia and benefits both from a small town charm and all the attractions of a metropolis.
Aeropuerto de Málaga-Costa del Sol (AGP) is located just 8 kilometres from the city and is the main international gateway to the Spanish south coast. After Madrid–Barajas, Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca, it’s the fourth busiest airport in the country, handling as many as 14 million passengers a year. The majority of air traffic comes from the UK.
The airport is served by most European cheap airlines with budget flights coming in and out every hour. When booking online at least a month in advance, cheap flights to Malaga from London usually start at less than 100 EUR. For travellers planning to come to Malaga from outside of Europe, flying via London is most often the best option.
With an abundance of low cost airlines offering various flight deals, it’s advisable to carefully search online for the lowest fare and, if necessary, use two carriers for the best return flight price.
Malaga is known for being one of the oldest cities in the world. Even before the Roman times, the site was inhabited by ancient Iberian tribes. It was subsequently colonised by the Phoenicians who then lost a war with Romans.
500 years of Roman rule left its mark on the city as much as the later, even longer period under the rule of Muslim Arabs. In the 15th century Malaga was reclaimed by the catholic knights who severely punished its inhabitants for resisting the conquer.
In the 20th century, during the military dictatorship of General Franco, Malaga became a popular tourist destination among travellers from other European countries, especially the United Kingdom. Its newly developed tourist industry quickly became the pillar of its economy. Foreign visitors started flocking to the city and smaller towns on Costa del Sol in search of what the region is most famous for: Spanish sunshine and beaches.
Built in 1919, Malaga airport experienced a sudden surge in air traffic and required redevelopment. The advent of cheap airlines providing frequent, budget flights to Malaga from all over Europe called for further modernisation at the end of the century.
Famous for the mix of islamic and christian cultures, as well as beautiful beaches and relaxed lifestyle, Malaga is a popular tourist destination in its own right, as well as a gateway to the whole of Costa del Sol and Andalucia.
For many, the Picasso Museum is the most important destination of their Malagan itinerary. The genius painter was born here in 1881.
Modern art enthusiast will enjoy a visit to Centre Pompidou Malaga, a small but enchanting ‘branch’ of the famous Centre Pompidou in Paris.
The Moorish fortress of Alcazaba dating back to the 8th century is an unmissable sight. The views around it and its beautiful gardens are enough of a treat to make it up for those not interested in history.
The Roman Theatre built in the 1st century AD is another gem of architecture located within the city. The visitor centre teaches the details of Roman life and is a firm favourite for families with children.
Malaga is also famous for its friendly beaches. Admittedly, the sand is more grayish than golden, but the water is always warm and many bars serve ice cold drinks that taste delicious in the heat of Malagan summer. (Try El Palo, Las Acacias and La Malagueta.)
The most typical dishes of Andalucia are cold soups: gazpacho and porra antequerana made of tomatoes and ajoblanco made of toasted almonds. They all can be appreciated the most in the height of summer, when a chilled meal provides a momentary relief.
Fried anchovies are also a typical Andalusian delicacy and they taste best in the fishermen’s neighbourhood of El Palo. Seafood enthusiast will also enjoy Fritura Malagueña and roasted sardines served in beach bars.
A hot dessert made of fried bread (gachas malagueñas) is a hearty winter warmer. Wash it down with some of the sweet and strong Malagan wine.
Inhabited by hordes of cheeky monkeys, the rocky shores of Gibraltar are the obvious choice for travellers wanting to explore the Iberian Peninsula beyond Malaga (and, interestingly, since 1713 Gibraltar has belonged to the UK).
Day trips to the aromatic souks in Moroccan Tangier are a firm favourite among backpackers wanting to explore foreign cultures.
For city life lovers who feel that Malaga is simply not enough, a quick visit to Granada, where the wonders of Alhambra palaces await, is a fabulous option. Famous for their Andalucian charm are also Cordoba and Sevilla.
Malaga benefits from a subtropical and Mediterranean climate, meaning that summers can be extremely hot (average high of 31 degrees centigrade in July and August) and winters are usually mild (average low of 7 in January). December is the most rainy month with an average of 7 days of precipitation. The sea is the coldest in February, with an average temperature of a staggering 17 degrees. In August the water is more than 10 degrees warmer.
Even on a cold Malagan day in winter, most tourist will find that t-shirt is a sufficient protection against the weather. However, that applies only to the sunny hours in the early afternoon. Mornings and nights can indeed be quite chilly, although travellers are advised to pack sunscreen and dark glasses at any time of the year.
With so many attractions to choose from and a beautiful mediterranean weather all year round, there’s never a bad time to visit Malaga. Perfect for a family holiday on the beach or a sunny, glamorous city break in the winter, Malaga is simply irresistible. Thanks to budget airlines operating cheap flights to Malaga day in, day out, there are no excuses left not to visit this beautiful city.
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