Málaga is a large city in the southern Spanish region of Andalucia and capital of the Malaga Province. The largest city on the Costa del Sol, Malaga has a typical Mediterranean climate and is also known as the birthplace of the artist Picasso. The city offers beaches, hiking, architectural sites, art museums, and excellent shopping and cuisine. While more laid back than Madrid or Barcelona, Malaga is still the center and transport hub for the hugely popular Costa del Sol region, which is flooded with tourists in the summer, and the city has certainly cashed in on the sun and sand, with lots of new construction as well as hotels and facilities geared to tourists. However, Malaga also offers some genuinely interesting historical and cultural attractions in its old city and its setting on the coast is still beautiful.
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Map of Central Malaga
The main bus station is right across the street from the train station, a km or so west of the city centre on Paseo de los Tilos. The station serves buses from all over Spain and is a major transfer point if you're passing through the region.
A substation, the Muelle Heredia bus station, is located along Avenida de Manuel Agustin Heredia, adjacent to the port and handles many of the regional buses that serve the Malaga province, such as those going to nearby beach towns, many of which are operated by the Malaga Metropolitan Transport Consortium .
María Zambrano, the city's sleek new train station, is about a km west of the city centre and served by RENFE's  high-speed AVE service, which zips travelers to Madrid in 2.5-3 hours (some with continuing service to Barcelona), Cordoba in 1 hour or Seville in 2 hours, with multiple trains running each line daily. Slower (and cheaper) trains are also available. For Granada, take a train to Bobadilla and change to a Granada-bound train there.
RENFE also operates two Cercanías commuter rail lines out of Malaga, one west along the coast to the airport and the nearby tourist towns of Torremolinos and Fuengirola and one inland. Both lines make two stops in Central Malaga: one at the María Zambrano station (where you can connect to RENFE and the bus station across the street) and one at the end of the line at Centro-Alameda, located closer to the city center where Avenida de Andalucia crosses the Guadalmedina River.
Málaga has the third biggest international airport (AGP) in Spain, which many budget airlines fly to. There are even summer flights to New York. From the airport you can get a train, a bus or a taxi into town, or hire a car. A taxi to the city center will cost about €15. Bus no. 19 costs €1.10 (correct in Feb 2010) and is very convenient, running every 30 minutes and stopping at Alameda Principal and Paseo del Parque, where most of the local buses that serve the city stop as well. The route map for bus 19 can be seen on the web . The stop names are shown on an electronic display inside the bus so you can tell when to get off.
Renting a car at Málaga's airport is relatively cheap, but it is advisable to book in advance.
You can get a taxi from Malaga Airport taxi rank just outside the arrivals hall of Terminal 2. Generally, there are taxis available, although you may have to queue and in summer the queues can be very long. A typical journey to Malaga city centre will cost around €20, a journey to Malaga Port will cost around €25.
The Roman Theater beneath the Alcazaba
Alcazaba, C/ Alcazabilla 2, ☎ +34 630 93 29 87. Tu-Su 9:30-19:00, closed on Mondays. A Moorish castle built in the 11th century on a hill in the middle of the city, this old fort is the best-preserved of its kind in Spain. Upon entering you'll climb up past the ramparts offering excellent views of the city and lush gardens to a small Moorish palace at the top which holds a number of artifacts from excavations on the site.€2.10, free Sundays after 14:00.
Roman Theater (Teatro Romano), C/ Alcazabilla 8 (next to the Alcazaba), ☎ +34 951 04 14 00. Situated under the Alcazaba facing a small plaza are the beautiful remains of an old Roman theater. You can view them anytime from the overlook in the plaza, but if you want to get up close you can enter the attached building, where you'll be shown a short film and view some artifacts before entering the theater itself, where you can walk past the old stage and sit on the stone steps.Free.
Castillo de Gibralfaro, C/ Gibralfaro 11 (at the top of the hill, you can walk or take bus #35). Tu-Su 9:30-19:00, closed on Mondays. Another Moorish castle and the counterpart to the Alcazaba, the Castillo sits on a larger hill behind the Alcazaba and offers an incredible view of the city and neighboring suburbs from the ramparts that encircle the castillo. Within the fortress is a set of gardens and some displays, including an exhibit on the various military forces to have occupied the fort. Between the Castillo and the Alcazaba, visit the Alcazaba if you only have time for one, as the Castillo requires a hefty hike or a bus ride up the mountain.€2.10, free Sundays after 14:00.
Looking up at the tower of Malaga cathedral
Malaga Cathedral (Catedral de Malaga), Calle Molina Lario 9, ☎ +34 952 21 59 17. M-F 10:00-17:30, Sa 10:00-17:00, closed on Su and holidays. Located right in the heart of the city centre and well worth visiting.€5.
Picasso Museum, Palacio de Buenavista, C/ San Agustín 8, ☎ +34 952 127600, . Tu-Th 10:00-20:00, F-Sa 10:00-21:00, Su and holidays 10:00-20:00. Exclusive paintings and exhibitions.€8.
Picasso's birthplace (Museo Casa Natal de Picasso), Plaza Merced 15, ☎ +34 951 92 60 60, . 9:30-20:00. Loads of objects and some paintings that the most famous artist of the 20th century created during his childhood.€1.
Museo Carmen Thyssen, Plaza Carmen Thyssen, C/Compañía 10, ☎ +34 902 303131, . Tu-Th 10:00-20:00, F-Sa 10:00-21:00, Su and holidays 10:00-20:00 (open M and closed Su in summer). Opened in 2011 and has an excellent collection of 19th and 20th Century Spanish paintings.€8.
Interactive Museum of Music (Museo Interactivo de la Musica Malaga), Muralla Plaza de la Marina, ☎ +34 952 210 440, . Daily 10:00-14:00 and 16:00-20:00. Has one of the largest collections of musical instruments in Europe.€3.
Centro de Arte Contemporáneo. Closed Mondays. Located in a former wholesale trade market, it houses a good collection of works of art and installations. Guided visits.Free.
Plaza de Toros de la Malagueta, Paseo de Reding. M-F 10:00-13:00 and 17:00-20:00, closed Sa, Su and holidays. Malaga's bullring.
La Conception Botanical & Historical Garden (Botanical Garden), Camino del Jardín Botánico 3, ☎ +34 95 225-2148, . 9:30-20:30. Botanical and historical garden with beautiful views of the city from this garden; worth a visit.€4, guided visits and special prices for children.
Rock Climb. There is lots of great rock climbing in and around Malaga. The amazing El Chorro gorge is 50 minutes drive to the North West and this also features the 'Kings Walkway' - an amazing pathway suspended high above the gorge. There is also Via Ferrata and rock climbing at El Torcal near Antequerra.
Beaches: The nearest beach to the centre is La Malagueta - this is fine for a day's sunbathing although quieter and prettier beaches can be found further east. It can be a nice (if rather long!) walk along the waterfront to reach these beaches, otherwise you could get a bus from near the bull ring in the direction of El Palo (e.g. line 33).
Malaga during the holiday season
Spanish: Take an intensive Spanish course at Málaga University  and put it into practice at one of the city's many exciting bars.
Spanish: Babylon Idiomas  offers a wide range of affordable and high quality Spanish courses for all levels with experienced native teachers. The school is located at 100 meters from the beach in the area of Pedregalejo, 15 minutes to the east of the city centre. New courses start every Monday.
Spanish: Linguaschools Málaga  is specialised in teaching Spanish in the old centre of Málaga since 1982.
Spanish: There are many private language schools in Málaga offering a wide range of Spanish courses. To select the school and course that fit you best, you can search and compare schools and prices on Linganet Languages .
Salsa: Many bars and discos in Málaga offer free Salsa classes, such as The Sound in the center and The Swan in the trendy suburb town of Pedregalejo.
Librería de Idiomas, on the Plaza de la Merced. A valuable resource, offering textbooks and dictionaries for learning just about any European language you could desire.
The market is north of the Alamada Principal and is well worth a visit.
Ricardo del Cid Fernandez (aka. Del Cid), Calle Caldereria 11, is a fantastic old school hat shop in the old town (selling real sombreros, panama hats, etc.). Worth to visit even just because of the atmosphere and the very helpful owner.
Bodeguita El Gallo, Calle San Agustin (Opposite to Picasso's museum's door). Typical andalusian tavern evironment, Sweet Malaga wines and the most traditional tapas.
Iberian ham & cheese at Bodeguita El Gallo.
Cafetería Córdoba 7, Situated in street Córdoba, nº 7 in Málaga center, between the Port and Alameda Principal. Offers traditional and typical andalucian dishes, including soups, salads, meats and fishes or sandwiches, cakes, croissants or baguettes. Star dishes include: Gazpacho andaluz, Paella, Porra Antequerana, Rabo de Toro, Croquetas caseras, and many more. Breakfasts and meals with inexpensive prices.
Along the coast there are dozens of restaurants and chiringuitos (beach restaurants) where you can have fish, seafood, paella, sangria, etc. One of the most famous chiringuitos is El Tintero, at the east end, where there is no menu: the waiters sing out what they are carrying and they leave you a plate at your signal. From time to time, one of them offers to give you the bill.
The most typical thing to eat in Malaga is espetos, sardines squewered on a bamboo stick and grilled over a fire (typically driftwood); and pescaíto frito: all types of deep-fried fish from anchovies to squid. A speciality of Andalucia is fish (most commonly dogfish "cazon", although sometimes other fish such as tuna, "atun") marinated in a garlic and vinegar preparation - look on the menu for "Cazon en adobo". Try also the coquinas (small clams cooked in white wine). Simply delicious!
Jamon is a regional specialty, and is an aged, salted ham, from acorn-fed pork, similar to prosciutto.
Famous sweet Malaga wine can be tasted in popular pubs in the city center, like the famous old La Casa del Guardia (Avenue Alameda Principal) or the very typical El Pimpi where everyone, from celebrities to local teens meet.
Restaurante Gallego Candamil. Cuarteles 15. Tel.:+34 95 232-3907. On the street leading from the train station to the centre, this Galician restaurant is very popular with the locals. This is understandable when you see the great range of quality tapas at fantastic prices, e.g. tapa of empanada €1.25, glass of cider €1.15.
A Casa Gallega. Fernán Núñez 2. Tel.: +34 95 204-2332. Another Galician haunt a little further towards, although still outside, the center, this one does not have any menu but relies on the clientele knowing what they want. Good empanada, pimientos de Padrón. Atmospheric.
Parador de Málaga Gibralfaro, Castillo de Gibralfaro, Tel.: +34 95 222-1902, . Some report being disappointed by the restaurant at the Parador. The food was sub par, but the service by contrast was exemplary, together with all the nice little free appetizers, aperitifs, etc. Wine list tended towards the expensive but with the excellent idea of a monthly wine choice 'balancing quality and value', for example a very palatable Ribera del Duero Crianza at €10. Set menu €27 pp (plus VAT). Fantastic view of the city, especially from the terrace.
Las Garrafas. Calle Méndez Núñez 6. Tel.: +34 95 222-3589. Winery and "taperia". Typical Málaga cuisine in a large and clean locale. Delicious and reasonably-priced food. Especially recommended are the mouth-watering "albondigones," large meatballs served alongside french fries.
Malaga has a typically sweet wine called Mosto made from muscat grapes.
Malaga nightlife will make you think that nobody sleeps in this town even during the work week! However, it is especially busy from Thursday to Sunday, where people buy their drinks in the supermarkets and have them at night in controlled areas known as "botellodromos" in the city center, before going into the clubs:
Metropol, Cosa Nostra, Vaticano, Andén (big busy Latin club)
Velvet Club (aka Sonic, plays metal, hardcore, punk) [not open Sundays]
Nyx, Urbano, Village Green (Rock, Indie, etc).
White, Abyssinia, Bar El Sound (Rap, Hip Hop, R&B)
Paradise/Punto G, Warhol (gay)
ChillHouse ( house-dance music)
El Pimpi, Calle Granada (Around the corner from the Picasso Museum). Famous for its sweet yet strong local wine. Tapas and other bites.
There are several nice Moroccan-style tea houses in town, serving an amazing variety of teas in addition to other interesting non-alcoholic drinks.
This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
There are basically two good locations for tourist lodging in town: At the beach, or in or near the pedestrian zone in the center. The cheapest beds are found in the red light district between the center and the port.
Oasis Backpackers' Hostel Malaga, Calle San Telmo 14, ☎ +34 952 005 116, . checkin: midday; checkout: 11.30. The newest backpacker in town, amazing location right in the city center with big roof-top terrace to overlook lovely Malaga and a bar in the basement. Free wifi and breakfast. From 14€, dorms and double rooms. Directions: From Busstation Paseo los Tilos its a 2km walk to the Oasis Hostel at Calle San Telmo 14. Walk to the right of Paseo los Tilos turning into Callejones del Perchel. At the roundabout take a right into Avenida de la Aurora crossing the river. Continue the river bank on the this side for about 800m, (Pasilla de Santa Isabel) until you turn right into Calle de los Cisneros. Turn into the 4th street on the left, Calle Santos, next to the right, than left again, than right again into Calle San Telmo at No. 14from 14€. (36.721905,-4.422411)
Down Town Hostel, Pasaje de Clemens 11, ☎ +34 952 223 292, . checkin: 01.00; checkout: 11.00. Just under the alcazaba, in a quiet street. Not too far from the beach, close to the city center. Free wifi, nice people, nice rooftop.16-20.
Hostel La Palma, Calle Martinez 7, 29005 Malaga, ☎ +34 95 222-6772. Run by a friendly lady, this cheap and cheerful place has rooms starting from €20 Euros. It's very central and some rooms have little balconies.
Pension Costa Rica, Calle Córdoba 5, E-29001 Málaga, ☎ +34 95 221-3577. Very primitive and in the middle of the red light district, but it seems to be one of the cheapest available.From €20 Euros.
Picasso's Corner, San Juan de Letrán, 9, ☎ +34 95 221-2287, . Right in the historic district,close to the beach. Bar and lounge, food and disco shows!15-20.
Hostal Alameda, Street Casas de campos, 3 (corner street Cordoba,9) (Next to the harbor, a short walk from Alameda Principal (sur) stop on the no. 19 bus.), ☎ +34 95 222-2099 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Economic budget, centrally situated in Málaga center, between historical center and the Port. All rooms have private bathrooms, television and air-conditioning or heating. The hotel is on the eighth floor of a building shared with other businesses and you will need to use the buzzer (well labelled) to speak to reception so they can let you in. (Reception is manned 24 hours a day.) From 55 euros. (36.7164,-4.4218)
Malaga Hotel, Acacias de Guadalmar, 153 - 29004 Malaga, ☎ +34 95 217-6061 (email@example.com, fax: +34 9521756552), . checkin: 2PM; checkout: 12PM. Malaga Hotel is on Guadalmar beach and is close to the airport, Torremolinos, Plaza Mayor Malaga, Golf. Charming 3 star hotel with garden, swimming pool, jacuzzi, restaurant. Boardwalk with beach restaurants (chiringuitos).60 - 119.
Oficentro Suites, C/ Tomas Heredia, 8. CP-29001. MALAGA (At the City Center), ☎ 952213447 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . The apartment is fully furnished and cleaning is done weekly. The contact person is Jose.
Hotel Santa Rosa, Carretera Málaga-Almería 125. Torrox Costa El Morche, Malaga 29793, ☎ +34952530790, . checkin: 12PM; checkout: 6PM. Hotel Santa Rosa is a small but welcoming hotel situated on the sea front45-98 €. (36.7358628,-3.9811844)
Silken Puerta Málaga, Héroe de Sostoa 17, ☎ +34 93 280-2988, . Very stylish four-star from the Silken chain, opposite the main train station. Beautifully decorated rooms and bathrooms, with great attention to detail. Good discounted rates in winter (€56-69+VAT).
Hotel Guadalmedina, Pasillo del Matadero, 16, ☎ +34 952 365 146, . .55-90 €.
Hotel Monte Málaga, . 4 star luxury hotel with good infrastructure. On the seafront, a few minutes walk from the Picasso Museum and very close to the recently opened AVE High Speed Railway Station.
NH Málaga, Avenida Río Guadalmedina, ☎ +34 95 207-1323, . Situated in the historic and commercial center of Malaga, next to the 'Puente de la Esperanza' and a short stroll from the 'Museo de la Expiración'. Its excellent location makes it easy to enjoy Malaga's unique personality.
Parador de Málaga Gibralfaro, Castillo de Gibralfaro, ☎ +34 95 222-1902, . Fantastic location with spectacular views (best on 3rd floor) over the city. Sitting area and balcony.135 euros +VAT, breakfast €11.
Hotel del Pintor, Álamos 27, ☎ +34 95 206-0980, . Opened in 2005, the Hotel del Pintor is a small urban hotel that combines design and technology with personalized attention. Central location in the historic center, near Picasso's birthplace. €74-121.
Malaga has exceptional road and motorway links, making it an excellent base for exploring the nearby villages and towns. Wonderful drives inland reveal the hidden gems of this region, with small restaurants nestling in the hills where you can experience a truly authentic taste of Andalucia.
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