The lively capital of the province of Málaga and the Costa del Sol, this ancient port city is also the sixth largest in Spain. The port that now plays host to large cruise ships was originally founded in the 8th century BC by Phoenician merchants. They were later followed by Greeks, Carthaginians and Romans, who arrived in the 3rd century BC. Remnants of Moorish rule, which lasted from the 8th century to 1487, are particularly visible in much of the older architecture of the city, while the Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical heritage of Málaga points to a flowering in the 16th, 18th and 19th centuries respectively.
Geographically the city of Málaga is dominated by the Gibralfaro hill on which stands the Alcazaba, a fortified Moorish palace from the 11th century. A little further up, on the crest of the hill, a 14th century castle overlooks the city and its bay amid spectacular vistas.
The foot of the Gibralfaro, where a Roman amphitheatre meets the city centre, forms the point at which past and present come together. Cross the street and you will enter the old town; a wonderful maze of squares, alleys and pedestrian shopping areas lined with elegant buildings. Crowning this area are the cathedral, built in Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles, and the Picasso Museum, home to the works of Málaga’s most famous son.
It is within these narrow, largely car-free streets that you will find such local treasures as ‘El Pimpi’, a renowned café and tapas bar. Situated between the centre and the port is a stylish boulevard flanked on both sides by a tree-lined promenade. Here stately buildings alternate with the greenery of botanical gardens, an area that gradually gives way to beaches and the ‘La Malagueta’ suburb.
With shopping, culture, history, authentic Andalusian spots and even beaches to enjoy within a square kilometre, Málaga is above all a bustling city full of life and southern European vitality. Visit it once and you will surely come back.