Lives in Malaga, Spain
Since Aug 2013
I'm a freelance writer and author based in Marbella, which I see as just about the perfect place to live. Since I first spotted orange trees in the sunshine and the snow-capped Sierra Nevada as a university student, I've been passionate about Andalucia, its people, places and culture. And over twenty-five years later, I'm still discovering hidden corners in this wonderful region.
Historic Sites, History Museums
Historic Sites, Churches & Cathedrals, Architectural Buildings
Spas, Hammams & Turkish Baths, Arab Baths
Points of Interest & Landmarks
Piers & Boardwalks, Points of Interest & Landmarks
Architectural Buildings, Art Museums
Caverns & Caves
Observation Decks & Towers, Points of Interest & Landmarks
Start your visit to Malaga with the Romans, who built the magnificent Roman Theatre in the first century BC — although Malaga's modern inhabitants didn't discover it until 2,000 years later. You can view the ruins from outside, but it's worth going in (entrance is free!) for a close-up look. Take a seat in the theatre itself, and transport yourself back to a time of emperors and gladiators.
Malaga's Moorish fortress offers the best vantage point for viewing the city. Although it's not on the same scale as the Alhambra in Granada, Malaga's Alcazaba gives you a good idea of how the Moors built their castles and used mosaics to decorate interiors. You can climb up to many of the towers and admire the views of the city below and the coastline beyond.
Known as the one-armed lady (because the second tower was never finished), the Malaga Cathedral dominates the center of the city. Like most Spanish cathedrals, it's huge, with lots of elaborate side altars. Baroque art and decoration dominate, and some of the stained-glass windows are spectacular. Look out for some fine works of art — although a few are rather graphic, so be prepared for the odd gruesome sight!
A great spot for a bite to eat between monuments, El Pimpi has terraces overlooking the Roman Theatre and the Alcazaba. These aren't the best tapas in Malaga, but the fast and friendly service, along with the great location, make El Pimpi a good stop for refueling in between sights.
You could probably do with a spot of relaxation after taking in Malaga's main historic sights, and these authentic Moorish baths fit the bill. With their stunning mosaics and ethereal quiet, the interiors are amazing, and in addition to a good soak in the different hot and cold baths, you can treat yourself to one of the massages or beauty treatments.
Today is your "art day," but before you start perusing paintings, fuel up with a coffee in this lovely square. You can admire Plaza de la Constitución from the terrace of Café Central. On the north side of the square, you will see the Ateneo, a historic 16th-century building that is stunning to behold. Finally, stroll along the narrow Pasaje de Chinitas, one of Malaga's oldest streets, which was previously home to cafés and theaters — with dubious reputations.
The world's greatest modern artists was born in Malaga, and the city pays homage to Pablo Picasso in several monuments — including the Picasso Museum. Even if you're not a Picasso fan, the museum is well worth a visit. The building itself is a delight (don't miss the Roman ruins) and the artworks give you great insight into Picasso's artistic progression from realist detail to total abstraction.
This small art museum belongs to one of Spain's richest women, Baroness Thyssen, whose private art collection rivals any in the world. The Museo Carmen Thyssen's beautifully restored building houses the permanent collection of 19th and 20th Spanish art, but usually the most interesting works are on display in the temporary exhibition, where the Baroness often showcases the jewels in her collection.
One of the oldest ports in the world, the Port of Malaga is today one of Spain's most important cruise ship terminals. To reach it, make your way down Calle Larios, and then along the Palmeral de las Sorpresas, a palm tree-lined waterfront promenade. Along the palm grove, you'll spot all manner of playgrounds, fountains, sunken gardens, and cafes — all begging exploration or some sun-soaked relaxation.
The CAC Malaga has a great permanent collection and exciting temporary exhibitions showcasing the best in contemporary art. Plus, entrance is free! To reach it from the port, walk through the up-and-coming Soho area, which is slowly establishing itself as the new artists' quarter in Malaga. New street art appears almost weekly, so keep an eye out for the latest wall murals.
Before you head to Nerja for the day, pop into this lovely indoor market just off the Alameda. The choice of shellfish and fish has to be seen to be believed, and you'll be amazed at the variety of olives on display. Most stalls at Mercado Central de Atarazanas allow you to try before you buy, so make the most of this — and stock up on presents to take home.
About an hour's bus ride from Malaga, Nerja is home to southern Spain's most impressive caves. Discovered quite by chance by some schoolboys in the 1950s, these limestone galleries are home to some amazing stalactites and stalagmites, as well as prehistoric cave paintings.
Perched on a cliff in the town of Nerja (a short bus ride from the caves), Balcon de Europa offers unbeatable views of the coastline and the craggy mountains behind it. This is also a great spot for people watching, so grab a bench and watch the world go by.
One of Nerja's prettiest sandy coves, Playa de Burriana is a great place to relax after sightseeing. The beach is small, but there's room for beach loungers and sunshades — so bag yours and settle down for some serious sunbathing. And if you need some refreshment, pop into one of the beach bars for some great paella.