I’ve visited Spain many times before, but never made it to Málaga. That’s probably because on my second trip to the country, I fell in love with hiking the Vía de la Plata, or VDLP. The VDLP Camino is one of five main pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela, running from Sevilla to Santiago. I’ve now hiked it twice in its entirety and once just the last 100 kilometers. But I digress.
After hiking the VDLP multiple times, I did branch out. I’ve visited Pamplona in the northeast and Spain’s Canary Islands off the west coast of Africa. But I’d never been to Spain’s famous Costa del Sol, or Sun Coast, which is home to cities like Marbella. And, yes, Málaga. So when I had the chance to head to the Costa del Sol one September, I took it.
Málaga’s Time to Shine
Málaga is a city of more than 500,000. Yet for years – maybe even decades – Málaga got no love. Loads of tourists flew into its bustling airport, but it was just a gateway to more popular destinations such as Marbella and Gibraltar. Then, in 2003, the city opened the Museo Picasso Málaga, a museum dedicated to native son Pablo Picasso. And with that, everything changed.
Tourists began coming to Málaga to check out the Picasso Museum, which made local entrepreneurs open more restaurants, hotels and attractions. That, in turn, brought more people.
When I visited with my husband, the city was bustling with tourists. And indeed, there was plenty to do. The city is home to more than 30 museums. It’s also loaded with quality restaurants and lodging. And it’s on the Mediterranean Sea, a plus for beach-goers and seafood lovers. There are some cool, old cathedrals and the remains of an ancient castle, too, where you can drink in amazing views of the city below.
If you decide to head there, check out the local AirBnB Experiences and the tours offered through Spain Food Sherpas.
My top recommendation for visiting is to stay at the NH Málaga. The hotel offers comfortable, clean, chic lodging, has good food and is in a great location near the city’s ancient market and trendy arts district. And it’s a mile or less from most of the main tourist attractions. We stayed here and loved it.
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