I’ve visited Spain many times before, often to hike the Vía de la Plata, or VDLP. The VDLP is one of five main pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela, running from Sevilla to Santiago. And 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, until recently.
Because I’d never been to the Coast del Sol, I decided I needed to go there. And to check out Málaga, a city of more than half-a-million people. 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. But in 2003 the city opened the Museo Picasso Málaga, a museum dedicated to native son Pablo Picasso. And with that, everything changed.
Málaga’s Time to Shine
Lots of 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 loaded with quality restaurants and lodging. 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, where you can drink in amazing views of the city below.
Make sure to 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.