Madrid may be deemed as the liveliest city in Spain by many, and Barcelona may just lure the masses with its avant-garde architecture. But what about the southern side of Spain? Yes, we're talking about the Andalusian community bordering Spain's southern coast, like Málaga.
Credit: Juergen Heitmann on Flickr
Not only does it boast diverse landscape, but its long Mediterranean coastline and high mountain summits will pique your interest. Much like Granada, Málaga is still very much alive with remnants of the Muslim rule, and this gives Muslim travellers a chance to step back in time and discover the long lost Islamic history of this place.
Here are the ultimate 8 reasons why we think you should hop on a plane and get yourself to this city of culture!
1. Learn the history of La Alcazaba
If there is one sight that you would travel to Málaga for, it would be La Alcazaba! This important landmark was constructed by the first Emir of Cordoba in the 10th century and you can see hints of Islamic architecture from North Africa in the exterior architecture of the building.
Credit: Damian Entwistle on Flickr
One of the distinguishing features of this fortress is the multi-foil arch which is enough to lure you in. Definitely worth Instagramming, don’t you think? :wink:
If you’re a history buff (like me!) and want to learn more about the Islamic influences on this building, do check out the small archaeological museum that exhibits the Muslim ceramics and pottery.
2. Visit the Málaga Cathedral that was once a mosqueCredit: Trevor Huxham on Flickr
Did you know that the Málaga Cathedral was once a mosque called Aljama? Well, now you know. If you're up for another history class, consider visiting the Málaga Cathedral which is just 5 minutes away from Alcazaba by walking.
Credit: Steve Keiretsu on Flickr
It was built during the Nasrid Dynasty and it stayed as a mosque for almost two centuries. But during the Reconquista in the 1940s, the mosque was converted into a cathedral.
Credit: Jenn and Jon on Flickr
After taking in all the history lessons around the cathedral, you can also visit the garden that contains some artefacts from the civil war, including the monument that commemorates the victims of the war.
3. Soak your feet in the sandy beach of La MalaguetaCredit: Nicolas Lope de Barrios on Flickr
Since Málaga is situated in the Costa del Sol, it is home to one of the nicest beaches in Spain, given the fact that the Southern region has more than 300 days of sunshine per year. Thus, your trip would be incomplete without visiting the beaches here.
Credit: Aveira on Flickr
Take this opportunity to relax with your loved ones at La Malagueta, a spacious beach that is famous for its golden sand. If you want some quiet time, La Malagueta is perfect for you as it’s hardly overcrowded and the waves are pretty moderate.
Credit: Asier Llaguno on Flickr
Also, if you're a water sports enthusiast, fret not, the beach has rental services for various equipment like the paddle boat, or as the locals would call it, pedalos. About time to polish your Spanish, ey? ?
4. Get a spectacular view of Málaga from Gibralfaro CastleCredit: Trevor Huxham on Flickr
What better way to see a panoramic view of Málaga than from the top of Gibralfaro Castle? This magical castle is part of the Alcazaba site that extends along the hill.
Credit: Karen Bryan on Flickr
What many people don’t know is that if you travel a little further from the site, you get to take out your fancy camera and unleash your shutterbug spirit as the view of the entire city awaits you.
Credit: Karen Bryan on Flickr
They say that even on clear days, you may even get to witness some mountains on the Rif mountain range of Africa and the Strait of Gibraltar. Now, how's that for your viewing pleasure?
Credit: Manuel Flores on Flickr#HHWT Tip
: Bear in mind though, that if you opt to walk to the viewpoint, the ascent is very steep and it is recommended that you have a water bottle with you as the walk would take you around 20-45 minutes.
5. Be adventurous at the Tivoli World
Credit: @letaquineur on Instagram
Embrace your inner child and immerse into the adventurous world of Tivoli. Much like your favourite amusement park, there is definitely something for everyone as it offers a wonderful combination of beautiful plazas, gardens, theatres and 300 thrilling rides.
Credit: Terry Whalebone on Flickr
If that doesn’t get your attention, this might: this place has plenty of cultural and magic shows. Because Málaga takes pride in its culture, it is no surprise that every attraction exudes the city’s rich culture, including Tivoli World.
Credit: Fundación Cajasol on Flickr
Apart from the rides, visitors can also enjoy Spain’s most famous flamenco shows and even magic shows all day long. So, it is safe to say that Tivoli World is worthy of even the non-thrill seekers.
: It’s important that we highlight that there is no Muslim friendly restaurant around, thus we suggest you bring your own meal and beverages.
6. Get your shopping spree done at MuelleUnoCredit: @fiebrelatinaradio on Instagram
What is travelling without some shopping? It turns out that Málaga also offers a wide range of shopping experiences. Besides taking in the scenic view of the city, you can get some shopping done at Muelle Uno.
Credit: Hans Birger Nilsen on Flickr
What was once the main port on the Mediterranean, this old port was transformed into a shopping complex that went through a major redesigning in 2013. Since then, it became one of the main must-see sites in Málaga for tourists.
Credit: Dave Pinter on Flickr
Even if you're not planning to shop, you can visit the Centre Pompidou Gallery or "El Cubo" that is just a walk away from the promenade. The state-of-the-art cubical structure hosts more than 90 works of art on permanent display, ready to leave a mark in your heart.
Credit: @ar2su on Instagram
Between the shopping and the sight-seeing, you’re definitely in need of some rest with some good food. Why not grab a bite at Amigos Grill that specialises in Indian and Mexican cuisines? Lucky for us, the chicken is halal.
7. Visit the birthplace of world-renowned artist Picasso
Credit: Patrick Gruban on Flickr
Whether you're an art lover, or a history buff, the Casa Natal or the birthplace of Picasso will surely feed your curious mind. Picasso, as some of you may know, is the world-famous artist known for his works in modern art.
Credit: @ggjh0110 on Instagram
This historic birthplace-turned-museum is home to artefacts detailing his life from as early as 1931 until 1971, including his graphic art and personal mementos from his family.
Credit: Leo Hidalgo on Flickr
But that's not all. While you absorb all the information about Picasso, you will also end up in another space filled with contemporary art by other talented artists from Málaga.
Credit: @ramoranfer on Instagram
As if Picasso's magnificent works haven't already stirred up a series of fun and imaginative battles, the additional artworks from Málaga’s finest will double the fun and make your visit a memorable one.
8. Find the best stalls at the Atarazanas Market
Credit: Dorte on Flickr
Everyone can agree that the best way to get a good sense of a city's character is through its markets. Málaga is no exception to that. Why not start with the Atarazanas Market?
Credit: Siurell Blr on Flickr
This market is a great place to start if you want to get to know the city's quirky nature. Fun fact
about this place: the name Atarazanas is derived from Classical Arabic which means shipyard. Yes, it used to be a naval workshop long before it became Málaga's famous market.
Credit: Juergen Heitmann on Flickr
Today, the Atarazanas Market has become a utopia for foodies, offering a wide selection of fresh food and spices. Not only the mouth-watering local and seasonal treasures will make you drool, but the architecture of the market will please your eyes.
Credit: Nico on Flickr
Curiosity is the number one trait for travellers, and we all can agree that the best kind of travelling is when you get to learn about the history and culture of the place.
Málaga, though small, offers a smorgasbord of interesting historical and cultural attractions in the old city and its setting on the coast makes it a popular spot for tourists. So, are you up for a trip to Málaga?