Malaga Airport is familiar to many people as a gateway to the Costa del Sol. There is, however, much more to Malaga than just its airport.
Malaga has a smart new terminal building located at the end of the pier, which is about a 10 min walk away from the many trendy cafes, bars, restaurants and shops located in the busy port area.
A further 10 min walk will bring you to the attractive Ayuntamiento or Town Hall, where there is an attractive park to stroll around.
The city itself is a little further to walk but is again very pleasant, being largely pedestrianized, with lots of shops, bars and restaurants.
One of the main highlights is the 11th century Moorish palace/fortress, the Alcazaba. You can buy a combined ticket for the Alcazaba and the Gibralfaro Castle, using the ticket machines. Happily there is a human being on hand to sort out any problems with ‘user error’!
When you’ve done battle with the ticket machine you can begin your climb through the myriad Moorish arches and gardens to the top.
Views await around every turn. It’s an excellent place to take photos of your cruise ship!
Thankfully there are several cool courtyards and plenty of seats.
At the top you will find a few interpretive panels (in Spanish)
And yet more amazing arches and cool courtyards.
This is the area that is accessible by lift.
At the base of the Alcazaba are found the remains of the Roman Theatre. Not quite as extensive as those at Cartagena but interesting nevertheless.
The Castle of Gibralfaro
The Gibralfaro can be reached via the road to the right of the Alcazaba entrance. It is quite a climb and there is not much at the top, although there are walls to walk around. The views over the city both on the way up the hill, and from the walls are unrivalled.
There is a little cafe for a well-deserved drink or ice cream.
There are good toilet facilities at the top of both the Alcazaba and the Gibralfaro.
If all this climbing doesn’t sound too appealing, you can take the lift to the top of the Alcazaba, which can be found behind the City Hall.
Do walk down if you can though so that you don’t miss the beautiful gardens. Likewise, the Gibralfaro can be reached by tourist bus, which drops you at the top of the hill.
The cathedral was erected from the 16th century onwards on the site of an old mosque. With its elaborately carved wooden choir stalls, spectacular organ and magnificent side chapels, it is a fascinating place to visit.
There is also a silver Semana Santa float on display.
Well worth the 5 euros admission.
We walked everywhere in Malaga but for those less inclined, our cruise line put on a shuttle bus, which stopped at Plaza de la Marina, a little closer to the city centre.
This was about a 25 min walk from the ship via the Paseo del Parque, a spectacular 600m long avenue full of plants and trees, a shady retreat on a hot day.
An alternative would be the Hop on hop off buses which start at the lighthouse, about a 10 min walk from the ship. The town beach can also be reached from here.
Other attractions in Malaga include the Birthplace of Picasso, The Picasso Museum and the Arts Museum.
Malaga is the starting point for many excellent excursions including those to Granada and The Alhambra, Cordoba, the designer resort of Puerto Banus and the sparkling white village of Mijas.
However, if you have never visited Malaga before we most definitely recommend staying in the city for your first visit.