Malaga travel guide
by Lenita Carpinello
Being the entry point to the entire Costa del Sol should mean Malaga is overrun with tourists, its traditional charm is lost to internationalism and prices are extremely overinflated. But, actually, most people coming to the Costa del Sol are coming for one thing: the beach. This means they head straight from Malaga airport to the car hire depot then drive past the city and don't stop until they are around 100 metres from the beach.
Because of this Malaga is still a very Spanish port city. It has a raging nightlife, but one that caters to Spaniards.
Its restaurants serve food that is delectable, but again it's firmly Spanish to the core with rich tapas, seafood and locally sourced produce winning out over fish and chips and beef burgers.
Shop wise, Malaga mixes Spain's best fashion exports Zara and Mango with shops selling traditional fashions and local foods. All of this jostles for space among historic buildings, monuments and churches along wide leafy boulevards leading into winding, narrow alleys and streets.
He was born in 1881 and his house on Plaza de la Merced is still there. The house has since been converted into a museum for many of his early childhood sketches and scribbling, but the Buenavista Palace, boasting over a hundred and fifty works of Picasso's, will give you a slightly more rounded view of the artist's output.
The Centro de Arte Contemporaneo offers an opportunity to see some fantastic pieces of modern art, both from local painters and around the world. The building used to be a wholesale trades market, but it's now been converted into the excellent home of this extensive collection that it is today.
The Altaranzas Market gives you a slice of genuine local life, with such delicacies on offer as sundried tomatoes dripping in delicious olive oil, strong and flavoursome cheese, bread that has just been baked and smells divine and olives that are as big as your thumb. Even better, you get to try before you buy, so don't go on a full stomach.
If you want to get away from the main part of the city, why not pay a visit to the Rio Guadalmedina. Its undulating and mountainous terrain can serve to remind you that the beach isn't the only attraction of the region, especially if you're interested in mountain-biking at all.
Just outside the city the landscape is breathtaking. Deep gorges around the Rio Guadalmedina and the undulating terrain of the mountains beyond make this a spectacular landscape to hike or bike in. There is a lot more to this region than just the beach.
Lenita Carpinello is a travel expert and freelance writer. They recommend Octopus Travel for Malaga hotels.