The capital of Costa del Sol is widely known as a holiday destination. Perfectly connected through its international airport, Málaga has transformed itself into a culture hub and a vibrant city with several possibilities. We spent a weekend there in January, here´s our little travel story:
Travelling from Sevilla as we did is just a couple hours away by highway (fast and easy), but as mentioned, the airport is very well connected with most major airports in Europe. Delta also flies directly from the US.
Málaga is very walkable. Downtown area is not accesible for cars, which makes it very comfortable and without traffic noise. There are plenty of private apartments that can be rented for short stays, and very good luxury apartments, many of them with great sunny rooftops. However, on this occasion we recommend the brand new Gran Hotel Miramar, the latest luxury hotel in town, part of The Leading Hotels Of The World. It promises to be the landmark hotel in town, great sea views, attentive service and comfortable rooms. Its rooftop will also be open for the summer season.
From the hotel, it´s just a short nice stroll along the promenade into Muelle Uno, the harbor area. Cruise ships dock here, and it´s full of shops, restaurants, and the Pompidou Museum, one of the many museums in the city and part of the visual landscape of Muelle Uno.
Gastronomy is one of the main attractions of Málaga. The number of tapas bars has increased lately, and the variety of restaurants and places for lunch/dinner makes it hard to choose. For lunch, we tried Taberna Garcia, a very small tapas place in a quiet street behind the Mercado de la Merced market. Nice service and dishes worth the visit. Booking in advance is essential on weekends. For dinner, La Cosmopolita restaurant & tapas bar is an excellent choice, with chef Dani Carnero taking care of guests.
But before dinner, the place to go is the small mountain of Gibralfaro, for one simple reason: the best views over the city. Easy to reach on foot (15min of slopes but easy to do on a paved walking small way), the reward comes at the end. Go at sunset, and stay until the city lights appear. Totally worth it.
The following day, there´s a fun daytrip to consider seriously: Caminito Del Rey, a popular walkway, pinned along the steep walls of a narrow gorge in El Chorro, near the small and charming village of Ardales. All is just 1h drive from Málaga. Tickets for guided tours must be booked online in advance. Expect breath-taking views, impressive nature and beautiful landscapes.
Back in Málaga, it´s time to explore some of the trendy spots. Try La Sole Del Pimpi, the modern version of the well-known traditional El Pimpi, and located right next. At La Sole, you can find signature cocktails, Asian food and a fashionable atmosphere. But a visit to Málaga is not complete without its amazing sweet wines. Taste some at La Odisea, a surprising lovely old bar with wine barrels, bohemian decor, old books, and a charming small outdoor patio in the back.
Finally, and since the Costa del Sol is perfectly connected East to West by highway, visiting the Axarquía region is a very good idea. This is the mountain region next to Málaga, full of small charming white villages. We chose Frigiliana, about 40min drive along the coast, and known as one of the most beautiful villages out there. Walk the alleys and streets, buy some local handcraft and try their local cheeses and wines. Top it up with a coffee with sea views in the town of Nerja, just 15min from Frigiliana, before returning to Málaga.
Málaga is about 1.30h drive from Granada, just 2 hours away from Sevilla or Córdoba. But these are other small travel stories that deserve separate upcoming posts.
When to go: Costa del Sol has a very specific climate, the mountains surrounding Málaga and Marbella create a micro-climate that keeps mild temperatures all year round and sunny weather most of the time.
For an insider private trip to Costa del Sol, Málaga and Marbella, please contact us below:
Eduardo Blanco provides luxury travel planning and concierge services in Spain. From private transfers to luxury hotel booking with dedicated attention and vip treatment, bespoke expert local guides, car & driver disposals, daytrips, off-the-beaten path experiences or gourmet journeys. Upon request only.