Málaga City is the capital of the renowned Costa del Sol and Costa del Golf, and with a new international airport welcomes millions of visitors every year; however, Málaga is more than a gateway to the beaches, villas and hotels of the coast. Massive investment has transformed what was once a gritty seaside town into hip and arty destination, vying with the likes of Barcelona, and a great place to live. With a history spanning over three millennia, it is one of the oldest cities in the world with a population of some 600,000 inhabitants and boasts a rich historic and artistic heritage. Sheltered in the sweeping curve of a natural bay and blessed with year-round sunshine, Málaga is a cheerful and upbeat city where the locals are always up for a party.
Underrated for so many years, Málaga has now emerged as a chic cultural hub, with a thriving food scene from the humble espeto (skewer) of sardines cooked outside over hot coals to Michelin star restaurants. The birthplace of Picasso, the city is packed with galleries and museums dedicated to everything from wine to cars to football. A strenuous stroll will take you a hilltop citadel, the Alcazaba, one of the largest Moorish fortresses in Andalucia, housing an archaeological museum, while further up the 10th century fortress, Gibralfaro Castle affords panoramic views of the city, including the recently upgraded port.
The old town, anchored by a striking Renaissance cathedral, is a warren of narrow streets with a cluster of gastrobars and cool cafés alongside traditional taverns. The main shopping strip is found in Calle Larios, a pedestrianized street than links the old town to the stunning tree-lined avenue, the Alameda. The super modern waterfront area of Muelle Uno, is another option for shopping, dining, people watching or simply strolling. Basic shopping needs can be satisfied at the Larios Shopping near the train station, the Vialia Shopping Centre within the train station and the iconic El Corte Ingles department store; additionally, the Atarazanas Market will supply you with fresh produce, fish and vegetables.
Málaga benefits from excellent travel links. Numerous buses and underground system serve the city centre and suburbs. A local train takes you to the airport and Fuengirola, plus with the AVE fast train you can be in Madrid in just under 3 hours.