Postcards from Andalusia – Malaga

Sunshine, palms, the Mediterranean just around the corner! I can’t believe we’re here in Malaga. My husband and I arrived at the Malaga Costa del Sol airport a few days ago, hopped on a train right outside the exit doors and arrived at Maria Zambrano train station (named after a Spanish essayist born 1904, died 1991. I want to find out more about her) in the center of Malaga. Our Airbnb is literally just around the corner from the station on a quiet side street lined with orange trees, can you believe it, orange trees? The sea is a 10 min walk away and now, in November, the beach is not busy. The water is too cold for swimming now, but we love to walk along the beach. It’s been sunny every day and around 20 degrees, a little breeze, perfection!

Malaga is a city of parks and little plazas full of exotic trees and flowers. We just love to wander around the city, getting lost, finding these quiet little places. The locals sit here and read or have a picnic. There are hidden treasures just around the corner, an old building of some kind or a cool view or a cozy tapas bar.

At the moment there is a lot of construction here because Malaga is getting a metro. 2 lines are already operating. The nearest station for us is at Maria Zambrano. Fast, modern, clean, lots of security, we love the metro. Ticket machines have an English setting, so it’s easy to know what you are doing. It’s possible to buy multiple tickets but I don’t do that anymore. I found the machine will take money for 2 tickets but then only print one, not nice!

Malaga is the birth place of Pablo Picasso (Oct 25, 1881 – Apr 8, 1973) so we decided to have a Picasso day. There is very good Picasso museum here. The Museo Picasso Malaga is located in a beautiful Renaissance building in Calle San Agustín 8 in the historic center of the city. The collection includes works from all periods of the artist’s long career, paintings, sculptures and ceramics. Admission is 8 € for adults, 6 € for seniors. While you are in the neighborhood loose yourself in the alleys and little squares here. Haha, I think, I already recommended that once but do it again, it’s always worth getting a little lost in this place. This is also a great area to have a very relaxed lunch in a sidewalk cafe. At the moment there is also a temporary exibit about what could probably be called Picasso’s most famous painting, Guernica. The painting itself is housed in Madrid’s Raina Sophia Museum. The exibit showed the painting’s history, travels and political significance.

evening walk on our beach

So we decided to rent bikes. You never realized just how out of shape you are until you get on a bike again after a year and half. So I now  have muscles aching that I had forgotten that I even have! But never mind, Malaga is so set up for cycling, we had seen bike paths all around the city as we were walking around so we just had to try it too. There are at least two ways to rent a bike in Malaga. EMT, the company that operates the city buses also has a fleet of bicycles. If you are staying in Malaga for a bit longer and love to cycle this is a good option for you. You have to register online, and then you can pick up a bike at any of their stations and return it at different one all around the city. We decided to just rent our bikes for one day from Malaga Bike Tours and Rentals. The cost is 12 € for one day, and they have all kinds of accessories like helmets, child seats etc as well.

Stef in Malaga
Stef in Malaga

About 11 km from the center of Malaga is a small nature reserve. This is the reclaimed delta of the Guadalhorce river, very pretty! It’s set up for obsering the many different water birds that use the area. You can see all kinds of ducks, shorebirds, even flamingos!

Guadalhorce nature preserve
Flamingos and cormorants at the Guadalhorce nature preserve

We saved Malaga’s Alcazaba for our last day. It’s a 1000 year old Moorish fortress and palace. The entrance is just behind the beautiful city hall in the center of town. Right next to the entrance is the Roman theater which you can see for free. It’s still being restored, but it’s pretty cool. I think, there is a tour available which we didn’t take that explains all about it. You can buy a combo ticket for the Alcazaba and the castle of Gibralfaro which is a little higher up on the hill and connected to it. Cost of the combo ticket for adults is 5.50 €, for students and senior’s 2.50 €.

The Alcazaba is a wonderful story book place with gorgeous grounds and you can wander around in there for as long as you want. We are here in November and it was not very busy at all, easy to get photos without a lot of strangers in them. Kids would love it here, but beware there aren’t guard rails everywhere! When you get near the top there are two cafés and washrooms and an elevator. When you are finished with the Alcazaba you can take the elevator down to the street. This is not well explained in the pamphlet but it is no longer possible to reach the Gibralfaro directly from the Alcazaba so a lot tourists wander around a little lost after they finish with the fort. So here is the secret. Take the elevator down and turn left up the hill, there are signs to direct you, it’s easy to find. The walk up is a little challenging, pretty steep. We were joking how any would be attackers would be easy to deal with because they would be totally out of breath. If you walk up there are nice views of the city and lots of places to sit as a reward. Once we did reach the top we noticed that there is a road that comes up behind the hill and the Hop-On-Hop-Off sightseeing bus stops there too. So you have a choice. 20181114_153522

The Gibralfaro is a smaller fort than the Alcazaba and seemed more utilitarian in nature, no lavish living quarters anywhere. You can walk all around the ramparts and the views from the watchtowers are absolutely stunning!

As you can see we’ve had a great time in Malaga. Tomorrow we are taking a bus to Granada. The bus depot is located right beside Maria Zambrano train station. I am really looking forward to that beautiful city as well, stay tuned!

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