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We love everything about Spain, which is why we travel there frequently. Chelsea, of Travel Girl Magic, recently went to Malaga and here are her practical travel tips.
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Malaga is a beautiful beach city on the coastline of Spain. This city is famous for its renaissance cathedrals and being home to the great artist, Pablo Picasso. It’s also located near a few amazing towns that are worth the adventure! An inexpensive and culture filled trip is sure to be found in Malaga.
If you’re looking for a place to go where you can really stretch your trip budget, try a small town like Malaga. The city is a part of the EU and does use the Euro. However, credit cards are almost always accepted, even in taxis. Like most destinations, traveling off season can save you up to hundreds of dollars on flight and hotel costs. A typical hotel that includes meals such as breakfast and dinner will be within the $100-$200 a night range during off season. Since these meals are included, a big food budget is not necessary. When you’re out for lunch, there are a wide variety of reasonable food options from traditional garlic prawns to sushi. Cutting costs doesn’t cut the fun here! Getting around is also quite cost-friendly if you opt to use the city’s bus system that will take you around the corner or to another town!
Malaga’s Costa del Sol airport (AGP) has a modern design and is very organized. Transportation from the airport is not a hassle as taxis are readily available, even in the late night hours that we arrived. Although a taxi ride can range from €20-30 for a 20 minute ride to the center of Malaga, they are not necessarily the cheapest mode of transportation in Malaga. A rental car is a comparable option if you don’t mind high security deposits, but as previously mentioned, the city uses a bus system and several stations to travel between cities for around €3-5 each way. The Malaga city bus system runs through each town in Malaga as well as over 10 cities surrounding it. A single bus ticket to the center of Malaga would cost you no more than €3, but you could also purchase a multi trip ticket for around €10 that would allow you to hop on and off as you please. The buses are quite comfortable as well, resembling a typical charter bus with padded seats and large windows to enjoy the ride.
Malaga is a safe place, making it a great place for families and solo travelers. As with any destination, pickpocketing is a risk and travelers must remain aware at all times. Even the towns around Malaga are tourist-friendly mainly because they are small and quiet as people do live in the homes on the streets that you may explore.
Cellular data with an international plan is accessible in Spain but roaming data charges may apply. Many hotels also offer free Wi-Fi to keep you connected during your stay and to keep extra international charges down.
You will find a variety of people in Malaga as it is a welcoming place. The main language of Malaga is Castilian Spanish. Although you may be able to get around without knowing much Spanish, most natives (especially the older generation) does not speak English. The most important thing when communicating with natives is to put an effort to speak in their language without expecting them to know English. A quick language overview of most spoken words is a nice gesture and great way to prime yourself for a cultural immersion.
Even if you plan a trip to Malaga towards the end of the year, the weather is still pleasant. Although the weather at the beach was around 62 Fahrenheit, I managed to tan very nicely and didn’t reach for a jacket or blanket once. At night, the temperature drops about 10 degrees but is still very manageable with the proper clothing. A warm jacket and boots in the evening will keep the cold at bay.
Where to Stay
There are many nice areas in Malaga, each with their own vibe and character. Malaga City is the most central area where you will find lots of shopping, nightlife and even cathedrals. There are several hotels and Airbnb places for rent in the city, but opt for places further out for lower rates. Staying near the airport is also a good tip to keep costs down. If you want to see all of the culture that Malaga has to offer, but still want to wake up on the beach, Torremolinos is the place to stay! The coastal town is family-friendly and offer affordable lodging.
The food and wine in Spain are delicious! Seafood is a big part of the culture as well as cured meats. Pipirrana is a cold salad dish that I enjoyed during my time in Malaga. It reminds me a lot of ceviche and is a mixture of seafood, peppers, olives and onions, tossed in olive oil and sea salt. If you enjoy sardines, Malaga is the place to indulge! Espeto, or barbecued sardines, are a delight that can be found almost anywhere near the beach and beyond! Red wine is a staple in Malaga; there were tons of blends that were suggested, but the white wine was equally an excellent food compliment.
What to See
The Beach: The beaches in Malaga are exquisitely floored with soft, dark sand and crystal clear water, each with a picturesque mountain view. The Torremolinos beaches are a strand of beaches seamlessly connected by a 4 mile promenade which makes for a nice run if you’re feeling active. After a day of soaking up the sun on the beach, catch a sunset catamaran ride for €10 from the marina as a great way to end the day.
Museo Picasso Malaga: Malaga is the hometown of the beloved Pablo Picasso. The Museo Picasso Malaga, a museum dedicated to his early life and greatest works, is a historic landmark in the center of Malaga that features over 200 of his art pieces that were donated by his family.
Cathedral de la Encarnación: A short distance from the Picasso museum is beautiful Cathedral de la Encarnación in Malaga City. There are also a few reasonably prices restaurants that sit in the front of the cathedral for an amazing view over lunch.
Flamenco: Another exciting part of the Spanish culture is the traditional Flamenco dance. The Tablao Los Amayas in Malaga has a live Flamenco show that will leave you speechless after the beautiful dresses and bold moves tell a story of passion.
Mijas: Mijas is a small quaint town nestled between mountains and the beach. The mountainside village is made up of white washed homes, local museums, and many souvenir shops. Mijas is also home to the largest golf resort in Spain, La Cala Resort. You can take an hour bus ride to Mijas from Malaga via bus, but the coastline the view is worth it!
Marbella: Marbella is another white washed town near Malaga. Marbella sits on the southern coast of Spain and is known for its beaches, prestigious nightlife, and marinas that house many million dollar yachts. If you take a stroll through the neighborhoods you will find several fascinating details such as an unfinished castle, and two cathedrals that are conjoined but acknowledged as two separate entities. Another hour bus ride from Mijas will bring to Marbella
Cable cart ride: About 20 minutes from the center of Malaga is an attraction that will amaze kids and adults. The Benalmadena Cable Car attraction will take you to the peak of Mount Calamorro to give you a 360 view of the coast of Malaga and even the African coast! Adult tickets €15, children can ride for €11, and children under 3 are free!
Bonus Day Trip to Madrid
Still craving Spain? The Malaga train station will take you to Madrid at miles up to 200mph on a high speed bullet train for prices as low as €80 round trip. Use Madrid’s rail system to take get from sites like Circulo de Bellas Artes to get a 360 view of the city to the Arc de Triomphe. (Editor’s Note: We have taken the Spanish rail system, Renfe, many times and it is an inexpensive and fast way to get around the country).
About The Author:
Chelsea is a Cancer Research Professional by day, and avid traveler in between. She spends her free time on adventures across the world in search of the best beaches and believes that travel is a form of self-care. Follow her as she shares the world and its beaches on her blog Travel Girl Magic, or Instagram @travelgirlmagic.
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