Malaga, Spain

Steve Finch on 10 March 2023
Malaga is not just an airport on the Costa del Sol, it is a beautiful compact port city with stunning beaches, rich history, a vibrant culture...and has a mountain backdrop behind it.

Easy connections are available into the city from what is one of the best airports I have ever visited. As with last year in Valencia, we elected to settle down for a longer citybreak this year.

Many of Malaga's streets are pedestrianised and all of them in historic centre are paved with marble. Such a clean city, it is a real pleasure to walk there with bars, restaurants and beautiful edifices lining them...with the odd blaze of colour panning down from terracotta and yellow buildings.

Churches, museums and another 'unfinished' cathedral are there to be seen. Malaga was the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, and the museum there displays much of his work.

The main bus station is in the west of the city, a 25 minute walk from the centre...and from there one can visit many other lovely towns.

We started with a trip to the mountain town of Mijas, known for its white-washed buildings and stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. You can explore the town's narrow streets, visit the bullring, or take a donkey ride there. We elected to take a rather craggy 2.5 mile path up the Sierra de Mijas on the Sendero Cerro Malaga....walking back down was harder! The views were fabulous, and at the top, you can peek around the mountain and see Malaga in the distance.

Nerja was next, this coastal town is located about an hour away from Malaga and is known for its beautiful beaches, including the famous Burriana Beach. You can also explore the town's stunning Balcon de Europa, a cliff-top viewpoint that offers stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. From Nerja we took the local bus to Frigiliano, full of narrow streets and whitewashed buildings and we returned by walking back to Nerja along the dried up riverbed. A tour to the Caminito del Rey is a must. This stunning hiking trail of 5 miles is pinned alongside a mountain gorge and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The trail is a level walk... but suspended 100m over a gorge, and it's not for the faint of heart, but it's definitely worth the effort. Funnily enough I met another travel agent there, a familiar face, Joe Lycett, Channel 4's Travelman!

We returned to Frigiliano to take the walk up the 'lost village' of Acebuchal. Acebuchal is a small village located in the hills of the Axarquía region, known for its picturesque streets and traditional Andalusian architecture. To get there, you can walk or drive from the town of Frigiliano. Acebuchal was abandoned for 50 years during the Franco period as anti-government rebels who based themselves there, were forced out and left it to decay. The town started returning to life in 1998...and now even has a lovely restaurant, which needs pre-booking!

As you approach Ronda, the surrounding hills are full of olive trees, this is an absolute must-see town. Perched on an inland cliff bisected by the deep is very pretty indeed. The vista from the town is spectacular...and after a bit of a walk ...the view from below is even more impressive. There are 3 bridges, the famous one, the Puente Nuevo, crosses the gorge of the El Tajo canyon between the two halves of the town. Next to this is an interesting gorge-side restaurant hanging on the cliffs, from where you can enjoy fine food and watch the birds flitting through the arches below. You can also visit the town's ancient Arab baths, explore its historic bullring, or take a walk through its beautiful gardens.

We also elected to take a cycle ride to Rincon de la Victoria locale, east of Malaga..a fair bit of which is cycle path on the promenade. On the return ride, it was a varied journey as many pavement restaurants had appeared on the route! A local walk to the back of Malaga to visit the botanical gardens was another day out.

In summary, a rather perfect European city break!