Last year, in April of 2017, we took our first family vacation ever. My husband, me, and three kids. We went to London, Paris, and Spain. It was an involved endeavor. There was much planning. There was much packing. There was much walking. But it was super fun. I’ve been to London and Paris several times and it was satisfying to show my kids their unique personalities, but I’d never been to Spain. Thanks to dear French friends, I discovered the joys of Spain too.
Specifically Malaga. And Mijas. Two cities on the coast of Southern Spain. Mijas was our home base, where our friends have a vacation cottage that overlooks the Mediterranean (yes, it’s as awesome as it sounds), but Malaga was our cultural adventure. A city of about a half-million people, Malaga has not only velvety mountains and lovely beaches, it has history. Delicious food. Stunning architecture and art. It’s affordable. And the Spanish people are friendly and accommodating. I have warm warm memories of Malaga.
It was raining when we visited. But no worries, if it’s raining in Malaga, you can visit one of many museums. There are over 30. There’s a castle, there are botanical gardens. Great restaurants. A Picasso Museum. Everything a vacationer would want. While Brits and Scandinavians come down for the sunny weather, they stay for the culture. So here are a few photos of my favorite tourist attractions in Malaga.
The historic town hall building launches a long botanical walkway that runs along the harbor. Palm trees, orange trees, cypress, fishtail palms, all kinds of tropical plants abound.
The first Pompidou Museum outside of France is in Malaga. The overflow collection is on display here and it’s wonderful. The permanent collection features works by Frida Kahlo, Francis Bacon, and Max Ernst. The temporary exhibitions are worth visiting as well. When we were there, we saw a profound work called Ghost by Kader Attia.
El Pimpi is the most famous restaurant in downtown Malaga. It’s been open since the early 1970s. Locals as well as tourists eat here. Many famous people have passed through and it’s fun to peruse the collection of pictures on the wall. Antonio Banderas is a beloved son. The food is traditionally Spanish and delicious. The service, friendly. The restaurant is rustic with a series of different types of rooms including a courtyard, bar, etc.
This Roman Catholic Church is famous for its unfinished tower. The story goes that the funds to build it were used to assist the “British” colonies in gaining their independence, read United States of America. Still, this church mixes Renaissance and Baroque architectural styles, built between the 1500s and 1700s. Its beautiful tower pops up from several viewpoints.
Andalusia, of course, was under Arabic rule in the 11th century and this castle reflects that. It was built during the Hammudid dynasty and features both Roman and Moorish architecture. A couple of fortified walls. The castle was built to overlook the port and monitor incoming ships. With its citadel and gardens, it’s lovely.
When visiting Malaga, tourists often flock to the Picasso Museum but the best kept secret is the Museo de Malaga or Malaga Museum. It’s packed with Spanish paintings and archaeological artifacts, and in an ornate historic building with a welcoming courtyard. When we went, we were allowed in free because we were with an EU national. The Spanish people are so sweet!