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Malaga

 

The city of Málaga is well worth a visit if you are spending some time anywhere in Andalucia. Although in the past it has been considered a poorer cousin to cities like Seville, Málaga has recently benefitted from regeneration and investment and now enjoys high status as an important cultural destination in its own right. An easy trip from El Chorro, a visit is highly recommended.

Malaga provides some impressive historical architecture, buildings and monuments dating back to Roman times alongside lots of quaint and interesting museums. There is a host of cafes, bars, restaurants and hotels offering great food, as well as plenty of art, fashion and beautiful outdoor park areas. It successfully blends the old and the new: the juxtaposition of its new leisure complex in the port and its trendy new rooftop terraces, bars and pools with the ancient and impressive architecture of its older and historic buildings really works. It is a city that has a cosmopolitan and stylish feel and is buzzing with bohemian energy at the same time as retaining its traditional Andalucian quality.

Málaga has more museums than any other city in Andalucia - the opening of the Picasso Museum in 2003 was a key event in triggering the city's cultural rebirth. From wine to cars to art, there is literally a museum in Málaga for everyone. Although some of the buildings demonstrating Malaga's cultural heritage have been destroyed over the years (particularly during the Spanish Civil War) there are plenty left to provide historical interest: the Moorish Alcazaba fortress dating back to 1065; the Castillo de Gibralfaro; the Baroque Cathedral (La Manquita); the Roman Theatre; and lots of churches.

For art lovers, there is the Picasso Museum, the Carmen Thyssen Museum showing a collection of traditional Andalucian art, as well as all of the museums that focus on art, archaeology or glass, not to mention the new arty SOHO district with its exciting bohemian edge.

You will find no end of food experiences in Málaga, from humble tapas bars to chiringuitos on the beach to Michelin-starred restaurants and rooftop terraces - there is something to suit everyone's budget. Visit Calle Larios if you want somewhere to start.

From El Chorro it is just over an hour's drive into Málaga. You can either take the A343 through Álora and then onto the A357, or you can get straight onto the A357 from Ardales and that takes you all the way into the city. There are three trains a day from El Chorro into Málaga station or a more frequent service from Álora - ticket prices are cheap at just over ten euros for a return ticket. You do need to go online to check train times - it is notoriously tricky to get hold of a hard copy timetable!