Malaga is so much more than a destination for beach holidays or drunken parties.
The history of this vibrant coastal spot dates back to over 3,000 years ago when the Phoenicians arrived and named it Malaca. Then came the Romans, the Moors and the Christians.
Though Malaga had brief moments of prosperity, it wasn’t until the 1960s when tourism made the popular Costa del Sol city what it is today.
Yet, beyond rows of international chain stores and restaurants serving everything from pizza to chow mein, Malaga still holds onto fragments of its past – tucked away in different corners of the city.
Museo de la Cofradia de los Estudiantes
This little museum caught my eyes even before the famous Alcazaba.
Translating into Museum Collection of the Guild of Students, it is the home of many relics, with the floats being the most impressive displays of all.
I was in awe of the sheer size of the thrones of the Christ and Virgin Mary, and their opulent silver and gold structures.
They hynoptise even the least religious person with the detailed wood carving, elaborate floral arrangement and embroidery work.
This place was packed with tourists and locals when I visited, probably because it was during the Holy Week (Semana Santa). But make sure you go up to the second floor for a full view of the figures.
Monday to Friday
10.30am – 1.30pm & 5.30pm – 8.30pm
Entrance Fee: Free (donations welcome)
Teatro Romano & La Alcazaba
The Roman Theatre is right opposite the museum. To its right, you’ll find an information centre where you can grab a map of the city and find out about Easter procession paths and their starting times.
Keep going right and a steep path will lead you all the way up to this Moorish landmark.
The walk takes some time between 30-45 minutes at a casual pace. Take your time. Soak in the stunning view over the Mediterranean Sea, the ports, the promenade and the magnificent bullring.
9am – 8pm
9am – 6pm
*Closed on January 1, February 28 and December 25
Entrance Fee: €2.20
Malaga’s city centre is absolutely jam-packed with restaurant and bars, living up to its reputation as a tourist hub.
We sat down at AlCasaBar, not far from the ‘real’ Alcazaba and quietly tucked away on Calle Poza del Rey.
Freshen up with a Pina Colada lassi. Enjoy a variety of crepes cheekily named after Hollywood icons like James Dean and Angelina Jolie. Can’t decide? Just order 5 tapas for €10.
One may say the impressive Seville Cathedral dwarfs all the other cathedrals in Spain. But this Renaissance landmark in Malaga still stands out for me, as an Andalucia first-timer.
The vast size and grandeur of these Spanish religious establishments continue to amaze me. The choir stalls are adorned with 42 carved wooden statues, that are the fine work of sculptor Pedro de Mena.
On each side is an 18th century organ with over 4,000 pipes, decorated with elaborate sculptures that exude majestic elegance through the use of gold and green palettes.
At the end of your visit, admire the exterior of this architectural masterpiece and you’ll see why the ‘La Manquita’ (one-armed), even with an incomplete second tower, can rival other Spanish cathedrals.
Monday to Friday
10am – 6pm
10am – 5pm
*Closed on Sunday and holidays
Entrance Fee: €5
Museo Interactivo de la Música
The nightlife in Malaga is matched only by its taste for art, culture and history.
Classical singers belt out an aria outside the cathedral, whilst bold and creative street art command your imagination.
There are countless museums dotted around the city, ready to invite visitors on a journey to discover the Spanish way of life – from flamenco and wine to contemporary art and religious paintings.
The Picasso museum is the most famous of them all. Centre Pompidou is the newest, having opened its doors since March 2015.
I chose the Interactive Museum of Music. Although this is partly because most of the other museums had already closed up, I absolutely enjoyed the tour and would recommend it anyone with some interest in music – or those who want to try their hands at various different instruments in the ‘red rooms’.
‘The Flamenco Seen by Chinese Eyes’ exhibition was a pleasant surprise. The Museum partnered up with Minzu University of China and the Museum of Flamenco Dance to showcase the beautiful result of a meaningful exchange between the two dynamic cultures.
Just take a look at this astonishing piece of paper cutting artwork that represents Flamenco through the eyes of a Chinese student.
September 7 – June 24
Monday: 10am – 4pm
Tuesday to Sunday: 10am – 7pm
June 25 – September 6
Monday: 10.30am – 4pm
Tuesday to Sunday: 10.30am – 7.30pm
*Closed on January 1 & 6, and December 25
Entrance Fee: €4
After a long beautiful sunset walk along Plaza de la Marina, Paseo del Parque and feeling the tourists buzz at Muelle Uno, we dined at Taberna el Trillo – just off Calle Marqués de Larios where the procession would take place.
Malaga hosts one of the biggest and most spectacular processions during Semana Santa, so make sure you don’t miss it. They go on for all night until early morning, so if you’re driving back in the evening, check for alternative routes as some roads may be blocked.
This charming and energetic tune by Ana Mena gets played on the Spanish radio a lot, and it’s one of those perfect feel good songs for a carefree drive through the scenic routes. Check it out!