Sun, Sea and Sangria in Málaga

My cousin turned 21 on the 27th June, so my family and I travelled to Málaga to celebrate in style with her. I was thrilled to spend 12 days in the glorious sunshine with my loved ones and explore a new city. I’ve been to Spain a bunch of times in the past and stayed close to Málaga in Benalmádena. It was my first time in Málaga so I was keen to tick things off my list. With help from the Guide to Málaga website, I wanted to see and/or do the following:

  • Chocolate churros at Casa Aranda
  • Visit the Cathedral la Manquita
  • Visit the Mercado Central
  • See the Alcazaba
  • Take advantage of a free walking tour
  • Visit the La Termica Cultural Centre and Market
  • Attend the Flamenco Festival
  • Visit the Picasso Museum
  • Go to the Sunday market at Muelle Uno
  • Do the walk at Caminito Del Rey
  • See the cities murals
  • Do a bike tour
  • Attend the San Juan party on Malagueta Beach

As you can see, I managed to tick a few things off. I was really disappointed that I didn’t get to Caminito Del Rey. The pictures I’ve seen of this place look unreal. Unfortunately tickets are like gold dust and I couldn’t get hold of any for the whole duration of my trip. The cathedral was beautiful and we touched upon its history on a bike tour. The Mercado Central showcased all the local seafood with an option to taste the freshest fish. I passed the Alcazaba daily. I saw the Flamenco Festival from a restaurant’s patio. I bought a beautiful ring from the Sunday market on Muelle Uno. I viewed the murals on a bike. I celebrated San Juan on the beach and washed away my sins at midnight.

On top of all that, I also took a trip to Ronda, I went on a private boat trip and I laughed till my abs hurt on an inflatable hot dog. I also drank copious amounts of Tinto de Verano, beer and Fanta Lemon. I fell in love with tomatoes, although I still don’t agree with them in burgers. Spanish tomatoes are just something else. I devoured a lot of tasty tapas. I did a bike tour and racked up miles on an electric scooter. Can I go back now please?

Málaga really surprised me and I would go back tomorrow. The architecture constantly blew me away. Every time I turned a corner or walked down a new street, I was surrounded by more and more beautiful buildings. I ate a lot of good food and drank pints and pints of beer; I think my clothes shrunk over the 12 days. The sun made an appearance every single day, with highs of 30°C.  The beach was close and the city surrounded us in our fancy Airbnb apartment.

We were the third group to stay in this newly renovated apartment (photos taken from the Airbnb profile). It was beautifully decorated, extremely spacious and surrounded by a bunch of restaurants, cafes and shops. It was a three bedroom, second floor apartment with a communal rooftop terrace and swimming pool. It had a small kitchen and open plan living and dining room. With temperatures reaching 30°C, air conditioning was a blessing. It became our second home during our stay. We ate breakfast together in the mornings, we spent a few afternoons by the pool and we may have even watched a few documentaries on Netflix. You got to have some downtime on a holiday, am I right? This place was great, so thank you Auntie Sally for finding it and thanks to our Superhost who went above and beyond to make us feel at home in his stunning apartment. 

Our Airbnb Superhost, Fernando, also owned a boat. On arrival at the Airbnb he sent us an extensive list of recommendations, including his own private boat trips for up to 10 people. We got booked in and met the boat, Fernando and his brother on Muelle Uno. Whilst gawking at the million dollar yacht which had docked unexpectedly in Málaga due to technical issues, we set sail towards the open sea. We had the best time jumping, diving and playing in the water. We ate cheese and Spanish meats and sipped on wine and Tinto De Verano. I wish we could have stayed on it all day, the time flew by and before we knew it we were heading back to the harbour. Once again, Fernando did a great job and I’d highly recommend this trip to anyone visiting Málaga. Take a look for yourself here.

Whilst on the topic of boats, a group of us spent a couple of hours doing water sports. It involved been towed by an erratic speed boat whilst holding on for dear life on an inflatable hot dog and the airstream (an inflatable circle). I was beyond terrified. As a child I grew up being pulled around on the back of a speedboat by my Dad. He wasn’t going to bring harm to his child. This was a stranger who tried his hardest to get us in the water. He won and we all flew off at speed. It didn’t even cross my mind how difficult it would be to get back on the damn thing. I have no upper strength so you can imagine how hilarious it was trying to pull myself up. After what seemed like forever, we swapped the hot dog for the airstream. On the airstream you basically lay on your front and hold on tight. I held on so tight I got friction burn on my elbow. I was determined to stay above sea level and I did. Hallelujah. It was fun to some degree, I didn’t realise I was such a scaredy cat. I think I’d rather do a bungee jump next time.  

After taking a bike tour with Vancouver Bike Tours last year, I was very keen to check out the local tour company in Málaga. In hindsight, I should have booked this for one of the first days of the holiday, as our tour guide Alex from Bike Tours Málaga had so many tips and recommendations. Nevertheless the tour was fun, interesting and good value for money. He guided us through the city of Málaga on cruiser style bicycles, stopping frequently at points of interests and dishing out fascinating facts about the city. From the city we followed the bike path along the coast up to Pedregalejo Playa. Here we had a quick stop to hydrate and eat. I’m not sure beer is hydrating but that was the drink of choice. The tour lasted for about 3 hours, it cost 24 euros and I learnt a bunch of Málaga trivia: 

  • The Roman Theatre was only discovered 70 years ago when they were going to build a library
  • Málaga is home to over 3000 green parrots aka Monk parakeets which are threatening the local birds
  • The murals and graffiti started as an act against tourism
  • The controversial bull fighting only happens 2 weeks a year so they are turning the bullring into a multi-purpose event space
  • The sunshine graces Málaga 320 days a year, I think I’d weirdly miss the rain
  • All museums are free on Sundays
  • The Málaga Cathedral took 200 years to build and they ran out of money, so the second tower was left unfinished. It has been nicknamed “La Manquita”, meaning in English, “The One-Armed Lady”
  • Orange trees were planted outside the churches for smelly pilgrims to use to freshen up

Along with bicycle rentals, electric scooters are widely available across the city of Málaga. My electric scooter of choice was Lime. Once you download the app and set up an account, you are GTG aka good to go. I used them a handful of times to get from A to B in a matter of minutes. You use the app to locate and unlock them. Once parked in the correct zone, you are billed for the time used. They are such a fun way to get around, yet maybe a little dangerous. No helmets to use and you can pretty much weave in and out of crowds and traffic. I’m sure the locals hate them but they are extremely fun to use, especially in tandem with five other people. I wouldn’t advise using one scooter for two people though, this was sketch-ay and I feared for my life.

I haven’t really touched upon the food I tasted. This will come later, so be prepared for the ultimate salivating guide to eating in Málaga. And of course all the details from my day trip to Ronda. Hasta pronto.

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