It was in the 1950s that the Costa del Sol came to be seen as chic. When glittering celebrities like Frank Sinatra and Brigitte Bardot began to take their holidays on Spain’s southern coast, ordinary Europeans decided that they too were entitled to a summer dose of sun, sea and sand. And they’ve been coming ever since. Don’t be put off by the waves of international tourists that crash into Malaga each year. They’re coming for a reason.
Modern Malaga has blossomed into an enticing destination. Many British and German tourists have found the mix of tourist attractions and Andalucian culture so seductive, their holidays never ended – they moved to the city permanently. The attraction of Malaga is not just the city itself but the surrounding area. Hire a car in Malaga with easyCar to fully explore the wild Spanish countryside and the picture perfect Costa Del Sol.
An Explosion of Colour at The Malaga Fair
Every August, Malaga hosts one of Europe’s biggest summer fairs – two million people descend on the city as the streets explode into colour and buildings are drenched in light. In Malaga, Spanish ladies – young and old – spontaneously perform flamenco and men in white shirts ride Andalusian horses through the crowds. A fireworks display kicks off the festivities, followed by a parade and a fairground. There is a fierce rivalry between Malaga and nearby city, Seville – which also throws a summer festival. Each year, the cities’ fairs try to out-perform each other by becoming more and more spectacular.
Take a day trip to Africa
To really understand Malaga’s cultural heritage – Spain and Morocco’s history is intertwined – take a day trip to Tangiers. Africa is just 14 miles away from Spain’s southern tip and tours run between the two cities. Either join a tour company, or drive yourself to Algeciras before taking the one hour ferry to Tangier. Lose yourself in Tangier’s souks and Moroccan bazaars or take a look at the Kasbah; the ancient fortifications encircling the city. Have some tea at Fils de Detroit, a small cafe where Arab-Andalusian musicians play lutes and drums.
Escape the crowds at Bermejales lake
Under two hours drive from Malaga, find the Bermejales lake; a man made reservoir where Spaniards come to escape the hectic Costa del Sol seaside. Here, the scenery is breath-taking – the water is deep turquoise, dense with fish and warm, like bath water. There is a beach area next to the lake’s campsite. Energetic visitors can canoe or sail and children can hire pedalos with slides attached. Far removed from the tourist circuit, the lake also offers a rare respite from the crowds – many simply choose to relax in the peace and utter stillness the lake has to offer.
Become Indiana Jones at the Los Cahorros gorge
Steep limestone cliffs form the Los Cahorros Gorge, situated within the stunning Sierra Nevada National Park. To get there, drive from Malaga to the tiny village of Monachil. Perfect for climbers, paths weave in and out of the stone; the route which traces the Monachil river is exceptionally beautiful and family friendly. Visitors will stumble across waterfalls and rock pools. Here, there’s plenty of opportunity for adventure – crawl through tunnels and walk across the famous hanging bridges. For winter visitors, there is Europe’s most southerly ski station Pradollano.
Explore Moorish Malaga
In the 8th Century, the Iberian Peninsula was conquered by Muslims from North Africa. Known then as the “moors”, they had a distinct style of architecture and they left their mark scattered over Spain and Portugal.
The Alcazaba is Malaga’s most impressive Moorish landmark. A fortress on a hill; it looms over the city. Facing towards Africa, it was originally built to protect the city from pirates. Today, it remains in impressive condition – hundreds of its towers remain as do three of its palaces. Inside Alcazaba, find a web of corridors, patios and gardens and a steep walled passageway which links it to the Castillo de Gibralfaro.
Built in the fourteenth century, Gibralfaro exists to protect the Alcazaba. At night it is illuminated and shines out over Malaga, earning its name which means “lighthouse mountain”.
You can see all of these sites and more when you rent a car in Malaga with easyCar.