Editor's note: This is a guest contribution from Millie Spencer, a model and blogger currently based in Spain. Images used are by Elliot Brown, Fran Villena and Mark Koester under the Creative Commons licenses.
Malaga is a city often overlooked by those visiting Spain, mainly because Malaga flights tend to be cheap within Europe and tourists tend to fly here merely as a stop off on their way to the Costa del Sol. Malaga is a beautiful city offering plenty of culture and history, here are five places worth a visit:
The people of Malaga are understandably proud that Pablo Picasso was born in their city and the Museo Picasso, opened in 2003, is dedicated to him and situated in the heart of the city. A two minute walk from Malaga Cathedral, the museum is housed in a restored Renaissance building with the dramatic backdrop of Gibralfaro Castle and Alcazaba Castle nearby. Museo Picasso is an unmissable attraction where you get a great insight into how Picasso developed as an artist. There are 12 halls of permanent exhibition gallery, not limited to just his works in the Cubist style, this large collection of his work includes his early academic studies, his re-workings of old masters, sketches and ceramics.
The Alcazaba is the best preserved fortress-palace in Spain. Home to a number of Moorish rulers over the centuries, each left their mark on the Alcazabra’s architecture. Starting your visit at the Puerta de la Bóveda, you follow the walls through a succession of Moorish gates. At the Puerta de la Columnas (Gate of the Columns) you can see where Roman columns were repurposed by the Moors to reinforce it. You can then admire the beautiful patio gardens and fountains en-route to the palaces. Many visitors continue on to walk up the hill to Gibralfaro Castle - remember to bring water as it is a long hot walk in the sunshine!
For spectacular views of the city, a visit to this 10thcentury castle is essential. Situated a hillside walk away from the Alcazaba, you can take a scenic stroll along the ramparts which have been well restored and inside the fortress itself you will find some buildings and courtyards. Some visitors like to pause on the ramparts for a free view, albeit from a distance, of bullfights in the La Malagueta bullring.
The Manquita - Malaga’s cathedral
Locals call the cathedral La Manquita, meaning ‘one armed woman’ because the south tower was never completed. Legend has it that lack of funds, due to monies being donated to colonists during the American War of Independence, meant that they couldn’t afford to build the planned second tower. The interior is Renaissance and baroque in style and most notable are the 40 finely carved statues of the saints by Pedro de Mena.
La Concepción Botanic Garden
If you are looking for a calm and relaxing space to take a break from the bustle of the city, La Concepción Botanic Garden is the perfect place to visit. It is rated as one of the best botanic gardens in Europe combining formal gardens with a lush forest. You can wander around at your own pace or take a guided tour to hear the history of the gardens.