This is Malaga - facts, areas and landmarks
‘The Capital of Costa del Sol’ is the expression most used in relation with the Spanish city of Malaga, located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Excellent beaches in the area and great connectivity to many locations across Europe via Malaga Airport are, in fact the most visible features of Malaga.
The tourist interest is, however, growingly drawn to other undeniable attractions of the city, amongst them the rich cultural offer of Malaga.
Find below general information about Malaga.
▪ One of the southernmost large cities of Europe, Malaga has a population of nearly 700,000 permanent residents and is the second largest city of the Spanish autonomous community of Andalusia. See Malaga location map.
▪ Malaga is an ancient city, funded in the 8th century BC. The Phoenician, Roman and Arabic influences evident in Malaga’s old quarters are the reminder of the turbulent history of the city, which was conquered by Christianity only in the late 15th century.
▪ The Phoenicians who founded the city, named it ‘Malaka’, which most likely derived from the word ‘salt’. Malaga has since its beginning been an important sea port, at first mainly a fishing one and the fish was salted there as a method of preservation.
▪ The people of Malaga are called malagueños or, informally, boquerones. Boquerón, meaning anchovy is a local delicacy, much appreciated and eaten whole.
▪ General Franco, the dictator of Spain (1939-1975) had an ambitious plan of turning Malaga into the Florida of Europe. In the 60’s the term ‘Costa del Sol’ was coined by Franco’s Ministry of Tourism in order to boost the tourism potential of the region and the existing airfield of Malaga was considerably expanded and transformed into a modern international airport, which currently served approximately 14 million travellers per year.
Related article: Malaga Airport car rental on Costa del Sol, Spain.
▪ Malaga’s most famous son was the iconic painter, Pablo Picasso. Although he only lived in Malaga for about 10 years, Picasso is well loved by the locals and souvenirs inspired by his art are amongst the merchandise most sold in Malaga. Learn more about the extravagant figure of Pablo Picasso and admire some of his work in Pablo Picasso Museum.
▪ Another souvenir, quite unique to Malaga is a biznaga which consists of jasmine flowers attached to a dried whistle stem. Biznagas are sold by local vendors during the jasmine bloom season (late spring/early summer). Since they normally don’t last long, local artisans recreate them also in ceramics or silver.
A biznaga, an original souvenir from Malaga
▪ Hollywood acclaimed actor Antonio Banderas was born in Malaga. The actor visits Malaga frequently and is known for participating in the local religious celebrations of the Semana Santa (Holly Week) of Easter. A beach front promenade of Malaga is named in honour of Banderas.
▪ Malaga was a candidate for the European Capital of Culture 2016. With a vast choice of museums (featuring classic and modern art, folklore, flamenco, etc.), festivals and a vibrant music scene Malaga is an intriguing destination for culture buffs of all.
Related article: Malaga art galleries – Costa del Sol cultural attractions.
Malaga – main areas and landmarks
The city of Malaga is divided into 10 districts, which are: Centro, Este (East), Ciudad Jardin, Bailen-Miraflores, Palma-Palmilla, Cruz de Humilladero, Carretera de Cadiz, Churriana, Campanillas and Puerto de la Torre. See map of Malaga districts.
As a tourist you will most probably stick to the strict city centre where the old quarters are located and to the waterfront where social life thrives.
Amongst Malaga’s most important sights are:
La Alcazaba – a Moorish fortress from the 9th century is extremely well preserved. Well worth a visit for its majestic fortified walls, Roman excavations and the scenic gardens. La Alcazaba is located in Malaga’s Old Town.
La Catedral – there are many historic churches in Malaga. The city’s cathedral, is however, the most impressive one and a convenient stop right in the heart of the city.
Gibralfaro Castle – located in La Victoria neighbourhood, also in the city centre, Castillo de Gibrlafaro is another famous landmark of Malaga. Towering over the city, as it is built on a hill, this 14th century castle offer beautiful panorama of Malaga. A small military museum is available on site.
Roman Theatre – one of the most valuable examples of Roman heritage of the Andalusia, the theatre was built under the Emperor Augustus in the first century BC and it’s original form is still relatively well preserved. The visitors centre (Centro de Interpretacion) provides guided tours to help you fill in the gaps of the parts of the theatre which did not resist time.
Centre Pompidou Malaga – the only foreign branch of the famous French Pompidou Centre located in Malaga is a must-see for any lovers of contemporary art.