This year I spent Christmas, or should I say ‘Feliz Navidad’ with my family in Southern Spain. Celebrating the festive season in the sunshine, what more could I ask for! We were based in El Higueron, a resort near Fuengirola and Benalmadena which I have visited previously. I wanted to explore the Costa del Sol whilst I was there, so I could share it with you all. We had a rental car but on boxing day (which isn’t actually celebrated in Spain) I suggested we head to Malaga on the train. It is so easy, as there was a local train stop just down from our hotel called Carvajal. After buying the tickets on the platform we were set. A return ticket cost 5.40 Euros and it takes around 35/40 minutes to arrive in Malaga with a short walk to the city centre.
Malaga is a port city and the largest on Spain’s Costa del Sol, it is one of the oldest cities in the world with origins dating back to 770 BC. It is most famously known as the birthplace of Pablo Picasso.
Arriving in Malaga late morning, I was thrilled to see all the full scale Christmas decorations and lights dotted along the streets for all to see, I couldn’t wait for night to fall to see it in all it’s glory!! Everyone wanted to see and do different things whilst here, so after a little retail therapy (a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do) to which Malaga doesn’t disappoint. I set off to see the Museo Picasso Malaga Museum. I have been wanting to visit for awhile and after a short queue I bought my ticket, 7 Euros to see Pablo Picasso ‘The Collection’ or 10 Euros to see Picasso and the Women Artists & Surrealism exhibit. I was first wowed by the museum as from the outside it resembled an old palatial home, like something out of Shakespeare and from within it was similar to a Riad, a Moroccan home due to its central focal point. This museum is located in the Buenavista Palace, which itself is a Renaissance building in the centre of Malaga, it isn’t hard to find as there is good signage to follow. It was opened in 2003 and all the works of Picasso, 233 of them were donated by his family. The museum was in fact created through Picasso’s daughter in law and grandson, Christine and Bernard Ruiz-Picasso as they donated the majority of the “core collection”. It seems so fitting that this museum is in Malaga as Pablo Picasso was born here on the 25th of October 1881 and spent the first ten years of his childhood here.
As of March 2017 the rooms that house Picasso’s collection have been refreshed and now offer a better visitor experience. When you enter the museum you can pick up an audio tour and choose your chosen language, I would recommend this highly as it is very informative and you will learn a lot more about Picasso and his art. There are 10 galleries to see and explore, numbered 2 to 11. All the pieces of art share a clear theme, Picasso and his life; the origins, his family, daily life, not forgetting his creation of Cubism and his take on portraits and landscapes. You can take pictures of the building and inside, however in the galleries you are only allowed to take photographs of the information not the pieces of art. I have been a lover of Pablo Picasso since school, I took art to A Level and my style was always more expressive like his rather than a more traditional artists. As I liked the bold strength and passion in art that gleams through his work, he expressed himself for all to see and used lots of colour. To me Picasso was never afraid to be himself, I think this is why I was drawn to him. If you are in Malaga, whether it be for a day or a holiday take a visit to the Museo Picasso Malaga it a real treat for all… There is also a cafe and gift shop within to pick up a few souvenirs (I can’t resist). The museum is open everyday 10am till 6pm.
After the museum I met back up with my family and took in some more of the Malaga sites, including the Malaga Cathedral famously nicknamed “La Manquita”, the one armed woman due to an unfinished tower, which I think is quite funny and the beautiful orange trees that surround it at the front. The Roman theatre, “Teatro Romano” to which I just stumbled upon was breath taking. This ancient roman theatre is situated in “cultural heart” of Malaga right beside the Alcazaba fortress and it is one of the only ancient ruins left in Malaga. The origins of this theatre date back to the 1st century BC and Emperor Augustus, it was well used as a theatre then as a quarry. In 2003 it was reopened to the public after years of reconstruction with a star studded ceremony! Make sure you go and view this site, it’s amazing. There is also plenty street art in the city to spot, from statues to pieces of art and murals on walls.
Whilst in Malaga I wanted to find a place called Dulce Dreams as I was told it was a great place to stay and it has a lovely artisan cafe underneath. After a short walk and the help of the ever faithful google maps, I found it and we rewarded ourselves with glasses of Sangria, coffee and delicious sandwiches. Dulce Dreams is a boutique hostel and cafe and after a short visit, I will definitely be booking here for my return to Malaga later in the year!
As we wandered around this great city, I looked up and saw a rooftop that looked like it would give you the best view of Malaga. It was the AC Hotel by Marriott Malaga Palacio and after asking if we could go up for a drink, we were happily guided inside! A short lift ride to the top, I entered the rooftop terrace in amazement. The roof itself had a pool and bar area with plenty seating all around, then the views… oh the views!! I walked around the whole roof taking videos and photos in awe of the beauty of Malaga below, one side the port and a great sunset and the other Malaga Cathedral in all it’s splendour. After enjoying some cocktails or sundowners as I like to call them, we went in search of some dinner. I would add this hotel to my list of where to stay too, perfect location and first class views.
Fish Fry was what I was after, due to reading one too many travel guides on Malaga I wanted to try this for my dinner. After walking back into the centre, we chose to eat at El Pimpi. However we ordered too much food as always, but it was delicious!! Stuffed and full to the brim of Sangria we ventured to watch some christmas festivities. Malaga certainly knows how to celebrate, with carol singers dotted around the streets, music on the stage in the Constitution Square and the mouth dropping curtain of lights up the main shopping street. I was in my element!! England take note, this is Christmas, Feliz Navidad style.
After a great day and night in Malaga, I was left wanting more. I am definitely returning at some point this year for a few days, as I feel I have merely scratched the surface of what this Spanish city has to offer. If you are thinking of taking a trip to Malaga, don’t delay! Its magical.
We went to get the last train back to El Higueron and once onboard were told there had been a death on the line so the trains were obviously off, after being told we needed to find the bus station to get back it took us over 30 mins to find it, I couldn’t use google maps as my phone was out of battery!! We managed to get an express bus going down to Algeciras, stopping at Fuengirola and a taxi back to our hotel! What an unexpected adventure…