Locals in Malaga have decided that it is beach season and along La Malagota beach, dozens of people have gathered to ward off the winter sun.
No one dares to go to sea, but the sun has risen and the temperature in southern Spain is in the teens.
Malaga is one of the cheapest permanent destinations in Europe, with several airlines competing with regional airports.
And staying at the new Easy Hotel Malaga City Center is also a bargain – bright, comfortable rooms with comfortable beds start at just £ 35 a night.
Malaga has a lot in it, albeit cheaply.
The city is often seen as the gateway to the Costa del Sol, but it is a resounding destination in its own right, with its magnificent art.
There is a Pompidou Center, like in Paris, and a Russian Museum, like in St. Petersburg. But the starting point should be Museo Picasso.
Pablo Picasso lived in Malaga until he was ten years old. Even if you are not particularly attracted to her paintings, her life is fascinating.
As you walk through the museum, you’ll see the way he easily changed his style, becoming one of the most famous artists on earth.
The museum is close to three other major attractions in Malaga – the Roman Theater, the Cathedral and the Alcazaba, an 11th-century castle.
The Roman theater at the foot of Mount Gibralfaro was rediscovered in 1951 after being buried for centuries.
The cathedral is a little more intimate and offers a series of quaint chapels as well as magnificent stone work. Some are safe and secure, while others are shamelessly bullying. But the special thing is that the carvings on the wooden stalls are well carved.
When it comes to Al-Qazaba, part of the fun is getting there. Access is via an elevator that rises from the middle of the ancient hill. Obviously, the elevator is not real, because the castle is about 1,000 years old.
Alcazaba is a pleasant labyrinth of places that lead to courtyard gardens lined with orange trees. When you have historical attractions, Malaga is a wonderful city to explore.
Starting from La Malaguita, walk through the beach volleyball courts to the old lighthouse, which sits in the heart of a serious harbor area.
Here you will find wonderful bars, restaurants and shops.
Walking along the harbor is Paseo del Parque, a beautiful park with a magnificent collection of palm trees. One from Madagascar, another from India, another from Paraguay, another from the Bahamas. And it goes on.
The best way to get to know the city, though, is to explore the surrounding streets.
With hundreds of tapas bars and restaurants, it feels like a purpose-built walk – some specialize in local wines, some in Spanish craft beer and others in seafood.
If you’ve been traveling abroad since the onset of the epidemic, before the summer rush, Malaga is a wonderful place to break this international travel duck.
Attractions are not crowded and the weather is perfect for curious snooping.
That this is a cheap break is just icing on the cake.
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