Having snapped up cheap flights to Malaga, millions of tourists will see only the airport as they make their way to the sun spots along the Costa del Sol, such as Torremolinos, Benalmadena, Fuengirola, Marbella or Seville, but Malaga is one of Spain’s under-discovered cities, bustling and cultural with a lively student population, and a passion for a parade.
The traces of several civilisations can be found here. High on a hill in the centre of the city sits the Alcazaba, a Moorish fortification dating from the 8th century. Beside it is a Roman amphitheatre and above it the Castillo de Gibralfaro, built in the 14th and 15th centuries on the site of a Phoenician lighthouse. The views of the city from here are stunning. The cathedral, known as La Manquita (One Armed Woman), dates back to the 16th century, built on the site of a mosque, and there are several other pretty churches in the city.
To underline their religious faith, Holy Week (Semana Santa) and, later, Corpus Christi, are marked with solemn and extravagant processions.
Pablo Picasso is Malaga’s most famous son and there are two buildings associated with him. His birthplace Plaza de la Merced 15 is the Foundation Picasso and the Picasso museum.
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Malaga is characterised by balmy winters and hot, dry summers tempered by sea breezes. The average temperature in August is 28 degrees (Celsius). The coolest months are January and February with temperatures in the teens. Most of the rain falls between November and March, and the rest of the year is very dry.
June to October is peak season, and all Malaga flights and hotels must be reserved in advance.
The first week in August, Malaga celebrates its reconquest by Ferdinand and Isabella with a big fair, complete with parades and bullfights.
National Day is 12 October when the Spanish are also on holiday.
Malaga was once a popular winter resort for the rich and famous, and is still a pleasure to visit in winter.
Many restaurants close while their owners go on holiday around 15 October.