The city of Malaga is the capital of the Costa del Sol, but is in many respects a world apart from the thriving tourist resorts on the rest of the coast. Malaga has few foreign residents, although this may change in the near future as the centre of the city is now proving popular with foreign buyers looking for an authentic Spanish environment with services and amenities on their doorstep. The Guadalhorce Valley, north of the city is already a popular destination for foreign buyers, mainly residents, attracted to the area’s impressive natural beauty and relative tranquillity. This part of the Costa del Sol remains very Spanish and there isn’t a large expatriate environment.
Malaga is Spain’s fifth largest city and the capital of the Costa del Sol as well as a major Mediterranean port. It’s one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Spain and for centuries has been a popular destination for foreigners, as the names of many of the city’s districts and streets testify.
During the 19th century, Malaga was a thriving winter resort for wealthy Europeans.
The city has a rich and colourful history, yet remains largely untouched by mass tourism and is a genuine Andalusia city. Its Phoenician and Roman ancestors left their mark all over the centre: the Roman amphitheatre has just been restored to its former glory and Malaga’s Moorish past can be clearly seen in the Alcazaba fortress and Gibralfaro castle. Pablo Picasso was born here and in 2003 a magnificent museum housing a selection of his works was opened. In conjunction with the new museum, the old quarters of the city are currently being restored and many parts pedestrianised.
At Long last, Malaga is making a concerted effort to appeal to the millions of tourists visiting the area. New buildings include the emblematic conference and Exhibition Palace and the Palace of Justice which is currently under construction in Teatinos.
The traveller can start walking round its Eleventh Century Muslim Alcazaba, which contains within its walls, walled enclosures, towers courtyards, reservoirs and passages. At walking distance, in restoration, “El Teatro Romano” which gives us an idea of the importance Malaga had during the Roman domination, and not very far away from the romantic “Plaza de la Merced”, where Picasso was born in October 1881.
The visitor will enjoy its gardens (Malaga has five botanic gardens, one of which is “El de la Concepción”, considered to be the second in Europe).
Special mention must be given to “La Catedral de Málaga” Malaga Cathedral, from the Sixteenth Century, one of the most important Renaissance temples in Spain. The interior of this Cathedral, of high and wide aisles, amazes due to its notable chapels, the choir stalls, paintings by Alonso Cano, Morales, Claudio Coello, Niño de Guevara and sculptural groups of Salvador Gutierrez Leon, from Malaga from the Nineteenth Century and situated in the retro choir. Adjacent to the Cathedral, the Parish Church of “El Sagrario”, with splendid, gothic- Isabelline façade.
Opposite the magnificent, principal façade of the Cathedral, is the “Palacio Episcopal”. Gibralfaro, the Arabic fort, offers marvellous views over the city and sea. “Interesante Centro de Interpretación” in the interior, overlloking the city of Malaga.
One has to take a walk without haste around Málaga, cross “El Pasaje de Chinitas”, gardens and squares. Magnificent collection of Málaga paintings from the Nineteenth and Twentieh Centuries are exhibited in the building of “La Aduana”; Baroque “El Camarín de la Virgen de la Victoria”, in its Sanctuary; the Church of Los Martires, rococo and the Mudejar Church of Santiago. Just the same, walk across the maritime promenades and “La Caleta”, breathing the sea air.
Any time of the year is good for a visit, due to the goodness of the climate. Holy Week, so profoundly experienced, so particular and blessed; “Las Fiestas de Agosto”; “La Fiesta de Verdiales” (28th December)… make up part of the attraction of Málaga.
Lastly, and after visiting the city, one has to talk about its gastronomy. The “pescaito frito” (fried fish), is, doubtless to say, one of its main dishes. One cannot pass through Malaga without tasting its genuine fresh anchovies “vitorianos” (boquerones “vitorianos”), exclusive to the Malaga coastline, and which forms part of the variety of fried fish together with the horse mackerel, octopus and squid, although the combinations are diverse.
Local Holidays. 16th August when Malaga celebrates the union of the city with Castile in 1487 and 8th September for the Virgen de la Victoria.
Distance from Malaga Airport: 8km
City Hall: 952-135-000
Local Police Main station: 952-126-500
Malaga has excellent facilities and amenities as you’d expect in the city of its size and offers the best on the coast. There are numerous hospitals and health centres. There’s a vibrant cultural scene including international theatre, jazz and cinema festivals, and Malaga philharmonic orchestra is one of the most prestigious in Spain and offers a season of concerts from October to June.
Sports facilities are excellent: the Matín Carpena stadium in the west is home to the city’s top basketball team, the Rosaleda football stadium is currently being upgraded and work has started on the athletics stadium in preparation for the European Athletics Championships in 2007.
Shopping is very good, both in the centre around the pedestrian C/ Larios and in the many centres around the periphery. Prices for many items in Malaga are cheaper than on the coast, particularly if you go to large stores or hypermarkets.
Malaga has an extensive network of bus services run by EMT which connect most parts of the city with the centre. There are some 40 routes running from around 6.30am to midnight, seven days a week, although there are fewer services on Sundays and public holidays. The bus service is currently undergoing extensive modernisation, including the fitting of all buses with GPS navigation systems.
For further information about buses in Malaga call 902-527-200.
Malaga main line train station has services to Cordoba, Granada, Madrid and Seville. The station has a waiting room, café and bar, and several small shops. In the near future the station will be rebuilt in preparation for the new high-speed train line due to be completed by 2007. the current station will become a shopping centre. The current underground station for local trains will be part of the new Malaga underground system.
The underground train service is one of Malaga’s most exciting new projects and contracts are currently being awarded for its construction. The metro will initially have two lines: Line 1 will run from Teatinos to the Malagueta every 6 minutes and Line 2 will run from the Martín Carpena stadium to the Malagueta every 6 minutes. There will be a total of 21 stations, 16 of which will be underground. Work is expected to be finished by 2007. Further information is available from the Malaga website
Traffic congestion is chronic particularly at peak twins. Although the new Red Rapida system in the centre has helped to relieve the situation slightly. Parking is difficult, although there are now numerous underground car parks in the city.
Property in Malaga is generally cheaper than in many other places on the Costa del Sol, although some parts of the city have very high prices and prices have risen dramatically everywhere in recent months. Nevertheless, Malaga is now the most expensive city in Andalusia and prices in various parts are detailed below.
The once decaying centre of Malaga is now under extensive restoration and there are numerous regional and local government grant available. As a result the area is growing in popularity and prices are rising, although they’re still lower than in other parts of the city. If your buy a property that needs restoration, bear in mind that there are strict regulations regarding the restoration process and it can be costly.
There are some of Malaga’s most expensive and desirable properties it’s less built-up and there are numerous green areas.
One of the Malaga fastest growing areas is Teatinos , situated near the university.
Is a fast expanding area including the area known as the Nuevo Paseo Marítimo where many luxury apartment blocks are under construction.