For many people, Malaga seems only to exist as an airport, in the same way that Crewe exists only as a railway station; the place itself seems an irrelevance. Long may it stay that way. Let everyone else get off the plane and pootle off to Marbella, Torremolinos, Benalmadena, and all the rest. I’ll jump on the train and in ten minutes I’m in the city. The word ‘city’ captures what is brilliant about the place, though it’s not a large city by any means. The point is it’s a real, Spanish city. Malaga isn’t a resort in the way that Marbella and the others are; although it has nice beaches with sunbeds and all that stuff. Unlike them, it’s got a Spanish soul.
In January the sea was a bit nippy, but in October it was warm enough to go in with gay abandon. I do gay abandon quite well. The best thing about winter sun is the feeling that you’ve cheated the reality of life back home. Malaga is just about near enough for a stolen weekend in the sunshine, where you can stroll around the sights, munch calamari at a seaside restaurant, quaff fino sherry in a shadowed bodega, have naughty lunchtime beers in a plaza, listen to the waves when you should be listening to the rain. There’s loads of flights to Malaga. You can leave Friday evening and be home Sunday night after a weekend on the lash. God help you on Monday morning.
Malaga has a harbour and a sea front with beaches. It has a Moorish castle posing just above a Roman theatre and it has an enormous renaissance cathedral; it has thousands of years of history. There are great bars; Antigua Casa de Guardia opened in 1840 and the iconic Bodegas El Pimpi looks liked it opened the same year (it didn’t). It is precisely that sense of ‘yesterday’ which gives it its soulful Spanish ‘now’. The finest cities in Spain (and Europe) are like this. They aren’t museums, they are places where the past pulls up a chair, sits alongside the present, shares a jug of sangria, gets pissed and talks shite. The appeal of Malaga for me is that the daytime has all the touristy seaside fun, but the evening is a real night on a proper town.
Malaga has a lot to offer, much more than the modern resorts around it, and there are no transfer costs from the airport to pay. I’m wondering if Alicante is the same kind of place for the same reasons? It’s certainly on my ‘to do list’ in the near future.
Should I go?
I’ve been twice in the last twelve months and loved it. That said, I want to leave it for a while maybe and give Alicante a shot. Then again, finding the bargain flight price is the key factor for me. Two or three nights is long enough. Last time we were there, we caught a bus up to Nerja for four nights after a weekend in Malaga. Don’t stay too far back from the town centre. Last time we got a flat right in the middle, the time before a beach front hotel which was a nice walk into town. You’d like to be able to stagger home. It’s a good place to take kids if the weather is OK for the beach. If the price seems affordable, the weather forecast clement, then Malaga is a sweet treat for a weekend.
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