The city of Malaga has really started to shine in recent years. A few decades ago, almost all tourists would fly into Malaga Airport and whizz along to the famous beach resorts along the coast without thinking one bit about visiting the provincial capital.
But tides are changing, and over the last 20 years, more and more visitors are taking the time to see what Malaga has to offer. And many find themselves pleasantly surprised!
The local tourist board, along with Malaga’s City Council, have gradually realised the potential that this wonderful ancient city has to offer. Millions of euros have been spent on restoring ancient monuments, such as the Roman Theatre and the Alcazaba. And a new classy cruise port welcomes fancy yachts along with some of the largest cruise ships in the world.
The heart of the old town of Malaga has been polished up splendidly and old dilapidated buildings have been restored to former glory. Trendy restaurants and wine bars are scattered throughout, offering delightful local tapas and fresh fish dishes, along with some tasty up and coming wines from local vineyards.
All of this adds up to make Malaga a superb place for a weekend visit where you can be pretty much guaranteed some warmer weather than back home, some great tapa trails and plenty to see, do, eat and drink. There are also some very nice small boutique hotels and hostels right in the middle of it all.
Getting into the city from Malaga Airport is relatively easy. Car rental probably isn’t the best option for a quick city break, as you will have to pay to park your car. A taxi or a pre-bookable private transfer can take you straight to your accommodation and is relatively cheap, especially if your a couple or family. Buses and trains also go directly from the airport.
To tempt you and get those juices going, here is a quick look at what could be considered the top 3 tapa bars in town, although there are so many places, old and new, offering tasty local tapas that will make you want to eat your way through the town!
El Pimpi – Calle Granada, 62
El Pimpi is by far the best-known gastro bar in Malaga. It opened its doors in 1971 and has since become an institution. The interior is a network of characterful rooms and hallways with great wood barrels signed by some of the famous visitors including the Picasso Family,
Carmen Thyssen, La Repompa, The Duchess of Alba and Antonio Banderas, who incidentally owns a penthouse around the corner from here.
A massive variety of tapas are available all day on the pleasant patios outside and the rooftop terrace is a spectacular place to enjoy on a warm summer evening. But be warned, it does get very busy in the evenings so if you like a more peaceful setting, late afternoon is probably best.
El Tapeo de Cervantes – Calle Carcer, 8
El Tapeo de Cervantes, in contrast to El Pimpi, is a more cosy and intimate seeing, with beautiful decor. The tapas are made with local market produce and guarantee a delightful gastronomic experience. It’s a family run business and you immediately get that friendly feel from the staff. They have an extensive menu of great tapas but as a house speciality try the tasty red peppers stuffed with cod in a tomato based sauce which can be sampled as a tapa or main meal. Or you might try the delicious pork cheeks with white beans.
La Luz de Candela – Calle dos Aceras, 18-20
Charles and Matthew work up a treat of tapas at the Luz de Candela. The relaxed atmosphere and excellent tapas are backed up with some of the best service and a real passion for the high-quality ingredients used in their dishes. You’ll find a great range of daily specials, and the best of local and national produce including an excellent Jamón Iberico (Local Iberian Cured Ham). A superb range of wines including up and coming trendy wines from the Ronda area can be ordered by the glass along with your tapa.