Tag Archives: Malaga

What to do in Malaga and what to see in Malage.

A Day Trip to Alora from Malaga

When I visited Malaga for the second time, I decided to take the train to the typical white-washed Andalucian village of Alora, which lies around 40 kms north east of the city of Malaga.

Alora is at the northern end of the line C2 of the Cercanias network, of which line C2 runs from Malaga Centro-Alameda to Fuengirola via Malaga Airport. Trains run in both directions between Malaga and Alaro once an hour.

There didn’t appear to be an option to purchase a return ticket at the ticket machine. It cost 3.6 Euro each way.

The most attractive station on the journey to Alora was Aljaima.

The scenery became prettier as the train headed toward Alora.

There were lots of citrus and olive trees, with mountain scenery in the background.

The train was quiet and very clean.

On arrival in Alora, I decided to take the local bus the village centre, to avoid the 3km uphill walk in the midday heat. The ticket price of 1.55 Euro seemed disproportionately expensive, have paid 3.6 Euro to travel 40 kms on the train. It was unclear where the bus stop back to the station was located. I would’ve been happy to walk downhill but not on the road on which the bus had come, as it was some sharps bends and no pavement.

A few hundred metres uphill from the bus stop was small park with a play area and views over the roof tops.

The Alora maps painted on tiles were attractive and useful.

I walked a bit further uphill and was rewarded with great views.

Unfortunately, there were some pavement renovations on the walk to the main square. You can see the start of the works behind the fountain.

The noise from these works made sitting outdoors unappealing. Plus the tables were all the sun, and I thought that I’d already had more than enough exposure to the sun that day.

I went inside a cafe to have a light lunch and a coffee. I had no luck on the food front. I asked for a Tortilla, but that was only available on Fridays. Then I asked for a Hamburger, that was also unavailable. The only food on offer appeared to be a ham sandwich. I then recalled that I had seen a cafe at Alora station, so I decided to arrive at the station at least 45 minutes before my train was due to eat there.

Google Maps came in very handy as it showed me a faster pedestrian route back down to Alora railway station.

As I headed down hill, I was curious about the building pictured below. Upon returning to our apartment, I discovered that it is the Tomas Garcia Municipal Library.

I had some views of Alora Castle.

The cafe at Alora station was decorated with pretty tiles. I requested a menu. You’d think that was an insult, as I received a very strange look upon this request.

I spotted some prawns in the cold counter, and asked for three. They were served with some salad and a slice of bread.

I enjoyed my day trip from Malaga to Alora. But I was quite tired on arrival back at in Malaga, which made me think that it might have been a good idea to book at taxi in Malaga to return to my hotel.

A Tapa Weekend in Malaga

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.

Several interesting museums are scattered throughout the city including the Picasso museum and the Carmen Thyssen museum.

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 PimpiCalle 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 CervantesCalle 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 CandelaCalle 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.

Carmen Thyssen Museum Malaga Spain

In the Spanish city of Malaga, most museums are free to enter on Sunday in the late afternoon/evening. I was torn between the Picasso Museum and the Carmen Thyssen. Both museums were free from 5pm, the Picasso closed at 7pm and the Carmen Thyssen at 8pm. I’d been warned that I might have to queue for more than 30 minutes to get into either museum. As I didn’t want to stand in queues for more than one hour, I decided to stick to one, the Carmen Thyssen, in order to see the work of a variety of Spanish artists.

I had to queue for 40 minutes to get into the Carmen Thyssen. It appeared that the staff were only permitting a few visitors to enter every few minutes.

Below are some of my favourites pieces from the permanent collection at the Carmen Thyssen.

Carmen en Malaga by Mercedes Lasarte

Landscape at Hernrn by Dario do Regoyos

Avila by Aureliano de Beruete y Moret

Seascape: View of the Bay of Palma de Mallorca by Antonio Munoz Degrain

Rocks at Javea and the White Boat by Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida

Flamenco Dance by Ricard Canals i Llambi

Valencians by Julia Vila y Prades

Cattle Fair at Salamanca by Franscisco Iturrino

Composition Nude by Celso Lagar

The Baths at Seville by Francesco Iturrino

I could see similarities between some of the pieces at the Carmen Thyssen and paintings by the Scottish Colourist John Fergusson, one of which you can see below.

At My Studio Window at the Fergusson Gallery in Perth, Scotland

Landscape at Dusk with Denatzaris by Valentin de Zubiaurre

I had read that the Carment Thyssen had a roof terrace, so went out there to have a seat and a break.

Even if you are not into art, it’s worth visiting the Carmen Thyssen on a Sunday evening to sit on the terrace, between the flowers and under the huge bell tower.

The Port of Malaga by Manuel Barron y Carillo

Atrium of St Paula Convent by Manyuel Garcia Rodriguez

The Cordoba Fair by Julio Romero de Torres

Courting Spanish Style by Jose Garcia Ramos

Dance for the Priest by Juan Garcia Ramos

I happily spent two hours at the Carmen Thyssen and left feeling vindicated in the choice to focus on one free museum.

Review of Kaleido Restaurant Malaga

When I was in the Spanish city of Malaga, I decided to treat myself to lunch at the Kaleido Restaurant, which is situated on the prom at the port.

I’m usually on the lookout for a menu of the day for around 10 Euro. At Kaleido, the lunch set menu was more expensive at 17 Euro. But I reckoned that I was paying for the location. Plus, Kaleido did look a bit more upmarket.

I sat at an outside table.

I started with the Russian Salad, which topped with some large prawns, Bologna (a cold meat, which I think was made of pork and some type of fish roe), served with bread. The ensemble was tasty and very filling.

My main course consisted of perfectly cooked courgettes and slices of grilled pork. The accompanying sauce was delicious.

Normally on set menus, the dessert is not great, but at Kaleido it was a very chocolatey cheesecake.

The 17 Euro price for the set lunch at Kaleido included a drink. As I’m a teetoller, I had water, but you could have wine or beer.

I really enjoyed my lunch at the Kaleido restaurant at Malaga Port. The food was really good quality and the location attractive.


Centre Pompildou Malaga Spain

As I ascended towards Gibralfaro Castle in Malaga, I was curious about the coloured glass cube that I could see near the port. The following day, I decided to investigate. It turned out that it was an installation at the Centre Pompidou Malaga.

I found seat in the shade to do some research on the Centre Pompidou Malaga. It opened in 2015 and is the only branch of the Pompldou outside France. I reckoned that it was worth paying the 7 Euro entry fee to see the permanent exhibition, housed in the basement, which focuses on art from 1905 to the present day.

Below is a selection of my favourite pieces.

Stavinsky by Erro (an Icelander based in Paris)

Dora Maar by Antonia Saura

Chapeau a fluers by Pablo Picasso (born in Malaga)

Architecture and Morality by Glenn Brown

I Saw a Woman Crying by Rineke Dijkstra (video of Liverpudlian school kids giving possible reasons for the tears)

The Frame by Frida Kahlo

Self Portrait by Francis Bacon (he looks miserable)

Dimanche by Marc Chagall

El Caballero Espanol by Eduardo Arroyo

Le Mannequin by Alain Sechas

Incubated by Daniel Burden (looking up a the cube from the basement)

Barbed Hula by Sigalit Landau (suffering for art?)

The Girls of My Life by Zush

Femme objet by Peter Klasen

Souvenir de Voyage by Rene Magritte

Formatrice by Victor Brauner

Ghost by Kader Attia (131 foil figures)

Couple by Pablo Picasso

The Irish Jig by Jean Dubuffet

I really enjoyed my visit to the Centre Pompidou Malaga. If you’re into modern art, I recommend that you visit.

Caminos de Exilio Outdoor Photo Exhibition in Malaga, Spain

The Caminos del Exilio (Paths of Exile) outdoor photography exhibition is located in muelleuno shopping centre, close to Centre Pompidou Malaga.

The exhibition was organised by the French Institute of Spain.

The photo above, depicting migrants wrapped in foil, was hauntingly similar to the Ghosts installation by Kader Attica (photo below) on display at the Centre Pompidou Malaga. which I had visited the previous day.

I found the Caminos de Exilio photography exhibition in Malaga very moving. It made me appreciate my comfortable, settled life in the UK all the more.

Visiting Gibralfaro Castle in Malaga

It’s a steep walk up to Gibralfaro Castle in Malaga. I decided to visit one morning when it was forecast to be cooler. The downside to that was that it the weather was windy and cloudy.

There’s a viewing point a few hundred metres below the Castle, which offered great views of Malaga Bullring.

On your right after the viewing platform, you’ll see the Parador de Malaga hotel.

The entrance fee  to Gibralfaro Caste was 2.20 Euro (in April 2017). You need to make sure that you have cash, as the ticket machines don’t accept cards. You can buy a joint admission ticket for Gibralfaro Castle and the nearby Alcazaba for 3.55 Euro. The joint ticket is valid for 24 hours from the time of purchase.

There are 360 degree panoramic views from Gibralfaro Castle.

I advise you to wear shoes with a good grip when visiting Gibralfaro Castle. Both the paths up to, and around the Castle grounds and walls, are uneven and slippery.

Gibralfaro Castle was pretty busy during my visit on a Friday morning. There was a large party of school kids and several coach loads of tourists of various nationalities.

If my time in Malaga were limited, I’d choose to visit the Alcazaba rather than Gibralfaro Castle. This is because it is easier to access the Alcazaba; there is a lift up. Despite the Alcazaba not being in such an elevated position, it still offers great views over Malaga. Plus, the gardens are much prettier at the Alcazaba.

Peter Doig’s studiofilmclub at CAC Malaga

When visiting the Centre for Contemporary Art (CAC) in Malaga, I thought that the artist Peter Doig sounded familiar.

Sure enough, I checked my Instagram stream, and found the Scottish artist Doig’s ”Milky Way’ ,which was one of the pieces in the Now 1 exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh.

The studiofilmclub exhibition, Doig’s first in Spain, features 166 movie posters.

How many of the films have you seen?

I’m not much of a film buff, so I only reached into the teens out of the 166 films portrayed.

The studiofilmclub exhibition by Peter Doig runs at CAC until 25 June 2017.

Jia Aili at CAC Malaga

A major exhibition by Chinese artist Jia Aili runs until 18 June 2017 at the Centre for Contemporary Art (CAC) in Malaga.

The paintings portray bleak apocalyptic landscapes.

Several pieces feature rather forlorn solitary figures.

Some of the paintings are enormous.

One of the artist’s aims is for visitors to the exhibition to think about the role played by humans on the planet.

CAC Malaga is located close to Malaga Centro-Alameda railway station and it’s free to enter.

Las Vegas Hotel Malaga: Budget hotel with outdoor pool and very close to beach

The Las Vegas Hotel didn’t quite make it into my “Seven Best Cheap Hotels in Malaga“, as it receives a guest rating of 76% from 190 verified reviews and I had set a minimum guest rating of 80% for inclusion in that blog post.  However, as the hotel offers double rooms with breakfast for under £50 a night in low season and 76% is still a respectable score from guests, I think it’s worth looking at if you want a budget hotel situated very close to Malagueta Beach and with a swimming pool.

Pool at Las Vegas Hotel Malaga

The pool is pretty close to the busy road which runs along the seafront.  The public areas are a bit old fashioned and dingy. The hotels charges for wifi.

The room which I was shown was on the top floor with a balcony with a sea view and plenty of space for two people. The bedroom and bathroom were a good size. The room was a little dated with dark wood furniture.

Although the room was set quite far back from the road, there was still a lot of traffic noise audible when I was out on the balcony. Once inside the room with the French doors closed, I couldn’t hear much traffic noise.

View from top floor room balcony at Las Vegas Hotel Malaga

The Las Vegas Hotel is good value for money but if you pay a bit more and aren’t too bothered about not having a pool, the family run Hotel California Malaga, also close to Malagueta Beach, offers rooms with much more charm.

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