The bars and restaurants that line the area's beaches, known as 'chiringuitos', are an integral part of the province's identity, both among locals and visitors to the area. Over many years, these establishments have proved to be an essential part of the summer experience and this was officially recognised on Wednesday with the first annual 'Día del Chiringuito', organised by the Malaga Association of Beach Businesses (AEPM).
It is hoped that this will become an annual event, every 27 June to coincide with the start of the high season, with particular focus on the western Costa del Sol.
The event was particularly well-celebrated in Torremolinos, Fuengirola and Mijas Costa, where tourists and other punters were treated to free servings of fried fish and drinks as organisers set up a competition on social media in which customers submitted photos of themselves promoting the slogan 'Somos de nuestros chiringuitos' (chiringuitos are part of us) - also worn on the t-shirts of all staff. As early as midday, more than 200 people had joined in the campaign, explained AEPM president, Manuel Villafaina.
In Torremolinos, from Los Álamos until the end of the promenade, the vast majority of bars and restaurants, just a step away from the sand, displayed signs and banners for the event which, according to manager of Pizzamare, Patricia, is "very necessary" to strengthen "the identity that chiringuitos give to the beaches".
According to many owners of chiringuitos, they feel that the services that they offer really differentiate them from other popular destinations in Spain. At Los Corales, Úrsula insists that chiringuitos are "vital" as they "give those who want to go to the beach an extra service".
"Better than the rest"
This sentiment was echoed by Rosa, manager at Los Periquitos, who said: "Chiringuitos are such an important part of both Malaga's culture and beach culture. The beach is the focal point of all tourism and this is what separates us from places like Valencia where there aren't even places where you can grab a glass of water."