Spain's Paradores de Turismo are integral to the country's culture of hospitality. As travel begins to open up once again, why not explore Malaga province and beyond, including a stay at a Parador?
This national network of hotels was established to showcase compelling destinations, bring tourists closer to local communities, as well as to protect remarkable architectural heritage. The unique hotels are our key to an authentic insight into local culture and cuisine.
Parador del Gibralfaro
The province’s capital boasts two Parador hotels; Málaga Golf (near the airport) and Málaga Gibralfaro (practically in the shadow of the ancient castle and close to the Moorish Alcazaba citadel).
Secluded in the foothills of the Montes de Málaga mountains, high above the city centre, Parador Málaga Gibralfaro is surrounded by pine trees, with privileged views of the capital and out across to the city’s Mediterranean bay. It’s a secluded place from which to rediscover Picasso’s city of birth (you can see a few of his works in the hotel); top up your tan by the rooftop pool and indulge in tasty local cuisine including classic fritura Malagueña, the city’s quintessential dish.
Eastern Costa del Sol
Parador de Nerja
Enjoy Europe’s finest climate and head for Nerja, on the eastern Costa del Sol, renowned for glorious coves and hidden beaches that are a delight to discover.
Built upon a sandstone bluff, above the iconic Burriana Beach, the spectacular Mediterranean setting of the Nerja Parador is captivating. Rooms and suites all have sea-view terraces; and access to the beach is via a private lift.
El Ombú del Mediterráneo is the hotel’s gastronomic restaurant, its name taken from the very special Ombú plants in the Parador’s botanical gardens. Seafood is superb here; try the local white prawns. My favourite tapa is the fried aubergine drizzled with local Frigiliana cane sugar syrup.
The hotel was opened in the 70s, to accommodate the sudden influx of national and international visitors - attracted by the spectacular Nerja caves, rediscovered a few years before in nearby Maro.
Parador de Ronda
This Parador surely must have one of the most romantic locations - I certainly think so, as it’s where I stayed on my wedding night! Ronda needs little introduction - emblematic of the region’s white towns, full or history, and charm. Set right on the Tajo, the Parador de Ronda is housed within the former town hall, with guest rooms, terrace, and a pool that over-look the deep river gorge and onto the Serranía de Ronda mountain range. Cross the nearby Puente Nuevo and you’re in the old Al Andalus medina quarter, so evocative of the region’s Islamic past.
Parador de Antequera
This modern Parador, with parklike gardens and swimming pool, is a contemporary expression of Malaga hospitality, set in one of my favourite Andalusian towns, rich in architectural and cultural sights.
Minimalist design and elegance set the tone. The Marmitia Restaurant specialises in local cuisine; at breakfast be sure to order freshly toasted molletes, the delicious, creamy local bread rolls. For a tapa, try the Pío antequerano (cod salad with olives and orange), or the porra antequerana, almost like a thick, extravagant version of salmorejo or gazpacho.
This is a superb base from which to visit the area’s world renowned sites including the Unesco World Heritage Dolmens (striking Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments) as well as El Torcal natural park (a unique, other-worldly landscape that’s perfect for a day’s hiking). The town of Antequera is like a living museum. It’s at the geographical heart of Andalucía, the crosswords of culture and trade, reflected in its Roman, Moorish, and Renaissance architecture. It also has a good food scene with some splendid tapas bars and resturants.
Parador hotels are found all across Spain, so it can be a fun reason to build a road trip for when regional borders reopen. The hotel group has curated over 40 routes to enjoy in Spain, focusing on culture, food and wine, the environment, as well as wellness and relaxation. Parador hotels even give you a ‘passport’ so you can get it stamped at each property - it can get quite addictive and before you know it, you’ll be planning to visit all 98 in Spain!