A recent article in The Times suggests that British tourists in Malaga should enjoy the city the way the locals do, and says it has been reborn as a destination in itself.
Sarah Gordon, who wrote the article 'Malaga: world class art, authentic tapas and brilliant beaches’, says the “oft-overlooked city on the Costa del Sol is having a bit of a renaissance” and details some of its main attractions including its history, culture and gastronomy. She also praises the local way of life, and says visitors should adopt the same lifestyle. “You won’t go far wrong if you aim to enjoy the city as the Malagueños do. That means breakfasting on just-cooked churros dipped in thick chocolate (try Casa Aranda on Calle Herreria del Rey); lunching on sardines cooked on sticks over open fires at the beach; and sipping sweet wine into the small hours at bustling patio bars and cafés,” she says.
But she also urges people to “join in with the locals browsing the fresh produce and stopping for tapas at the Mercado Central de Atarazanas, behind the grand 14th-century gate that was an entrance to the Moorish city. Or you might go for a more refined dining experience at the Michelin-starred waterfront José Carlos García (tasting menu from £105, restaurantejcg.com). It’s all part of how the city sees itself, and how it has reinvented itself”.
Her report also highlights Malaga’s cultural attractions, its progress as an urban tourist destination and the revamping of the historic city centre and the port: “It is the sunny city that has been home to Pablo Picasso and Antonio Banderas and comes with nearly 3,000 years of history,” she says, before explaining that “today, Malaga is mentioned as a cultural hub in the same breath as Barcelona, garlanded with Michelin stars and liberally sprinkled with boutique hotels in charming historic buildings. It’s a city where old and new rub shoulders without ceremony,” she says.
In the article, she mentions the Roman theatre, the Alcazaba, Soho, the Contemporary Art Centre, the Thyssen Museum and, of course, the Picasso Museum. She describes the murals and graffiti in the Soho district as “part of a project to turn the city into a creative space with artists from around the world invited to contribute. It feels as though Picasso would have approved of all the efforts to turn Malaga into a city of art,” she says.
But she also places the emphasis on Malaga as a place to enjoy gastronomic experiences, urging visitors to follow the map provided by the Tourist Office but stopping off in “hole-in-the-wall tapas joints for snacks and a cerveza”.
It is obvious from the report that Malaga now has a new fan. After describing the delights of some of the city beaches, she concludes: "Tuck into the catch of the day, paddle in the warm waters and ask yourself why you spent all those years dashing off along the Costa del Sol, when its best bits were right here all along".