Málaga is known for the winding streets of its old town and the vast expanse of its life-giving Mediterranean, but many visitors are surprised to find such an impressive selection of squares, parks and gardens here as well. This is where everyday life plays out, where gossip is exchanged or where thoughts are gathered, the heart and soul of a city defined by its heart and soul.
We’re card-carrying members of the Botanical Gardens Lovers Club (not an actual club), and the green grandeur of the verdant capital of Málaga is predictably wonderful. The gardens were put together in 1855 by a newly-married couple looking to make use of their wealth, but the public didn’t gain access to the gardens until 1994. The gardens is clearly set out with flora from all over the world on show — the ‘Around the World in 80 Trees’ is particularly thrilling. Get the 2 or 91 bus to the gardens, and be sure to get a map with your ticket.
An energetic and hugely popular square in the centre of the city, it was on the Plaza de la Merced that Pablo Picasso took his first tentative steps as both a painter and a man. He was born here, and today the square is ringed by cafes and bars full of prospective creatives coming up with ideas or simply enjoying themselves. There is also a frequent market held in the square, for anyone looking to practice their Spanish with a bit of haggling.
The western park is one of our favourites in Málaga, although this has as much to do with the presence of the Costa del Sol’s only wallabies as much as anything else. Yes, you read that right — wallabies. The little macropods are found here for reasons we can’t understand, although we’re more than happy to accept ‘because’ as the reason. The park was built in the 1980s to deal with the lack of public space in the western part of the city.
An wide-open space in the very centre of town, Plaza de la Constitución can be a little hot when the sun reaches its zenith. Best to take refuge in the shade of the cafes then, obviously. The 16th century Genoa Fountain stands in the centre of the square, although it has only been in this position since 2003, and the plaza is one of the most important stops on the hugely popular Malaga Fair. This has been a social meeting point for centuries, and that isn’t about to change.