We live in an Instagram world, where the aesthetic brilliance of something is judged through likes, comments and nonsensical observations made by bots. All cynicism aside, the increased respect for aesthetics is something that social media has done well, and Málaga is a city full of spots that were tailor-made for the world’s number one photo-sharing social network.
We can still remember the very first time we found the Sacred Heart Church in Málaga. We sort of stumbled upon it in search of coffee at 6am (always a fruitless search in Andalusia) and immediately forgot our need for caffeine in favour of gawping at this striking architecture of this magnificent building. Another wonder designed by Fernando Guerrero Strachan, this Neo-Gothic stunner was completed in 1920 and might just be Málaga’s most aesthetically impressive church.
The oldest continuously-operated port in Spain? Why not! The Port of Málaga takes that title, a bustling area of land, sea and trade since way back when. Despite its history (or maybe because of it), the port was looking a little worse for wear as the 20th century became the 21st, but a massive influx of investment in 2013 saw it given a whole new lease of life. The trade remains, but it has now been embellished with long walkways and lines of cafes, bars and restaurants, bring the port into the everyday lives of Malagueños citywide.
Not hungry? It doesn’t matter, a visit to Atarazanas Food Market is an absolute must in Málaga. The first thing that gets you is the building itself, an imposing structure that feels important even before you wander through the massive arch, a building that spent time as a hospital and a barracks before its current incarnaton. The hustle and bustle of the market is hard to beat and impossible to match, one of the finest atmospheres in all of Andalusia, as locals and visitors alike shuffle from stall to stall in search of fresh fish, succulent meat and some seriously vibrant fruit and veg.
If you are wandering around the centre of Málaga then it is nigh on impossible to miss the city’s eponymous cathedral. Well, we say ‘eponymous’, what we actually mean is the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Incarnation’, but cathedral will suffice. Completed in 1782 (it started in 1528), this Renaissance church is more than just another monumental house of worship. This is a landmark, a meeting place, a grandparent and a Málaga must. Our use of the word ‘completed’ isn’t entirely true either, as the cathedral is missing a tower (the money needed was sent to off to finance wars in the Americas). Locals call it the ‘One-Armed Lady’, the reasons for which should be clear.
Put simply, one of the most astonishing city halls in all of Spain. Built in the 1910s, this might be the most impressive piece of Strachan architecture in Málaga, which is no small claim. The surroundings are spectacular too, with secret-holding statues and wild Mediterranean gardens the standard. The interior is full of incredible art but unplanned visits aren’t possible, so get in touch and see if you are able to step inside to check it out. The building itself is worth gawping at whatever the plan.
The 19th century Cervantes Theatre is an impressive building in itself, but step inside and you may well find your breath being slowly taken away. The murals of the interior are mind-blowing to say the least, and it is no surprise to hear that this place was immediately given Historical and Artistic Monument status upon opening. The schedule is pretty diverse, so pop in to see what is going on.
Found on the hill of the same name and sat proudly above the Alcazaba, the history of the Gibralfaro Castle is intricately linked to the Islamic citadel that it clings to. The soldiers of the Islamic rulers were housed here, and the castle provided an extra layer of security for the hugely-important fortress. The views from here are marvellous, and an interpretation centre will help you get to grips with the long and storied history of Málaga.
The only branch of this famous network of museums to be found outside of France, you can’t really miss the Pompidou Centre. The vibrant and colourful glass cube skylight is nigh on impossible to miss, especially taking into consideration its prime location on the harbour. The museum is divided into seven sections, with the complications of humanity at its core.
A teeny-tiny stop by the Church of the Holy Martyrs, Mia Coffee Shop is generally our first port of call for that much-needed morning pick-me-up. The coffee is up there with the best in town and the interior is cute-as-a-button cool, adding an aesthetic charm to brews that back it all up. Family-run too, which is always a plus.
Located an hour of so east of La Malagueta, Playa del Peñón del Cuervo is one of our favourite beaches in the Costa del Sol. Why? Well it is a little less-tailored for one thing, and far quieter than some of the more popular options around the coast. It also has a massive rock in the water, which we’re always fond of. It makes for some pretty stunning Instagrammable sunrise pictures, to say the least.