Cool, mainstream, hipster and all the hip adjectives you can come up with would describe the most modern and cosmopolitan city in Andalusia. The sun, the fish, the sea breeze haven’t gone away, but it’s the new artistic spaces that give Malaga glamour and character. It’s Costa del Sol with an edge, further and further away from the old cliches.
Malaga’s Pompidou consecrates the city as capital of Andalusian modernism. Close to the sea, this centre of minimalist aesthetics represents the genuine French temple, housing an art collection that spans the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. International artworks, sometimes on shocking or uneasy matters, will surprise the most curious viewers. Located at the glamorous and happening Muelle Uno, this little museum is not only aimed at the numerous tourists passing by. The wide range of workshops, talks, courses, and conferences on offer mean that both visitors and residents can indulge in truly contemporary culture. After such cultural immersion, you’re in the perfect spot to have a drink in any of the close-by terraces.
DID YOU KNOW THAT…? It has the honour of being the first headquarters of the famous Parisian museum outside France.
The Muelle Uno… and the Muelle Dos
This architectural remodelling, by Alfonso Peralta, Ciro de la Torre and Antonio Costa, has really increased the value of an undervalued harbour and a privileged balcony at sea level. By deciding to rent a bike at the very Muelle Uno, you can visit it the way it was designed to, enjoying the sun and staying cool. Startling at the Palmeral de las Sorpresas, then on to a shopping and gastronomic area, inviting you to go all the way to the Dique de Levante. Are you in?
A BLEND OF 10 408 types of palm trees, fountains and a huge pergola turn Palmeral de las Sorpresas into an oasis of freshness.
A place for everyone
This is Malaga’s new cultural space of reference. A place for creativity, learning and leisure, where you can enjoy live music, exhibitions, happenings, shows… An antenna for artistic and cultural trends so you get to know what is going on now and glimpse what might come tomorrow. Set in an old industrial estate by the same name, La Térmica is run by Malaga’s council and counts with the support – in the shape of assessments and collaborations – of yet another great Spanish cultural centre, La Fábrica de Madrid. The latter is an equally groundbreaking space, setting trends for everyone.
MUST SEE, EVEN WITH NO EXHIBITIONS La Térmica is an old civic centre and hospice full of courtyards, open spaces, auditoriums and architectural curiosities from the XIX century.
Today’s Art with capital A
Where: in Malaga’s new soho, on the wide part of Muelle de Heredia by the Guadalmedina river. An investment in the contemporary scene, extending not only to the museum – a space bringing together local and Andalusian contemporary artists of renown – but to the whole neighbourhood and its new pedestrianised streets, murals on façades, and so on. Malaga’s Contemporary Arts Centre houses a very relevant permanent exhibition and soulful temporary exhibitions bearing a transgressive element. Want more? Entrance is free.
DON’T MISS! Neighbours, the work of relatable artists who hold Malaga as a reference. They’re on their third edition.
Jardín Botánico de la Concepción
A real pasion for everything ‘eco’
Walking along its footpaths you could be in a bamboo forest in China, in Yellowstone in North America or in any of the Nile’s oases. The sheer number of unique species in the peninsula that have acclimatised well here is as surprising as all the fountains, pavilions, small palaces, and even the plants and arts&crafts market on weekends. Dogs are allowed. Don’t forget to go to the beautiful shop and have a coffee at the haima.
AROUND THE WORLD IN 200 SPECIES Don’t miss out on this recommended itinerary: Around the World. Visiting Africa, America or Oceania is possible at La Concepción.
A palace of genius
The first ten years of Picasso’s life were spent in this city full of light and water. At the Plaza de la Merced, specifically at the Farmacia Bustamante, Picasso’s father – drawing assistant at Malaga’s School of Fine Art and curator at the Municipal Museum – participated in salons on bulls and flamenco, a fondness of which his son would also develop. Though Picasso hardly went back for the rest of his life, he treasured Malaga amongst his fondest memories. You can visit his Casa Natal (Birthplace) and the Malaga’s Picasso Museum, located at the Buenavista Palace with its renaissance and mudejar features.
INSIDE SECRETS Have a coffee in the courtyard full of geraniums and aromatic flowers. And pop underground to discover the city’s past in Phoenician, Roman and Renaissance vestiges.
The beach for foodies
Locals see it as one of their favourite spots for grilled sardines, fried fish and even cockles – a type of seasonal seafood similar to clams, very typical in Malaga, Cadiz and Huelva, to be found mostly in summertime. Also prominent in the Pedregalejo neighbourhood are the burger restaurants and bars with a great variety of ‘camperos’, the city’s typical fast food dish. Unmissable for the night owls during the Feria or Holy Week. This sandwich is actually going through a gourmet makeover
HOW TO GET THERE The best you can do is to get on a bicycle or some skates and go across the whole seafront promenade, including the Baños del Carmen.
Malaga’s Soho or Arts Neighbourhood (also known as MAUS, acronym for Malaga Arte Urbano Soho) is an initiative taken up by citizens themselves in an attempt to rehabilitate the area between the south of Alameda and Muelle de Heredia, right next to Room Mate Hotels Valeria and Lola. Nestled in a number of buildings with a wide range of artistic and cultural programmes, you will be able to find theatre plays, exhibitions and conferences on the most modern art that enters the city from across all continents. Definitely walk around the area and see how art conquers the streets.
DON’T MISS First Saturday of every month on Calle Tomás Heredia, a market open all day with clothes, crafts, music… full of creativity.
The Bucket List
Snacking at the markets
Two options: the Atarazanas market, where they make whatever they sell, or the Merced one, with its gastro bars.
Apart from its famous film festival, Málaga remains an outstanding set for a great number of films and actors: Robert de Niro, Banderas, Raquel Welch… Find them all on the Movie Map Málaga app!
Traverse the Caminito del Rey
It is the most dangerous route –and one of the most beautiful– in the world. A historical footpath built on the walls of the steep pass Desfiladero de Los Gaitanes, one hour away from Malaga. Book in advance and enjoy the landscape… If you dare.
Get high in Malaga
The Alcazaba Cathedral, the Gibralfaro Castle, the Room Mate Larios terrace… all offer amazing views of the city, the sea and Malaga countryside
The Insider: Annie B. Sweet
Singer-songwriter born in Malaga
Her music is in English due to her early years in Malaga, where she went to a British college and learned to live the cosmopolitan life.
Malaga in English. It’s in my songs, my memories, my way of being…
An inspiring place. The beach. The beautiful, warm sunsets make you feel good.
The best clubs and hangouts. They’ve got incredible concerts at the Rooster. Also at the Velvet –the first venue where I got to play. And for dancing, Roadhouse or Métrica.
Somewhere for dinner or snacks. La Reserva 12, in the centre.
Shops? Al Este del Éden. For records, Candilejas and Gold.
Sixteenth century building with an Andalusian feel.