I have been visiting Southern Spain since the late 90s, when Marbella was still ritzy and I was splashing my pesetas on paint-splattered bellbottom jeans. Much like my style (thankfully), the area has changed a lot since then, and Malaga has been at the heart of a cultural renaissance. Here are four reasons why the city has won me over in the last few years.
Tapas, tapas, tapas
Oh-oh, when I first started visiting the Costa del Sol I was all about the junk (give me a break, I was 12). This area is a haven for English fuelled fast food, but it’s worth cutting through the tourist spots to find some authentic Spanish eats.
The city is home to a few hidden interior gems, including Cafetería-Bar El Jardín, which made me feel like I was dreaming Wes Anderson stylie when I first found it. Honourable mention goes to La Taberna del Pintxo, a tapas restaurant where the waiters wander around with trays and you select any bites that take your fancy – it’s the perfect way to try a few new dishes, although I do recommend the mini burgers… what can I say, old habits die hard.
Drop worthy shops
Calle Marqués de Larios has become a little shopping haven. This street has thrived since I was a teenager beelining for the Zara sale. It’s now flanked by boutiques and well-known brands, including Cos, Kiko, Intimissimi and & Other Stories (whose interior makes me feel like I’m in LA). Venture into the side streets for some independent boutiques, including Lilo & Rumba, which is a must visit if you have a dog, or if you just want to play with their resident bulldogs.
You can heart all sorts of modern art at the Pompidou Centre. It features some fab work by female artists, so it gets extra props from me. It is also free on Sundays after 4pm, as are many of Malaga’s other museums… Also worth a visit are the St. Petersburg Museum of Russian Art and the CAC (Contemporary Art Center).
Up on the roof
I’m usually all about the tinto de veranos on the beach when I visit Southern Spain, but one of the best ways to see the city is from above. Malaga’s beautiful buildings are peppered with rooftop bars – La Alcazaba Terrace is a favourite, but I think the best view can be found 15 floors above the AC Hotel Málaga Palacio, although I have heard they’re getting kinda exclusive, so you might have to hone your charm game before approaching the door…