Malaga is often merely seen by the British holiday maker as the airport that provides the gateway to the popular ‘package destinations’ in the Costa del Sol, and as a city, it is often overlooked by it’s neighbouring city travel destinations such as Granada and Seville. However, Malaga is a gem in its own right, and offers everything from the cultural delights of its cathedral and museums, to relaxed beach cocktails and barbecued sardines at the ‘chiringuito’ beach bars.
Families can often be put off with the idea of a city break, and I must admit that I was glad when we could ditch the buggy, and were able to navigate Malaga’s winding cobbled streets and squeeze into lovely authentic tapas bars without having to apologise every ten seconds for inadvertently bashing into somebody. One of my daughter’s favourite places to ‘hang out’ in the evening was Artsenal, an eclectic museum/bar/music venue that was set under the road(!) by Malaga’s port, which came alive at night time with live bands and great cocktails set against a backdrop of fabulous local artistry. There, families were welcomed, and you could lounge around on their pallet furniture and comfy cushions whilst watching the sunset, accompanied by the ever changing rotation of local bands and DJs. As many have correctly said before me, children are very welcome in Spain, all the way through the evening into the small hours should they have the stamina! Even after living in Spain for six years, I still found it amusing when a family (complete with toddlers and grandparents) would sit down for their evening meal in a restaurant at 11pm!
The beauty of Malaga city is that it is easily navigable (lots of good tips in Guide to Malaga) and the general advantage of the British traveller is that we are often up and about far earlier than our Spanish friends, so it is easy to beat the crowds (and then be deemed very strange by the locals when we are eating lunch whilst they are on their breakfast!). You also have great diversity, from the cultural charms of the old town, to the cosmopolitan feel of the shopping district and cruise port, right through to a sandy beach where the kids can entertain themselves when walking around takes its toll on little feet. We stayed in a flat in the port, and felt that this was the best family option; the package holiday companies have not stretched out towards Malaga city, which almost preserves its authenticity, particularly when the cruise ships have departed. Malaga gets extremely hot during the summer season, but is perfect in spring or autumn. If you want a real treat, go and see the Malaga Christmas lights: a strong competitor to the London lights and you can even eat your lunch ‘al fresco’ without your coat on!