A gateway to so many Andalucian attractions and Costa del Sol resorts, Spanish cruise port Malaga stands out in its own right as a vibrant destination with its own unique character. This second city of Andalucia has many Moorish influences, seen at their best in the stunning Alcazaba. Built on the site of a Roman fortress between the 8th and 11th Centuries, the castle’s huge walls and fortified gates ensure a grand entrance. Inside, a restored Roman amphitheatre now acts as an outdoor entertainment centre.

Immediately behind the Alcazaba and rising high above the city with spectacular views, are the ruins of the 14th century Moorish castle, Gibralfaro. Malaga-born Picasso is recognised with a history of the artist’s life at the city’s fascinating Picasso Foundation.The city of Malaga waits just beyond the gates of the port and you can explore the Old Town on foot.

Great place for shopping and the new Centre Pompidou area and beach are lovely, easily reachable on foot from the dock entrance. When you exit the dock you can walk straight into the city centre – aim for the cathedral and you can’t go wrong. If taking the short shuttle bus ride it is an easy walk into the city and from here a short walk to the Gothic Cathedral, the Roman theatre, Gibralfaro Castle and Arab Palace which gives you great views over the city.

Malaga is clean, you feel safe mooching around there, and it has beautiful gardens and amazing historical sites, very easy to DIY This place has a lot to offer, it just needs a little planning.

You will dock at Muelle Uno with an array of shops, bars and restaurants. Close to there is the Malaga Eye where you can get a bird’s eye view of the city. Thereis an automobile museum which is very interesting close to the port.

There is an HOHO bus from the bus station, a few metres from where the shuttle drops you off. It takes in most of the important sites.

To gain entrance to many of the sites cash is required as they have machines to purchase your tickets which don’t accept cards. The best value found was to purchase a joint ticket for the castle and Alcazaba (the Arab Palace) it cost about €8 per adult and €3 per child.

Gibralfaro Castle: If you want to get to the Castillo de Gibraltar the cheapest and easiest is to get the number 35 bus from the big avenue next to the marina (other side of the linear park, port side of the road). 1.30 euros each way! The castle is superb, great views over the port and city and up the coast. You can either walk down a steep paved path back down to the port or the city, or waits for the next bus, they are every hour but beware the 2 hour gap from 2.30 to 4.30, and also the bus will get full very quickly.
Or, you can first walk through some beautiful gardens with mosaic seating, fountains, statues, orange trees and palm trees. A lovely cool place to stroll through near to the sea. A word of warning the walk to the castle is steep but absolutely, definitely worth the effort. The castle is amazing, you can walk along the walls and again will get some amazing views and there was a small museum and a little cafe too. You will see some stunning views out to sea and across Malaga including a great view of the bullring. When you reach the top there is a small kiosk selling ice creams, water snacks etc next to the entrance to the castle.

The Arab Palace: Retrace your steps down the hill to visit the Alcazaba. If you enjoy looking around historical places these two are definitely for you another amazing castle, remarkably intact and loads to see. As you leave the castle turn immediately right and walk along the side of the entrance building and you will get a great view of the Roman theatre, the ticket does not give you access to it but you can see plenty of it from inside and just outside the castle.

Coming back down the steps turn right walk straight ahead past a number of restaurants on your left, keep going to the traffic lights and turn left you are now in the square where Picasso’s birth place is. Here you will find Museo Picasso, the city’s most prestigious museum it houses works that Palo Picasso kept for himself or gave to his family.

In Malaga the main shopping street is in the Historic Quarter with fantastic boutiques. Make sure you do your shopping before 1.30pm as many close for their traditional Spanish siesta.

If you are looking to laze your time away then the nearest beach is; Playa de la Malagueta. The beach is well served by bars and cafes but the sand is of mediocre quality and the view of the port is a bit of an eyesore. Playa de las Acacias is the nearest good beach. It is approximately 5km, east, from Malagueta beach.

Further afield:
Granada is 1½ hours away to the north by road and bus services are frequent.

Aqualand Torremolinos this is a Big family-focused water park with lots of slides, rapids & a surf beach area with wave machine. About 20K from Malaga port. For a DIY you will have to do your sums. Royal Caribbean charge, £60pp, (2016) family of 3 £180. A taxi from port to park will set you back about, €96 return, then you have entrance fee, booking on-line is €26 Adult and €17 Child. €28, €19 respectfully on the day, (2016), 2 adults and 1 child comes to €69 (€75). So, yes you will save a little, maybe about £30 – £50.

The other option is taxi from port to railway station then the train (metro) to Torremolinos, then a walk of about 20mins uphill to the park, suggest another taxi and then the entrance fee. The costs of train and taxis to and from the park is a little research for you .

There is also a train service along the coast to Torremolinos, Belemadina, and Fuengirola from Malaga Centro. The trains’ destination is Fuengirola.

By Peter Dagnall

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