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Málaga Cruises

About Málaga

With a strategic setting between Europe and Africa, Málaga’s history is rich and diverse. After centuries of Phoenician and Carthaginian rule, the Roman Empire claimed Málaga and the city prospered under the emperor’s watch. With the empire’s fall, the Visigoths moved in until the Byzantine Empire took control. The Moors arrived in the 8th century and remained here longer than they did in any other Spanish city, thanks to Málaga’s ties to the powerful Emirate of Granada.

The Moors were starved out of Málaga during the Christian Reconquest of 1487. Soon after, Granada and the sultan’s hilltop Alhambra palace were famously retaken by Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile. Today, the magnificent palace and fortress, perched on a hill overlooking the modern city of Granada, retains breathtaking elements of Moorish design and architecture.

With Málaga’s seaside location, it has proven vulnerable to attackers during wartime. In 1704, its people witnessed the largest offshore naval battle of the War of Spanish Succession. As recently as 1936, ships descended on the city as the Spanish Civil War began.

Today, Málaga is richly adorned with evidence of its Moorish past and with a gracious Spanish sensibility. It is most famously a Mediterranean gateway to Granada, but boasts its own architectural treasures, from the imposing old Alcazaba Palace to the spectacular La Malagueta bullring.

Málaga Lifestyle and Culture

The people of Málaga cling tightly to their long history. Well-preserved archaeological remnants make the city an open air museum chronicling some 3,000 years, and locals move with ease between the ancient remains and their modern-day lives.

As in much of Spain, life moves at an easy pace here. Afternoon siestas set a relaxed tone, and late-night diners fill the outdoor cafés. Palm-lined streets lead to some of Spain’s finest museums, including two dedicated to the city’s native son, Pablo Picasso: one is an art museum displaying his work, and the other is his birthplace.

Málaga is a major stop along the Costa del Sol, the sunny playground that attracts Europeans and other international travelers with its long beaches, pueblos blancos (southern Spain’s iconic white villages) and endless cultural attractions. By day, Málagans, too, are likely to lounge on the city’s beaches or linger over a glass of Rioja wine or café con crema in an outdoor café. By night, the city’s clubs and restaurants come alive with the lively tempo of flamenco music and dancers in vibrant dress.

Málaga Sights and Landmarks

Málaga’s setting itself is a sight to behold, nestled between mountains and sea. It is also a treasure trove of historic sites that span the ages. From ancient archaeological wonders to splendid cathedrals and Moorish fortresses, there is much to see.

Perched on a hill above the city, the Alcazaba palace-fortress, an imposing reminder of the Hammudid dynasty, is the best preserved Arabic citadel in Spain. In its time, it served as the ideal model of military architecture, with double walls and a massive reinforced entrance. Nearby, the 1st-century Roman amphitheater descends a hillside. Also adjacent, the Castle of Gibralfaro dates to the city’s Phoenician founding.

Málaga is also impressive for its stunning churches. The city’s magnificent cathedral is a work of baroque brilliance and the Church of Santiago is a spectacular example of Gothic Mudéjar architecture, a style that emerged after the Reconquest and blended both Christian and Islamic elements.

For many, the centerpiece of Málaga for its cultural significance is La Malagueta bullring. The remarkable colosseum-style building has been hosting bullfights since 1876.

Málaga Entertainment and Activities

For a dramatic overview of Málaga, head up to Gibralfaro Hill, where the castle affords insight into the city’s rich history and the views are spectacular. But you’ll also want to delve into the city’s museums.

The birthplace of Pablo Picasso, Málaga has a couple of museums dedicated to the famed Cubist artist. The Picasso Museum is located within the Palacio de los Condes de Buenavista (Palace of the Counts of Buenavista) and features many works donated by members of the artist’s family. Also in the city is the Museo Casa Natal, or the Birthplace Museum, where Picasso was born. For more current artistic perspectives, the CAC Málaga, or the Museum of Modern Art, is the most visited museum in Andalusia.

For admirers of the botanical arts, La Concepción offers inspirational garden designs in a collection of Mediterranean plants and flowers, mirror-like ponds and picturesque gazebos, all set in a spectacular mountain-ringed setting.

Málaga Restaurants and Shopping

Like any Spanish city, Málaga offers endless food, drink and shopping options. Tapas restaurants and bodegas are easy to come by. And small boutique shops and crafts stores are a delight to explore.

Bodegas El Pimpi, a city institution, serves tapas, full meals and stunning wines in a warm and unique setting of wine barrels, courtyards and an open terrace. Enjoy views of the Roman amphitheater as you dine.

Contrast the rich interiors of Bodegas El Pimpi with the minimalist, all-white ambiance of Óleo, located in the contemporary art museum. Choose from a fascinating and elegant menu of Mediterranean and Asian choices.

For unrivaled shopping, head to the Atarazanas Market, a vast emporium of local food in a historic setting. The 19th-century iron-clad structure assimilates the old Moorish gate that once linked the city and the port. Stunning stained-glass windows watch over you as you browse.

For a view of the city’s upscale storefronts, stroll the narrow Strachan Street, one of the city’s most luxurious addresses for cafés and shops.