Sunday, February 22, 2015

Escape to Málaga

 photo IMG_2269-1_zpsnsvjxhzq.jpg

Pretty much every Spaniard I talked to had asked me, "But why are you going to Málaga? Málaga is so ugly."

I shrugged my shoulders and blamed it on the fact that I needed to migrate south for some much needed warmth. Madrid may be sunny during winter, but it's miserably cold. I didn't care if Málaga wasn't the prettiest place in Spain, I just needed to defrost.


As it turns out, their words were complete blasphemy. While we explored the city, I was constantly blown away by its beauty. Despite going against our Spanish friends' advice, our impromptu getaway to Málaga turned out to be the perfect winter escape.


Surprisingly, there's quite a lot to do in Málaga. We planned our trip to coincide with the city's big Carnaval festivities, so our evenings were spent flaunting costumes and masks, drinking tinto de verano and traipsing through the confetti-covered streets. During the day, we admired the views of the city from atop the Gibralfaro Castle, wandered through the colorful city center, strolled along the pier while making multiple stops for ice cream, relaxed on the beach (although it wasn't quite warm enough to lay out) and dipped our toes in the Mediterranean Sea. 


I didn't realize how badly I needed to be near the water until I saw the ocean for the first time since Christmas. Something about the sea feeds the soul. As I first laid eyes upon the Mediterranean, I felt myself come to life again. I had kind of been in a funk this past month thanks to my great expat debate, a lack of Vitamin D and the frigid cold. But thanks to the warmth, the water and the vivacious group of friends I traveled with, Málaga completely revitalized me.


What to Do in Málaga:

- Get lost in the charming old town

- Climb to the top of the Gibralfaro Castle for spectacular views of the city

- Soak up some Vitamin D on the beach

- Stroll along the pier (Muelle Uno) and Port of Málaga

- Explore the Cathedral and admire its intricate facade

- Visit the Picasso museum

- Enjoy a drink in Plaza de la Merced

- Take a day trip to Marbella


Have you ever visited the Costa del Sol?
Where do you go when you need a mid-winter escape?

44 comments:

  1. Looks beautiful! More than one time this has happened to me: a Czech will say "WHY are you going there?" and I turned out to LOVE it! Yet another reason to go with your gut on where to travel to and don't pay much mind to the naysayers.

    ReplyDelete
  2. So glad you didn't listen to the haters :) The sun and sea always revitalises me as well!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm so glad you enjoyed it that much :) I'm with you, the sight of the sea always relaxes me and makes everything a little bit better.

    ReplyDelete
  4. That’s just so bizarre that all of your Spanish friends told you Málaga was ugly…maybe they were just jealous that it has a beach and Madrid doesn’t ;)


    Cheekiness aside, I enjoyed Málaga when I was there and was surprised at how much there was to see and do besides be a beach bum. Museums, churches, TWO castles, Roman ruins, etc. Did you try sardinas al espeto and ajoblanco? I can’t remember if ajoblanco is made with breadcrumbs or not…

    ReplyDelete
  5. Exactly! Sometimes it's a good idea to trust the locals, but other times their opinions are pretty biased. I know I'm the same way when I talk to people who are going to visit Seattle!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Me too, I don't know why they all thought that! I'm so glad I still went though!

    ReplyDelete
  7. It's so true, the ocean is such a calming force. If only Madrid were closer to the water!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Haha, perhaps that's the case! I didn't try those dishes because ajoblanco sadly has bread it in, and I also don't eat seafood :( However, I did order some bacon-wrapped dates in Plaza de la Merced that were a real game changer! There were also a lot of fun Carnaval treats being sold by the street vendors that were particularly enticing!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Beautiful pictures! I'm totally jealous of that sunshine. I don't think I've ever really heard anyone recommend Malaga, but now I can't understand why.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thank you! I know what you mean - I'm so glad I still went despite the negative reviews!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Awwhh! Glad you finally visited us down here! So glad you enjoyed it. French friends said the same thing to us when we decided to visit Marseille..that it was so ugly, we would get killed etc..etc. It was wonderful. We absolutely frigging loved it. Maybe there is something to the sea thing as mentioned

    ReplyDelete
  12. That's funny that Spaniards don't like Malaga as it doesn't have a great reputation here in the UK either. People say it's the place for a boozy holiday but you have proved me wrong, hehe! Such beautiful pics and so much colour. I can understand why you needed a few days of sunshine, as I feel the same now too, roll on spring!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Malaga looks gorgeous--I'll have to remember that it's a nice winter destination. I'm glad to hear that the city was good for your soul, too!

    ReplyDelete
  14. It sounds bad, but I swear, Spaniards give the worst advice about their own country! Looking good friend! <3

    ReplyDelete
  15. It looks so pretty! I wonder why they say it's ugly??

    ReplyDelete
  16. Wow, so pretty! I've heard negative things about Malaga too, being ugly and modern. The only reason I had ever wanted to go is because it seems like the closest airport to fly in to get to Grenada. If I ever do make it to Grenada, now I'll know to save some time for Malaga instead of bypassing it completely!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Those people are crazy... Malaga looks beautiful! Some of those pictures look just like postcards! Glad you ignored what those people were saying and had a great experience discovering the beauty of it.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Malaga has a pretty dubious reputation in the UK too, but we absolutely loved it there. Great scenery, weather, food and wine, and people were really friendly. Seriously, what's not to love?! I'd definitely go back.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I guess natives don't always give the best advice! I thought Málaga was truly lovely, and I'd definitely go again if given the opportunity :)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Yep, I'm definitely ready for dependable spring weather and a bit more warmth! It's interesting that Málaga has that reputation in the UK too. I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

    ReplyDelete
  21. It was certainly a much-needed escape from the cold :) One day I got away with just wearing a t-shirt! Now if only Madrid would catch up... haha

    ReplyDelete
  22. Haha so true! And thanks chica :) Te echo de menos! Come back to Españaaaaa (insert whiny faced emoji)

    ReplyDelete
  23. I mean, there are a lot of apartment buildings that are a bit of an architectural eyesore, but the old city center, waterfront and beaches are undoubtedly gorgeous! Haters gonna hate, I guess!

    ReplyDelete
  24. You seriously have to go to Granada! I definitely recommend spending a day in Málaga (and taking a day trip to Marbella too) if you're in that area of Andalucía!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Exactly! I'd go back in a heartbeat too. I guess you can't always trust other people's reviews!

    ReplyDelete
  26. We totally defrosted in Malaga after Christmas and it was perfect. We did everything you suggest (great things!), but we also went to the hammam in the center (http://whatupswags.blogspot.fr/2015/01/malaga-jasmine-palace.html). I think there are a lot of hammams in the area, and it was just a lot of warmth and relaxation - the ultimate defrosting experience! I feel like I could see why people think Malaga is ugly, but really, just like any big city, it's all about where you go and when! Cool idea to go during Carnaval!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Wow - not the Malaga aka part town of my youth then! My parents went to Benidorm - also notorious - and it looked lovely!

    ReplyDelete
  28. These photos are gorgeous! And often I don't take the advice of locals—to a certain extent—because their localism makes people a bit blind to the beauty of their own countries. That definitely applies to me. And I feel the same way about the sea! Glad that got you a little out of your funk :)

    ReplyDelete
  29. I will never forget the absolute best calamari I'd ever eaten in my life in Malaga.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Ooh! I didn't try it there, but I bet it was amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hehe, I'm one of those Spanish people who would definitely ask 'why Malaga? It is not particularly pretty' but after reading that you're currently living in Spain, I think it's just great that you try and see as much as you can in your host country. I wish I knew more of my home country myself!

    Also, I see that one of your upcoming trips is to Tenerife, cool! I look forward to reading what you think about my home island :)

    ReplyDelete
  32. Yes! I'm going to Tenerife for Semana Santa, and I absolutely cannot wait. I've been wanting to visit the Canary Islands for the longest time! Let me know if you have any suggestions :)

    ReplyDelete
  33. Exactly! I'm a lot more biased (aka negative) when it comes to recommending places to visit in the USA.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Oh, I bet Benidorm was beautiful! You just can't beat southern Spain for a sunny escape :)

    ReplyDelete
  35. That sounds a lot different from my chaotic hammam experience in Istanbul!! But it sounds like it was really relaxing and the perfect way to defrost. I guess Málaga is a good place to count on for that :)

    ReplyDelete
  36. Ohhh I need some sun right about now - even if it was imaginary :) Thanks for joining us for #SundayTraveler

    ReplyDelete
  37. HAHAHA. I'm the same way. I'm like, "what do you want to see THERE?"

    ReplyDelete
  38. I almost had Luke convinced we should move to Spain yesterday...I almost did years ago as I was offered a job there, but I guess he was just joking with me :(

    ReplyDelete
  39. Wow, Malaga is beautiful! I don't know why they'd find it ugly. I love all the bright colours and the water! I guess the novelty of it all wouldn't be lost on me.

    ReplyDelete
  40. It definitely wasn't lost on me either! Sure, there were quite a few tourists, but the city really charmed me. And you can never go wrong with a winning combo of ocean + sunshine :)

    ReplyDelete
  41. I could use some more warmth and sunshine too right about now! Thanks for hosting! :)

    ReplyDelete
  42. Malaga is SO pretty, has amazing museums, great markets, fantastic food... must I continue? They've put a lot into new renovation projects and it's becoming one of the most exciting places for a city break in Andalusia-- plus it's so close to some fantastic rural destinations too! Anyway, I'll stop-- I just love Malaga!

    ReplyDelete
  43. I'm really surprised anyone would find Málaga ugly! I do think it's experienced quite a bit of regeneration in recent years (e.g. Muelle Uno) but even so, I can't imagine anyone could find the city streets and monuments unattractive. I visited in November and completely fell for Málaga! Really compact & easily walkable, great atmosphere, good food, a beach... what more could anyone want? Oh and the Alcazaba is well worth a visit if you go again!

    ReplyDelete
  44. I can imagine, I think the Canary Islands make for a great sea & sunshine holiday :)
    I don't know what you're up to so I wouldn't know what to suggest. The only must-see I suggest to everyone no matter what kind of holidays they're planning is to make a trip to Las Cañadas del Teide to take a good look at El Teide volcano. It's really impressive and worth getting up early!

    ReplyDelete