1. Nobody speaks English
Well, not actually anybody – only 90% of people. But no need to worry! Málaga’s waiters (camareros) know a couple of words in tens of languages – and literally everyone you meet will try to help you out, even without understanding a single word you say!
2. You speak Spanish?
You may still have language problems! You’re in the south of Spain now… in Málaga they don’t speak Spanish, they speak Andaluz! Which they will pronounce Andalù, since this dialect implies taking off almost every S, and not only at the end of the words! España thus becomes Eppaña and so on… what’s more, they’ll cut out the end of many words, and sometimes the beginning! For example, estoy cansado (I’m tired) becomes toy cansao… But rest assured, they are the friendliest of people, and will show you where to get a good cañita (small beer) no matter the language differences!
3. Fish, fish and more fish!
If you like fish, you’re in the right place! Just walk along the beach in El Palo and you can choose the best-looking espetos (sardins’ skewers) cooked right in front of you, in a boat on the beach! There’s lots of choice of fresh fish and seafood in every restaurant, and they’re usually very cheap. Not much into fish? No problems! You can try some paella de pollo (chicken paella), tortillas, and tapas.
4. Talking about tapas…
Tapas are the best way to eat and drink something (tomar algo) along the beach or in the centre of Málaga, and without wasting too much money! Many places will give you a tapa included with every drink, and offer a wide selection of choices if you want to taste some more. My favourite place in the centre is Tapy; you can have a small beer with your free tapa, and for every drink you have, you’ll get a different one! If you’re hungry and start to feel tipsy, you can order some tasty plates at very reasonable prices… All this at a few metres from Teatro Cervantes and Plaza de la Merced!
5. Looking for some fiesta?
Look no more! In Málaga, fiesta comes looking for you! Just take a stroll in the centre; after some tapas and a few more beers, you’ll find guys on the street offering you very good prices for drinks and discos. Usually the entry is for free, and when it isn’t, you’ll have probably a drink and a shot included in the small price! If you’d rather drink than dance… I got the place for you! In Monkey House you can buy drinks by the litre from only five euros! And if you end up too far to go back home walking… worry not! Cabs and night buses are very cheap, and you can find them all night long.
6. Botellones: I promise you’ll love them!
What’s a botellón? Simply buy a bottle of some kind of alcohol and a soft drink, and of course don’t forget the ice! Then gather some friends, tell them to do the same and you can exchange a few drinks and a lot of laughs to get the party started before going out! Some years ago you could do it also outside, on the beach, but know for security reasons it isn’t allowed anymore, therefore I’d advise you to keep it inside!
7. And what about sun, sea and beaches?
Once again, here you’ll find all that you’re looking for! Malaga stretches on and on along the Costa del Sol (sunny coast). You can start with the Malagueta, at less than a ten minutes’ walk from the centre, and move on towards your left or your right for kilometres. Most of the beaches are artificial, but very well kept, and you’ll always find a chiringuito near when you need refreshment!
8. Don’t get me started on the cultural side…
Málaga won’t disappoint you even from this point of view! First thing to see is of course the Alcazaba (Arabic fortress) on the hill. And did you know that Picasso was born in Málaga ? Here you’ll find Museo Picasso and the house where he was born in Plaza de la Merced. After that you could visit the Contemporary Art Museum (Centro de Arte Contemporanea) and the Museo Carmen Thyssen. You should have heard of Centre Pompidou in Paris… well now it hosts a smaller section in Málaga, at the harbour! And how could you miss the Museo De Arte Flamenco de la Pena Juan Breva, the Museo del Vino, the Catedral… and this is just the beginning!
9. A stroll in the centre
After all this activity, you may want to relax a bit… the entire city centre is peatonal, therefore you can walk around shops, cafès and bars in complete ease! From Calle Larios you’ll get to Plaza de la Consituciòn, and from there to Plaza Uncibay and Plaza de la Merced. If you want to see more nature, get back to Alameda Principal; along it you’ll find Paseo del Parque, a kind of tropical forest, and you won’t even notice you are still walking between two of the most trafficked streets of Málaga! This short walk will lead you to the harbour, with its romantic view on the sea. Talking about romantic, if you just hike a few minutes up the hill you’ll find yourself at the Mirador, a terrace overlooking Málaga and the sea. Breathtaking view, both at sunset and during the night. From there the Noria can’t go unnoticed… this is the big ferris wheel, that should have been a temporary installation, but was kept due to its unexpected success!
10. La Feria
Last but not least… the biggest event of the year in Málaga! La Feria takes place in the middle of August and involves the whole city. La Feria de dia, during the day, spreads along the centre. You’ll find concerts and shows at every corner, people dressed with the traditional Traje de Flamenco singing and dancing, and of course every one drinking Cartojal, the typical white wine to be served very cold. You’ll find it in convenient plastic bottles in each and every shop, from cafès to pharmacies! When you’ve had enough of the crowd and the wine go to sleep… because after midnight its time for La Feria de Noche! It takes place a bit further out from the centre, but you’ll find free buses to get there. It opens in front of you with a huge arc, decorated by thousands of lights. There you’ll see lines and lines of small buildings, stretching far out; every one of them is a restaurant, bar and disco! You can choose which kind of food and music you’d like for the evening, and for sure there’s an area where you’ll find them!
Bonus tip: be careful if you spend too much time in Málaga… you may never want to come back home!