Why visit Málaga?
Many are drawn to Málaga for the weather, the beaches and of course to visit the birthplace of Pablo Picasso but it is so much more than an oasis of calm in the storm of the Costa del Sol. What this charming city lacks in monuments it more than makes up for it in atmosphere and vibrancy. The city has a nice mix of things to do and see as well as streets that are packed with life around the clock. The well connected local transport system also makes moving around the city, and to its edges for hitchhiking, relatively simple.
Málaga: the facts
Málaga is the second largest city in Andalusia, the sixth in Spain and is home to around 500,000 people. It lies on the much famed Costa del Sol, a beacon for tourists in search of sea, sun, sand and good times.
The history of Málaga is one of Europe’s longest, the area having been inhabited for nearly 3000 years, and was once part of the Carthaginian and Roman empires, before falling into Muslim hands in the 8th century. As part of the Emirate of Granada, Málaga was one of the last cities to fall to the Christian monarchs during the Reconquista (reconquest) providing an insurmountable object until, finally, in 1487, it was incorporated into Christian Spain.
During the 19th century the city underwent a period of rapid industrialisation, until the money was frittered away and the manufacturing moved elsewhere. In the Spanish Civil War, the city originally remained in Republican hands, but by 1937, after sustaining heavy bombardment from the sea, it was firmly in the Francoist camp.
Today, in the “Capital of the Costa del Sol” tourism plays an important role in the local economy but Málaga’s position as the economic and administrative capital of southern Spain also helps keep the city coffer’s ticking over. The weather is also Málaga’s friend as it enjoys very mild winters (16°C – 20°C) and warm to hot summers (27°C -30 °C), it hardly ever rains and is incredibly sunny all the time.
The two biggest festivals in Málaga are Semana Santa (Holy Week) which takes place in the seven days leading up to Easter and the Feria de Málaga held during the second week of August and lasting ten days. Semana Santa in Málaga is a noisy affair. With candle-lit streets playing host to unconstrained revelry, flamenco and cheer. The Feria de Málaga is another of those peculiarly Spanish kinds of festivals, full of recklessness, piety, alcohol soaked streets and bullfighting.
Despite not being seen as one of southern Spain’s cultural heavyweights, Málaga’s success at remaining largely unnoticed by the beach loving hordes, has allowed space for the city to breath. A new metro system is under construction and the city is currently on the short-list for the 2016 European Capital of Culture.
written by: Jon
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