Romance is alive in Malaga

The Lighthouse, Malaga Having worked in travel all my life, my husband knows better than to try and book a trip without my input. But this year he decided to give it a go and surprised me with a few days in Malaga for our wedding anniversary which sometimes annoyingly, clashes with Valentine’s Day.

He did well! Firstly it really was a surprise and secondly, what a great choice for a quick break in the middle of February.

We left a snowy and cold UK at some unearthly hour and 2 ½ hours later landed in to clear blue skies and warm sunshine. Travelling with just hand luggage meant we were out of the airport and on the bus to the city within minutes of landing.  The busses are every half an hour and cost just €3 per person.

Our base was the 4 star Molina Lario hotel which is in a great location, just by the impressive cathedral and with views of the recently upgraded port.

Harbour view and cathedral, Malaga By midday we were strolling along the newly renovated harbor, admiring the yachts and trying to chose somewhere for lunch. The city has spent millions of Euros developing the harbor and port area and it shows! Wide paved promenades, shady gardens, innovative children play areas and a selection of shops, restaurants and bars all combine to offer an enjoyable place to while away a few hours. With state of the art facilities the port now attracts cruise ships on a regular basis and from our hotel room we watched these floating hotels arrive at dawn and leave again at dusk. The influx of cruise passengers is obviously a big bonus to the city’s economy.

A stroll around the harbour takes you past the lighthouse and to a long stretch of sandy beach, Playa de la Malagueta. In February it is very quiet, no rows of sun beds and umbrellas, crowds of tourists or noisy beach bars. But a couple of ‘chiringuitos’’ renowned for freshly barbequed sardines, do remain open all year and are a great place for lunch.

When the sun goes down the Spanish come out to walk around, have a chat and a drink and to let the children play. We browsed the shops in the old town before calling in to El Pimpi, a well-known bodega serving good wines and a selection of tapas.

A highlight of our trip was the magnificent Alcabaza, a Moorish castle dating back to the 11th century that rivals the famous Alhambra palace in Grenada. Built into a hillside with incredible views of the city around every corner.

Playa de la Malagueta, Malaga For €7.50 you can buy a combined entrance to the Alcabaza and adjacent Gibralfaro, the remains of a fortified arsenal and look out post.  My tip – visit early in the day, in winter it opens at 08.30 am, before the cruise passengers arrive. The combined visit involves a lot of uphill walking, pleasant during the winter months but probably not to be recommended when the weather is hot.  Bus no. 11 will take you and/or bring you back.

As keen gardeners we enjoyed strolling through the Paseo de Parque. These gardens were established in 1897 and run parallel with the harbor promenade. They offer an oasis of calm in a busy city with shady seating areas, fountains and plenty of chattering birds.

We also spent a morning at the Jardin Botanico-Historico La Conception. This was a challenging excursion without a car as the bus no. 2 from the city, stops at least a kilometer from the gardens. You then have to walk along a road, often with no pavement, over a motorway, through an underpass and up a steep hill just to get to the entrance. The entire gardens are set out on a hillside so more climbing awaits. Thankfully there is a very nice cafeteria at the gardens. with homemade cakes and strong coffee to sustain you!

Jardin Botanico-Historico La Conception In February there wasn’t much colour in the gardens and we were 2 months early for the famed wisteria walkway, but the layout of the gardens is interesting and again, marvelous views of the city. Entrance €5 per person.  My tip – apparently on a Saturday an hourly bus runs from the city direct to the entrance so save your visit to the weekend.

On our last day we picked up bikes from and bravely set off in an easterly direction to El Palo, a beach area famed for its many seafood restaurants.  The cycling is easy on smooth wide promenades and we were able to avoid joining in with the chaotic Spanish traffic. Great value at €5 for 4 hours. Bike 2 Malaga also offer guided tours around the city and the Tapas tour certainly appealed but sadly no time.

Malaga has a wealth of museums but regrettably we didn’t visit any of them due to 3 days of cloudless skies. Had the weather been differently we would have enjoyed the Picasso Museum and the Museum of Wine but will save these for another time.

Restaurant recommendations:

  • Restaurant La Plaza, Plaza de la Merced 18
    Innovative fusion of Spanish and middle Eastern cuisine.
  • Vino Mio, Plaza Jeronimo Cuervo 2
    Excellent food with the bonus of live Flamenco each night at 8 pm.

Silver Travel Advisor recommends Kirker Holidays for city breaks and short breaks.

214 people found this helpful

Share Article:


Travel writer

Leave a comment


Sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest travel tips on top destinations.

Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Most Recent Articles

With over 7,000 years of history, Malta is the ultimate holiday destination for any history buff!…

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.