I didn’t plan my arrival in Malaga very well. One of the rules of traveling alone that I have read recently is to never arrive somewhere new after dark. Well, I arrived at midnight. Not too bright – but it worked out fine.
I booked a small apartment in the old Centro of Malaga on Airbnb.com. The owner arranged for me to be met on the street outside rather than the usual arrangement of getting the key from the little café across the street. I took a taxi from the airport and gave the driver the address. I had detailed instructions from the owner so I knew that the taxi would only be able to take me so far and then I would walk a short distance on a car-free street in Centro.
It was a little intimidating as I watched the taxi drive away, but there was no reason to be nervous, and I found the little alley quickly. Two Spanish women were there waiting and they showed me up to the apartment and left.
The next day was a Sunday and I went out exploring in the morning with only coffee (provided) and Icelandic chocolate to feed myself. I really had no idea of where to go or which direction, which is fine: I like to wander. I found a small grocery store open and bought a few things to tide me over for three days.
I loved what I saw. It reminded me of Mexican cities I have been to, like San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato. Endless narrow, cobblestone streets winding their way through the old city, with many outdoor cafes and restaurants. Beautiful architecture.
There is plenty to see in Malaga, which has been an important port city since the time of the Phoenicians in early 7th century BC. They named it Malaca. Since then, it has been conquered and occupied by Romans, Moors, French and Spaniards. The Romans called it Flavia Malacita and exported oil, raisins, wine and salted fish. The ruins of a Roman amphitheatre can be seen below the Alcazaba.
Over the next three days, I simply wandered and explored, and took a hop-on-hop-off bus tour to allow me to get a bigger overall picture of Malaga. The view from the hilltop 11th century Moorish castle – El Alcazaba – was amazing, as was the Alcazaba itself.
I sampled food and wine at several tiny cafes tucked into the alleyways, and took a taxi to the beach area where I sampled a local favourite food – sardines grilled on an open fire pit, with a glass of lovely local white wine.
Another favourite local food is snails.
The apartment was well-located, in an older building, and comfortable with good internet. The living room floor-to-ceiling window had shutters that opened onto a tiny balcony that overlooked the cobblestone alley below. There was even an under-counter washing machine and a clothesline out the bedroom window – and, there was an elevator.
I thoroughly enjoyed staying in Malaga. It is largely treated as a gateway for Europeans to fly into and immediately carry on down the coast to other Costa Del Sol cities such as Torremolinos and Marbella – rarely stopping to stay there.
I would definitely go back!