Art, history and culture combine to make the Costa del Sol’s biggest city the ideal destination for an urban break. Madrid may be Spain’s capital, but there’s something special about vibrant Málaga.

The city of Málaga is situated along Spain’s southern coast, just a 30-minute-drive from Torremolinos and an hour by car from Marbella. Once famous for being the gateway to the Costa del Sol, Malaga is respected around the world for its fantastic art scene, cosmopolitan vibe and sophisticated shops, hotels and restaurants.

Start a tour of this lively city at the central attraction of Mount Gibralfaro, a hill rising over the town that’s also the location of the Gibralfaro Castle. After that, you can visit other historic sights such as the 16th-century cathedral and the Moorish Alcazaba fortress, before moving on to the city’s key attractions: the art galleries and museums.

There’s the Pompidou Centre, a brightly coloured glass cube housing works by famous 20th-century artists. There’s the Art & Popular Customs Museum, housed in a 17th-century inn and providing an insight into a lost way of life. And of course, there’s the Picasso Museum, which boasts over 200 works by the Málaga-born painter.

All art and history aside, Málaga is the perfect location for a relaxing beach holiday. A long stretch of beach known as Playa la Malagueta runs from the harbour to the suburb of El Morlaco, offering refreshment stands, sun loungers and a friendly vibe that makes families, party animals and backpackers alike all feel right home.

Venture further from the centre of Málaga and you can enjoy a football game at La Rosaleda stadium, brush up on your car knowledge at the Automobile Museum and wander through the beautiful blooms of the Botanical Garden. Day trips to neighbouring resort towns are also incredibly easy by car or train.

Head southwest to Torremolinos and savour a day of theme park fun, splashing around at Aqualand, getting up close to the wildlife at Crocodile Park and admiring the night-time illuminations at Tivoli World in neighbouring Benalmadena. For secluded natural walks, meanwhile, Montes de Málaga Natural Park, just north of the city, cannot be missed.

Guide to Exploring Malaga

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