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For most people arriving at Málaga International Airport, the only immediate desire is to get to their destination, be it a hotel, holiday home or residential address somewhere away from Málaga city, without having to venture into the metropolis itself. In fact, most tourists to the Costa del Sol arrive and depart Málaga seeing the city only from the air on their way in and out of the region.

However, with Málaga being the second most populous city in Andalucia, this bustling provincial capital of the Costa del Sol has so much to offer that to miss it, really is to miss out!

The vibrant city of Málaga has a population estimated at around half a million people and so the infrastructure for commuters is second to none, with excellent road, rail and bus links shortly to be supported by an underground metro system which is in the process of being constructed.

Once inside the city, walking is a pleasant means of exploring all there is to offer. Málaga enjoys the warmest winters of any European city and the huge network of narrow streets makes walking the most popular and convenient method of getting around.

The myriad of small bars and restaurants convey the city’s welcoming personality. Entering even the best tapas bars can feel like being welcomed into the home of a friend; the decor and relaxed ambience serving to heighten that sensation. Because the heart of the city is so widespread and the variety of bars and restaurants so broad, there is plenty to choose from and the bill will likely be much smaller than you might imagine.

Málaga is the birthplace of Pablo Picasso and the Picasso museum is an obvious cultural attraction, as is the home where he was born. Another of Málaga’s most famous sons is Antonio Banderas who reportedly still frequents the city with his wife Melanie Griffith.

The port of Málaga works to accommodate all vessels, from fishing boats returning with their daily catch to the huge cruise ships that tour the Mediterranean and beyond. Málaga has recently increased the number of cruise lines it serves and tourism from this sector is increasing sharply.

In front of the park with it’s very many palm trees and lush flora can be found the amazing architecture of historical buildings of the Alameda Principal. As a backdrop is located the huge Moorish castle with the original Roman Amphitheatre having been expertly excavated to exposure beneath it. Information regarding the dig here is being eagerly anticipated by archaeologists all over the world.

For those who love shopping is the Calle Larios; a broad network of fully-pedestrianised streets that holds all the major retailers present in amongst the many tapas bars, restaurants and street artists. Despite there being so much going on in this area, it is impossible to overlook the traditional architecture of the shops and buildings here which is quite stunning.

This part of the city is also where the famous annual Málaga feria (fair) is held during the daytime in the second week of August. The area is besieged by hundreds of thousands of people looking to celebrate and sample local produce from across the region. Daytime celebrations are held here before moving north onto the main venue near to the innovative and stylish Málaga congress centre for the evening and night.

Situated between the Moorish castle and the Calle Larios is Málaga cathedral, built in Baroque style and still unfinished to this day. Nicknamed La Manquita which translates as ‘the one-armed woman’, the building has only one finished tower; the south tower remains incomplete due to lack of funds which were spent, it is believed, on helping the United States gain independence as shown on a plaque at the base of the tower.

As a complete contrast to the city centre, a short distance away lies miles of sandy beach. walking or hailing a cab to take a short drive through town past the bullring, it’s easily possible to be in a beach bar in 5-minutes, sipping a cocktail, enjoying panoramic views and watching the sun setting over the Mediterranean Sea.

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