Main city of the Costa del Sol and home to one of Spain’s busiest airports, Malaga is too often dismissed simply as a transport hub.
But the birthplace of Picasso has one of the loveliest Old Towns in Andalusia, stand-out Mediterranean beaches, and is the only city outside France with a Pompidou Centre.
A typical Mediterranean city, Malaga eats late and stays up late; especially at the weekend. Malagueños rarely sit down for dinner before 2100, bars keep long hours, and the party seldom gets started before midnight in most clubs.
Early evening drinks with sunset on the side are a local tradition along Playa de la Malagueta, Playa de la Caleta and in the Port district. But it’s the historic quarter where almost everything happens after dark in Malaga.
Cocktail bars and clubbing
The city’s sociable heartland sits between Plaza de la Constitucíon and Plaza de la Merced, in the old town. You’ll find dozens of bars and cafés here, ranging from quiet cocktail lounges to raucous pubs.
La Merced is the hip local area for trendy new tapas restaurants on Calle Carreteria and late-night clubs and live music along Calle Alamo. Picasso was born in this district, and he might well have liked its current incarnation.
Flamenco is alive and well on the Costa del Sol. Malaga’s version tends to be less touristy and more authentically Andalusian. For sheer theatre try Tablao Los Amayas on Calle Beatas. Or see Kelipé on Calle Muro de Puerto Nueva for a new generation’s take on the historic art form.