Malaga: the southern Spanish city with style, sun and sand

(Image credit: Photo © Chasan/

Why this stylish Spanish city should be on your European city break list…

Madrid and Barcelona have their fair share of visitors, but Malaga is very much up there when it comes to spectacular Spanish city breaks. Here are a few reasons we love this southern coastal gem.

1. There’s amazing art in Malaga

From great painters like Pablo Picasso to up-and-coming street artists, Malaga has its finger on the pulse of the world’s creatives. The impressive Pompidou Centre, with its rubix-cube-like glass structure on top, is the place to see a true variety of works, with changing exhibitions borrowed from its sister-museum in Paris.

Don’t miss the Museu de Picasso to get inside the mind of one of the 20th century’s greatest painters. You’ll find street art in Soho, once a gritty, run-down neighbourhood which has been transformed into a canvas for the local creatives.

2. It’s seriously chic

Competing with Barcelona and Madrid isn’t easy, but Malaga holds its own when it comes to style. Experience this at its best at the Gran Hotel Miramar. Opened in 1926, this historic hotel exudes elegance and feels like it’s sprung right from the pages of The Great Gatsby. The front of the grounds are decorated with jungle style gardens with sky-high palm trees, while the back boasts of an impressive swimming pool with plenty of day-beds to sunbathe on.

The inside décor is mix of modern white marble with a splash of Moroccan inspired features. Relax during the day poolside or in the hotels wellness centre and spa, which offers a large range of treatments. Then move into the evening sipping on a cocktail at the Miramar’s rooftop bar and take in the spectacular views of the city.

Book it: Rooms at Gran Hotel Miramar Malaga start from €250 (approx. £223) per night based on two sharing a Premier Room, including tax/service.

3. There’s a few brilliant beaches

Malaga’s main beach – Playa de Malagueta – is the city’s most accessible stretch of sand (especially if you’re staying at the Miramar, which overlooks the sand and sea here). There are beach bars aplenty for seaside cocktails, and sunbeds galore for when you need to soak in those rays with a good book.

But beyond the city centre, this stretch of the southern Spanish coast is awash with excellent coves and beaches. Nerja is an hour east of Malaga and is a cute little fishing village with a great stretch of golden sand, and in the other direction, Marbella is famous for the blingy, brash breaks of the rich and famous. For something a little more refined, though, head to Puerto Banús just five miles from Marbella.

4. It’s easy to reach

Just a couple of hours from the UK by plane, Malaga couldn’t be easier to reach. There are daily flights from numerous UK airports, including Bristol, Glasgow and Manchester, and prices start from around £23 each way.

Book it: Explore Malaga and beyond on Riviera Travel’s Undiscovered Andalucia tour from £959pp. Request the brochure here.

5. There’s heat year-round

Even in the depths of winter, highs reach 20ºC in Malaga. This city is on Spain’s far southern coast and is just a hop over the Mediterranean from Morocco. This means it’s warm pretty much all year round. The best time to visit Malaga is in spring or autumn, when the summer crowds have gone and prices are a little more affordable. You’ll even get highs of 24ºC in October time, so you can enjoy some late summer sun for a long weekend.