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Malaga Update

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View from San Nicolas apartment

I haven’t written anything about Malaga recently, so following a short visit there I thought it was time for an update on things to do, where to eat, and a quick look at some of our new apartments.

First up are three museums, which while not new, I’ve just recently visited. The Museum of Glass and Crystal is a fascinating exhibition with around 3,000 pieces spanning some 2,000 years of the art of glass making, set on the first two floors of a charming 18th century private residence (the owners live on the upper floors), complete with paintings, period furniture and a typical courtyard. In an hour-long visit you will be taken on a guided tour by one of the owners, whose enthusiasm and knowledge make this one of Malaga’s best small museums.

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Beautiful decorated glass from the Glass and Crystal Museum

Next was the Interactive Music Museum. For anyone, of any age, with an interest in music and musical instruments this is a must-see, with more than a thousand exhibits from around the world and through the ages. Unlike the “please don’t touch” rules of most museums, the slogan here is “please play them” (in Spanish tocar means both to touch and to play a musical instrument, so it’s a kind of pun), and each section of the museum has a space where you can experiment with some of the instruments and watch videos of others in use.

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Paco de Lucia and Robert Johnson – Interactive Music Museum

My personal favourite though, was the Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions. This can be found in the 17th century Posada (coaching inn) de la Victoria, which has been lovingly restored to preserve most of its original appearance. From the moment I went in I was completely charmed, and spent a happy hour wandering through rooms devoted to the daily working life of a Malaga house, the kitchen, bakery and dining room, and others to local crafts and industries, notably fishing, wine making, and olive oil production. Upstairs is a complete change of style, with rooms showing the family life of the 19th century bourgeoisie, and exhibitions of ceramics and religious objects. The friendly greeting from the receptionist also helped to make this a really enjoyable experience.

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Olive Mill – Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions

On the eating front I can hardly believe that I had never been to legendary churro outlet Casa Aranda. You have to have breakfast here at least once during your stay, and follow it with brunch at one of the bustling bars in the Atarazanas Market. Also new and worth going to are the Croqueteria Añil (more than just croquettes of course), Café Estraperlo, La Luz de Candela (Candlelight) and Óleo, the Sushi-fusion bar in the Contemporary Arts Centre (not new, but new to me). Our top rated new find was the El Señor Lobo café, essentially a burger and sandwich joint in the Soho barrio. Genuinely new (it’s only been open a few weeks) I really wish it every success. With good food, humourous wall scrawlings, and a wonderfully friendly and enthusiastic owner it certainly deserves it.

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the “Kevin Bacon” sandwich at Sr Lobo

We are also pleased to announce that Veoapartment has several top quality new one and two bedroom holiday apartments available for rent in Malaga. Los Alamos and Madre de Dios 2 are both near the famous Plaza Merced in the historic centre with easy access to monuments and beaches. San Nicolas, in the Malagueta (one of the central beach neighbourhoods), has stunning views of the Alcazaba and the harbour. The San Lorenzo and Martinez Campos complexes both feature 1 and 2 bedroom apartments and are located in the Soho neighbourhood, the triangle of land between the harbour, the historic centre, and the Guadalmina River, which has become famous for its street art.

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Apartment Martinez Campos 2

Malaga | Three New Museums

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Already an important centre for the arts, especially for a city of its size, with the Picasso Museum, Carmen Thyssen Museum and the Contemporary Arts Centre all being internationally recognised, Málaga has recently moved up a gear with the opening of the new Centro Pompidou Málaga, the Russian Museum and the Bullfighting Arts Centre.

new museums malaga

The new Pompidou Centre is, of course, an offshoot of the famous Pompidou centre in Paris’ one of the world’s largest and most prestigious collections of 20th century art, and only the second such after the Pompidou Metz. The agreement between Malaga and the Pompidou will last initially for five years, with the option of another five. The Málaga collection is being housed in the large glass cube at the end of Muelle Uno in the renovated port, a variation of the glass pyramid at the original.

The new centre will be in three sections. The first will house the permanent collection, consisting of around 80 paintings and other works by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Francis Bacon, Max Ernst, René Magritte and Rineke Dijkstra. The second will be for temporary exhibitions on particular themes (starting with Joan Miro’s works on paper, and female photographers of the 20s and 30s), lasting between 3 and 6 months. The third will be devoted to workshops for children and adolescents to encourage the next generation of artists.

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The Russian Museum, a branch of Saint Petersburg’s State Russian Museum, can be found in Málaga’s old Tobacco Factory (itself an important example of 1920s regionalist architecture), which it shares with the Automobile Museum. Its permanent exhibition is of Russian art from the fifteenth to twentieth centuries, with items ranging from Byzantine icons, through Romanticism and Avant-garde to Soviet Realism, and of every size from the very small to the monumental. The 1,000 or so works on display form the largest collection of Russian art in western Europe, and are a fascinating window onto a culture at once familiar and exotic.

The museum will also house a series of temporary exhibitions tracing the relationship of Russian and European art, an auditorium and reading room and digital resources creating a virtual museum of the parent institution, as well as a Children’s centre with computer games and creative workshops.

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The Centro Arte Tauromaquia can be found in the former tourist offices in the Plaza del Siglo in the centre of the old city, which have been totally renovated to accommodate a multi media salon and more than 300 pieces of the Juan Barco art collection, possibly the most complete and comprehensive in the world of bullfighting. Posters, paintings, drawings, photographs and sculptures, including works by Picasso, Goya and Salvador Dali. Definitely a must see for anyone fascinated by the romance of the bullfight.

These three new museums will make Málaga one one of the most important cities of art in Spain, and are a great reason to be one of the growing number of visitors here, whether you stay in a hotel or rent an apartment.

Granada | Museums

Although famous first and foremost for the great fortress and palace of the Alhambra, Granada is by no means a “one-horse town”, and has a wealth of history and culture to discover in its streets and monuments, and also in its many museums.

0228_carnero-granada-apartments-terrace-alhambra-views-spain-01view of the Alhambra from our Carnero apartment in the Albaicin

Until the 11th century Granada was a minor provincial town in the Caliphate of Córdoba, but in the mid 13th century, after the defeat of the Almohads (Moorish Kings of Seville) by the Christians, it became the capital of the Nasrids, the last Moorish rulers of Spain. They took over a small hilltop fortress called the Alhambra, and in the course of two centuries turned it into one of the most spectacular places on earth.

Two of Granada’s most important museums, the Alhambra and the Fine Arts are actually housed in the Carlos V Palace in the Alhambra complex. The Alhambra Museum has a large collection of ceramics and other objects used in the Nasrid palace complex, and of Mudejar art in general. The Fine Arts Museum has a collection of paintings and sculptures by artists such as Alonso Cano.

entrance to patio of Casa Castril

entrance to patio of Casa Castril

If you want to go right back to the beginning, the Archaeological Museum is the place to be. It has a huge collection of objects from the paleolithic era through to the end of the Moorish period. This museum is currently closed for renovations, though some of the exhibits can be seen at the Museo de la Memoria de Andalucia.

Statue of Einstein (courtesy of Wikimedia)

Statue of Einstein (courtesy of Wikimedia)

If modern is more your style you may want to visit the Science Museum. This is also a great one for the children, with lots of activities and interactive displays to awaken their interest in how things work. There’s a planetarium, and sections on the biosphere, perception and exploration, and also an observation tower that looks out over the city.

The Jewish contribution to the religious, cultural and intellectual life of late mediaeval Granada is remembered in two museums, the Sefardi Museum in the old Jewish neighbourhood of the Realejo, and the Palacio de Los Olvidades (the forgotten). Both give an insight into the daily life of the Jews in Granada, with collections of domestic and religious items and lots more.

For a closer look at the life of the Moors in Granada, pay a visit to the recently opened Casa de Zafra, a Nasrid mansion in the lower Albaicin that was incorporated into a convent. The tranquil courtyard with a pool is typical of the architecture of the period, and makes you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time.

Coffins of the Catholic Kings (courtesy of Wikimedia)

Coffins of the Catholic Kings (courtesy of Wikimedia)

Coming into the Christian period, the Royal Chapel (next to the Cathedral), has a collection of Royal and personal belongings of the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella, while the Casa de Los Pisa is home to the Museum of Juan de Dios (John of God).

Another very popular museum is the Sacramonte, which looks at life in the “Gypsy” neighbourhood of the Sacramonte. The area is famous for its cave houses, and the museum recreates a cave house of 100 years ago, and includes lots about the history of the neighbourhood and of Granada. There are also stunning views of the Alhambra and Albaicin from the area around the museum, that are worth making the journey for all by themselves.

Alhambra Museum and Fine Arts Museum
Palacio Carlos V
Tel: +34 958 027 900/929

Archaeological Museum (Casa de Castril)
Carrera del Darro, 41
Tel: +34 958 225 603

Science Museum
Avenida del Mediterraneo, s/n
Tel: +34 958 131 900

Museo Sefardi
Placeta Berrocal, 5
Tel: +34 958 220 578

Palacio de los Olvidades
Cuesta de Santa Inés, 6
Tel: +34 958 100 840

Casa de Zafra
Portería de la Concepción, 8
Tel: +34 958 180 079

Royal Chapel
Plaza de la Lonja, Gran Via, 5
Tel: +34 958 222 959

Juan de Dios (Casa de los Pisa)
Convalencia, 1
Tel: +34 959 222 144

Sacramonte Caves
Barranco de los Negros, s/n
Tel: +34 958 215 120

Malaga | 10 Things to do in Malaga

Malaga airport is the busiest in southern Spain, and every year tens of thousands of visitors pass through it on the way to various holiday destinations in the region. Sadly, all too many still think of Malaga itself as a somewhat tacky Costa del Sol beach resort, and don’t stop to see what it has to offer. And there’s lots. So much, in fact, that despite some cheating in the form of two things for one item, our list of the top ten things to do doesn’t include the Cathedral, most of the city’s eclectic collection of museums, or the famous Botanical Gardens, although it does include a few more unusual and personal choices that you might not find in the tourist guides.

malaga view from gibalfaro

1. Get a View from the Top

Take a bus or a taxi up to the top of the Gibralfaro Hill, visit the fortress, and have a drink on the terrace of the Parador Hotel. Both are worth doing in themselves, but the real attraction is the stunning view across the city and its harbour. It’s a great way to start your stay. Afterwards walk back down the path that leads to…

2. The Alcazaba

The 11th century Moorish palace-fortress complex stands on a rocky outcrop at the edge of the old centre. Reminiscent in many ways of the Alhambra, though smaller, it has some opulent living quarters and beautiful formal garden courtyards, though it’s principal function as a castle is always obvious. Nearby are the well-preserved Roman amphitheatre (rediscovered by chance in 1951), the Palacio Aduanas and…

3. The Picasso Museum

Málaga is the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, so a visit to the museum in the Palacio Buenavista is a must. Although it’s not by any means the biggest Picasso collection it does have some interesting works and special exhibitions in a gorgeous building complete with Phoenician ruins in the basement. While you’re in the centre of town you should also look in at the Carmen-Thyssen museum, and the house in Plaza Merced where Picasso was born. From Plaza Merced…

4. Walk the Main Drag

For a flavour of the historic centre walk down Calle Granada, past the church of St James and the Restaurant El Pimpi to the Plaza de la Constitución, and on down Calle Larios, perhaps the most elegant shopping street we’ve seen in Spain, to the entrance to the old harbour, now totally refurbished and known as…


5. Muelle Uno

muelle unoThe inner harbour has recently been redeveloped as a shopping and leisure area, with a marina and restaurants where you can watch the sun sparkling on the water while you eat. The old landmarks of the lighthouse and the fishermen’s chapel preserve some of the original character of the port. Stroll the Paseo El Palmoral de las Sorpresas to…

6. Málaga Park

Beside the harbour is the long shady promenade through Málaga Park, full of exotic plants, statues and one of my favourite “water features” anywhere. Although it’s right next to the main road it’s still a peaceful oasis and a lovely place to walk or just sit for a while. There are more gardens across the street with little hidden paths below the walls of the Alcazaba.

7. Atarazanas Market

No visit to a Spanish city would be complete without going to its main market. The Atarazanas has been refurbished in recent years, but has a history dating back to Moorish times, when it was the city’s shipyard (and on the waterfront). There are the usual great displays of fresh produce, a market bar with really fresh tapas, and more unusually, a big stained-glass window at one end.

8. The Automobile Museum

A little way out of the centre, but still easy to get to, is the Automobile Museum, regarded as one of the best of its kind in Europe. Housed in the splendid old tobacco factory building it boasts a large and immaculately maintained collection of vintage and modern cars, as well as fashion and art exhibitions. Definitely worth a visit even if you’re not an enthusiast.

9. Pedregalejo Fishing Village

Take a walk out along the palm-tree-lined seafront road from Malagueta Beach, past the rustically dilapidated Baños del Carmen, to the fishing village of Pedregalejo. Have a seafood lunch or dinner at one of the beachfront restaurants where they grill your food on a barbecue, and stroll along the wooden boardwalk beside the Mediterranean Sea.

10. Tapas

Malaga has a thriving and innovative tapas culture, with lots of great places to eat from small traditional tapas bars to beachfront chiringuitos to stylish world-class restaurants. If you find the whole tapas thing a bit daunting then born-and-bred Malagueño Victor Garrido can take you on a tour of the best traditional and gourmet tapas bars and show you how it’s done (in five languages!). We Love Malaga Tapas Tours

Malaga | Automobile Museum

Michael Jackson's Swarovski crystal-studded Rolls Royce

Michael Jackson’s Swarovski crystal-studded Rolls Royce Silver Cloud

As well as its beaches, monuments, historic old centre, parks and gardens and great places to eat, the city of Malaga has one of the largest and most varied selections of museums in Spain, outside of Madrid and Barcelona. Here you can find not only the expected, such as the Picasso museum (he was born in Malaga), the Carmen Thyssen Art museum, and museums celebrating local history, but also the unexpected, such as the interactive music museum or the Crystal and Glass museum. One of our favourites, which you can find a little way outside the city centre to the southwest, is the Malaga Automobile Museum, regarded as one of the best of its kind anywhere in the world.

It’s housed in what was once Malaga’s tobacco factory, built in the 1920s in a style that makes a perfect backdrop for the collection of shiny vehicular machinery within, which spans the entire period from vintage cars of the late 19th century “Belle Epoque”, the earliest still looking like aristocratic carriages and coaches with the horses removed, right up to the present, and beyond, with the concept cars of the future. For the enthusiast and the more casual visitor alike the names of the famous classic marques roll off the tongue. Bugatti, Ferrari, Rolls Royce, Cadillac, Jaguar, Hispano Suiza and many more. And you will also recognise the names of some famous car owners, such as John Lennon and Michael Jackson.

John Lennon's psychedelic Phantom-V Rolls Royce

John Lennon’s psychedelic Phantom-V Rolls Royce

If you’re not an auto enthusiast, there are exhibits for you too. The collection of high fashion hats of the 1920s is fascinating, as is the gallery of themed artworks, and if you’re in Malaga this weekend be sure to catch the special exhibition, the Jazz Years, featuring the cars, clothes and accessories of the 20s and 30s, on Saturday. Definitely a great place to spend an hour or three.

For information on the location, price and opening hours of this and other museums have a look at our Malaga museums page.

If you’re looking for a place to stay we now have a range of high quality rental apartments in Malaga.