Malaga

Directly on the Mediterranean and by the mouth of the river Gualdalmedina is Malaga. The old core of the city around the cathedral is incredibly beautiful and Malaga is a great city to spend a day in. Between the city and the port lies Paseo del Parque - the famous palm promenade that just explodes with exotic vegetation, oranges, bananas, bamboo, agaves, and cactuses and is a popular target for both the locals and the tourists.

There is an elegant fountain in Italian renaissance, Fuente Genovesa, at the end of the paseo and nearby you will find El Palo, El Padregalejo and La Malagueta with its many bars and sidewalk restaurants. Malaga is an excellent city to eat in and you will get one of the specialties at "Pescaito Frito", which offers fried fish and small sardines. Afterwards you can enjoy a good chilled "Fino" which is best enjoyed in one of the numerous old bodegas in the city.

Alcazaba is Malaga's biggest attraction, the Moorish impressive fortifications that in its heyday functioned as a palace with more than 100 towers and Mosques'. The fortress was founded around the year 1057 on the ruins of the Phoenician and Roman fortress construction and has since been restored. Behind the thick walls you will find numerous patios and flower gardens and behind the first port, Puerta de Cristo, the Christians celebrated the reconquest of Malaga with a Mass in 1487. On the top of the fortress Malaga can boast about a kind of mini Alhambra with pillars and horseshoe formed arcs. Throughout three centuries Malaga has been inhabited by different peoples and this has made the city rich on cultural memories.

Malaga, where Picasso was born, is the largest city on the Mediterranean coast and modestly thinks of itself as the capital of Costa del Sol, however, only few tourists choose to stay here. It has a somewhat dull position as one of Spain's poorer cities with high unemployment and criminality. Malaga is Spanish with all that this implies - infernal noise and dirt - and is at the same time a refreshing opposite to the well-polished big cities.

The Andalusia mood in this large harbor city fascinates - and when everything else is forgotten you will remember Plaza del Toros, the bullfighting arena that belongs to Spain's biggest and oldest arenas - it is from 1874. No less than 14,000 spectators can fit in here and although bullfighting is seen as animal cruelty in many countries it is still very much popular in Spain. Plaza del Toros regularly opens up for the gates to the spirited fights between some of Spain's best matadors and the most terrifying bulls. Moreover, under the Spanish Civil War the arena was center for mass executions of Franco's opponents. Plaza del Toros is open most of the day and you can normally visit it.

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