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5 Ways to Get off the Beaten Track in Malaga, Spain

5 Ways to Get off the Beaten Track in Malaga, Spain

One of the big advantages of sightseeing in Malaga is that the city is small and compact. This means you can see all the main attractions on foot and within a long weekend. But the down side to a small but popular tourist destination are the crowds. And if you choose to visit Malaga on a busy weekend or when a large cruise ship (or several) dock in town, it can be difficult to get away from all the other visitors.

But the good news is that Malaga offers plenty of scope for getting off the beaten track. And when you do so, you’ll not only escape from most of the guided tours, you’ll also discover a more authentic side to this city-break destination in southern Andalusia. In this article, we explore five ways of taking yourself beyond the usual tourist routes.

Author Name: Joanna Styles
Author Bio:  Joanna Styles is the creator and curator for Guide to Malaga, the go-to reference guide in English about the city of Malaga in southern Spain. Joanna is a specialist travel guide writer and updater, and has lived on the Costa del Sol for 30 years.

1. Stay Central

Stay Central
The easiest way to get off the beaten track in Malaga involves just a short walk from the centre. Make your way to the Carmen Thyssen Museum, take the narrow alleyway on the right and then start wandering. The maze of streets that await you take in a lesser-known but just as interesting part of the city. Some of the streets are as gritty as they come but take a step back to admire the fine architecture, pretty window boxes and taste of 19th-century Malaga.
Look out for these highlights on your way:

Vertical garden – tucked away down Calle Pozos Dulces, this steel structure comes carved with inspirational poetry and topped with pretty ferns and other hanging plants. See it as dusk when the sun’s rays soak the metal in gold.

Medieval walls – a sizeable chunk of the city’s medieval walls lies in Calle Carretería and you can see the other side from Calle Andrés Pérez. The information panel gives you an idea of what the walls would have looked like originally.
Find out more about this unusual corner of Malaga.

2. Go North

Go North
Another easy way to get off the beaten track in Malaga without walking too far is to head for Calle Victoria, off Plaza de la Merced. The northern district of the city has some great street art (murals and installations) and one of the most interesting churches.
Look out for these highlights on your way:

Street art – the maze of streets in the Lagunillas district (walk along any street on the left of Calle Victoria) houses a wealth of murals and fun installations. Look up as well as down as you make your way along and don’t miss the new giant mural at the end of Calle Victoria.

Basílica de la Victoria – the largest church in Malaga after the Cathedral hides an amazing crypt and Lady Chapel. Decorated entirely in black and white with skull and bones motifs, the crypt is one of the most surprising parts of the church. In complete contrast, the Lady Chapel soars high in wedding-cake tiers of white and blue.

3. Go East

Go East
Our next suggestion to get off the beaten track in Malaga takes you east, out of the city centre and into the fishing districts of Pedregalejo and El Palo. The best way to get here is by bike – just follow the seafront promenade out of the city and stop off along the way.
Look out for these highlights on your way:

Traditional fishing boats – known as jabegas, these long rowing boats with their hallmark all-seeing eye and snake were invented by Malaga’s first inhabitants, the Phoenicians. Nowadays they no longer fish but compete in races in Malaga Bay. Look out for them stowed on the beaches in El Palo.

Traditional fried fish – the eastern side of Malaga is one of the best places to try the local delicacy, pescaíto. Accompany some portions of these deep-fried tiny fish (anchovies, whitebait, baby-squid, etc.) with an espeto skewer of sardines, grilled on an open fire. You can’t go wrong in any of the bars and restaurants along the seafront and they’re all excellent value.

Find out more about the east side of Malaga.

4. Go West

Go West
Western Malaga isn’t quite as historic as the east, but it does offer one of the best beaches in Malaga, some very tall industrial chimneys and a couple of the best museums in town. Walk west from the city centre or get on your bike and follow the cycle lanes all the way along the seafront.
Look out for these highlights on your way:

Tallest building of them all – when it was built for the lead foundries in 1923, this giant brick chimney was the highest building in Spain. It’s still easiest the tallest in Malaga and you can see it from every view point.

Russian Museum – about half-way along the western seafront is the Russian Museum, home to a collection of art works from the Russian State Museum in St Petersburg. The exhibition changes yearly – in 2018, the works on display explore Soviet Realism in Art and provide a fascinating insight into what artists were permitted to paint under Soviet rule.

Car Museum – just next door is one of the world’s finest vintage car collections. From early Richard Picnic cars to James Bond stealth on wheels, this museum houses a long list of 4-wheeled treasures and is a must for any erstwhile car fan.

5. Go English

Go English
Our final way to get off the beaten track in Malaga takes you into an oasis of peace and quiet. The English Cemetery might be just metres from the busy Paseo de Reding and Muelle Uno, but go through the gates, guarded proudly by stone lions, and you enter a world of serenity. Established as a resting place for non-Catholics in 1831 – they were previously buried on the beach – the cemetery offers an interesting insight into Malaga’s expat history. Get a map when you enter and make your way round the graves and memorials.
Look out for these highlights on your way:

Gerald Brenan’s grave – one of the most famous British Hispanists and a long-time resident in nearby Churriana and Alhaurín, The Spanish Labyrinth author’s final stop is a simple tomb at the heart of the cemetery.

Memorial to the Gneisenau – the German warship sunk off Malaga Port in December 1900. Despite valiant attempts by local fishermen to save the ship, 41 crew were drowned including the captain as well as several of their rescuers. The elaborate memorial in the cemetery pays homage to all involved.