MALAGA locals have decided it is beach weather and along La Malagueta beach, dozens have gathered to soak up the winter sun.
No one’s quite daring to get in the sea, but the sun is out and the temperature in southern Spain is in the high teens.
Malaga is consistently one of the cheapest European cities to get to, with multiple airlines competing from regional airports.
And the new easyHotel Malaga City Centre makes staying there a bargain, too — the bright, cheery rooms with comfy beds start from just £35 a night.
Malaga has a lot more to it than mere affordability though.
The city is often seen as the gateway to the Costa del Sol, but it’s a buzzing destination in its own right with magnificent art.
There’s a Pompidou Centre, like the one in Paris, and Russian Museum, like the one in St Petersburg. But the starting point should be the Museo Picasso.
Pablo Picasso lived in Malaga until he was ten. Even if you’re not especially taken with his paintings, his life is fascinating.
As you make your way through the museum, you’ll spot the way he effortlessly switched styles while becoming the most famous artist on Earth.
The museum is close to three more of Malaga’s major attractions — the Roman Theatre, the Cathedral and the Alcazaba, an 11th-century fortress.
The Roman Theatre, at the foot of the Gibralfaro Hill, was rediscovered in 1951 after being buried for centuries.
The Cathedral is slightly more intimate and offers stellar stonework as well as a series of strange chapels. Some are reserved and solemn, while others are shamelessly blingy. But the highlight is the elaborately carved wooden choir stalls.
When it comes to Alcazaba, part of the fun is in getting there. Access is via a lift that rises through the middle of the ancient hill. Obviously, the lift isn’t original, as the citadel is nearly 1,000 years old.
The Alcazaba is a delightful maze of a place, with passages that lead out to courtyard gardens lined with orange trees. When you have had your fill of historic attractions, Malaga is a marvellous city to explore.
Starting at La Malagueta, stroll past the beach volleyball courts towards the old lighthouse, which sits amid a seriously spruced up port area.
Here you’ll find wonderful bars, restaurants and shops.
Running alongside the port is the Paseo del Parque, a gorgeous, park with a remarkable collection of palm trees. One’s from Madagascar, another India, another Paraguay, another the Bahamas. And on it goes.
The best way to get to know the city, though, is by exploring the side streets.
It feels purpose-built for grazing on the go, with hundreds of tapas bars and restaurants – some specialise in the local wines, some in Spanish craft beers and others in seafood.
If you’re yet to head abroad since the pandemic began, Malaga before the summer rush is a very enjoyable place to break that international travel duck.
The attractions are not crowded and the weather is perfect for curious snooping.
That it’s a cheap break is merely the icing on the churro.
COVID: You must be fully jabbed to visit Spain. Adults need to have been vaccinated in the past 270 days, but do not need to take any tests.
Unvaccinated kids aged 12-17 can enter, but need a negative PCR test,
taken within 72 hours of arrival. All must complete a health control form
within 48 hours of departure.
STAYING THERE: Rooms at the easyHotel Malaga City Centre cost from £35 per night.
GETTING THERE: EasyJet flies there from Bristol, Gatwick, Luton, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow. One way costs from £50. See easyjet.com.
For more info, see visitcostadelsol.com
We pay for your stories!
Do you have a story for UK Times news desk?