By Liz Carlson
As I stepped off the train in Málaga, the drop in temperature just about knocked me over. When I had left Córdoba one hour earlier, it was so hot you could fry an egg on the ground. But once I arrived in the ancient beach town, the air was cool and smelled like the sea. Just what I needed for my summer vacation.
Málaga is a big city in Southern Spain which is well connected by high speed trains and has an international airport to top it off. However, most people only pass through Málaga on their way to the big overdeveloped beach towns that cover Spain‘s famous Costa del Sol. But for me, I completely fell in love with Málaga itself. The charming old quarter is packed with cute cafes and little shops on beautiful promenades and boulevards overlooking the sparkling blue harbor and sea. I like combining my beach trips with sightseeing, which makes Málaga the perfect choice of Spanish beach destinations.
I stayed five minutes from Playa Huellín, which is close to the train station and offers inexpensive lodging. A long beach with a great boardwalk with delicious seafood bars, it’s popular with the locals. It’s right next to the harbor, so depending on the day the water is calm or rough, crystal clear or a bit dirty. You never know what you’re gonna get.
Playa de la Malagueta is probably the most well-known beach in Málaga. On the other side of the harbor next to the old quarter, it has an unbeatable location. Malagueta tends to stay calmer and cleaner, and with some leafy mountains with the Gibralfaro castle as a backdrop, it couldn’t be more picturesque.
If you catch the fast local train out of Málaga and head west, you’ll quickly end up in Fuengirola, a popular beach town on the south coast. Here the water is even bluer with bright sand dotted with straw parasols and beach chairs. Fuengirola has a more family vibe to it than Málaga city, and it’s very popular in the summer, with good reason: a 7km stretch of beach!
Perched high above Fuengirola in the mountains is the traditional white Andalusian village of Mijas. Complete with old world donkeys and some seriously breathtaking views of the Mediterranean, it is definitely worth the winding bus ride up to the top for a morning or afternoon stroll.
There are around 11 trains a day from Madrid to Málaga and from Sevilla to Málaga, which take around two hours. Driving to Málaga from Sevilla takes a bit longer than two hours, whereas from Madrid, it takes six hours.
Liz writes Memoirs of a Young Adventuress which is about traveling and expat life abroad.