ABOVE: Shoppers and a trio of businessmen
enjoy a late afternoon in Málaga's pedestrian zone.
Málaga shore excursions
from: Port of Málaga
Málaga is best known as the holiday
capital of the Costa del Sol, but it's much more than a resort: It's a city of
530,000 and the capital of a province that's home to 1.25 million Spaniards and
For cruise visitors, Málaga is also
a sea gateway to Granada and the Alhambra, the Moorish palace and garden complex
that was celebrated in Washington Irving's Tales of the Alhambra. The
standard all-day shore excursion from Málaga to the Alhambra requires four to
five hours of sitting in a bus, so the trip appeals mostly to visitors who
figure they'll die before they have a chance to tour Spain on their own.
On my Regatta cruise,
Oceania Cruises had another shore excursion, "Mijas: The Charm of Village Life,"
that sounded less grueling. The four-hour trip included a 90-minute walking tour
of Mijas, a hill town with views of the Andalusian coast, with free time to shop
for crafts or take a donkey ride.
In the center of Málaga, you'll
find a number of interesting places to visit:
The Alcazaba is a Moorish
fortress with gardens that you can easily walk to from the port.Take a look at
the adjacent Roman Theatre, which was being restored during my visit. If
you're ambitious, you can walk up to the hilltop fortress of Gibralfaro
for spectacular views of the city and coast. (Allow 15 minutes if you're fit,
and take a cab or bus if you aren't. The smooth stone path can be slippery and
steep, so don't try it without rubber-soled shoes.)
The Cathedral is lovely, and
it's said to be the third-largest Gothic cathedral in the world. The admission
price includes the use of an audioguide. If you're lucky, you may hear one of
the two 18th Century organs being played. You can buy an outstanding CD,
Les Orgues de la Cathédrale de Malaga, in the cathedral shop.
Málaga has many other churches and
museums--among them, the Picasso
Foundation museum, which displays ceramics, graphics, and book illustrations
by the late artist. (The foundation is in the house where Pablo Picasso was
If you're a shopper, begin your
expedition at the historic Atarazanas food market (open 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.,
Monday through Saturday), then head for the lively shopping district in the city
center. Most shops close from 1:30 p.m. until 4:30 or 5 p.m., so do your
shopping before lunch if your ship has an early departure.
TIP: When you're hot and
thirsty, look for a standup milkshake bar along the pedestrian street just west
of the Plaza de la Constitution. Order an
"chufa milk," which may be the most refreshing summer drink ever invented. In
the United States, you can order
horchata by the liter
information on Málaga and the Alhambra, see:
Port of Palma de Mallorca