Every summer millions flock to Europe crowding beaches, forming queues to all the best spots and booking each and every hotel room. Many of these top destinations are both fascinating and fun to visit during their off-seasons, and Malaga is no exception.
Although colder it’s certainly not unbearable with temperatures at a cool 15ºC and up. The capital of the Costa del Sol is ideally located behind mountains to the north and nestled by the southern sea. This creates its own little microclimate during the winter, keeping the air warm and the skies almost always sunny.
There’s no reason you can’t have a quick getaway and sample the food, sights, enjoy the beach and even attend special events exclusive to early year. A rugged and beautiful landscape awaits with hikes, surfing and even skiing. That’s not to mention the city itself, which is filled with world-class restaurants, architecture as well historic sights.
Malaga’s history dates back to 770BC, making it one of the oldest cities on the planet still standing. The centre’s old district is incredibly beautiful with buildings of both ancient and medieval design filling the roads. Visitors can still walk by the city walls built in the Phoenician era and further architectural remains are visible at the Museo Picasso Malaga.
Other museums include the Interactive Music Museum filled with kid-friendly displays, touchscreens and playable instruments. The museum sheds light on the history of instruments from all over the world.
Pablo Picasso was born in Malaga and the house in which he was now stands as a museum to him. It can be found in Old Town and displays 233 of his original works spanning his life and career. Just north is the Basílica Nuestra Señora de la Victoria – a 17th Century Baroque church and listed historic monument.
If you’re truly interested in history or simply appreciate incredible design then be sure not to miss Malaga’s Cathedral and the old Moorish castle. The castle, named Alcazaba de Málaga, was a stronghold of Moorish kings built in the 9th Century on the ruins of a Roman Bastion.
The Cathedral was built in the 16th Century, it amazes people with its intricate ornaments and spacious interior. Visitors can ascend the 86 meter high North Tower for pictures and panoramic views.
As a Spanish coastal town you can imagine Malaga is filled with the finest quality meat and fish, as well as regional olives, almonds, grapes, vegetables and much more. There are some key dishes worth trying any time of the year.
One dish famous to the city is the Plato de los Montes de Malaga. It translates to mountains of Malaga and lives up to the name. It’s a stack of almost everything typically including fried potatoes, chorizo, black sausage, fried green peppers and pork and even a fried egg. This dish is particularly popular in the winter as it will fill you up on colder days.
Gazpachuelo Malagueño is another regional dish and winter favourite. Fisherman used to call it El Palo, a simple and cheap soup of basic fish, potatoes, water, salt, mayonnaise, white wine and vinegar. Over generations though it’s been perfected to one of the city’s most popular dishes, containing freshly caught prawns, langoustines and mussels.
Of course, heading to the beach and sampling the fried fish caught daily is one of the best options, especially for lunch. You can use local olive oil and flour to pick and fry a variety of the freshest fish from Alboran Sea.
There are wold-class golf courses along Costa del Sol easily accessible by car. Real Club el Candado is in Malaga itself and on low season there are likely more open days to golf, play tennis and eat at the restaurant – with views of sea and mountain it makes a beautiful location.
Although Malaga is popular because of the coast and awesome beaches the mountains prove to be one of the main reasons to visit during winter. Renting a car and taking skis up to the Serra Nevada mountains, just 100km away, makes for a great day out. The Sierra Nevada Ski Station has the highest skiable vertical drop in Spain and has daily, consecutive and family passes.
Don’t forget, even in winter there’s plenty of beach days. Costa del Sol has miles and miles of stunning soft sand beaches with attractions and some of the best seaside restaurants residing in Malaga. Even if you don’t want to swim with 300 days of sunshine per year there’s no reason not to play a game of volleyball, or simply a run along the breathtaking coast.
If you enjoy hiking then the Nature Reserve Sierra de las Nieves is definitely for you. This mountainous area of mostly untouched land is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and one of the most beautiful national parks of all Spain. It has a rich variety of indigenous flora – but be aware, in winter some areas can be snow covered.
The Málaga Film Festival or Málaga Spanish Film Festival (FMCE) is being held in March on Friday 15th to Sunday 24th. It’s a week of screenings of important Spanish film releases from last year including documentaries and short films.
There are also live music DJ sets, violin Recitals and showings of Broadway the Musical all across April. Museums such as the Picasso museum will also hold special exhibitions.
Let Sixt take you away…
Sixt has 2 convenient stations in Malaga, with one in the train station and one at Malaga Airport; located in Terminal 2 and 3 at Llegadas. With such a host of activities from sea to mountain we would especially recommend a 4×4 so you can bring beach equipment, skis, or simply fit the whole family. Malaga is a special place year round and ideal in winter if you want a holiday away from crowds, giving you peace on your adventure as you explore all there is to see.