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Malaga

Malaga is the major coastal city of Andalucia and is a genuine and typical city with a gritty individualism untouched by tourism.

The Moors occupied the city until the mid fifteenth century, after which it grew to become one of the foremost merchant centres in the entire Iberian Peninsula. This illustrious past has left its imprint on the historic centre, particularly around La Alcazaba, a fortress, which dates back to 1065 and is now a fascinating archaeological museum.

Also worth a visit is the nearby castle, which was rebuilt by the Moors and is today a traditional parador (state hotel) with superb panoramic views. During the nineteenth century, Malaga was a popular winter resort for the wealthy, famed for its elegance and sophistication. The impressive park on Calle Alamdea dates back to this era and is recognised as being one of the most celebrated botanical collections in Europe. During the winter, open-air concerts are held here every Sunday, which makes a refreshing change from the bucket and spade scenario on the coast.

Picasso is the city's most famous Son and there are several galleries showing his work, including 16th century Museum of Fine Arts, adjacent to the Cathedral.

As well as being a cultural centre, Malaga is also a great place to eat out. The bars and restaurants here are where the real social life takes place. Malaga is closed for the siesta period, so this is a perfect time for a long relaxing lunch.

These days, Malaga prides itself on being a modern city with the heart of commerce dominated by Calle Larios, which is the local Bond Street equivalent. This is the recommended place to start exploring the City as it is surrounded by attractive small streets and plazas, as well as the magnificent cathedral.

Malaga airport is of course one of the major airports in Spain due to the number of tourist arrivals on charter flights from Northern Europe.

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