I love Málaga, but it is sadly under-rated. Its name is synonymous with the airport destination for drunken Brits who scatter themselves - generally westwards - along the Costa del Sol. But it shouldn't be. Málaga is one of the oldest cities in the world; its culture and history date back to the Phoenicians in the eighth century BC. It is an elegant, vibrant and interesting city.
Málaga has been the home and birthplace of many famous people including Pablo Picasso and Antonio Banderas. It is home to art galleries - Picasso Museum, Carmen Thyssen Museum, CAC - museums and excellent shopping. There is far less of the tacky sombrero souvenir shopping than many expect. From the bus and train stations it is an easy meander to the tree-lined Avenida de Andalucïa and down to the port and the main attractions.
The port has just been refurbished, finishing touches are still being added to the 'Palmeral de las Sorpresas', a palm filled garden that runs along Wharf 2, with children's playground and quiet seating areas. The wharf takes you to the bars and restaurants, the lighthouse and, further round, the chiringuito-lined beaches. It is a pleasant place to sit - the sea on the one hand, skyline of the city on the other.
The skyline reflects Málaga's long and diverse history. Renaissance and Art-Deco buildings sit opposite the Paseo del Parque - a palm-shaded avenue that runs parallel to the port with botanical garden and quiet fountains. The walls of the Moorish palace Alcazaba, wind up towards the Castel Gibralfaro on top of the hill. The walk to the castle offers views across the city, and the port towards Africa. You can peek into the bullring from on high, as you rest against the bouganvillia lined walls. At the base of the Alcazaba is the Roman Theatre from where buildings of the sixteenth to twentieth centuries subtly blend as you wend through cool narrow streets to the Cathedral. The Cathedral's soaring, dark interior with fine sculptures and intricately carved choir stall is inspiring.
I could go on listing the marvels of Málaga, but the best thing to do is to experience it for yourself. I want people to recognise the city of Málaga for what it is - beautiful, interesting, lively - one of the best places to visit in Andalucía.