With the end of the school year, busy days at work, and friends visiting, our eastbound transatlantic trip did not receive the pre-travel attention we typically give our trips. This one felt more like a need to relax and unwind, less of an thirst to discover. We left rather unprepared with no real expectations, and decided to let ourselves get surprised. Hey, sometimes life gets in the way, and with all best intentions, all does not go as planned.
Malaga was a true surprise. We had watched the on-board Port Adventure channel to try to gain a limited knowledge of the port before disembarking, but we never expected the charm and quaintness we encountered.
The cruise terminal is about a 25-minute walk from the city center. Disney Cruise Line had organized a complimentary port shuttle to get us to 1 of 2 plazas in town. We chose the second stop, Plaza de la Marina, furthest away from the ship.
We were dropped off by a long and lush city park extending along the seaside. Armed with a map from the bus driver, we set ourselves to walk through Parque de Malaga towards the bull arena.
The beauty of Malaga resides in both its buildings, architecture, and ancient stones, as well as its luxuriant flora. Parque de Malaga would have been named a botanical garden in many cities around the world, but just seemed to naturally belong to Malaga. The kids found a couple of playgrounds and we slowly made our way to the end of it, stumbling upon several fountains and many beautiful trees and flowers.
HIKE TO CASTILLO DE GIBRALFARO
Once out of the park, we started the hike towards the castle sitting on top of the city of Malaga. The kids did remarkably well with walking up the path. We were thankful for the dry weather and shinning sun, as the ancient stones covering the path would have been super slippery if wet. My word of advice: arm everyone in your party with good walking shoes. Your efforts will be rewarded with some of the most beautiful views around the Mediterranean!
We got to see the bull fighting arena from above, with a backdrop of deep blue sea.
All along the hike, we played hide-and-seek with the Disney Magic and loved watching the city get smaller.
Once at the top, the workout was all worth it! We paid 4.40EUR to all get in. Inside, we found more of a fortress than a castle, though one of the old buildings was still standing and hosting an exhibit of old armors and arms.
We climbed to the very top of the wall and were rewarded with full 360 views of Malaga and its surroundings.
To the north and the east, a panorama so deep we could not see its end, offered all of its glory of mountains, quaint towns, sea and blue skies.
Expect a large amount of stairs and steep climbs inside the castle!
The wall descended all the way down to the city and we could picture knights, many moons ago, guarding their beautiful city and walking the same steps we were walked.
THE TOWN OF MALAGA
After spending a good hour soaking in the magic of the Castillo De Gibralfaro, we started our descent to the city.
Using a different path down, we ended up in the center of the old town.
Built in the 16th century, we first made our way towards the Catedral de la Encarnación de Málaga. Majestic and impressive, the cathedral alone is worth a trip to Malaga.
It is a chef-d’oeuvre of architecture.
Strolling down Malaga’s old streets, we came upon the Picasso museum. Malaga being the artist’s birthplace, the city honors him with a museum in his name, boasting over 200 of his paintings.
Lastly, having seen everything on our checklist, we allowed ourselves to stroll down the serpentine streets. Filled with many the little restaurants, they were the perfect place to enjoy lunch of early evening snacks. We passed countless terrasses of people enjoying smoked ham, olives, sangrias, and wine.
We were totally charmed by the town of Malaga. The history inside its walls was ever so present and surrounding us with all its glory. What a wonderful place to explore and discover. It was definitely a highlight of our trip!
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