Exploring the Charms of Andalusia's Mediterranean Gem
We were onboard the Norwegian Cruise Lines 'Epic' on
a repositioning cruise from
Port Canaveral, FL to Barcelona with various stops along the way - the fourth stop
Malaga is 4,597.5 sea miles from Port Canaveral and 141.5 sea miles from Cadiz. It is a municipality, the capital of the Province of Málaga, in the Autonomous Community of Andalusia, Spain. With a population of 571,026 in 2018, it is the second-most populous city of Andalusia and the sixth-largest in Spain. The southernmost large city in Europe, it lies on the Costa del Sol (Coast of the Sun) of the Mediterranean, about 100 kilometres (62.14 miles) east of the Strait of Gibraltar and about 130 km (80.78 mi) north of Africa.
Malaga Quick History Lesson: Málaga's history spans about 2,800 years, making it one of the oldest cities in Europe and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. According to most scholars, it was founded about 770 BC by the Phoenicians as Malaka. From the 6th century BC the city was under the hegemony of Ancient Carthage, and from 218 BC, it was ruled by the Roman Republic and then empire as Malaca (Latin). After the fall of the empire and the end of Visigothic rule, it was under Islamic rule as Mālaqah for 800 years, but in 1487, the Crown of Castille gained control after the Reconquista. The archaeological remains and monuments from the Phoenician, Roman, Arabic and Christian eras make the historic center of the city an "open museum", displaying its history of nearly 3,000 years.
Some Interesting facts about Malaga Map
- Malaga's most famous son, Picasso, has a museum with his most personal works on display.
- While other Andalucian cities have their Alcazars, Malaga boasts not one but two Moorish castles.
- From Hollywood to Semana Santa, nice guy actor Antonio Banderas is loyal to his beloved Malaga.
- Malaga comes in fourth behind Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia in economy activity in Spain. The most important economy and business sectors in Malaga are tourism, construction and technology services. Other sectors like transportation and logistics are also beginning to expand. Other sectors like transportation and logistics are also beginning to expand. Also, new innovations are being inaugurated day by day.
- The climate in Malaga is subtropical-Mediterranean with mild winters and hot summers. Malaga enjoys an average of 300 days of the sunshine and 50 days of rain each year. Because of its good weather, it attracts so many visitors yearly. Even birds fly from cold climate to this city for shelter in winter.
Exploring Malaga Map
The Norwegian Epic arrived in Malaga harbor at 7AM, and as this city was one that I had visited numerous times while serving in the Navy, our initial game plan was to visit the Castle of Gibralfaro and then the Alcazaba.
The Castle of Gibralfaro sits on Mount Gibralfaro with a commanding view of the harbor and there has been some type of fortification there since 770 BC.
Once the Epic was in position at it's pier and the passengers were allowed to go ashore, we set out for the Castle of Gibralfaro.
As we were walking down the pier towards Malaga, we heard the Epic sound it's emergency horn signal (7 short blasts and 1 long). We found out later that it was a practice drill, but initially we were a bit worried about whether there was a real emergency or not! Imagine being ashore in Spain and your passports and all of your clothes are destroyed for some reason ! These were the kind of thoughts that came to mind when we heard the emergency horn.
Gibralfaro is approximately 2 kilometers from where the Epic was located, and the walk there takes you through El Parque de Malaga. It is nearly impossible to get lost, because the Gibralfaro sits high above the park and the path up to the castle starts near the Calle Gullen Sotelo which is located about two blocks north of the park. All of this means is that the trail and the Gibralfaro are always in your sight.
Did I mention that the weather this day was gorgeous, warm, not a cloud in the sky - but - it was getting warmer by the minute!
The Castillo Gibralfaro Map
The Castillo Gibralfaro
There is our goal in the center right of this picture, and the Alcazaba is just to the left and below it. You can't quite make out the walking trail up to the top, but you can get an idea of how steep it must have been.
All of the documentation online claim that Mount Gibralfaro is but 130 meters (430 feet) in height and it is obviously not the highest point in Malaga. But that trail to the top is such a continously steep trail, it makes the height seem much higher!
NOTE: Our apologies for the haze in the above image, but there isn't much that can be done about it (and believe me, we have tried all the usual stuff). Point being that this is a great image of the Alcazaba from the harbor area.
The trail up to Gibralfaro is steep, continously steep such that I should warn you that if you are not in good physical condition, do not attempt this trail! It was hot, and we found ourselves pausing under shady trees frequently!
However on the plus side, the views of Malaga below us, and the views of the Harbor, were beautiful. The city and the harbor beyond, were both displayed like postcards below us. The walking distance from where the Norwegian Epic was tied up, was approximately 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) but when you add in the heat, the steepness of the trail, etc, we felt like we had accomplished a serious goal by the time we reached the peak!
I have visited Gibralfaro a number of times while in the Navy, and distinctly remember making this hike up to Gibralfaro several times, but it was far less difficult at that age than my current age!
Once we reached the top of the trail and began to explore the Castillo Gibralfaro, the views were stunning and it was clear that the purpose of this castle was to protect the harbor below.
From this vantage point, you can see history and modernity intertwined. The ancient Moorish walls of the Alcazaba, a silent testament to a bygone era, stand guard beside the sleek glass towers of modern Malaga. The vibrant colors of street art adorn buildings, adding a splash of contemporary flair to the ancient backdrop.
NOTE: Click here to view a set of Googe Images of Castillo Gibralfaro.
After completing our exploration of Castillo Gibralfaro, we hiked back down the trail we had ascended with the intention of exploring the Alcazaba.
As the day was getting increasingly warmer, and we were already pretty tired from the walk up Mount Gibralfaro and then down again, we had not considered how to get to the Alcazaba entrance. So we first went in the wrong direction, only to find that it became a dead-end. So we retraced our steps back along the Alcazaba walls toward Castillo Gibralfaro, and went through a tunnel which brought us around to the other side of the fortress where we could finally see the Alcazaba entrance.
NOTE: Our mistake is that we walked along the Paseo Juan Temboury which parallels the wall surrounding the Alcazaba. What we should have done is not turned left onto the Paseo, but turned right to enter the tunnel (name is 'Calle Mundo Nuevo') which brings you to the other side of the Alcazaba. Once you are on the far side, you need to continue to the first intersection and turn left there to get to the Alcazaba entrance.
After we completed our look around the Alcazaba, we decided to walk about Malaga and try to locate the Picasso Museum. This was not what you might call a "large" museum, but they do have two floors of various works by Picasso, including paintings, drawings and ceramic sculptures. It should be noted that Picasso was born in Malaga, so there is a fair amount of reverence for him around the city.
After the museum exploration, we decided that it was time for lunch. We walked over to the Calle Granada and read the menu at D'Platos. This was essentially a tapas restaurant, but we were able to snag outside seating and enjoyed a couple of adult beverages with our tapas.
Calle Marqués de Larios area
After lunch, we walked around downtown Malaga just to explore the city in more depth. We explored the Calle Marqués de Larios area (pedestraian shopping area), and as all the shops were open, we did a bit of window shopping.
Named after Manuel Domingo Larios y Larios, a prominent local businessman, the Calle Marqués de Larios is a testament to the city's prosperity and cultural heritage. The street is a haven for shoppers, offering a wide array of luxury brands, trendy shops, and traditional artisanal stores. Strolling along its wide, marble-paved promenade, visitors can marvel at the architectural grandeur of the surrounding buildings, adorned with ornate facades and intricate ironwork.
After strolling back to the area nearest the harbor, we decided that it was time to head back to the Epic, but to do so via a slightly different route. We entered the Parque de Malaga from it's western end, and headed over to the beach nearest the cruise port.
The park is not only a place of natural beauty but also a cultural haven. It is home to numerous sculptures and monuments, including the iconic statue of Hans Christian Andersen, paying homage to the renowned Danish author. Walking paths meander through the park, inviting visitors to explore and discover hidden corners.
The Chiringuito Mami Beach was crowded because it was such a beautiful day, many families and children having a lot of fun - but not many people were in the water?
All passengers were required to be back on the ship by 6:00PM, so we concluded our beach exploration/stroll and walked back down the pier to get back to the ship's location and have dinner onboard.
- Just Traveling Thru European Travel Tips
- Just Traveling Thru Travel Planning Tips
- 17 Best Hiking Trails near Malaga on the "Visit Southern Spain" site
- The best bicycling routes in the Malaga Spain area on the "Escapada Cycling" site
- Malaga History on the 'Malaga' site
- Discovering Malaga on the "Guide to Malaga" site
- Top Things to do and see in Malaga on the 'Crazy Tourist' site
- 10 Awesome Things To Do and See In Málaga on the 'Culture Trip' site
- Google Search Results list for "Malaga Restaurants"
- Google Search Results list for "accommodations in Malaga"
You should be aware that Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) varies where their ships go, as well as what ships they will reposition. To determine where NCL is sending what ships, you should visit their website. Our list of ports below, is based upon what the "Epic" did when we were onboard in 2019.
Norwegian 'Epic' Cruise Overview
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