Malaga Spain Cruise Stop
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, 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.
This was day 13 of our transatlantic cruise on the Norwegian Epic. The ship 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.
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
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!
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.
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
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.
After lunch, we walked around downtown Malaga just to explore the city in more depth. Most of the areas we walked through were "pedestrian only", and as all the shops were open, we did a bit of window shopping.
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 slighly different route. We entered the Parque de Malaga from it's western end, and headed over to the beach nearest the cruise port. The 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.
- The Norwegian Epic Trans-Atlantic Cruise Overview & Guide This is a large ship; 1,081 feet long, 155,873 gross tons in weight, and 133 feet wide. We cover the ship from end to end in our overview page, click here to read more.
- Ponta Delgada Portugal: 3,198 miles from Port Canaveral. It is located on São Miguel Island, the largest and most populous in the archipelago. 137,856 (2012) island population and 62.1 kilometers in length by 15.8 kilometers in width. Click here to view our Ponta Delgada page.
- Funchal Madeira Portugal: 599 miles from Ponta Delgada. Population of 267,785. The island is 35 miles long and 13 miles wide and has 99 miles of coastline, but the shore is all rock and cliffs. It's a mountainous island; the highest peak is 1862 meters/6,100 feet high. Madeira is all mountains, no beaches. Click here to view our Funchal Madeira page.
- Cadiz & Seville Spain: 659 miles from Madeira. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Western Europe, with archaeological remains dating to 3100 years and was founded by the Phoenicians. Click here to view our Cadiz/Seville page.
- Malaga Spain: 141.5 miles from Cadiz. 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. Click here to view our Malaga page.
- Cartagena Spain: 199 miles from Malaga. With a population of 213,943 inhabitants, being the Region’s second-largest municipality and Spain’s sixth-largest non-Province-capital city. Click here to view our Cartagena page.
- Palma de Mallorca Spain: 334 miles from Cartagena. The capital and largest city of the autonomous community of the Balearic Islands in Spain. Population of 409,661. Click here to view our Mallorca page.
- Barcelona Spain: 153 miles from Palma. It is the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of Catalonia, as well as the second most populous municipality of Spain. With a population of 1.6 million within city limits. Click here to view our Barcelona page.
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