Sofia Malagassa

Sofia oli vapaaehtoisena Espanjassa ja jakaa tässä vinkkinsä ajanviettoon Malagassa!

My Summer in Malaga

Sofia Manfrinato Fardim
Asociacion “Eo,Eo” - Volunteer CES
September, 2022

The heat is on in Malaga during July and August. The city buzzes with life; the old town is filled with tradition, history and culture; there are too many beaches to count; mountains and natural parks brim with stunning hiking tracks and adventure; there are quaint villages where you can get a taste for the slower side of Spain and what country life looks like... Malaga in the summer is the perfect place to jump into the Mediterranean while you jump into the Spanish language.

My summer in Malaga quite something, maybe not of the crazy adventure I imagined, but surely something worth the experience. Since I was still working in July, I spent most of the month around Alhaurin de la Torre.

 I took the opportunity to explore nearby nature and beaches. The mountain of Jarapalos in the Sierra de Mijas became of my favorite places to submerge myself in nature. I also cycled to the beach of Alamos in Torremolinos, a town about 10 km from Alhaurin, for sunbathing and a salty dip whenever I could. Of course, I attended some places in Alhaurin itself as well, one of which was
Finca El Porton. El Porton is a farm dedicated to the development of socio-cultural activities, including music-related events, dance, and visual arts. It hosts events such as international Jazz del Porton festival, where I saw the performance of Hermeto Pascoal. The farm offers a wonderful environment with a natural set, and a laid-back bar in the yard. Although Alhaurin de la Torre as a town doesn't have much to do, in my opinion, it's an optimal place to be surrounded by wonderful nature, peace and a myriad of local cafes and bars amid old Moorish-style streets. 

In mid-July we took the participants of the youth camps for an excursion to El Chorro, a natural park surrounded by mountains and the waters of the Guadalhorce River. It's one of the busiest areas for hiking and alternative sports in the Malaga province. 

The Conde Guadalhorce reservoir, where we spent the day with the youngsters, is one of the most visited places in the region and home to a number of water activities. You can rent canoes, paddle surfboards and pedal boats, or simply go for a swim. For those who prefer the mountains over water activities, there are plenty of stunning climbing walls and walking tracks. The path of the Gaitanejo, the Mirador de las Buitreras and the viewpoint over the reservoirs are the three points you cannot miss if you decide to visit. In the area you'll also find the Camino del Rey, a pathway previously known as "world's most dangerous walkway." After being closed for over a decade for extensive repair, it was reopened in 2015. Today is one of the major touristic attractions of Andalucia. 

Besides El Chorro, I visited the Pantano del Agujero, a Dam known for its beautiful walking paths, clean water and a good nature spot near the city of Malaga. The area is very calm and since the dam is no longer in use, it's a great place for having a refreshing swim in sweet water. 

In August, my mother came to Costa del Sol for a two-week visit. At that time, the city also celebrated its biggest event of all: Malaga Fair. The festival takes place in two areas; one during the day is located in the downtown area of Malaga and the night fair which takes place at Cortijo de Torres. With an
audience of about 2 million visitors, the Malaga Fair is an important event on the Costa del Sol. Indeed, my mother and I were baffled from the effort the city puts into the Fair; the streets of the city center were adorned with paper lanterns and floral displays. Booths were set up with performances for children and adults, music and dance (especially verdiales, the most characteristic local variant of flamenco). There were decked out horses and carriages attempting to make their way through it all. The sounds of flamenco and copla were everywhere, along with less traditional music. 

Independent of the fair, my mother and I went to Malaga as often as we could. The city is filled with tradition, history and beauty. I especially enjoyed showing her around the Old Town. The Alcazaba, Gibralfaro Castle, the Roman Theater, and Malaga’s Cathedral are just a few of the incredible monuments worth seeing. The Roman Theater is the oldest monument in Malaga and one of the only Roman ruins that can still be seen in Andalusia. It is a lovely place to be taken back in history and in the summer it’s a great place to see open-air performances. In the evening, we took a walk from the gardens
of the Alcazaba up to Gibralfaro Castle to see the sunset and have an amazing view of the city below; it is not only cooler at this time of day, but if you decide to take the stroll on a Sunday evening as we did, these monuments are also free to visit. 

In Malaga, there are too many beaches to count and trendy neighborhoods full of life and culture. One of the things I most enjoyed this summer was cycling across the coastline exploring the different neighborhoods and beaches that are aligned side by side. Once you start moving East, you get to more alternative areas such as Pedregalejo and El Palo; my two personal favorite beachfront neighborhoods with strong fishing traditions and a burgeoning scene. The beach of Pedregalejo has a beautiful promenade and a large number of restaurants and “chiringuitos”, with a young and laid-back atmosphere, and is divided into small and quiet "U" shaped coves that barely have any waves. Similarly, El Palo has plenty seafood bistros and beach bars amid distinctive green and yellow houses. Kayakers and paddleboarders head offshore from the linked beaches of Playas del Palo, while the seaside promenade is popular for biking and sunset walks. Of course, I also took my mother to these neighborhoods, and she fell in love with the openness of the people, the beautiful architecture and the salty sea.

Speaking of beaches, one of the definite highlights of this summer was visiting Nerja, a resort town along southern Costa del Sol. Its seafront promenade, Balcón de Europa, offers views of the Mediterranean and surrounding mountains. Below it lies sandy beaches and cliffside coves. Around Nerja the water is crystal-clear, perfect for snorkeling, and what you will find under the water will blow you away: coral reefs, and all kinds of fish that hide between the rocks. 

Maro is one of the beaches you cannot miss when visiting Nerja. Right next to Maro you'll find Cueva de Nerja, a nearby cavern with unusual stalactites and stalagmites, hosts popular summertime concerts. It's also known for its paleolithic paintings, viewable by guided tour. My mother and I stayed in Nerja for two days, which was definitely too little to soak in all the beauty and interesting things in the area. 

This summer I enjoyed myself exploring new places, the Spanish traditions, culture and nature. I hope my adventures in Andalucia only increase from here on, while the heat gets more tolerable and autumn creeps in.