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Málaga & Costa del Sol: Laid Back Coastal Spain at it’s Finest

When I decided to take Spanish language courses abroad this past summer I had no idea where I wanted to go.  My only 2 criteria were to live by a nice beach & find a good language school.  As I did research about the different areas of Spain I learned that the southern region of “Costa del Sol” which means Coast of the Sun, had the best beaches in Spain.  From here I found a great school outside of Málaga, called Málaga Si, and the rest is history.

A view of my daily routine while living in Málaga

A view of my daily routine while living in Málaga

Málaga & Andalucia

Málaga is located on the southern tip of Spain and is the second largest city in the region of Andalucia.  As I said in my entry about Barcelona, all 5 regions are very different from their culture to the language spoken.  Fortunately they speak “Spanish Spanish” here, but unfortunately I later learned that it’s the hardest place in the World to learn Spanish.  This is due to the locals “accent” aka they speak with a bit of a lisp and ridiculously fast.  Although most of the locals don’t speak English they are super friendly and helpful, and this is also great for those trying to learn Spanish. The lifestyle in Andalucia is extremely laid back and this is one of the things that made me fall in love with this sunny region of Spain.

City Center

Málaga is actually a very important port city but has much more to offer tourists due to it’s rich history.  A Phonecian Fort, which was later taken over by the Romans, and a Moorish Castle overlook the city.  In the city center there is an enormous cathedral, and also famous painter Pablo Picasso was born here and you are able to visit his actual house and a great museum as well.  Aside from sight seeing and enjoying the Spanish culture there is great shopping, tons of charming tapas bars and good nightlife in the city.

A view of Málaga from the highest point in the city

A view of Málaga from the highest point in the city


Málaga’s nightlife isn’t quite on the same scale as larger Spanish cities like Madrid and Barcelona but is still a lot of fun.  I would recommend just wandering around the main center and plazas to check out some smaller bars before heading to the clubs around 2.  Some of my favorites included Shamrock, which serve delicious €5 liter sized Mojitos and also loved few Irish Pups such as Morrisey’s and Celtic Druid’s.  The clubs in Málaga are quite small but make up for it with their amazing djs, wide range of music, and amazing drink specials.  Some great clubs to check out are White, Cool, Opium, Sala Wenge, Sala Mancola, El Barco, Santa Trinida, and Liceo.  For the latest parties in Málaga add NightParty Malaga on Facebook.  *Just a little tip, most clubs don’t provide toilet paper due to the old plumbing, so be sure to bring some or you’re SOL.

Enjoying my cheap liter mojito...yummm

Enjoying my cheap liter mojito...yummm


Don’t worry it took me a month of living here to pronounce what area of Málaga I lived in correctly, but Pedregalejo is a small fishing village just 15 minutes east by bus from the city center.  I lived in a great apartment, across from my school and one street from the beach, I couldn’t have been happier.  The beaches here are much better than the main beach in the city called Malgaleta.  Also the area is super laid back and has a bunch of great little seafood and tapas restaurants right on the boardwalk.  Definitely take the bus and check out this area for a relaxing day at the beach and some fresh seafood that’s cooked on the beach.

Sarah from France, Paige from Texas and I enjoying a nice late dinner on the boardwalk

Sarah from France, Paige from Texas and I enjoying a nice late dinner on the boardwalk

Other Cities on the “Costa del Sol”

For many people Málaga is just a stop before heading to nearby cities on this beautiful coast.  Many tourists head to Benalmadena and Torremolinos for their crazy parties and beautiful beaches.  Also Marbella is a short 45 minute bus ride and is absolutely gorgeous.  If you make it there be sure to check out Puerto Banus, which is a must see.  It consists of a gorgeous harbor with ridiculous yachts and very nice but expensive restaurants.

Yup this picture pretty much sumes up Puerto Banus

Yup this picture pretty much sums up Puerto Banus

Hope this helped those of you that are interested in traveling to the south of Spain to enjoy their amazing beaches and laid back lifestyle.  I would really recommend Málaga to those of you that want to study abroad and get a true “Spanish” experience.  Let me know if you have any questions about the area or about my adventures while living there! :) Also look at my pictures on Flickr for a better idea of what life in Málaga is like!


  1. On October 11, 2010 @ 5:35 pm mary m said

    i am a high school student, and i’m considering a trip to malaga next summer as part of a spanish immersion program. my parents are definitely concerned about safety. did you have any sketchy experiences while in spain?

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