By Amy Sawyer
Spain’s south coastline is an enormously popular holiday destination, thanks to the fantastic year round warm weather and the picturesque stretches of beach. A cruise in this area offers access to fascinating cities like Cartagena and Almeria and of course the famous Costa del Sol, where resorts like Malaga cater for holidaymakers of all types and tastes. Although this area is well known as prime sunbathing territory, and somewhere to kick back with a cool sangria after a hard day on the beach, there is also much to offer in the way of culture and entertainment.
Malaga is one of the main hubs of entertainment and culture on Spain’s south coast with many of the large cruise ships including Celebrity Cruises docking and departing from here. The city itself offers a wealth of things to see and do, from fine dining through to fun nights out. There are more than 20 museums to visit here, including the Fine Arts Museum and the Holy Week Museum. Particularly worth a visit is the Malaga Picasso Museum, which is located in the artist’s birthplace and sits in the historical centre of the city. Also in this area are some of Malaga’s most impressive architectural sights, such as the Alcazaba Fortress, Malaga Cathedral and Gibralfaro Castle, all of which provide a fascinating insight into the Malaga of years gone by. Entertainment in Malaga ranges from an early evening drink with a selection of delicious tapas, such as prawns pil pil and Spanish meatballs, to all-night clubbing hosted by internationally renowned DJS.
A short journey from Malaga are the resorts of the Costa del Sol, which arguably have some of the most constant entertainment and culture in the area. This is a renowned party district and holidaymakers flock here in droves to take advantage of the seafront bars, cheap drinks and fun club scene. Marbella, Fuengirola, Torremolinos and Nerja are within easy reach of each other, and of Malaga, and offer varying degrees of daytime and after dark entertainment. Nerja also has its very own prehistoric cave, as well as numerous other ancient sites that make it a unique destination for history lovers. Whilst the Costa del Sol is known for its entertainment, there is also culture here, from passionate flamenco performances to numerous museums and galleries. Whilst it might not be for everyone, the bullfighting that has always been deeply ingrained in the Spanish way of life is very present here and there are a number of bullrings in this area, including in the impressive structure in Marbella, which holds nearly 10,000 spectators.
Further west along the coast is Gibraltar, which is a part of Spain’s southern coastline that is well worth exploring. Gibraltar has held great historical significance for Spain and for the UK, and the Rock of Gibraltar is a major national landmark. The Gibraltar Museum is a great way to get to know the area and its past, with exhibitions on Gibraltar’s history, culture and natural history. Of course Gibraltar is also famous for its shopping and there are numerous restaurants, bars and music bars to provide entertainment for visitors of all ages, whatever the time of night or day.
Southern Spain has a very unique ethos and an identity all of its own that has to be experienced to be truly enjoyed. As well as these well-known sights, there are numerous small villages and quiet beaches where you can really immerse yourself in the relaxed local culture and wile away the hours with a glass of the local fortified wine and a good book – ‘when in Rome…’