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What I Really Thought of Malaga’s Beach City

During the planning stages of our first trip to Spain, my friend and I, of course, focused on the most popular locations: Barcelona, Madrid, and Seville. Due to time, we eventually eliminated Barcelona, but coincidentally, we were separately both eyeing Malaga as it was a recommended beach city. What coastal girl can resist?

Photo by Thabang Mokoena on Unsplash
Photo by Thabang Mokoena on Unsplash

Day trip by train

Coming from the above popular cities, you’ll likely end up with a couple of hours on a train to get to this destination. You’ll want to consider the cost of money and time. 

As with any of the Renfe trains, try to buy your tickets as early as possible. This will save you LOADS of money. 

When I was considering purchasing tickets from Paris to Lyon, it was $98. By the time it was a confirmed stop, tickets had gone up $300ish! Buy early.

We purchased Malaga tickets months in advance and were able to upgrade to first class, which comes with a meal, for a $10 difference from economy.

Dining can be a bit challenging

This is not necessarily a big deal for everyone, but it’s worth pointing out.

Granted, I was only there one day and experienced one restaurant where we sat outdoors. The staff were great, the food was delicious, and the Sangria was exactly what we needed.

Dining plaza @ Malaga Beach City, right by Teatro Romano
Dining plaza @ Malaga’s beach side, right by Teatro Romano

The issue was that there was a decent amount of flies and eating involved some coordination with your hands. Eat and drink with one hand, fan with the other. This is something I’m heavily experienced with from the Philippines, so I shrug it off.

Don’t get me wrong, my friends did, too. But while I’m more likely to forget that was the case, it was notable for others. No one wants flies on their food, so this is totally understandable. Figure out if this is something your group can live with when dining al fresco.

The beach vs your expectations

The same qualifier could be applied here as above: We only went to one beach, so if you are able to visit the other beaches, let me know if I’m completely wrong.

For those of us spoiled by the coast, and particularly me having grown up in 3 beach locations, Playa Malagueta was a let down for us.

For more on beach destinations, see my posts on Kailua, Hawaii and Cancun, Mexico.

Malaga Beach Coast from Castillo Gibralfaro
Malaga Beach Coast from Castillo Gibralfaro

A friend commented that the beach sand felt more like dirt. Where I was sitting, none of us were quite sure if we were on a mixture of sand, dirt, and cigarette ashes.

There was also a lot of birds, which was frankly fascinating because some looked like adorable green baby parrots! Others were pigeons, I think. I am not at all familiar with birds so I don’t know if this is the case. I point this out because there’s always the likelihood of getting pooped on. 

The sandy shore is not large, so it gets quickly populated and you could easily end up right under the trees with the birds because you’re a tourist and aren’t dragging around a beach umbrella from your train ride and need shade. Also, you’re also likely arriving later on in the day than the rest because you went on a few tours first.

Are you going to France? Before you go, check out this post to consider your expectations of Paris vs possible reality.

Should you go?

Actually, yes, if you’re shrugging at everything I noted above. Primarily because you aren’t me. Or us. As a new traveller, I want to experience a lot of things because they’re all new to me. I don’t show up to places wanting to talk trash about it, but the reality is we’re not always going to like where we go.  

We all were excited to see the place and it didn’t turn out to be what we thought it would be. This at all clearly doesn’t vibe with a large number of blogs that encourage a visit to Malaga’s coast. As a travel blog, it’d be a disservice to put on rose-coloured glasses for the reader and not mention these things.

However, on the off-chance someone out there might be just like us, I think these could be valid points for those specific people to consider. Vacations are expensive and it’s worth hearing the pros and cons before spending on that ticket.

Did I just miss out on the better beach? Did we do Malaga all wrong? Let me know. I can’t say that I’d never come back, but I don’t see myself rushing to its beachside when I do return.

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