Unlocking Malaga: The Biggest City From Costa Del Sol

Situated in southern Spain, Malaga is a port city located on Costa Del Sol, the coast of sun and the name is well deserved. Filled with plenty of old buildings, the Spanish spirit, and the amazing Mediterranean water, it is one of the places that should go on anyone’s bucket list.

 

If you ever wondered where the story’s with the rich people that go to live in Spain after retirement came from, you need to walk the streets of Malaga. The relaxed atmosphere, the smiling people and the great food, all come together in this amazing place. There is no better place to start your day than on La Malagueta beach, if you are lucky during the weekends you will also see the vendor’s tents filled with lost of souvenirs that you can buy.

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Being a rather small town, everything is within walking distance, so make sure you put on the correct shoes. A couple of must-see attractions are Malaga Cathedral where you should consider climbing to the rooftop, the view is amazing, Alcazaba and Castillo de Gibralfaro, if you are passionate about history. The botanic garden is also a nice place to spend a few hours, but to get there you will need to take the bus and walk for around 15 to 20 minutes. The Picasso Museum is also a very nice attraction, personally, don’t really like his style but the museum will also tell you his life story and what made him paint and draw each piece of art. Sunday afternoon all museums entry’s are free, so plan your vacation wisely if you want to save some cents.

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If you have a full day you should consider visiting Gibraltar since it’s at a 3 hours bus ride away and you will get to see all the places from Costa del Sol and also get a glimpse at Africa from the Rock of Gibraltar. The town’s center is a nice place to see and eat since you will see the influence of Marco, England, and Spain.

 

Leaving aside the major attractions, Malaga is the place you want to go when you want to relax, drink an amazing glass of Malaga Sangria and eat a traditional paella. If you are lucky enough you will see flamenco shows on the streets or hear traditional music in the city center. There is something in the air there, that will make you relax and dream of retirement when all of the mundane issues will be gone and the only decision you have to make is where to grab a cup of coffee.

 

For us being able to enjoy Spain’s beauty without having to deal with the huge amount of tourists made this place a special one. If I were to choose a place to live in when I am sixty Malaga is the first on the list. As for those of you who plan a vacation here, leave all the problems at the departure airport and enjoy the traditional beauty and relaxation of the Spanish land.

 

Traveling: Unlocking Amazing Barcelona

I have been dying to go to Spain for a while now, but it was always a bit expensive, so I kept postponing it. In December I got lucky and found 2 round trip plane tickets for just 55 euros. And so it was settled, I would spend the week before my birthday probably in the most beautiful city in western Europe. Let me tell you about my journey there, what I visited and how I scheduled the 3 days from the Catalan city.

 

As mentioned above the tickets were purchased in advance from WizzAir low-cost company for just 55 euros. I got them during a discount day on their website and I also have a paid membership. The fight was from Cluj-Napoca to Barcelona, El Prat airport, from Friday night to Monday night.

For the accommodation, once again I used Airbnb and since this was a low-cost city break, I chose a shared apartment near Las Rambla. The cost for the 3 nights was around 115 euros.

Before we left we also purchased in advance the entries for the placed we wanted to visit. The prices are lower online and you will not stay in line! The number of tourists is a big one, so don’t underestimate the time you will lose waiting to buy the tickets. Most of the places offer you a time-slot of 30 minutes when you have to get in so that you can schedule your route. In Barcelona there will be 3 ques for the entries, one to buy the tickets, one to wait to get inside once the ticket was validated and one for fast track. The fact that you have the ticket guarantees you the entry, but you will have to wait in case there are too many tourists at the same time inside, or if there are others with the fast track tickets.

 

We got tickets for the following places:

  1. Basilica de Sagrada Familia: 15 euro. If you also want to climb to the towers the price will be double. This is the symbol of Barcelona, so you should not miss it. You will also get to visit the museum downstairs where you can see how Gaudi thought of creating this masterpiece.
  2. Park Guell: 7.5 euro, worth every penny since it’s a masterpiece. The park itself is free but there is an area where you can find more of Gaudi’s architecture for which you need the ticket.
  3. Casa Batllo 25 euro for the entry ticket and 5 euro the fast track. I wasn’t sure if I should spend the extra 5 euros on the fast track, but I was happy I got it in the end since it started to rain and we would have waited for at least 30 minutes to enter. Here you will see augmented reality using a phone that is handed to you at the entry. It is the most beautiful museum so don’t get scared by the price.
  4. Aquarium: 18 euro. This was a total disappointment since it is small, there are too many fishes in the same tank and from my point of view a ripoff. Maybe for kids, it’s nice entertainment but it’s nothing like the Aquarium of Rotterdam for example. Don’t get fooled by the marketing campaign as we did!

 

We got to Barcelona at 9:30 in the night and as instructed by our host we took the blue bus called Aerobus to Plaza Espana. The price of the ride is 5.2 euros, from there we took the metro to the accommodation. I recommend the 10 rides metro card for 10.5 euros that you can use for more than one person. We used 2 of these, but please note that even if you have a metro to the El Prat Airport you need to buy a different type of ticket in order to go there, if you don’t buy it, you will not be allowed to exit and will have to buy if from the metro exit.

If you will find yourself on Las Rambla looking for a pizza to eat, look for Pizza Circus. From there you can buy a slice for 2.5 euros or the full pizza for 10 – 15 euro, it’s really good, IMO even better than the Italian ones that I had in Rome.

Saturday, we woke around 9 am and had a coffee and a croissant, you will find plenty of coffee shops all around the city. From there we went to Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, and Casa Batllo. In the evening at 7 pm, we went to see the Magic Fountain show. I highly recommend you NOT to stay near the fountain if you don’t want to have an unexpected shower. The showtimes can be found on this website, so make sure you get there on the correct day and hour.

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On the second day, we went to Montserrat, in order to do so, you need to go to Plaza Espana, buy the tickets for the train R5. You have 2 options of getting to the monastery, one is by Aeri Cable car, that takes around 5 minutes (23 euros including the R5 ticket) or the Cremallera, rack railway (35 euros including the R5 ticket). We chose the first option and the whole trip took like 4 hours. We garbed lunch at the cafeteria here and its food was really good, highly recommend.

 

After Montserrat, from Plaza Espana where R5 left us, we took the funicular to the Montjuic Fortress. To get there you will also ride the Cable Car, the price for a round ticket is 12 euros. From the fortress, you will have an amazing view of the city and the port. Also, if you plan on going on Sunday the entrance is free.

 

In the evening we made a trip to the Barcelona Aquarium, the price of the ticket is around 16 euros if booked online. I cannot say that I was impressed by what they offered but it was a nice thing to do for an hour or two, while the weather was cold. The Aquarium is near the mall, so if you want to stop and do some shopping you are in a good place.

 

On Monday we decided to take it slow(er) and we had breakfast in El Mercado de la Boqueria, which is also on Las Rambla street. It’s the perfect place to get something to eat and to drink. There are a lot of fruit smoothies for only 1-1.5 euros, also here you can find all sorts of sweets. From there we went to the Arc de Triomf and visited the Park de la Ciutadella.

 

Because there is always the need for some shopping, we made a short stop at Primark and then headed to the seashore, where we got to eat in one of the restaurants from the beach. The prices are high but the view is amazing!

 

Barcelona is a city that you cannot help but fall in love with. It has an amazing architecture and they keep it untouched, you will not see new glass building nowhere near the old city. The food is great and who doesn’t love Sangria? I am still dreaming about it, even if there are almost 3 weeks since I returned. So if you haven’t already been there pack your bags and search for the plane ticket, since this is one of the places you need to visit at least once in a lifetime!