The most enchanting place in Marbella is undeniably its whitewashed partially enclosed Casco Antiguo (Old Town) – a postcard-perfect maze of narrow streets that twist and turn, offering something new to see at every corner. Marbella Old Town comprises two historical quarters – Barrio Alto and Barrio Nuevo, and most of it still preserves its original layout that dates back to the 16th century, when the city was still under Arab rule. Nowadays, the tiny, winding paths of the Casco Antiguo meander their way past glistening white Andalusian buildings adorned with small flower-filled balconies, chic boutiques, and trendy cafes.
In the heart of it all stands the enchanting Plaza de los Naranjos (Orange Square), with its lively terrazas, fragrant orange trees, and remarkable Castilian Renaissance architecture.
Built in 1485, right after the Christian Reconquista, this picturesque square is the heart and soul of Marbella Old Town, playing host to the City Hall, Marbella Tourist Office, and the oldest church in town (Ermita de Santiago). At night, the beautiful plaza comes alive with bustling open-air restaurants and all sorts of colorful performers that entertain the crowds with their passionate flamenco music and dance.
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The southernmost large city in Europe. One of the oldest cities in the world (2.800 years). The birthplace of Picasso. As many ways to briefly introduce Malaga, from a long list of qualities that make this quick-thriving city get under your skin in unexpected ways. Two massive hilltop citadels solemnly loom over the city’s skyline – the Alcazaba (dating back to the 700s!) and ruined Gibralfaro, remnants of Moorish rule – along with a soaring Renaissance cathedral, nicknamed La Manquita (“one-armed woman”) because one of its towers was curiously left unbuilt. Its modern port, Muelle Uno – frequently shadowed by huge ferries, sometimes 4 at the same time – is buzzing with life, as malaguenios love to hang out at one of the many restaurants and bars with views to the boats moored there. Its yellow-sand beaches and long promenade with palm trees, sprinkled with a chiringuito in all the right spots, are constantly attracting a mix of sporty or chilling-out crowd. The old center – beautifully renovated- is a pleasure to walk, shop, visit one of the Museums – Malaga has 30 all together! – or Picasso’s own birth house and listen to local bands playing on the outdoor terraces or in the streets. Food is fabulous – with many options to choose from – the weather is practically urging you to stay outdoors and the cheerful noise from the rooftop terraces of the nearby hotels invite you to come up and have dinner with a breathtaking city and sea view.
Málaga’s colorful market, the Mercado de Atarazanas, is one of the most appealing in all Andalucía. The stalls sell fresh fish, meat, spices, deli items, fruit and vegetables, and it is common for shoppers to have a break at one of the food places located inside, for fresh oysters and cava. The city is wonderfully rich in architecture with a mix of styles – as it was founded by Phoenicians, then got under the hegemony of Carthagina, followed by the rule of Roman Empire, by the Islamic empire to finally be regained by the Crown of Castille in 1487. Add the luxurious exotic vegetation, the colorful parrots, the easiness of getting around both by car of by foot, the affordable bills and the always smiling relaxed people, and Malaga might allure you to make it your next permanent address. Housing options are many, from beautiful villas up the hill, with stunning views to the port and sea, to charming apartments in historic buildings, walking distance to all the action and the fun.