Spend your winter in Málaga, Spain: Is Málaga a good snowbird location?

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Málaga is the capital of the province of Málaga and is located on the Mediterranean coast in Andalusia, Spain. It is one of the oldest inhabited cities of Europe as its history dates back to 2800 years. It was initially called "Malaka" during the Phoenician rule but after the Moorish took over this area, the city was named "Malaqah". Málaga is rich with history and culture as it has been inhabited by people for quite a long time. The city is home to some very eminent names of the world including Pablo Picasso, Solomon Ibn Gabirol, and Antonio Banderas.

Spend your winter in Málaga - Spain - Is Málaga a good snowbird location 1
By Francesca Be – CC BY-SA 2.0

Why should people visit during the winter?

Winters in Málaga is all about amusement and sunshine. The sea is colder during winters but when the sun is shining you can still have a great beach day if you don't mind staying away from the water. As Málaga is surrounded by mountains, it is safe from the cold winds and overall weather stays quite comfortable throughout the day. Tourism is high during winters so you can enjoy all the recreational places and restaurants to the fullest. You can witness the 3000 years of history by strolling around the city.

Climate

The climate of Málaga is varying. Days are hotter and filled with a lot of sunshine whereas the nights can get chilly and you would need heating in accommodation as well as warm clothes. Also, expect some rainy days when clouds and rain are coming in from the Atlantic. The average temperature ranges between the lowest of 7°C - °C (45°F - 32°F) to the highest of 24°C - °C (75°F - 32°F).

For more climate information visit Meteoblue

Things to see in Málaga, Spain

Málaga is an important tourist location. There are many places that you can visit in the area. Some of these include:

  • Alcazaba de Málaga: Throttlehold of the Moorish kings, this prehistoric Moorish castle was constructed in the 19th century, on the remnants of a Roman bastion. In this castle, Alcazaba houses the Museum comprises of two museums: The Provincial Museum of Fine Arts and The Archaeology Museum. It also has an ancient Roman Theatre nearby.
  • La Concepcion Jardin Botanico: In 1855, La Concepcion Botanical Gardens were fashioned in by the Marchioness and Marquis of Loring. These gorgeous grounds are filled with vivacious, subtropical, Mediterranean, and tropical flora. Flora species found in the botanical gardens come from around the world.
  • Pablo Ruíz Picasso Foundation Birthplace Museum: A must-visit attraction for the passionate lovers of modern art. In the Old Town, this museum resides in the house where Pablo Picasso was born and it exhibits 233 pieces of art by the artist. The assortment represents the complete span of Pablo Picasso's life and his art career, starting from his most primitive studies to his groundbreaking artistic innovations.
  • Vamos a la Playa de la Malagueta: It is the main beach of the city. It is very close to the town and it is very sandy. Relishing the beach is one of the finest things that you can look forward to in Malaga. The water is clear, there are many activities that you can take part in and the restaurants are nearby.
  • El Castillo De Gibralfaro: Historically, the castle is distinguished for a three-month barricade by Catholic emperors which came to accept the surrender of the underfed Malagueños. Dating back to the 10th century, it is a Moorish Palace. It overlooks the city of Málaga. Although now generally in ruins, the castle is appreciated for its spectacular panoramas and historical worth.

Things to see not far from Málaga, Spain

There are many neighboring towns and places in the surrounding areas that one can visit.

  • Torremolinos: It is located 16.2 km (10 Miles) from Málaga. Torremolinos is a prior fishing village that is conserving the considerable charisma of the Andalusian tradition. It is located between Malaga Bay and the Mijas Mountains. It has one of the most beautiful beaches with clear water and the finest sand.
  • Fundación Cueva de Nerja: It is located 58 km (36 Miles) from Málaga. The stunning Nerja Caves are a series of huge caves distending for almost 5 km (3 Miles) and house the world's biggest stalagmite. It is an inordinate place to visit when you're just tired of the beach or on rainy days. The Nerja Caves are safe, well-maintained, and captivating.
  • Mijas Pueblo: It is located 34 km (21 Miles) from Málaga. It provides the unspoiled getaway for those ardent to experience the spectacular natural landscapes and vibrant culture of the rural Andalucia. It has one of the most beautiful alleyways. You can only picture the architecture of this city.     
  • Antequera: It is located 68 km (42 Miles) from Málaga. It is commonly known to be the heartland of the Andalusian region in the context of both culture and location. The ancient site is also commonly known as the Sistine Chapel of Ancient times. It is a remarkable archaeological visit. You can experience mouthwatering genuine Andalusian food, a captivating historic center, and unbelievable views from the higher viewpoints in town.

Activities in Málaga, Spain during winter

When it comes to finding a good activity to entertain yourself, Málaga has several options available.

  • Hop on a bus: Go site seeing around the city on a double-decker hop-on hop-off bus. It is a guided tour with food tastings as well.    
  • Swimming:  There are a lot of options in Málaga where you can go swimming. You can go to the sea, a lake, any of the natural pools or clubs.
  • Historical tour of the city: You can book a guided tour or just stroll around the city to explore the history of Málaga.
  • Fishing: Fishing is a year-round option in Málaga. You can hop onto one of the fishing boats and spend an entire day fishing or visit the coast on your own.
  • Hammam Al Ándalus: This traditional Arabian Thermal Bath is one of the specialties of Málaga. It is a luxurious spa with warm water and massages. 
  • Walking: There are many walking routes available throughout the region. These routes are long and adventurous and you get to see incredible sights along the way.
  • Flamenco: While you are in Spain you cannot miss out on the most eminent dance of the Spanish region.   
  • Festivals: Christmas parade and Malaga Carnival are some of the must-see festivals in Malaga.
  • Yoga Retreats: You can find some fitness and yoga retreats in Málaga so that you can stay healthy.
  • Golf: Real Guadalhorce club de golf dates back to the 18th century. It is a 17 hole course with the most exquisite and dramatic views.
  • Day trips to other cities: there are many places worth visiting outside Málaga. You can visit the nearby preserves as well.
Spend your winter in Málaga - Spain - Is Málaga a good snowbird location 10
Berthold Werner, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Shopping + Restaurants. Are they open in the winter?

Being a major town in Spain you can expect restaurants and shops to be open. Do not forget that a lot of shops are closed during the afternoon from around 1 pm to 4 pm.

Ataranzas market is an old-school market with a large variety of, meat, fruits, vegetables, and cheese. It is the optimum example of 19th-century architecture in Málaga. There are a lot of vendors who serve you with the most diversified variety of food. You can find freshwater seafood in this market as well. Souvenir shops like Picasso souvenir and Malaga Landmarks are a must-visit. You can buy the local ethnicity of the city in these places.

Málaga has a very rich cultural history so you can expect culinary history as well. Some foods are associated with the region of Málaga and you can even take these as souvenirs because you will not find this quality anywhere else. Aceitunas, Ajobacalao, Ajoblanco, Boquerones, Ensalada malagueña, Espetos, and Tortas de Aceite are some of the delicacies of Málaga that are must-try.

Transport

Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport is the official international airport of Málaga. It is located quite close to the city. To travel from the airport to your destination you can choose from many travel options available. The cheapest way is through the commuter train. Local bus and metro system is also a good option.

Málaga is a well-connected city. It is easy to find the commute to travel within or outside the city. The center of Málaga is connected to nearby cities by the commuter trains. These trains are known as "Cercanias". If you want to travel to distant areas like Seville or Granada you can catch a railway train at Maria Zambrano train station. You can book tickets online or purchase them on the spot. The commuting system is quite outstanding.

EMT is Malaga's transport consortium which runs all the buses of Malaga city.  There are more than 50 lines of local buses that run across the city. You can catch these buses at the nearest available bus stations. You can also travel on a two-way bus metro system available. Malaga Bus Station which is located in the South East of the City is used for more distant inter-city travels.

Health

There are a lot of top-notch, both private and public hospitals present in Málaga. You can find more English speaking in private hospitals than in public hospitals. You can find many medical clinics specializing in different services as well. You can find the best medical care within the city. Some of the institutions are listed below:

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Accommodation

You can find several real estates working in Málaga. You can rent accommodation based on what you want. Some major operators in Málaga are:

In Málaga, you can also find a 1-bed apartment for €300 (approx. $355, £268, $464 CAD, $486 AUD) during the low tourism period.

Winter Camping

There is one campground located in Málaga. Others are located outside the city. The only campground in the region is:

Montes De Malaga Natural Park: This Park has a controlled camping area where you can set up your tent. Amenities are not available but there are many more activities. (http://www.juntadeandalucia.es/medioambiente/)

RV/Campers/ Motor home

There are several good options available if you have a motorhome or an RV. Some good sites are:

  • Area Malaga Beach: 106 total spaces are available for Motorhomes and RV Parking. Prices start from €11 (approx. $13, £9, $17 CAD, $17 AUD) per night, depending on RV type. (http://www.areamalagabeach.com/)
  • Carcampa: There is a large area available for RV parking. Rates start from €60 (approx. $71, £53, $92 CAD, $97 AUD) per night. (https://carcampa.com/)

Packing List

  • Weather: The winter weather in Spain will normally be warm during the day and can be cold during the night. You have to pack accordingly.
  • Warm clothing: Even when you go to a warm location like Spain you should not forget to take some things with you for your trip back home. When you return you are adapted to the warmer weather and need something to protect you from your hometown temperatures.

  • Consider the Weather: Always look at the type of weather in Spain. Things like humidity, wind, and rain do not show up in the temperature graph but can have a great impact on your wardrobe. There are several sites with long term forecasts and climate information. Is there often a short afternoon downpour like in the tropics, you maybe need to take a strong umbrella and shoos that can cope with the rain. If there is often a lot of wind you might need a more wind-resistant coat.

  • Check the local Shopping options: Try to find information about the local shopping options near your location in Spain. Are there stores where you can buy all your daily supplies, or are some things difficult to get? For some more remote locations, the options can be limited. If a certain item is really important for you might need to take it with you.

  • Look at the Local Culture: The local culture in Spain can impact your wardrobe. If most activities are in more upscale locations you might take some more appropriate clothes with you. Or travelling if you travel to certain countries women need to cover themselves in certain areas.

  • Amenities: Know what’s Included in your house or apartment. Is there a coffee maker, a toaster, a washer and dryer, an iron, what is in the kitchen, what kind of towels are there? Things that are there means you do not have to take them with you. A furnished apartment or house can mean something from a few pieces of furniture to a well-stocked place with all the things you have at home. But most of the time your rental will not be stocked.

  • Mix and match: Wear layers so you can use your wardrobe more efficiently. And do not worry about wearing something more often, probably only you will notice this.

  • Important for you: If there is something that is really important for you that you want to have present in your house or apartment, take it with you. This can be something like a special knife for the kitchen, or a small mirror that you use in the morning. You can also purchase it locally if it is not that expensive.

  • Pet supplies: If you take your pet with you don’t forget to take supplies for a few days with you. And enough medication, vitamins, or other supplies if you can not purchase them in Spain locally.

  • Food: Don’t take a lot of food with you. Only when there is something you really can not live without you, and it is not too heavy you could consider taking it with you.

  • Towels: Not all locations include bigger towels for the swimming pool or a visit to the beach. If you have to take them and don’t have a lot of room you can buy some big thin towels.

  • Office supplies: Normally you will not find any office supplies in your house or apartment. If you think you will use them you could pack some supplies like a scissor, notepaper, envelopes, some pens, and more depending on your needs.

  • Limit yourself: Don’t take too many shoes and jackets, you will not need them that often.

  • Best-fitting: Bring your favorite and best-fitting items that can multi-function

  • Washer: Do you have a washer and dryer onsite, you don’t need to pack a lot of clothes

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