Malaga

Situated on Spain’s southern coast, sun splashed Malaga enjoys a quite spectacular stance. With a long, winding sea front promenade and a broad, dusky beach fringed with busy sidewalk cafes, it’s a great place to start or, indeed, finish a cruise. And its proximity to some stunning nearby sights makes it a top drawer attraction in its own right.

You should definitely check out the amazing Alcazaba , and the eleventh century Gibralfaro castle, which still dominate the city’s skyline to this day. But it is arguably the attractions on the periphery of Malaga that have the real touristic clout.

The Alhambra, the amazing Moorish masterpiece not far from Malaga, is an absolute must see. Intended to be a royal palace, the vast complex is almost perfectly preserved to this day. With it’s colonnaded courtyards flanking still, silent pools, ornate, intricate tiling, chattering birds and elegant, bubbling fountains, the Alhambra is a stunning monument to the magnificence and ingenuity of the Moors who brought it to life. It must have been even more wondrous still when it was brand new.

You can also visit Marbella, with its sunny, yacht studded harbour of Puerto Banus. Here, in this Latin version of Monte Carlo, it’s all about people watching. Porsches and Lamborghinis sit in the shade of palm fringed waterfront cafes, while their owners lounge on the quayside, picking at salads or savouring cold, fresh sangria.

Naturally, the yachts are huge, gleaming, and each one seems draped in suntanned people of a certain age. It’s a very pleasant place just to stroll for a couple of hours, and it certainly has the potential to draw you into its casually hedonistic lifestyle.

The Malaga area boasts the warmest winter temperatures of anywhere in Southern Europe, averaging a very pleasant seventeen degrees. It is quite often much warmer, making it an ideal year round place to visit.

Of course, the city is invariably associated with Pablo Picasso. He was born here in Malaga and the museum, opened as recently as 2003, features no less than 285 works, donated from the estate of the Picasso family itself. For lovers of the style of the great man, it’s an obviously compelling draw.

Getting around: Most cruise ships tie up at the Eastern dock. From here, the walk to the city centre at Plaza de la Constitucion is around twenty five minutes, or you can take a local shuttle bus for around five euros.

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