When we booked our trip to Southern Spain, we were hoping to get the sunshine and heat that seemed to forget about Paris. We couldn’t help but feel cheated and bummed, when Paris was drenched I sunshine and we were drenched in rain while visiting Spain’s Costa del Sol.
The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain… nope not in our experience.
With two rainy days in Malaga, it was the end of our Andalusian vacation. We had to get creative and try to explore as much as the city as possible despite the rain and dreary weather.
From our overnight stay in Zahara de los Atunes where much of the tuna fishing happens, we drove along the coast toward Malaga.
We caught only this little bit of sunshine before the clouds rolled in.
We stopped at the beach in Algeciras to get a glimpse across the bay of the Rock of Gibraltar. Impressive but given the cloudy day, we skipped going up the rock to see the views of Morocco.
We had a fabulous tapas lunch in the small town of Estepona. Less developed than Marbella and I would argue, more charming. Perhaps we were disenchanted, but the coastline didn’t impress us. Many people rave about Marbella but our brief drive through wasn’t enough to entice to stay or even go back in the future. Estepona however would be a great holiday spot.
If you’re caught in Malaga with unfortunate weather like we did, here is what you can do.
Malaga is the City of Museums so there was no shortage of things to do on a rainy day. Luck was on our side when we found out we were in Malaga on a free museum Sunday.
Our first stop was the highly rate Museo de Vidrio y Cristal. A large private collection of antique glass and stained windows from around the world has been curated by three friend and housed in a well-preserved 18th century home. Each visit through the museum is guided and takes you through the history of humanity as seen through the creation and artistry of glassworks.
The temporary Pop Art exhibit at Carmen Thyssen Museum was not miss. We love Pop Art exhibits and this one didn’t disappoint. With the focus on Spanish pop art, we could see the influences of Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol. Their permanent collection has 19th century Andalusian art.
We are typically skeptical when entering contemporary and modern art museums. We just don’t get it. But in Malaga the Centro de Arte Contemporaneo de Malaga was our favourite. We love large installations that engulf visitors. We still don’t understand the point but at least we can marvel at the construction and effort it took to create these works of art. The sharpened pencil crayons reminded me of zombie-stoppers from the Walking Dead. My favourite was the room filled with small canvases. Each was the creation of a different artist and beautiful how each artist took the same simple square canvas and created something so different from it. What a great concept.
Ride up Mirador Princess
Once we were museum’d out, we took a ride up, Europe’s largest itinerant ferris wheel, up 70 metres in the air for views over the city and harbour. We were already very impressed by the lively harbourfront. It’s very well-developed with a large walking path, modern structures, a large park and multiple shops and restaurants. The ride is 15-minute long and rotates three times.
Cozy up in a café for Churros
With our last few days in Spain, we happily filled up on hot chocolate and churros.
The churros at Café Aranda were our favourite. They were denser than most and not too greasy.
Café Central had the best spot for people watching looking over Plaza de la Constitución. They’ve taken ordering coffee to an art, educating those who come their way. They have an extensive menu and mix cool modern design with old world feel in a beautiful café that’s been around since the 50s.
With a name like that, you have to check it out. Although seemingly touristy, it’s worth the hype and the effort to check this place out. It’s a restaurant and bar that seems to spread out over an entire city block, with names of streets within its walls. Full of character, each room has a different feel. The service was friendly and the food, fantastic. We sat at the bar for a more authentic, lively feeling. In better weather, they have a large terrace that looks on the Roman theatre.
Go hunting for ham in Mercado Merced
I love going to covered markets in foreign cities. Mercado Merced has a beautiful stained glass window and lovely interior architecture as well as a multitude of stalls selling olives, cheese, hams, fresh fruit, vegetable, fish and meat. It’s the place to discover new foods, and seek out delicacies.
In our case, David made it his mission to buy a leg of ham, jamon Iberico Bellota to be exact. We asked around, looked at prices, hummed and hawed. In the end, the smallest leg of ham we could buy was 7 kg and it was way too large for our luggage.
David’s ham hopes were lost.
It was shaping up to be the fourth time David came back from Spain empty-handed. Until we arrived at the airport and found just the perfect souvenir of Spain to bring home. We can now enjoy the taste of Spain at our leisure in Paris.
It’s always best to make the most of any situation and even in the rain there is always lots to explore and discover in a new city. Even eating in the rain didn’t stop us from taking advantage of Malaga’s Gastronomy Festival. We enjoyed inventive and creative tapas lunch by hopping around 5 different stalls. And we discovered beautiful flavours and foods that we could have easily missed out on had we let a little rain scare us away.
Does rain change the way you explore a city? Tell me how in the comments section