Day Trip to Malaga: Street Scenes, Roman Theater, and Alcazaba de Malaga

The location of Malaga has been a human settlement for thousands of years. As a city it was founded by the Phoenicians, was an important part of Roman Iberia, a major city in Islamic Al-Andalus, then a key piece of the Monarchy of Catholic Spain, and continues to be an important commercial city in contemporary Spain with a busy cargo port and as a business hub.

Situated on the Costa del Sol, Malaga now has a population of nearly 600,000 and is the capital of Malaga province. It is also the closest major city to my pueblo. It’s wonderful city with a wealth of history and culture to explore.

I made the trip to Malaga specifically to visit the historic Alcazaba and Roman Theater. I bought tickets to the Alcazaba online through the official website for 3.50 Euros a few days in advance. As with the Alhambra there are many third party ticket resellers and tour companies vying for tourist Euros. Some feature required guided tours with ticket purchases, others do not. Most I saw were more expensive than the official price. While a guided tour would have been wonderful, I really was interested in going at my own speed and soaking everything in, one step at a time. And, having a ticket in advance allows visitors to skip the long queue to buy tickets on the spot. Though a ticket must be purchased to walk inside its ruins, a Roman Theatre, is visible from the street. I focused on the Alcazaba on the hill above the Roman Theatre.

The Alcazaba de Malaga is a Casbah; a fortification. It was built starting in the 11th century – occupied and continuously added to up to the Reconquista when Muslims were forced to leave Spain. Throughout Andalucía there are a number of Alcazabas, however it is said that this one in Malaga is one of the best preserved.

Like the Alhambra, the Alcazaba is surrounded by the active modern city with all that means: businesses, restaurants and the smells of local cuisine in the air, as well as cars and bicycles carrying people on their daily chores and simply living life.I enjoyed overlooking the modern city and port of Malaga with an espresso from the on-site cafe. The breeze from the Mediterranean was light and sweet. I could not see Morocco in the distance, but  it was there, just over the horizon, about 100 miles away.

After wandering the pathways and corridors of the Alcazaba, I took a stroll through the old streets of Malaga — a city I’ve come to deeply enjoy walking and looking at. Later, around a corner I saw a sign for the Plaza de la Juderia, the Jewish square. Apparently it is a relatively new plaza to honor the Jewish history of Malaga. I plan to find more pieces of the Sephardic history of Malaga.

Wandering the streets of Malaga I found a lot to look at. There are many more places in Andalucia, and Malaga for that matter, that I want to see. I expect to be able to make a number of short day trips through this year.

On this trip I needed to take the Malaga subway/light rail out to a more far flung part of the city. Right at 17:00 (5pm) I went down the stairs to a central subway station and waited with the beginning of the rush hour commuters for my train.