Spain offers culture by the bucket load, from Renaissance palaces to fine art museums, there’s enough here to keep even the most impassioned culture vulture occupied for a lifetime. Whether you’re looking for a pleasant interlude on a beach holiday in Spain or a whistle-stop tour of the Spanish art scene, put these destinations on your wish list in 2018.
The Prado Museum, Madrid: Immerse yourself in the elegance of art’s classical era with the ultimate permanent exhibition of old masters. The gems displayed at the Prado include works by El Greco, Rapheal and Rubens, as well as Goya and Velasquez. This sparkling mix of painting and sculpture are the aesthete’s dream – and if you’re looking for a bumper dose of culture you can buy a discount ticket that also includes entry to the nearby Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and Reina Sofia Arts Centre.
The Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao:You could spend half an hour admiring this building without even venturing inside it, thanks to the architectural genius of Frank Gehry. The Basque Guggenheim is hard to describe without seeing it for yourself, but think a futuristic collision of spaceport and titanium ocean liner and you won’t be far off. Inside, a series of eclectic galleries displays one of the world’s greatest collections of modern art. There are also plenty of interactive exhibitions, so it’s a great place to take family of all ages.
The Alhambra Palace, Granada: If your taste in architecture trends towards the ancient rather than the modern then Granada’s glorious Moorish palace will give your heart strings a good thrum. It’s one of the most beautiful Arabian palaces in existence, and the design blends the grandeur of a sultan’s residence with the impregnability of a fortress. Time your visit to coincide with the annual International Festival of Music and Dance, which takes place within the palace walls and features some of the world’s top orchestras. It’s also possible to stay within the grounds in the Parador Hotel – although you’ll have to book several months in advance to secure a room.
The City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia: If one museum isn’t enough to sate your interest in art, then how about a whole city packed with museums and galleries? Valencia’s City of Arts and Science is packed with buildings dedicated to art and entertainment, including the Principe Felipe Science Museum and the Palau de les Arts, Valencia’s opera house. There are also plenty of less serious attractions for kids and easier-going culture vultures – check out the beautiful aquarium at L’Oceanografic Park and the Planetarium at L’Hemisferic. As the birthplace of paella too, you need to try one of the beachfront restaurants providing this traditional cuisine,
5.1 million passengers welcomed by Malaga airport last year.
Latest figures show in 2017 Malaga was the second most popular airport in Spain, welcoming 5.1 million travellers, beaten only by Barcelona who received a staggering 10.3 million passengers.
Some 15.7 million visitors from the UK arrived in Spain on a budget airline between January and November 2017, a 10% increase on last year, making them the largest group of foreign visitors. Germany was the second largest group with 5 million visitors, followed by Italy with 4.9 million. It is not hard to see why tourism thrives in our Andalusian hotspot. Even with the collapse of Monarch other airlines like Jet2 are stepping up and increasing flights into Malaga and several other Spanish airports ensuring those numbers stay.
Spain is the second-most visited country, behind the USA, and relies heavily on international and local tourism. The tourist industry accounted for 11% of Spain’s GDP in 2016 and around one in eight jobs were tourism related. That doesn’t look likely to change as Spain invest in its infrastructure with new rail links and an extension to Malaga port to house more super yachts.
By the end of the third quarter, tourist numbers reached 75.3 million and according to John Kester, the director of statistics and trends at the United Nations world tourism organisation (UNWTO) tourist numbers are on track to be 10.5% higher than 2016.
The real draw to the Costa del Sol through the gateway of Malaga is of course the climate, where even in winter you can see temperatures of 20 degrees….perfect for a game of golf, a walk on the beach or even a hike in the countryside. You could be having tapas in the arty streets of Malaga at lunchtime and in the snowy mountains of the Sierra Nevada by early evening. Where else could you find this combination of seasons?
The luxury outdoors lifestyle is what keeps drawing tourists back to this Andalusian paradise, so how would you feel about living here year-round? Browse through our extensive property list – your dream Spanish home could be right there waiting for you.
The infrastructure in Spain is key to boosting sustainable tourist numbers and the AVE ends 2017 with 2.4 million passengers proving high speed train travel is popular for tourists and locals alike. Plans are also under way for new services such as a connection to Granada and faster service to Seville.
On 23 December 2007, a high-speed train arrived for the first time at Malaga’s main railway station, María Zambrano. The arrival of a Series 103 at about 12.30pm was a historic moment in Malaga province with the commercial service beginning the following day.
The service is marking its first major anniversary in fine form, with 20.5 million people having travelled between Madrid and Malaga during that time, and it has reached a new record this year with more than 2.44 million users. That is about 3.8 per cent more than last year.
Rail is the perfect way to travel, it allows for you to see the natural beauty of the country as you travel through it. Timeless and romantic, yet modern and high speed, if you haven’t enjoyed a journey by train we would highly recommend it.
Over the past ten years more direct connections have been added, with cities such as Barcelona, Zaragoza and Valencia, and next year there will also be a service to Granada. The journey to Seville from Malaga is also expected to become much faster in 2020. Lines are being built to other destinations as well, so the AVE high-speed services will continue to expand in coming years. The whole rail network with its epicentre in Malaga has been used by 27.5 million people since 2007.
The AVE has brought Malaga and Madrid closer together with an optimum journey time of just over two and a half hours, especially impressive for the inhabitants of the Spanish capital, where any journey within the city can take around an hour. From a business perspective, it can be said that the Costa del Sol has already become a technology park and hub for investment which is accessible from Madrid, and from a tourism point of view, it has become one of three major destinations for those seeking sunshine and beaches, together with Valencia and Alicante.
You don’t need to go far to get into the spirit of Christmas here in Andalucia. Whether the sun is shining or there are a few raindrops you can enjoy a little Christmas shopping and purchase a few novelty gifts at some of the loveliest markets from Malaga to Estepona.
Alternatively, we are blessed with some great places to shop for Christmas. From the upmarket shops and boutiques of Marbella to the sprawling shopping centres of Miramar and Centro Plaza. You can also take a trip into Gibraltar for a few VAT free goodies and excellent prices on gold from one of the many jewellers on Main Street.
If you love the idea of a Christmas market here’s a list of some places you can find them.
One of the most popular in the whole province, the capital’s market runs from November 24 to January 7 at the Pier One in the port.
Find food stalls, popup restaurants and more at the Plaza de la Constitucion. Open from November 15 to December 14 (10.30am to 2.30pm and 5pm to 9pm)
This year’s Torrox market runs from December 5 to 10 (from 5pm) and from December 6-10 11am to 9.30pm at Restaurante Horto-Malaga
This is a one day event at the La Virginia on December 8 so catch it whilst you can.
BENALMADENA TRADITIONS FESTIVAL
This too is a one-day affair on December 9, at Plaza de la Mezquita, Arroyo de la Miel
Running on the Avenida de la Constitucion from December 1-10.
In the centre of town there is a huge Christmas atmosphere with performances by choirs and nativity scenes and a Christmas concert, Christmas sweets contest and a Christmas market until January 5. The start date of the market has not yet been confirmed.
Further along the coastal highway in Manilva, this year there is a Gastronomic Fair being held this weekend. You can try and buy local produce and watch the lights switch on.
Apart from the fabulous climate one of the main draws to living in one of the delightful resorts of the Costa del Sol is its health benefits and this doesn’t end when the summer does. Balmy autumn days lead into comfortable winter ones where short sleeves could still be the order of the day temperature wise.
Many people enjoy an outdoors lifestyle whether cycling, golf, hiking, walking or holistic fitness appeals to you. When you’ve already experienced the powerful sun and lively fiestas of southern Spain in the height of summer, immersing yourself into Spanish life with a wintertime visit offers an experiential vacation second to none.
This is also one of the best times to come over and look at the resorts you might fancy living in and how they work in winter. The Costa del Sol in winter could see you eating tapas out in a trendy restaurant in cultural Malaga before you drive an hour and a half into the mountains of the Sierra Nevada for a spot of skiing.
Get lost in the narrow cobblestone streets of Costa del Sol’s inland hilltop villages and discover the region’s stunning Moorish legacy; get your culture fix in Malaga’s world-class museums; visit the magnificent caves of Nerja – one of Spain’s prettiest seaside towns; or marvel at the breath-taking architecture of the Alhambra in nearby Granada.
Let’s not forget Golf. Some of the most prestigious golf courses in the area include Valderrama Golf Club in Sotogrande, the San Roque Club – designed by architect Perry Dye and famous Ryder Cup player Dave Thomas, as well as La Reserva, with its outstanding 18-hole course, exquisite clubhouse, and majestic sea and mountain views.
Once you understand how much there is to do, thinking about relocating here will not be a long drawn out process it will be simply a matter of choosing the place that suits the lifestyle you are looking for. This is something our team can help with as our knowledge of the local areas and the property market will help you choose your dream home.
Malaga is an ever-developing city with millions spent by the council over the last ten years to enhance the cultural aspects of the city, it now rivals Barcelona and Madrid in terms of arty experience. The city boasts over thirty museums and has a multitude of galleries and exhibitions, ideal for a rainy day or just for something a little different.
Any trip to Malaga is best done when the streets are calmer so September and October are perfect for exploring. Here we look at five of our favourite cultural delights.
- The Picasso Museum – Spread over twelve halls, the permanent exhibition includes numerous classic and famed paintings and is a lovely collection for novices, while aficionados will find enough to keep them engaged long after the visit. Beyond the artist’s more recognisable paintings, and pieces from his various stylistic periods, the permanent collection houses sketches, sculptures and ceramics. Three more temporary exhibit rooms round out the experience.
- The Malaga Museum – Housing some 15,000 archaeological artefacts and more than 2,000 fine arts pieces, this comprehensive museum charts the city’s history from Prehistoric times up to modern day. There’s a rich collection of 19th century Spanish art, including all of the most important painters of the local Malaga school.
- The Carmen Thyssen Museum – Comprising hundreds of works from the personal collection of Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, highlighting the various genres of 19th century Spanish art, from Francisco de Goya to Pablo Picasso. Included is a cannon of the most famous of Andalusian artists, such as Malaga’s own Felix Revello de Toro The Thyssen museum has been a must-see destination for lovers of Andalusian art since its opening in 2011.
- The Flamenco Art Museum – Flamenco art runs deep in Andalusian veins and Malaga itself has an important historical relationship with the art form, in fact, the museum is one of the most important of its kind in all of Spain. The Flamenco Museum of Malaga houses a gathering of more than 5000 pieces, half of those comprising a historical collection of recordings dating to the 19th century, along with centuries old guitars, traditional garb representing the various Flamenco forms and Flamenco inspired art and photography.
- The Contemporary Art Museum – 400 or so permanent works prominently feature some of the most memorable artists of the late 20th century with a focus on North American artists such as Lichtenstein and Stella. Expect quirky works here, and once you’ve had your fill, head into Malaga’s up and coming, artsy SOHO district characterised by its lively café culture.