As winter quickly approaches, the allure of a sun-soaked European getaway becomes that much more enticing.
However, while most coastal cities in the Old Continent are still struggling to catch up with pre-pandemic visitor numbers, there’s one Spanish hotspot that’s currently breaking all-time tourism records.
More than 2.2 million visitors passed through the Málaga airport this past September, marking a 12% increase from the same month in the record-breaking year of 2019.
The stunning coastal city is not only outperforming most European destinations, but it’s actually leading as Spain’s fastest-growing hotspot, outpacing even the likes of Madrid and Barcelona.
With that in mind, let’s explore just how Costa Del Sol’s lively hub managed to exceed all expectations:
Malaga boasts some of the most pristine beaches in all of Spain, making it the ultimate bucket list item for travelers looking to escape the plummeting temperatures back home.
With approximately 320 days of sunshine a year, the city offers the perfect climate for those looking for a relaxing sunbathing session, all while other coastal destinations put an end to the beach season.
Temperatures in October range between 59°F and 75°F, creating the perfect setup for a pleasant beach day that leaves you feeling as refreshed as you do sunkissed.
Playa de la Malagueta, the city’s most famous beach, is renowned for its soft, golden sands and crystal-clear waters.
Whether you want to take it easy and simply bask under the Spanish sun or get your adrenaline pumping and go jet-skiing instead, Malaga promises the experience of a lifetime.
If you’re looking for something more low-key, though, the nearby Playa de Pedregalejo might be a better choice.
While serene, the coast is still dotted with traditional chiringuitos (beachfront restaurants) serving fresh seafood, succulent olives, and exquisite wines.
Beyond its natural allure, Malaga is blessed with a rich, captivating history that’ll leave even the most avid city trippers in awe.
The city’s history dates back over 2,800 years, making it one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Europe.
Malaga’s historic center, with its winding narrow streets and charming architecture, is a particularly fascinating testament to its past.
If you ever get the chance to visit Costa Del Sol’s crown jewel, make sure not to miss out on the iconic Alcazaba, a Moorish fortress built in the 11th century that overlooks the entire city and makes for the ideal backdrop for your next postcard.
If you’re an art enthusiast, chances are you already know that Malaga is the home of cubism legend Pablo Picasso.
In fact, there’s an entire museum dedicated to the ingenious artist located right in the heart of the city, which is a must-see for all travelers regardless of their interest in Picasso, his work, or art in general.
If not for anything else, visit the Picasso Museum to experience the way in which it truly encapsulates the lively Malagueño spirit.
While Malaga is a gorgeous, captivating destination in its own right, the fact that the coastal city is so well-connected to the rest of the country only makes it more appealing to international visitors looking to experience as much of Spain as possible in one trip.
This is undoubtedly the fastest, most efficient means of domestic travel in the country, and rides are frequent so as to accommodate all schedules.
If you want to go somewhere that’s not covered by AVE, though, you can always opt for regional trains instead, the most used of which are the ones connecting Malaga to nearby towns and cities in the Andalusian region.
As far as urban transport goes, Malaga has a comprehensive network of buses operated by EMT (Empresa Malagueña de Transportes), with fares starting at 1.3€ ($1.4) per ride and 8.3€ ($8.75) for a 10-day pass.
A Partygoer’s Paradise
As the sun sets, Malaga transforms into a lively hub that caters to locals and tourists alike.
Between the seemingly endless bars, clubs, and music venues in the city, partygoers will be spoiled for choice (and up until the first hours of the morning).
Featuring intimate jazz bars, high-energy nightclubs, and everything in between, Malaga’s nightlife scene is as enthrallingly diverse as its visitors.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com