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Malaga

Malaga, is one of the major cities in Andalucia and certainly the most important coastal one. With the cooling winds from the Mediterranean and the shelter of the Malaga mountains, the city has a relatively mild temperature all year and this makes it a popular place with both locals and tourists. Whether basking on the beaches or meandering through the narrow streets, soaking in all the magnificent Arab influenced Andalucian architecture or enjoying the city after dark there is no doubt that Malaga is a dynamic and appealing city.

If you climb to the top of Mount Gibralfaro there are fantastic views of the old town with its large palate of colours and rooftops at every level. Situated on the hill is La Alcazaba, a fortress which dates back to 1065 and which is now a museum, and the castle of Gibralfaro, both with beautiful gardens to wander around.

Malaga was the birthplace of both Pablo Picasso and more recently Antonio Banderas. The former was born in Plaza Merced and the house where he was born is now a museum telling the story of his life and works and is well worth visiting. Teatro Cervantes was a "springboard" for Antonio Banderas' career and he returns regularly to the City. Malagueños love their food and in the bars and restaurants the choice is endless, however a popular local dish is pescaito frito which is an assortment of fish, including red mullet, sardines and calamari.

The Malaga mountains, an area of 4762 hectares, were declared a National Park in 1989 and are home to more than 230 varieties of vegetation. The waters that run from the mountains feed the Guadalmedina river (or "river of the city") which is 47 kilometres long. Another river that has strong historic connections with Malaga is the River Guadalhorce and the "Guadalhorce Mudflats" which were formed from the river sediments. This 60 hectares was declared a Protected Natural Space in 1989. The river flows through a fertile valley of mainly citrus fruits before reaching the sea at Malaga

In the heart of the city are the delightful Alameda Gardens with some amazing palms and tropical plants and there are many more gardens surrounding the city. If you head inland towards Antequera in north Malaga province there are the massive Jardines de la Concepcion. These extensive tropical gardens, which date back to the 1850s, cover an area of 250,000 square metres with over 3000 plants from every corner of the world.

Carrying on towards Antequera with its historic charm you pass some amazing limestone rock formations, rugged hills and grove upon grove of olive trees and if you deviate slightly you can sightsee in some picturesque villages: Villanueva de Trabuco and Archidona, or slightly further to the delightful Fuente de Piedra where the famous lagoon is home to thousands of pink flamingos; Mollina which is famous for its wines, Campillos, Teba with deep gorge, Villanueva de Algaidas and Alameda.

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