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Must Visit Attractions in Malaga

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A beautiful, landscaped garden, La Concepción is home to thousands of different plants, a plethora of birds and a wealth of cultural interests. The botanical garden sustains one of Spain's most diverse collections of palm trees and other subtropical species, as well as numerous exotic plants, arranged thematically across 23 hectares (57 acres). At its core lies a spectacular, historic garden of neoclassical design. Expanded over the years by its owners, the historical garden is replete with intriguing elements of landscape design, riddled with streams and babbling fountains in between greenhouses, waterfalls, and bridges. Interwoven seamlessly into the landscape are a number of architectural gems as well, such as the San Telmo aqueduct, La Casa Palacio, and the Loringian Museum. It opened to the public in June 1994 and is a special place that enchants with its myriad charms.

An old Arab fortress that dominates the city from its vantage point on the hill above the Malaga Bay, La Alcazaba has now become a symbol of the modern city and an important tourist attraction. Sultan Badis, ruler of the Moorish province of Granada is credited for having it built in the 11th Century. It was declared a national heritage site in 1931 and extensive restoration work began the same year which was completed in 1947 turning back the clock and revealing the fortress's original splendor. Explorations around the site throw light on how even earlier Roman remains were incorporated into the Moorish building work, and there are attractive gardens covered in swathes of blooming bougainvillea and orange trees ripe with scented fruit where visitors can sit and rest.

A masterpiece of Spanish Renaissance architecture, the Catedral de Málaga is a spectacular landmark that crowns the city's historic quarter. Construction for the church began in the 16th Century, and the ornate interiors largely date from this period while the 18th-century exteriors highlight a Baroque influence. The cathedral's original plan envisaged two bell towers, but due to the vast expenditure, only one was ever completed, leading to the nickname La Manquita, meaning lady with one arm. The church's 15 side chapels are richly adorned with religious art and beautiful paintings while the elaborately bedecked choir stalls can be largely attributed to sculptor Pedro de Mena. The 200-step staircase leads up to the bell tower which commands mesmerizing views across the city. The museum housed within the church is a repository of some of the most beautiful period art.

The most important and best-preserved remains of the Moorish occupation are joined to the Alcazaba. The Phoenicians are believed to have built a fortress on this craggy hill first, but it was Sultan Yusuf I of Granada who had the Coracha (a walled passageway that connects the Alcazaba and the castle) built in the 14th Century. The structure has been modified many times over the years as part of the city's defenses and stands as a chronicle of Malaga's rich history. Visitors can walk up from the pretty Puerta Oscura gardens to the medieval castle which promises panoramic views of Malaga and its bustling harbor dotted with white boats in the distance. There is an interpretation center on-site as well as a military museum.

The Port of Málaga is the oldest continually operating port in all of Spain, and one of the oldest in the Mediterranean region. Established by the Phoenicians in the 10th Century, the port continued to grow in importance as a port of export throughout the Roman Era. Under Islamic rule, Malaga was declared the capital of Grenada, while for the Catholics it came to be a valued point of departure for Spanish troops. Now, this state-of-the-art marina is a popular waystation for cruise ships, an important centre for imports, and even operates a small fishing fleet. The scenic waterfront is frequented by tourists as well, who are drawn to the port by the promise of scenic views. There are several restaurants along the way, along with shops, seasonal markets and public artworks to admire.

Muelle Uno (‘Quay One’), in English was established in 2011, and is located in the Malaga Port Area. This grand shopping and commerce zone is home to a number of famous restaurants, retailers and entertainment zones. The most exclusive part of this complex is home to the Michelin – starred restaurant ‘Jose Carlos Garcia’s’. When here, one can hire bikes, pedal cars or Segways and explore the area. A stroll along the tree lined promenades is a must, as if offers beautiful views of the Mediterranean Sea and luxury yachts of the super rich. There is a children’s play area that offers a mini golf course, a soft assault course, soft play mats for toddlers. Tourist can get a view of Malaga city from the sea by taking boat trips out into the bay.

This is where locals come to swim and sunbathe for hundreds of years. You'll also find upmarket beach clubs, a naval club, numerous snack bars selling freshly grilled sardines and one of the city's smartest restaurants - Antonio Martín. The water is clean and clear and it continues to attract lots of people, even on sunny days in winter when hardy swimmers arrive to take their first strokes of the year. There are lifeguards, showers and public toilets.

This market was built on the site of the old Moslem "Atarazanas", or boatyard. The only thing left from the original building is the main gate, dating back to the 14th century, formed by a pointed Moorish arch, which unfortunately had to suffer some modifications when the market was built in the 19th century. The architect of the building, Joaquín Rucoba, thought out an interesting iron structure, which he combined with Moslem elements. It was this same architect who recreated the elevation of the original door, to which he added aisles with windows in the shape of Moorish arches. There are lots of good fish and seafood stands, as well as excellent vegetables.

Close to Malagueta beach, we find the capital's majestic bullring, Plaza de Toros La Malagueta, designed by Joaquín Rucoba. Its construction work started in 1874 and was interrupted, only to be resumed the next year and inaugurated in June 1876. The bullring, built in Neo-Mudejar style and with a seating capacity of 15,000, has seen glorious bullfights starring great bullfighters like Curro Romero, Manolete and El Cordobés. The famous and young bullfighter, Javier Conde, has also fought bulls here.

Located right at the foot of Malaga's Alcazaba lies one of the city's archaeological gems, the Teatro Romano (Roman Theater). This ancient Roman amphitheater was discovered in 1951, while building the gardens of the Palacio de Archivos y Bibliotecas. The theater dates back to the first century BCE. Throughout its history it has been used first as a theater until the third century, and as a Moorish quarry. Today curious travelers can visit the different areas of the site, including the stage, the orchestra area, the vomitorium, and the seating areas.

The Tivoli Amusement Park is located in Arroyo de la Miel, a complex within the Benalmadena town limits. Tivoli World has been the only amusement park of its kind on the Costa del Sol for more than 20 years now. It has a wide range of attractions and rides for children and adults, and features daily shows by national and international performers. They also give you the chance to visit their gardens, which are very beautiful and interesting from a botanical point of view. To get there: Take the Autovia del Mediterraneo and leave it at junction 223, heading towards Benalmadena-Arroyo de la Miel. You can also get there by train or bus. Tickets are available at most travel agencies and hotels on the Costa del Sol. This place is open on weekends from noon. Call ahead for varied dates.

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