New Year's Eve in Málaga, Spain - Celebrating "Año Nuevo" with A Week in Andalusia

New Year's Eve in Malaga, Spain
We traveled to Spain to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Málaga. Málaga City is one of those places often overlooked by tourists in favor of the beachy resorts on the nearby Costa del Sol. We spent a week in Málaga to celebrate the New Year and the city charmed us completely with its scenic promenades, twinkling holiday lights, atmospheric fresh food markets, coffee served 10 ways, and, how could I forget...the operatic waiters. Read on for a 1-week itinerary in Málaga culminating with a fabulous New Year’s Eve fiesta.

A New Year's Trip to Málaga: Day 1 - Arrival and Getting Settled

Celebrating New Year's Eve in Malada: Estacion Maria Zambrano in Málaga, Spain
Our week in Málaga leading up to New Year's Eve was a continuation of our Christmas trip to Granada.
After settling in in Málaga, join the crowds of locals in the early evening as they stroll along pedestrianised Calle Larios.  The holiday lights remain up in Málaga between Christmas and New Year’s Eve and it is a magical sight to behold.
Christmas Lights in Málaga, Spain

Meson Lo Gueno in Málaga, Spain

Build up an appetite and sample tapas and beer at Bar Lo Güeno tucked just off the main street on a small alleyway. We enjoyed Bar Lo Güeno so much that we went there twice during our week in Málaga. 

A New Year's Trip to Málaga: Day 2 - Eat Like a Local

Since we were planning to be in Málaga for a full week at the end of December, we explored some of the restaurants near our apartment.

Cafeteria El Yate in Málaga, Spain
Cafeteria El Yate serves coffee and sandwiches in the Málaga train station.  One of the guys behind the counter was a bit of a flirt.  When I went up and attempted to order in broken Spanish, he told me that I was pretty and that my husband (standing at a table nearby) was a lucky man.  Flattery will get you everywhere ;-)

Casa Aranda in Málaga, Spain

Casa Aranda has a perpetual queue out front which caught our attention.  They specialize in churros and chocolate.  Go early to avoid the crowds.

Cafe Central Coffee Menu in Málaga, Spain
Cafe Central is a lovely spot in Málaga for a coffee in the late morning or early afternoon.  They invented the ten-strengths convention for ordering coffee in Málaga.  They even included an empty glass option to achieve the symmetry of a 10-scale system.

Chirimoyas at Mercado Central de Atarazanas in Málaga, Spain
Mercado Central de Atarazanas is a treasure trove of healthy and not-so-healthy treats in Málaga.  We were intrigued by the chirimoyas and tried them for the first time (they taste like a cross between a banana and a papaya).  We also saw huge mounds of orange goo on display which I think was lard.  We left that one behind. 

Tapas in Málaga, Spain

Taberna Rinconillo and El Decano del Perchel - Finish the day in Málaga with great value for money tapas in the neighborhood.

A New Year's Trip to Málaga: Day 3 - Getting Above it All

  • Parque de Málaga:  Walk among the countless fountains.  On one side, you can catch a glimpse of the sea and on the other, the hills rising up to the Alcazaba and Gilbralfaro. 
Parque de Málaga
  • Gilbralfaro Palace:  Hike past City Hall up, up, and up some more to Gilbralfaro.  The views over Málaga City and the sea beyond are stunning.
Gibralfaro Palace in Málaga, Spain
  • Alcazaba:  Drop back down to the Alcazaba fortress and admire more views and Moorish details.  It was so tempting to simply pick the oranges off the trees in Málaga!
Alcazaba in Málaga, Spain
Picasso Museum in Málaga, Spain
  • The Picasso Museum is also worth a look if you spend the New Year's Eve holiday period in Málaga. The artist was born in Málaga and a large collection of his works are on display in a stunning mansion in the heart of the city.
Málaga Dulce Wine at El Pimpi

Finish the day with tapas and a glass of Málaga Dulce, Málaga’s signature sweet wine at El Pimpi which is just a short walk from the Alcazaba and Picasso Museum.

A New Year's Trip to Málaga: Day 4 - Exploing the Costa del Sol

Most people who visit Málaga head straight for the beaches.  We preferred staying in the Málaga City but decided to spend a day exploring the Costa del Sol.  Torremolinos is easily accessible by train from Maria Zambrano Station in less than an hour.
New Year's Eve in Malaga: Torremolinos, Spain

Upon arriving in Torremolinos, take a seat and do some people watching while slowly sipping a cerveza.
  • It’s easy to get disoriented in Torremolinos.  We found it challenging to figure out which way to walk to get to the sea.  The key thing you need to know is that you must head down a considerable way to get to the water.  The waterfront is lined with tacky tourist shops.
Tourist Shop in Torremolinos, Spain
  • Sit down for lunch at one of the many fish restaurants along the sea in Torremolinos.  We tried Casa Antonio which offered fresh seafood with seats along the terrace overlooking the water.  It was a solid choice.
Casa Antonio in Torremolinos, Spain
  • Promenade Time: Finish off your tour of Torremolinos with a walk along the stunning promenade to Benalmadena.  Be aware that the walk to the train station from Benalmadena is a fair distance from the water...uphill.  We walked (it took about 15-20 minutes) but I suspect you could also catch a taxi.

A New Year's Trip to Málaga: Day 5 - A Day Trip to Antequera

Antequera is a picturesque country town less than two hours from Málaga.  Make sure to take the bus and not the train (the guidebooks can be quite misleading on this point) as the train station is a good 20 km from the town.  We found this out the hard way.  You can easily spend a day soaking up the atmosphere of this lovely Andalusian town.
Antequera, Spain
  • Bullfighting Museum - Spend the euro entry fee and have a look around the bull-fighting museum.  Some of the bulls mounted on the wall were from the mid-1800s.
Bullfighting Museum in Antequera, Spain
  • Alcazaba - Climb the Alcazaba and take the audio tour.  It’s really well done and is told from the perspective of Infante Don Fernando as he struggled to reconquer Antequera from the Moors.
Alcazaba in Antequera, Spain
  • Sample Mantecados - Antequera is home to the delicious holiday treat called mantecados.  Mantecados, polvorones, and related treats were on sale at nearly every bakery.  Mantecados are basically pulverized nut cakes held together with lard or olive oil.  
New Year's Eve in Malaga: Mantecados and Polvorones in Antequera, Spain

Migas - Antequera, Spain

Migas are a local specialty in Antequera and are essentially fried bread crumbs.  We sampled them at Mesón Restaurante Pañero and found migas to be a very filling meal when served with a giant pepper, sausage, and black pudding.
  • Dolmens - There are three ancient burial mounds accessible from the town of Antequera.  We took a walk out to see them after lunch.  There is minimal tourism infrastructure supporting the dolmens.  It’s worth going if you need to get a little exercise after all the mantecados and migas but it you’re short on time, you can safely skip them.
A Dolmen in Antequera, Spain

A New Year's Trip to Málaga: Day 6 - Day Trip to Ronda

White-washed buildings in Ronda, Spain
Ronda is the most popular of the white-washed hilltowns in Andalusia.  Ronda is easily accessible from Málaga City in about 2 hours by public bus.
  • Scenic Vistas: Explore the amazing views in Ronda but be careful that your jaw doesn’t drop too much from the amazingness of it all.
New Year's Eve in Malaga: Scenic Views from Ronda, Spain
  • 3-Bridges:  Walk down one side of the gorge and up the other while viewing the progressively older bridges.
The Three Bridges of Ronda, Spain
  • The Water Mine at La Casa del Rey Moro: Take a diversion, explore the gardens, and climb down the slippery steps to the base of the gorge in Ronda. 
Water Mine at La Casa del Rey Moro in Ronda, Spain

Restaurante Doña Pepa in Ronda, Spain

Restaurante Doña Pepa: Plaza de Socorro is home to a number of restaurants offering value-priced menu del dias.  Restaurante Doña Pepa offered a delicious meal with great ambiance.
  • View the ‘New’ Bridge from Below:  Before heading back to the bus station in Ronda, follow the trail downward and admire the impressive soaring new bridge from underneath.
The New Bridge in Ronda, Spain

A New Year's Trip to Málaga: Day 7 - Ring in Año Nuevo

Málaga is a vibrant city to celebrate New Year’s Eve.
  • Stroll the Streets after Dark:  Tip your hat to fellow revelers before making your way to dinner. 
New Year's Eve in Málaga, Spain
  • Rendezvous for your Dinner Reservation:  We booked in for New Year's Eve festivities at Vino Mio.  
New Year's Eve Dinner at Vino Mio in Málaga, Spain
  • Be Part of the Tradition: Make sure that you partake of the Spanish custom of eating 12 grapes to celebrate the new year (one with each ding of the bell) to ensure that your year gets off to an auspicious start. Oh, and don’t forget your silly party favors.
Eat Twelve Grapes To Celebrate the New Year in Málaga, Spain
Celebrating New Year's Eve in Malaga, Spain

A New Year's Trip to Málaga: Day 8 - Promenade and Gambones

  • Strut Your Stuff:  The modern promenade along the sea in Málaga is the perfect activity for a sunny New Year’s Day.  
Seaside Promenade in Málaga, Spain on New Year's Day
  • Stroll on the Beach:  Further on, take a walk along Malagueta beach before heading slightly inland to catch the bus.
Malagueta Beach in Málaga, Spain
  • Get Your GAMBONES!:  Restaurante El Tintero is a ‘must do’ in Málaga and is open on New Year's Day.  El Tintero a bit out of the way. It takes about 30 minutes to get there by public bus but it’s worth it for the unique experience.  You take a seat at El Tintero and the waiters come around offering various dishes in their best tenor or baritone voice - many were quite operatic.  My favorite was this guy who constantly seemed to be offering gambones (giant shrimp)!  When you see something you like, flag down the waiter and they'll add it to your bill.
Operatic Waiter at Restaurante El Tintero in Málaga, Spain

Here is a link to more in-depth posts and photos about our one week New Year's Eve trip to Málaga highlighted above.  You can also click on any of the 'postcard' photo collages above to see full sized images on Google Plus. A week in Málaga dovetails nicely with a Christmas trip to Granada. If you have more time to explore Spain, check out an itinerary from The Road Trip Guy that passes through Málaga.

New Year's Eve in Málaga Trip Dates: December 26, 2013 - January 3, 2014

Note: All expenses for the trip were incurred by the author.  None of the elements of the trip were sponsored by any of the attractions, hotels, or restaurants referenced.

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New Year's Eve in Málaga, Spain - Celebrating "Año Nuevo" with A Week in Andalusia



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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: New Year's Eve in Málaga, Spain - Celebrating "Año Nuevo" with A Week in Andalusia
New Year's Eve in Málaga, Spain - Celebrating "Año Nuevo" with A Week in Andalusia
Learn what it's like to celebrate New Year's Eve in Málaga, Spain. A step by step 1-week Málaga itinerary written by Dublin-based travel blogger, Jennifer (aka Dr. J) of Sidewalk Safari.
Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog
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