ALTHOUGH SPAIN’S COSTA DEL SOL boasts more hours of sunlight than any other place in Europe, in Málaga the heat turns up as the sun goes down. Shops stay open until 9 p.m., and the main shopping street is a broad, car-free boulevard where you can stroll amid sculptures and cafés.
This is Picasso’s hometown, so get in a little sightseeing on the Picasso Trail to his childhood home and other sites, including Santiago Church, one of the city’s loveliest and the site of his baptism. It’s open until 9 p.m., and the excellent Picasso Museum Málaga remains open until 8 p.m. in the summer, 7 p.m. spring and fall.
Here, as in Madrid, rooftop terraces prove popular places for a sunset drink. For the best city views, especially of the cathedral, try the AC Hotel Palacio. For views of the old Alcazaba Fortress and Roman Theatre, go to Batik Club at the Alcazaba Premium Hostel. Consider staying for dinner at Batik Restaurant for some of the city’s best fusion cuisine.
Don’t miss seeing flamenco while you’re in Andalucía; combine it with another Spanish tradition at Restaurante Tipi Tapa, where in addition to one of the city’s most authentic flamenco shows you can choose from more than 150 different tapas. Mix authentic flamenco with another Málaga tradition at Tablao Los Amayas, where two nightly shows feature Picasso & Flamenco.
Dinner serves up late in Málaga, and clubs rev up even later — into one of Spain’s best live music scenes. The Clarence Jazz Club on Calle Cañón hosts jazz concerts several nights a week, and The Wall Bar at the Hotel Posada del Patio features live jazz on weekends. At the brash, noisy ZZ Pub you’ll hear rock and blues on Thursdays and pop rock other nights. If you prefer classical music, the Málaga Philharmonic Orchestra offers concerts at the Cervantes Theatre.
There’s little exclusively gay nightlife because Málaga — and Spain in general — is so inclusive. But the Calle de Bruselas and El Carmen cafés and others around Plaza de la Merced stand out as popular meeting spots. For late-night music, check out nearby Peter Pan and La Comedia, on Calle La Comedia, an LGBTQ+ nightclub with cabaret and drag acts.
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