A Malaga travel guide – Picasso paintings, fortified castles and fish suppers by the Mediterranean

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Moorish fortresses, cutting-edge art galleries and beaches lapped by the Mediterranean Sea await on a Málaga city break. Book a Málaga hotel to discover a cultured Spanish city with a passion for Picasso and a love of outdoor living.

Cultural highlights

The Picasso Museum draws art lovers to its fascinating mix of Picasso ceramics and paintings in a 16th- century palace. View the permanent collection's Juan Muñoz sculptures and provocative Damien Hirst works at the Contemporary Arts Centre. Rising majestically above Málaga, the 11th-century Alcazaba fortress is a Moorish maze of hidden patios and keyhole arches with a Roman amphitheatre guarding the entrance. Trace the bougainvillea-draped ramparts of 14th-century Gibralfaro Castle for views over the city and port. The Cervantes Theatre stages opera, flamenco and theatre.

Spanish flavours

Malagueños breakfast in the Old Town's patisseries and buzzy cafés, dunking skinny churros doughnuts into bitter hot chocolate. Plaza de la Constitución is popular for alfresco lunches - try fried fish with sweet Málaga wine. Eat like a local with a well-heaped plate of fresh sardines and calamari at one of the good-value chiringuitos (beach shacks) in the old fishing village of El Palo. Foodies dress up for creative Andalusian cuisine at Malagueta's seafront restaurants. No Málaga city break is complete without a visit to one of the lively tapas bars in the centre.

Relaxing escapes

Málaga hotels are strung along the Mediterranean shore. Flop on Malagueta's sandy beach or in Pedregalejo's arching bays. Plane trees cool Paseo del Parque or seek shade in the fountain- dotted Puerta Oscura Gardens, in the shadow of the Alcazaba. La Concepción Botanical Gardens, 4km north, is lush with cypress trees, palms and fragrant wisteria. Golf fans can take their pick of a variety of Málaga's 18-hole courses with their dramatic sea and mountain backdrops. For the ultimate unwind, head to the domed Arabian Baths for a hammam followed by a sweet almond oil massage.