If you’re heading to Málaga without giving too much thought to what you want to do beyond tanning, tapas and taking it easy, you may be surprised to learn just how many options are at your fingertips. Over the past few years, the city has garnered quite the reputation as a hipster hangout, thanks to its vibrant indie culture and cool, youthful vibe. So, go beyond the regular tourist traps and discover a very different view of this sun-kissed superstar of the Costa del Sol.
Okay, so the first thing you’re going to need is the lay of the land. The seasoned independent traveller knows that the coolest places in town don’t even need to try: they’re cool because they’re authentic, they’re quirky and they’re usually full of locals, as opposed to throngs of selfie-snapping tourists. Except for you. You’re cool.
You already know Soho is going to be cool because of its name, but be prepared for a whole new level of hipster chill in this grungy, somewhat neglected quarter just off the port. Some of the world’s leading graffiti artists have transformed the former genteel residential neighbourhood into one of the most exciting street art venues in Andalusia. The best thing is that you can wander around Soho and take in this incredible spray-painted artwork (and, okay, a quick selfie) with nary a tourist in sight.
El Perchel is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city and is another place that’s so off-the-beaten-track that you’ll feel like a local without even trying. Situated close to the water, the working-class streets are home to the fabulous Mercado del Carmen, where fishermen ply their fresh daily catches to the locals and restaurateurs of the city. For a taste of life as it was before Málaga was “discovered” by tourism, El Perchel takes you on a charming step back in time.
For a very different kind of ambience, La Merced is the hippest ticket in town – and this buzzing quarter is the place to come for food, fun and non-stop street entertainment. If you want a bit of history with your hipness, Plaza de la Merced is the birthplace of artist Pablo Picasso. The incredible covered market delivers a sensory sensation, with cuisine from all over the world, and, if you’re looking to sample some of the best pubs and clubs, Calle Alamo and Calle Carreteria provide a wealth of options.
Don’t Miss This
Speaking of entertainment, if you’re looking for your hipster tribe in Málaga, you might find them here… but don’t tell them we told you.
You probably don’t need to be fluent in Spanish to get the gist of El Microteatro. It’s a theatre. A small one. But therein lies its appeal, and every week the cast puts on a 15-minute play for a very exclusive audience of 15 people in – you might have guessed it – a 15m2 space! You can grab something to eat in the bar after the performance, and if you love it (you will), you can come back again for a different show.
Another place that doesn’t need much translation, La Casa Invisible is anything but, although its location tucked behind the Plaza de los Mártires goes some way to explaining is name. This delightful local venue is pretty much a community centre of cool. With workshops (fancy yoga, tango, flamenco or drumming), wine on the patio bar and a well-attended craft market a couple of times a month, La Casa Invisible is the place to go if you really want to discover what the locals get up to on their days off.
La Termica is a creative hub offering workshops, exhibitions, live musical performances and cultural programmes for the community. With a wonderfully inclusive vibe, the venue welcomes anyone to take part in the activities, and the setting of a beautifully restored ex-military hospital adds to the delightfully authentic ambience.
Eat, Drink and Be Hipster
If you follow the above advice, you’ll no doubt discover a host of funky cafes and restaurants along the way, but it doesn’t hurt to start you off with a few insider tips.
Recyclo Bike Café: Your Spanish is really coming along, isn’t it? You know just what the décor of this cool little café attached to a cycle repair shop comprises and, with a fabulously healthy menu, free Wi-Fi and artisan beer, even if you don’t have a bike to fix, it’s worth a visit to see the ones hanging from the ceiling.
Drunk-o-Rama Cafe Bar: If you ever wondered where Vermouth-o-rama was created, you’ve found it. This quirky bar in the old part of the city has an eclectic offering, with poetry readings, live music, clothing exchanges and lots (and lots) of paella and vermouth. The perfect combination. Apparently.
La Madriguera: For those with a taste for craft beer, this small but perfectly formed bar is the place to get your fill. The friendly and knowledgeable bartenders are always more than happy to offer advice and tastings, and there’s quite often live music to keep you company. Good, clean fun – and beer.
How to Get to Málaga
Getting to Málaga is super simple from the UK. With a range of budget operators offering regular services and direct flights that are less than three hours, it’s the perfect place for even a weekend getaway.
Once you’ve landed at Málaga Airport (AGP), there’s no need to fight your way through a taxi queue or try to navigate public transport. Prebook a convenient shared or private ride with Shuttle Direct and in about 20 minutes you’ll be at the door of your accommodation.
Where to Stay
Urbanliving Soho: Walking distance from the beach, Urbanliving Soho offers contemporary accommodation in the heart of Málaga. The self-contained units have their own kitchen and some have outdoor spaces, boasting spectacular views over the city. With a location that’s hard to beat and a warm, homely ambience, Urbanliving provides a cosy home away from home in the hippest part of town.
Feels Hostel Soho Málaga: Get all the good feels at Feels Hostel Soho Málaga! With a choice of private or dorm rooms, the hostel is set within walking distance from absolutely everything. With a fabulous sun terrace, free Wi-Fi and clean, modern rooms, the wonderful social nature of the hostel includes guided tours and pub-crawls.
Hostal Vidamia: Impeccably clean and in a superb central location, Hostal Vidamia offers friendly budget accommodation in a restored nineteenth-century building. The rooms feature an elegant, minimalist décor, and with air conditioning, free Wi-Fi and a private bathroom, Hostal Vidamia is excellent value for money – not to mention that it’s only a 15-minute walk away from the beach.
About Shuttle Direct
When you need a comfortable, economical ride from the airport to the door of your accommodation, Shuttle Direct has the perfect solution. No matter what your budget, our range of shared and private services means that we’ve got something to suit your needs. Make a booking via our simple online system and one of our friendly drivers will take care of the rest. Wherever you’re going, we’ve got you!