Norwegian offers a selection of cruises to the Canary Islands, some of which include a stop in Malaga, Spain. This picturesque Andalusian city is located on the Mediterranean and is the birthplace of Pablo Picasso. Cruising to Malaga offers an ideal port stop for travelers wanting to explore Granada, renowned for its exciting mix of European and Arab cultures. To get your Spain cruise planning started, here is a look at some of the best things to see and do in Malaga.
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Explore Malaga's Historical Architecture
If you've never been to Malaga, tour the city's most notable attractions and Gothic architecture. Your excursion includes a visit to the scenic hilltop location of Gibralfaro, where you can enjoy incredible views from the summit, looking down over the harbor, city, and famous bullring.
Descend to the Plaza de la Merced and walk to the 11th century Alcazaba. This spot is where the king of Granada ordered a fortress built in the style of the Alhambra. Finish your tour at the exquisite Cathedral of Malaga.
Relax on the Beach
Malaga is home to 16 different beaches, one reason so many tourists flock to the south of Spain during the summer months. Each of Malaga's beaches has its respective charms. Playa de La Malagueta is the closest to the city. Playa de Las Acacias, just east of the city center, is popular with locals looking to escape the crowds at Playa de la Malagueta.
Explore the Caves of Nerja
Head east of Malaga to the important town of Nerja with a historic center that dates back to 1487. If you book a shore excursion to the Caves of Nerja, your adventure starts with a tour of Nerja itself. There's plenty to see here, including the 9th-century castle and a 17th-century church showcasing Baroque-Mudejar style architecture.
>After wandering around the city, guests will head to the famous caves that date back millions of years. As you descend deeper into the caves, you will find the largest stalagmite columns in the world. These stalagmites measure 161 feet tall and 59 feet in diameter.
Learn About Marine Conservation Efforts
Cruise passengers interested in learning about local marine conservation efforts should consider booking the Go Green - Marine Conservation and Wildlife Protection excursion. Start with a visit to a marine museum that concentrates on marine life in the Alborán Sea. You'll see exhibits about sea life between Africa and the Iberian Peninsula, including sperm whales, great white sharks, and five species of turtles. Many of the marine animals in the aquarium are being rehabilitated after suffering injuries.
After the museum, you'll head to a natural park located on an island estuary. This area is home to a plethora of birds, foxes, local fauna, and other wildlife.
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Take a Day Trip to Granada
On a cruise to Malaga, you can choose an all-day shore excursion to visit Granada, the capital of the Andalusian region. This nine-hour tour takes you around some of Granada's best sights. Your first stop is the Carlos V Palace, which dates back to the 16th century. The palace follows a Renaissance ground plan, complete with a square building that houses a circular courtyard. It's the only one in Spain.
After the palace, visitors will head to the Albayzin quarter, which is Granada's oldest area. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is where you'll find a mix of Moorish and Andalusian architecture. Another highlight of this tour is a visit to the Royal Chapel, where Spanish monarchs such as King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella were laid to rest.
Visit the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar
Another popular day trip option from Malaga is Gibraltar. Start the day with a leisurely drive across southern Spain to Gibraltar. Once you cross the border, you'll change vehicles to something smaller that is better suited for Gibraltar's narrow streets. One of the highlights here is a visit to Europa Point, Gibraltar's southernmost point. On a clear day, you can look out over the busy strait and see Africa in the distance.
Other notable sights on this trip include St. Michael's Cave, believed first to be inhabited during the Neolithic period. Next, you will see the 11th-century Moorish Castle. Be sure to keep your eyes open for Gibraltar's most famous residents - the Barbary apes that roam free around the rocks and lower town.
Learn About Local Malaga Gastronomy
If you are interested to learn more about the local cuisine, book a Malaga gastronomy shore excursion. Your first stop is a traditional bodega co-owned by Antonio Banderas called El Pimpi. At El Pimpi, you will sample local wines paired with traditional tapas. Because of Malaga's Mediterranean location, expect seafood tapas, such as prawns and fried anchovies. Next, you will visit a creative Andalusian restaurant, El Merendero de Antonio Martin. Expect the tasting to be innovative and modern, prepared with the freshest seasonal ingredients.
Malaga offers plenty of outdoor adventure for travelers. If you want to stay active on your cruise to Malaga, consider booking the King's Gaze Hiking excursion. This hike will get your adrenaline going as you head along an exhilarating narrow pathway along a rocky gorge. Climb up stairs and traverse boardwalks and wooden bridges on the gorge's walls. This trail is about 325 feet above the river and was once considered the world's most dangerous pathway.
No matter what your interests are, Malaga offers something for everyone. Are you still in the planning stages for your Canary Island cruise? Be sure to sign up for emails to have the latest cruise deals and special offers delivered right to your inbox.
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