Málaga is the largest city in the south of Spain and capital of the province of Malaga in the region of Andalusia. A pioneer of the Spanish Industrial Revolution, it grew very quickly until 1970 when the city and its surrounding areas switched to a more service-based economy with an emphasis on tourism, which has led to Malaga becoming one of the most important tourist gateways in the Mediterranean. The recently improved and expanded international airport is located just 8 km from the city centre and is serviced by around 80 foreign carriers, most of which are European. Malaga is second only to Barcelona as a Spanish peninsular port of call for cruise ships and there are regular ferries over to Melilla in North Africa.
With a history going back 2,800 years, Malaga is one of the world’s oldest cities. Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs and Christians have left a rich cultural and artistic heritage which has turned the city centre into a living open-air museum. Andalusia is also renowned for its excellent food. From the famous pescaíto (small fried fish) to the more wholesome and hearty dishes of the interior, its culinary traditions also include the art of tapeo: going from bar to bar enjoying mouth-watering tapas and a drink at each stop along the way. Don’t forget also that the Costa del Sol is nicknamed the “Costa del Golf” in reference to the region’s 70 golf courses! Most of the clubs are located between the cities of Marbella and Malaga.
There are three extremely important museums that significantly enhance Malaga’s cultural offer and which have great potential relevance for the MICE sector:
- The Contemporary Art Centre of Malaga (CAC Malaga) is a vibrant hub of artistic expression and for keeping up with the very latest trends in visual arts.
- Picasso Museum gives an extraordinary insight into the workings of Picasso’s artistic imagination.
- Malaga’s Carmen Thyssen Museum is located within an architectural gem; a fully renovated 16th century palace representing one of the jewels of Malaga’s renaissance architecture. It sits on the site of the ancient Roman metropolis and within the old Muslim area of the city.
This range of facilities and activities can all be enjoyed during any leisure time available before, during or after congresses and conventions or when taking part in an incentive programme. Indeed, Malaga has its very own modern congress centre, a benchmark for quality in the convention and trade fair industry since it opened in 2003. It offers exhibition space of up to 17,000 m2 including two exhibition halls, two auditoria with a capacity of 600 and 900 people respectively, two conference halls holding 400 people each, 12 meeting rooms, plus a large restaurant which can cater for up to 1,500 people. Málaga can also provide a long list of varied venues for group events including the Alcazaba, an Arab fortress renovated in 2003 which is part urban structure and part archaeological site. Another striking venue is the Hacienda Del Alamo, a 19th century manor house set in 26,000 m2 of grounds. There is also the Automobile Museum of Malaga which is housed in the Old Cigarette Factory complex, an emblematic example early 20th century industrial architecture dating from 1927. It is far more than just a museum and more a multi-purpose venue for entertainment, art and culture covering a massive 6,000 square metres. It is yet another cultural and creative asset for the city with the additional benefit of giving event organisers the chance to use its variety of different spaces and ambiences for presentations, product launches, private events or business meetings.