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Leisure, Entertainment & Sports

Malaga - Leisure, Entertainment & Sports

The all-year-round warm temperatures mean that much of residents' leisure time is spent outdoors, either enjoying leisurely meals in sea view restaurants and bars, or something more active in one of the wealth of sports clubs that exist, both on and off the water.

There are many clubs, societies and get-togethers for expats. The online expat newspaper www.costadelsol.st has details of clubs and events, as well as local news stories affecting expats and the all important weather. A detailed list of societies can also be found at < a href="http://www.andalucia.com/entertainment/clubs/home.htm">www.andalucia.com/entertainment/clubs/home.htm

Football remains a passion in Spain and Malaga Football Club were recently promoted from the Second Division into the Premier Division of La Liga, meaning Malaga residents now have visits from footballing giants such as Real Madrid and Barcelona.

For those who like to take a more active role in sport, many expats take advantage of their coastal position by trying out a water sport or sailing. Many respected sailing schools are close at hand in Malaga such as the Academia Andaluza de Enseanzas Nauticas (www.academianautica.es), situated in Malaga Port, or the nearby Escuela Nautica Deportiva Puerto de Malaga (www.centroactividadsnauticaspuertodemalaga.es)

Golf is another obvious attraction for both visitors and residents. There are around 50 golf clubs in the province of Malaga, a list of which, plus their facilities can be found at www.andalucia.com/golf/courses-malaga.htm

The city is a delight for people who like culture and architecture. As the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, a visit to the Museo Picasso Malaga is an interesting visit. Situated in the Palacio de Buenavista, on Calle San Agustin, the museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays and has both permanent and temporary exhibitions. Entry is just 8 euros for access to all the exhibits. For more information on current exhibits, visit www.museopicassomalaga.org

Another interesting visit is the historical site of Alcazaba, which dates back to the Arabic occupation of the area. Both the site and museum are in central Malaga, on Calle Alcaba.

A good night out is apparently easier to achieve in Malaga than anywhere else in Europe, as it claims to have more bars per square metre than anywhere else on the continent. Despite welcoming foreigners, Malaga has managed to hold on to many of its Spanish traditions. Those wanting a typically Spanish Andalucian evening will want tapas and flamenco, and both are easily found in Malaga. It would be difficult to feel more Spanish than taking tapas in the very plaza where Picasso was born. That is exactly where Taperia Siglo XX1 is based, in the Plaza de la Merced, and which specialises in Andalucian favourites, cheese and serrano ham. Flamenco dancing can be found through the night at Vista Andalucia in Avenida de los Guindos.

The wide ranging nationalities of the city are not forgotten, and many culinary tastes are catered for. A list of restaurants, their specialities, prices and contact details can be found here

To take advantage of the coastal situation, some recommended fish restaurants can be found in the beach suburbs of Pedregalejo and El Palo.

Many expats looking for a night out visit the nearby tourist resorts of Torremolinos or Benalmadena. There the usual array of clubs, pubs and karaoke bars can be found, with residents and tourists mingling for all night drinking and dancing.

For those preferring a quieter life, there are a surprising amount of green areas in the city to be visited and enjoyed. The Parque de La Alameda is a large city park with a display of ornamental plants and sculptures by Salvador Dali. Situated between the Avenida Maritima and the old town, the park can produce some welcome shelter under the trees during the excessive mid-summer heat.

Being Spain, there is a wide variety of festivals and processions that take place throughout the year. Perhaps one of the most controversial for expats is the Feria de Agosto, which centres around the Andalusian tradition of bullfighting and which still remains popular today. There are bullfights throughout the season from April to September, and for those wanting to witness this Spanish tradition, the Bull Ring is situated at Plaza La Malagueta, near the main old town.

Another important festival in Malaga is Semana Santa, or Holy Week, which involves daily processions leading up to Easter. They are very sombre affairs, and to carry the statue of the Virgin Mary through the streets, though an extremely arduous task, is seen as a great honour by those chosen.

On a lighter note, the arrival of the Three Kings, who traditionally given children their presents in Spain on January 6th, is a huge event of colour and excitement as thousands of children turn out to watch the arrival of their most exciting night of the year.

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