Malaga 2020: Botanical Gardens, Catherdral & Tapas Lunch

I’m really enjoying being back in Malaga and today we have sun! It’s nice to revisit familiar places from last time but I always like to do some new things in a place I’ve been to before. And one of my top intentions was to visit the famous botanical gardens – Jardin Botanico La Concepcion – which are about 6km north of the city. I’d read you could take a No.2 bus from the centre but the hotel seemed a bit horrified, telling me yesterday when I asked that it was a long walk along a busy road from the bus stop. Taking the city’s tourist bus would be a better option as it would take me straight there.

I started the day with an excellent buffet breakfast in the hotel – Salles Hotel Malaga Centro. The basement eating area had been completely redone since my last visit and was very attractive with an excellent choice of foods. There was anything you could possibly want for breakfast!

Well fed, I consulted the bus times and saw the first wasn’t until 11am … and there were gaps of 1hr 15mins between them. Another helpful woman at reception suggested, Why not take a cab; it was only about €10. She also pointed out that with all the rain it would be very wet; the gardens were beautiful and perhaps I could go another day. But they’re closed on Mondays and I return home on Tuesday so I decided to just go today. There are taxis outside the hotel; it cost €9. However, when we arrived we could see flooding at the entrance. The driver asked some men if they were opening and they said yes, but there would be no entrance fee today.

I was there not long after the opening time of 9.30 and it was almost deserted. I just started walking and soon became entranced by the greenery. The gardens lie in 23 acres of land and are over 150 years old. Certainly many of the trees were so large I was sure they must be very old. Here are some photos of my walk:




I made my way up to a brilliant viewing point from where I could see across to Malaga. I was very pleased I’d made the trip and it’s certainly a worthwhile expedition out of the city.

I met a lovely young Danish woman a couple of times on my way round and we got talking. She’d also come by taxi and suggested we share one to get back to the city. We tried calling a number on a card she had without much luck but the helpful guys at reception called one for us. We could see there wouldn’t be a bus for over another hour so a taxi was a good option!

The cab dropped me near the marina and I walked down to the front and stopped for a coffee. There was a craft market along the edge which was fun to look at.


Further along I spied a ‘pirate ship’, which I knew would excite my little grandsons so I sent a photo home!

From the marina there are great views back across the city with the cathedral clearly visible and the old Moorish Alcazaba Fortress.

Making my way back into the town centre I passed the catherdral and decided I’d visit it after lunch.

I headed to Casa Lola for a simple lunch of tapas. I went to this bar-restaurant on my last trip and it’s a great and fun place to go.

I arrived quite early by Spanish standards at 12.30. By 12.50 it was full; when I left at around 1.15 there was a queue outside.

I didn’t want a big lunch and ordered three tapas and a small beer.

I had a gorgeous aubergine ‘cannelloni’ stuffed with roasted peppers and a green sauce. I also had smoked sardine with pickle, quail’s egg and mayonnaise.  My small shrimp omelette was surprisingly crispy but delicious. The food at Lola is excellent. With my beer, the bill was just €8.70.


It cost €6 to go into the cathedral. It’s a beautiful building that took more than two and a half centuries (1528-1782) to build. It very impressive inside and I was pleased I’d gone it. So many times I’d passed it on my last visit when there were long queues so it was great to be able to go straight in today.



Making my way back down to the marina and sea for a walk I passed a branch of Malaga’s most famous ice cream shop – Casa Mira. Well of course I had to go in!


I found a bench on the walk down to the seafront in a park area and sat beneath an orange tree, heavy with ripe fruit, and thought what a beautiful city Malaga is and how pleased I am I’ve come back.

I strolled along the front for a while enjoying the warm sun. Then it was time to head back to the hotel for a siesta before the evening began.

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A lifelong lover of good food and travel; writer and book editor

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