By Graham Cruise, ISA Site Specialist for Spain
Trying to better understand the numerous summer activities that Málaga has to offer, I decided to get in touch with Málaga local and ISA Assistant Director, Iker Villamarin, to see what he could share about his town.
Here’s what I was able to uncover about Iker and Málaga…
What is one aspect that makes Málaga unique to the rest of Spain?
The one aspect the makes Málaga unique is the weather, as we have an average temperature of 65ºF and 300 days of sunshine each year. This is the reason why Málaga is known as the capital of the Costa del Sol (“the Sun coast”), which stretches for over 100 miles. The Costa del Sol begins in Nerja, a beautiful white-clad coastal village, and ends in Manilva, the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea, both of which are recommendable places to visit!
Is there a part of the city that you like the best?
Any part that is next to the beach! We have a brand-new marina called Muelle Uno, which sits right next to the Puerto de Málaga, complete with restaurants, various museums, stores and a splendid portside semi-covered walkway called El Palmeral de las Sorpresas (“the Palm Garden of Surprises”), making the city and port even more integrated.
Additionally, you can take a stroll along the Pedregalejo boardwalk, where we frequently go to have lunch and coffee with friends (mostly on Sundays) and is a very busy part of the city right next to the beach.
Last but not least, El Balneario, a seaside restaurant, is one that you absolutely cannot skip! Come order a bite to eat in the early evening hours to enjoy the restaurant’s exceptional nighttime atmosphere and watch the spectacular sunsets over the Mediterranean Sea.
What exciting opportunities will university students have in Málaga during the summer?
The biggest of all celebrations in summer will be the Feria de Málaga, a week of festivities to commemorate when Málaga was taken over by the Catholic Kings Isabel and Ferdinand and incorporated into what is now modern Spain. In 2012, it was declared the top-visited celebration in Spain with more than 5 million attendees.
But, of course, there are many other things going on during the summer months!
Starting at the end of June, all the way up through August, the city of Málaga hosts movies on the beach (Cine Abierto Málaga) at various points across the city.
In addition to the free movies on the beach, students can spend the summer attending bullfights and music festivals, like Festival de Verano Terral, and last summer, we were lucky enough to see bands like Franz Ferdinand and Crystal Fighters at the 101 Sun Festival. Be sure not to miss the 2015 edition!
What are some of your favorite food dishes?
So many things to choose from! My favorite food dishes will be, first of all, Gazpacho (a tomato, onion, green pepper, cucumber, cold soup), which is probably the most famous dish in Andalucía. Then, Spanish ham! I always say that I could live off of just eating these two items! But, as far as food goes, the list is endless!
I love tortilla española (Spanish omelet), paella, and the Málaga classic: espeto de sardinas, which is easily the most famous dish here. It consists of sardines prodded onto the end of a stick, which is then roasted over an open fire. The best part of this is the experience, as it is most commonly cooked and eaten right on the beach! I’ll stop now, because I could talk about food for days…
What was your favorite part about growing up in Málaga (if you grew up here)?
I am originally from Barcelona and moved to Málaga when I was 14, but I would say that my favorite part of growing up in Málaga is how nice everybody is. You can make friends really quickly! People are friendly and welcoming!
What are people in Málaga like and what do the people like to do?
We like to be outside as much as possible, especially since there are so many things to do here! We like to go to see our soccer and basketball teams play, both of which are First Division, so we get to see some great matches against Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Also, we have a ton of museums! The main one will be the Museo Picasso (Picasso was born in Málaga).
In the afternoon, we enjoy going out for coffee or tea with friends. We have amazing coffee in Málaga – the Costa del Sol has more cafés per square meter than anywhere else in the world!
Since we are so social and love to go out, it’s common for us to meet up with friends to go for lunch or dinner or just munch on some tapas. When we grow full, taking a walk around the city is relaxing and a great way to see a lot of the scenery and monuments.
I like to meet my friends at Málaga’s little Soho, (nicknamed the Barrio de las Artes – the Neighborhood of Art) with restaurants, stores, workshops, and incredible street art.
Malagueños (Málaga locals) are open, friendly, and will surely make you feel right at home!
Apply for a summer program in Málaga today! Summer 1 application deadline is March 25 and Summer 2 is April 25, so hurry and apply!