its that time of year when we come to spain to open the house for the spring – and inspect all our renovations done over the winter; so for a change we flew into malaga and booked a night in the old town. malaga is a busy airport for commencing your holiday on the costa del sol – you fly in, you drive out – i dont think that a lot of people actually stay in malaga. we normally stay in the hotel Molina Lario, which is perfectly situated, in the old town, by the cathedral and near the sea – there is a little swimming pool on the roof terrace too, but this time we tried Palacio Solecio- a newly restored Palacio; all these hotels look pretty much the same, quite corporate but the rooms are very clean, the beds comfortable and if you book in advance, you can get a good deal. what i love about malaga is that it still has beautiful old shops and bars, including the wonderful antigua casa de guardia which is 175 years old that still serves its wine from the barrels and writes your tab in chalk on the bar. eat lunch or dinner at restaurant los melizos, very good seafood – they have several restaurants in malaga as do el pimpi , who also have a lovely outdoor terrace area too just in front of the roman amphitheatre . the bar at el pimpi is very atmospheric and you can just have tapas there. walk around the amazing mercado central de atarazanas, with its beautiful stain glass window – its divided into 3 parts, fish fruit and meat, but you can find all the wonderful culinary delights of spain in there. you must also find time to visit the museo picasso and the house where he was born . other museums worth visiting are Museo de Malaga, Museo Carmen Thyssen and the recent Centre Pompidou. I would definitely choose malaga as a starting point to our holiday in vejer – not only is it authentically spanish and cultural, but only 2 and half hours from our house. there is so much more to explore!