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Autumn entertainment in Malaga

September was a scorcher of a month, but it seems autumn has finally arrived in Malaga: the leaves are rusting on the trees, the days are drawing in and there’s a definite chill in the air.  Although your beach days may be behind you, now is your opportunity to make the most of the more manageable temperatures by indulging in the activities that would have had you wilting like an unwatered pot plant just a few weeks ago.  If you´re looking to stave off those winter blues for a little while longer, here´s some suggestions how:

Get cultured

If you consider yourself a bit of a culture vulture, you´ll be pleased to know there´s plenty on in Malaga for you to get your claws into this autumn.

Firstly, for all the art appreciators out there, the Museo Picasso Malaga (MPM) celebrates its 15th anniversary on the 27th of October by opening its doors to the public free of charge. There will be a range of cultural activities on offer for all the family, including performances and workshops to keep the little ones entertained, live music, and free entry to a range of exclusive exhibitions.   The museum will be open non stop for 24 hours, from 8pm on Saturday 27th until the following evening, allowing you the liberty to wander its halls into the small hours For more information, click here.

If music is more your thing, Malaga´s annual jazz festival is taking place in the city this month, running from 29th of October until the 4th November.  The Cervantes theatre will provide the main stage for the action, kicking off with an opening show at 8pm on Friday the 29th,but you will also find live jazz happening in many bars around the city centre. You can check out the programme for the Cervantes theatre here.   Tickets range in price from 11-36 euro but be sure to book in advance, as they tend to get snapped up quickly!

Sample a seasonal delicacy

Food changes with the seasons in Spain: and you´ll see new dishes start to pop up on Malagueñan menus as the temperatures drop.   What better way to welcome autumn than by treating your tastebuds to some of this local seasonal fayre?

Amongst the autumnal staples on offer is plato de los montes, a warming dish of pork, chorizo, potatoes and pepper topped off with a fried egg.  It’s traditional to the Montes region, as the name suggests, but is also to be found in nearby Valle del Guadalhorce and Vega de Antequera.  For a generous helping of plato de los montes at a reasonable price, try restaurant Los Tres Cincos in Los Montes.  Or head down the road to Venta el Tunel to enjoy a bowl of arroz caldoso: a delicious, brothy rice bursting with flavour, made from chicken, tomato, garlic and a splash of white wine.   Served piping hot and straight from the pot, this rice dish is the perfect comfort food on a chilly autumn day. In this vein, perhaps you also fancy sampling the world famous Malgueñan goat in a rich, garlic laced stew named choto al ajillo. The mountain village of Casabermeja, proud host of the annual Goat Festival, is probably the optium spot to try this dish: head along Bar Alba to taste it at its best.

The approach of winter is heralded in the streets of Spain by one distinctive smell: the roasting chestnut.  The malagueños celebrate this traditional autumn tidbit by throwing a party in its honour. The village of Yunquera celebrates its annual wine and chestnut fair on the last weekend of October: offering visitors free samples of roasted chestnuts and a chance to learn more about its farming and cultivation, while being plied with glasses of delicious red wine from the local area.

In nearby Pujerra, the chestnut is also the star of the show on the night of October 31st: roasted chestnuts will be available until one o’clock in the morning, providing the perfect opportunity for a warming midnight snack.  

Go for a walk

If you´re anything like me, a quick dash to the nearest chiringuito was the extent of your physical exertion whilst still in the blazing clutches of summer.  Now the temperatures are dropping there’s no excuse not to get out and about in the open air and enjoy all beautiful Andalucia has to offer.

For example, why not drive up into the mountains one morning and try a hike?  El Torcal national park, situated a half hour drive drive along spectacular mountain roads to the south of Antequera, offers a range of walks through its dramatically rock strewn interior.  The trails are colour coded in terms of difficulty, so you can choose one to suit your fitness level.

There´s also a variety of trails on offer in the vast pine forest of Montes de Malaga national park, a short drive into the hills north of Malaga city.  Here you can hike along paths with sweeping views across the tree tops below, and be in with a chance of glimpsing eagles careening in the skies above.

Or perhaps a gentle stroll  is more your style? Arguably one of the best things about autumn is watching the leaves change colour, something which is not always easy to do in a city like Malaga, with its borderline tropical climate and the thriving population of evergreen trees.  If you´re pining (excuse the pun) for a colourful tree fix, be sure to visit La Concepcion Botanical gardens, situated just a short drive from Malaga city centre. Here you´ll have a chance to enjoy the blazing spectacle of trees changing from their summer to winter attire, while wandering amongst lush gardens bursting with plantlife.  A perfect activity for a crisp autumn day.

Scare Yourself

Halloween is a fairly new festival in Spain, but one that is quickly gathering in popularity.  Malaga is getting in on the action by laying on a range of frightful festivities throughout the city on the night of the 31st.  

For safety in numbers, round up a group of friends and get involved in some Halloween games at the English Cemetery in the city centre.  Get your heads together to solve clues and discover more about this ancient cemetery´s spooky history. Festivities kick off at 9pm on the evening of the 31st, with an entry cost of 25 euro per team.

The Botanical Gardens are also getting into the spirit (that´s the last pun, I promise) of Halloween by switching the focus from flora and fauna to fear: the theme this year is “the Psychiatric hospital”, and the old house and its grounds will set the stage for a range of guided tours filled with creepy surprises, so be sure to keep your wits about you.

Or if you fancy combining terror with a spot of tapas, don your costume and follow the Macabre Tapas Route around the bars of Malaga city centre on Halloween night.  The route will culminate in a rock concert and a prize for the scariest costume, so be sure to get creative with those face paints!

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