Art. Wine. Warm winters. Sound good? Málaga often gets ignored by travelers passing through on their way to better beaches, but linger a little. It's a hectic gritty town but there's still a lot to like.
After all, Pablo Picasso was born here (so was Antonio Banderas, incidentally). The new Picasso museum is stopping a lot more visitors in their beach-making tracks - and they're staying to find a host of other museums, a Roman theater, a baroque cathedral and a harborside historic quarter.
Málaga is slowly beautifying itself, becoming calmer and more pedestrianized, but it's far from being Disney-fied. And who would want it to be? Get a taste of that beachside bar scene or walk its lively streets and you'll forgive it a little noise and hassle.
Málaga is about an hour's drive south of Madrid. Trains run regularly from Madrid and Seville, and there are bus connections from all over Spain.