This blog post was originally posted on April 4th, 2016 and was updated on June 22th, 2017
Neighborhoods in Malaga: Why El Perchel should be on your list:
El Perchel is not what you would call a “tourist attraction” in Malaga, but then again, I think that’s exactly why you should visit. It is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Malaga and it was one of the first areas people lived outside of the hispano-arab walls. In fact, the neighborhood gets its name from the “perchas” (hangers) the fisherman used to dry their fish. It was a marginal neighborhood and it wasn’t helped by the smell of fish. That being said, there is now a sense of pride and authenticity in saying you are from “El Perchel,” that you are a “Perchelero” (a person who is from El Perchel).
Very little is left of the historic buildings in this quintessential Malaga neighborhood. Many of them have been torn down to make room for new apartment buildings, and the typical patios are all but non-existent. But what does ring true is the unmistakable sense of neighborhood and history that you feel when walking down the Calle Ancha del Carmen. El Perchel is one of the neighborhoods in Malaga that gives you a feel for just how many centuries people have been living in this city.
What to see in El Perchel:
The Church of San Pedro. They began construction on this church in the year 1629. The main architect was the same man who worked on the Cathedral of Malaga, Pedro Díaz de Palacios. The church was left unfinished and it took them until 1943 when they decided to reconstruct it and finish the church. One of the main processions in Holy Week, the “Expiración” belongs to this church and the band that follows the procession is one of the best in Malaga. Throughout the year, you can hear their concerts, and if you enjoy band music, this is a great opportunity to experience Malaga in a different way!
Avenida de la Aurora, 8
The Church of “el Carmen”. Founded in the year 1584, the original, poorly constructed, church was destroyed by an earthquake in 1680. It took the better part of the next century to complete the restoration, only to suffer a fire in 1931. During the Spanish Civil war, this church was used as a storage facility. It was later restored, and is currently one of the most well known churches in the neighborhood.
Calle de la Plaza de Toros Vieja, 23
Mercado del Carmen. For over 140 years, this market has been a place for the people of Malaga to buy fish caught fresh and brought in that morning from the port. The old market was closed in 2010, but the new, renovated Mercado del Carmen boasts the same good quality seafood, as well as a bar where you can sample the catch of the day!
Calle de la Serna, 45
Convent of San Andres. Found just next to the Mercado del Carmen, this convent, which dates back to the 16th century, has long fallen into a state of disrepair, however there are plans to restore and renovate the old convent pending an archeological study of the area.
The traditional houses and cobblestone streets. Duck behind the modern Calle Cuarteles for a minute, and head one or two streets over to see the few traditional houses that still stand in El Perchel. This is one of the neighborhoods in Malaga that used to be full of “casas correlones” (buildings with huge patios where people would socialize and hang their laundry.) Now there are only a few of the old homes still standing, but if you walk down the Calle Ancha del Carmen, with its cobblestoned street, you get a feeling of what the neighborhood used to be like. Make sure to look up, as some of the balconies are still adorned with plants and tile work.
Noteworthy Celebrations in El Perchel:
Holy Week. there are several processions that begin and end in the neighborhood of El Perchel including the Misericordia (popularly known as “El Chiquito”), La Esperanza, La Expiración, Mena, Estrella, Zamarrilla and Dolores del Puente.
“Los correlones”. (the typical apartment buildings with a large shared patio in the middle) are opened to the public on special occasions such as Christmas or spring to show off the flowers and the traditional patio.
Procession for the Virgin del Carmen. This procession for the Virgin considered to be the protector of seafarers begins on land and after visiting the cathedral, there is a portion where the image of the Virgin is taken in a boat across the water. Every July around the 16th. Sometimes the date for the procession is changed to the weekend. (This is good to note if you are visiting in summer!)
Where to eat while you are there:
Los Valle. This is your classic neighborhood churros and hot chocolate stop. The place literally only makes “tejeringos” (churros made in the traditional way), hot chocolate and coffee. They are very good at what they do, this is an obligatory stop!
Calle Cuarteles, 54
Bar at the Mercado del Carmen. Selling the freshly caught seafood from the market, this bar has some of the most delicious fried fish in Malaga. Try the shrimp skewers or the “boquerones fritos” (fried anchovies). Delicious when you eat them outside with a view of the old Convent San Andrés.
Calle de la Serna, 14
Pescaítos Nuestra Señora del Gran Poder. Located next to the Church of the Virgin del Carmen, Pescaítos Nuestra Señora del Gran Poder is agreat neighborhood bar where you can sit outside and enjoy your food. Order some plates of fried fish to share, or a classic “campero” (a sandwich famous in Malaga that is something of a round panini). Here they make a delicious shrimp campero with alioli sauce.
Plaza de la Misericordia
Meson Almijara. The tapas at this bar change daily, so make sure to ask what’s good. They will also offer you wine and drink suggestions to go along with your food. Follow their instructions. We’ve never been disappointed here! Some of our favorites? The huevos de codorniz (quail eggs), molleja (sweetbreads), or the solomillo de cerdo (pork sirloin) with carmelized onions.
Pasaje San Fernando, 3
While you are in Malaga, don’t forget to explore the very center of the city with us in the most delicious way possible– on one of our Devour Malaga Food Tours!
Abby has lived in cities all over Spain including Madrid, Málaga, Fuengirola, Sevilla and Barcelona and she loves traveling and tasting all this diverse country has to offer. Along with her husband, who is originally from Málaga, she writes the bilingual travel blog El Boquerón Viajero. Abby is also currently partner & director of communications for a Spanish travel agency called Auténtico Nueva York. She has recently become a mum & is looking forward to sharing all Spain’s bites with the next generation of foodies! Favorite Devour Tour? Catalan calçotada!