Malaga is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Spain. In Malaga and its surroundings, you can find cheap apartments for rent, a beautiful city center, many beach resorts, and already in March it’s quite warm, so you can get a beautiful tan,
Unlike Madrid and Barcelona, it will be foolish to go to Malaga only for the sake of a tourist program. The city is quite small and compact. You must either go here as a one-day trip since all the main attractions in Malaga can be seen in a day. Or come for a while to live and spend a holiday (from a week to several months). Also, Malaga can be a base for short trips around the south of Spain.
Well, let’s still see what to do in Malaga.
Top-12 most interesting places to visit in Malaga
The Malagueta beach is located near the center of Malaga. It is not very impressive. The beach is quite small and crowded. But since Malaga is located on the Costa del Sol, there are many other beaches near the city. For example, beaches in the towns of Fuengirola, Torremolinos and Benalmadena were highly recommended to me.
It is also worth noting that the beaches in Spain are often equipped with free toilets, changing rooms and showers, and there also probably will be a promenade with restaurants, wine and paella nearby.
2. The promenade and the lighthouse
The promenade in Malaga is very beautiful. There are benches everywhere, there are several cafes. Along the promenade stretches a city park with playgrounds, fountains, and a palm alley. In the evenings it is very crowded. People run, drink coffee, watch the sunset, play sports, and just walk.
By the way, the lighthouse in Malaga has sex, and it’s female! The fact is that in Spanish the word “lighthouse” – “el faro” – is masculine. And the lighthouse in Malaga is called “La Farola de Málaga”, which can be translated as the “lighthouse of Malaga”.
3. Constitution Square
Constitution Square is the heart of the old city. It has been known since Mauritanian times. Here were held fests events and important gatherings. Around the square, there are important administrative buildings and historic city mansions of past centuries.
It is worth noting that the architecture of Malaga very interestingly combines Arabic and Spanish notes. In some places, it seemed to me that I was in the Moroccan courtyard. To tell the history in one sentence, the territory of southern Spain several times passed from Mauritania to Spain. That’s why now we have such a diversity in architecture.
4. The Cathedral
One of the most beautiful buildings in the city. It is impossible to not to notice the cathedral when you walk around the city center.
Interestingly, the cathedral was being built for 200 years and therefore combines several architectural styles: Baroque, Gothic, and Classicism. Many people call the Cathedral “La Manquita”, which translates as “one-armed”. The fact is that the cathedral was built on the site of an Arab mosque. and the builders didn’t have enough money for the second tower (the classical Catholic cathedral should have 2 towers). Orange trees grow in the courtyard.
5. Fortresses of Hibralfaro and Alcazaba
The fortresses of Alcazaba and Hibralfaro are Mauritanian fortresses built in the X and VIII centuries by the Arab conquerors.
Today it is a united exhibition complex connected by a common wall. The fortress is located on top of a mountain where you can climb on foot and offer a stunning panoramic view of Malaga (second photo).
6. Roman theater
The Roman Theater is located at the foot of the mountain on which the fortress is located. The theater was built during the Roman Empire and was used for its intended purpose until the arrival of the Arabs in the III century.
7. Plaza de toros de La Malagueta
The arena was built in the 19th century for the most popular Spanish spectacle – corrida. Corrida is already banned in Catalonia, but in Malaga, you can still watch the competition (torture) of bulls and people.
The corrida season in Spain begins in the second half of March and closes in the first half of October. Here on this website you can see the schedule and buy tickets online.
8. Center Pompidou
The Pompidou Center in Malaga is a branch of the Pompidou Gallery of Modern Art in Paris. Here it is not as large-scale as in France, but it interests visitors with unusual ways of presenting excursion material.
In the permanent exhibition of the art center, you can see paintings by famous artists of the 20th and 21st centuries: Pablo Picasso, Frida Kahlo, Marc Chagall, etc. At the same time, there are regularly held thematic exhibitions, cinema, design, photography, etc.
Here is a link to the museum website where you can read the news and buy tickets online.
9. Street Marques de Larios
In fact, at this point, I mean the whole city center. Malaga is charming! And Marques de Larios is the most atmospheric street in the city. It becomes very lovely after a siesta when shops on the street are open, cafes set tables on the terrace and many people walking.
10. Botanical Garden
La Concepcion Botanical Garden locates 5 km away from the center of Malaga. This is a very beautiful place. Here are more than 50,000 tropical plants, historic-style pavilions, fountains, ponds with waterfalls, and sculptures.
The Botanical Garden of Malaga has a very interesting story. Its creators are the inhabitants of Malaga, spouses Amalia Heredia and Jorge Loring. They traveled a lot and as a result, in 1855, in the territory of their villa, they decided to create a garden with exotic plants.
Check the garden’s opening hours and ticket prices on the official website.
11. Picasso Museum
There are many Picasso museums all around Spain. But the museum in Malaga is special, as the famous artist Pablo Picasso comes from Malaga! The museum is located in the Buenavista palace, built in the 16th century, and has 285 pictures by the surrealist. Almost all the paintings were handed by the artist’s relatives.
I attach a link to the museum website.
12. Picasso House Museum
Another Picasso Museum is located in a house on Mercedes Square. Here the artist was born, lived, and painted his first paintings.
Here is a link to the museum website.
13. Hammam Al Ándalus
Hammams in Spain have been inherited since the time of the Arab domination of Andalusia. Hammam Al Ándalus is one of them. But it’s not just a spa. Inside you find yourself in the oriental world: historical oriental interiors, pools with different temperatures, Turkish sauna, incense, aromatic candles, Moroccan tea, and, of course, the bathing procedure itself and massages.
Follow the link to check the website of the hammam.
Where to eat in Malaga?
2 weeks in a city didn’t make me an expert but there are 4 places I can definitely recommend.
- Acai Natura – for those who love Acai smoothies and bowls;
- La Bella Julieta – delicious cheesecakes;
- Mahalo Poke Malaga – for poke fans. These guys cook the best pokes in town;
- Tuk Tuk Noodles by Toc Toc – Great Thai food.
Day trips from Malaga:
As I have already said, Malaga has a very favorable geographical location, therefore, based here, you can safely and even by public transport go around the main cities of Andalusia. Here is my list of the 8 one-day trips from Malaga.
1. Torcal de Antequera
National park with 3 easy hiking trails. Very unusual landscapes of karst mountains. As if someone had piled a lot of pebbles on top of each other.
To know more about this place read my article: “Torcal de Antequera – half-day hike near Malaga”.
2. Caminito del Rey
The famous hiking route in the mountains just 40 minutes away from Malaga. There are unbelievably beautiful views. But there is one thing: you need to book a walk in advance, as they let a limited number of people on the trail. You can get to the start of the trail both by car and by direct train to El Chorro station. Travel time is 45 minutes.
Follow the link for the official website of the trail.
Seville is 220 km away from Malaga. There is a regular bus that runs from Malaga to Seville. Travel time is 2-3 hours.
Ronda is 100 km from Malaga. You can get from Málaga to Ronda by bus or train. Travel time is 2-3 hours.
Gibraltar locates 140 km away from Malaga. By the way. Malaga Airport is the closest airport to Gibraltar. You can get from Malaga to Gibraltar by bus. But there is no such thing as a regular bus. You have to change the bus in San Roque. Travel time is about 4 hours. Although, of course, it will be more convenient to rent a car.
The distance from Malaga to Granada is 126 km. Between the cities goes a direct train and a bus. Travel time is 1:45.
The distance between Malaga and Cordoba is 160 km. There is a direct train between the cities. Travel time is 1 hour.
From the south of Spain, you can continue your trip to Morocco. A regular ferry goes from Tarifa to Tangier (travel time is 1 hour). Low-cost airlines fly from Malaga to some cities in Morocco. And also in Malaga you can join an organized one-day tour to Morocco.
Don’t forget to subscribe to my instagram @july_choo! I write about unique locations, movies travelling, restaurants, and so on.