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Things to do in Malaga

Things to do in  Malaga

Welcome to Malaga

Malaga is known as the gateway to the beaches and resort towns of the Costa del Sol, but there’s more to the port city than high-rise hotels and beachfront bars. Many visitors are surprised to discover that Malaga, with its enchanting historic center and thriving art scene—it is the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, after all—is more in tune with Andalucia culture hubs such as Cordoba and Seville than the flashy coastal sprawls of Fuengirola and Benidorm. The sloping streets of the Old Town lend themselves well to Segway tours, during which visitors short on time can tick off Museo Picasso Malaga, Malaga Alcazaba, and Malaga Cathedral (Cathedral de la Encarnacion). The urban Malagueta Beach provides opportunity to swim and sunbathe; nearby Mijas, where whitewashed houses tumble picturesquely into the Mediterranean Sea, is a feast for the eyes; and Marbella, home to the affluent Puerto Banus, lures a party crowd with its swanky cocktail bars and star-studded clubs. For farther-flung adventures, Gibraltar, Seville, Granada, with its UNESCO World Heritage-listed Alhambra, and Ronda, home to a historic bullring and the dramatic El Tajo Gorge are within easy reach on day trips. Travelers yearning for a taste of Africa can cross the Alboran Sea on a full-day excursion to Morocco, where a guide reveals the exotic delights of Tangier. If you wish to stay for longer, multi-day trips cover more of Morocco over five or six days.

Top 10 attractions in Malaga

#1

Malaga Alcazaba

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If you’re in Malaga, chances are you’ve not missed the town’s citadel towering in the center of the city. Known as the Alcazaba de Malaga, and built around the middle of the 11th century to act as a palace to the region’s governors, today the Alcazaba receives visitors year-round and is noted for its impressive gardens and panoramic views of both the city and the sea. La Alcazaba was built atop the vestiges of an old Roman fortress, and the proof of this is most evident in the Puerta de las Columnas gate (gate of the columns). Its name, in fact, refers and pays homage to the pre-existing roman structure used to help build the palace as it stands today. This gate and another lay before visitors on their way up to the structure which is actually two distinct architectural pieces: Alcazaba itself, and Gibralfaro Castle. Inside, you’ll see some of the noted gardens, fountains and towers in traditional Moorish design before entering the main lobby of the palace.More
#2

El Caminito del Rey

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#3

Museo Picasso Málaga

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It stands to good reason that there would be a museum of the great Picasso in Andalucia’s Malaga: this is where the painter, draughtsman, and sculptor was born, after all. Located only 200 yards from the Plaza de la Merced, Picasso’s actual birthplace, the Museo Picasso Malaga holds over 150 works of the famous Picasso on permanent display and presents new rotating exhibits year-round. Picasso was revolutionary in his time for co-founding the Cubist movement and for the wide variety of artistic styles he helped explore. And while his most well-known works are typically referred to his period paintings, Picasso worked across a variety of mediums. Sketchbooks from his early years where he focused on realism, a variety of cubist ceramic pieces, and some intricate engravings are on permanent display at the Museo Picasso Malaga, and many of these pieces were personal gifts from his living descendants.More
#4

Hammam Al Ándalus Málaga

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Centuries ago, when Spain was under Muslim rule, Arab baths could be found in locations throughout the south. These hammams are said to have served as places of purification, hygiene and relaxation. Though few remain, you can still get a feel—in more ways than one—for what these tranquil getaways were like by experiencing the Hammam Al Andalus in Malaga. Located in a historic building just off Martyers Square and next to an old Mudejar-towered church, this hammam—or Arab bath—features Moorish-inspired architecture. Think details such as horseshoe-shaped arches, colorful tiled walls, and ethereal lighting created by star-shaped skylights in the overhead dome. As is tradition, the Hammam Al Andalus has cold, warm and hot baths, as well as a steam room, and rest room, where you can relax and sip on traditional mint tea. Lasting 1.5 hours, the sessions allow guests to experience the various pools when not enjoying their massage.More
#5

Malaga Cathedral (Cathedral de la Encarnación)

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Málaga’s gleaming white-stone cathedral was built over many years on the former site of a mosque after Isabella and Ferdinand had expelled the Moors from Andalusia in the 1480s. All that is now left of the mosque is the pretty Patio de los Naranjos, still filled with sweet-smelling orange trees. The cathedral is affectionately known locally as La Manquita (the one-armed lady) as it only has one – granted very elaborate and Baroque – bell tower. The original architect of the cathedral was Diego de Siloe and construction began in 1528; it continued slowly over the next two and a half centuries and this can clearly be seen in the mish-mash of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture on the façade. The architecture José Martín de Aldehuela, who built the Puente Nuevo in Ronda, also had a hand in finishing this cathedral.More
#6

Málaga Roman Theatre (Teatro Romano de Málaga)

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Sitting underneath the Alcazaba (fortified citadel), the Roman theater is Málaga’s oldest monument and was built during the reign of Emperor Augustus. It was at the cultural heart of the city for 300 years until the Moors began to plunder the stone to build the Alcazaba between the eighth and 11th centuries; Roman columns taken from the theater can clearly be seen in the Puerta de las Columnas (gate of the columns) at the entrance to the citadel. The theater was abandoned, buried and forgotten for centuries before finally being rediscovered in 1951 during a civic construction project. After decades of restoration work, the theater stands proud once more; it measures 102 ft (31 m) across and 52 (16 m) in height; the stage, orchestra pit, entrance gateways and crescent-shaped, tiered auditorium – which seats 220 spectators – have all been carefully resurrected. It was re-opened in 2011 and entrance is through an Interpretation Center.More
#7

Plaza de la Merced

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Picasso’s birthplace is located on the elegant Plaza de la Merced barely 200 yards (180 m) from the awesome Museo Picasso Malaga, which holds over 150 of his artworks. Standing at the end of Calle Alcazabilla, the sweeping square is dominated by an obelisk honoring General Torrijos, an aristocratic revolutionary who fought against French invasion of Spain and was publically executed here for his pains in 1831. This bourgeois, tree-fringed piazza was once site of Málaga’s main produce market and is today lined with smart, shuttered and balconied townhouses, cafés and top-end restaurants. It lies at the very heart of the city and each night locals gather here to promenade and chat in the tapas bars. The last Sunday of the month sees Málaga’s main craft market held in the square, where local delicacies such as Serrano ham and tortilla are also on sale.More
#8

Gibralfaro Castle (Castillo de Gibralfaro)

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The Castillo de Gibralfaro sits high above the seaside port of Malaga and can easily be seen by any traveller meandering about the city. It shares its history (and in fact, its very rudiments) with an adjoining archaeological treasure, the Malaga Alcazaba, also known for its stunning views and panoramic vistas. Built in the early 10th century by Abd-al-Rahman III, this Malagan icon is situated on a hill which begins part of the Montes de Malaga mountain range. Another Muslim king, Yusef the First (also known as the Sultan of Granada) enlarged the castle at the beginning of the 14th century and added the double wall down to the Alcazaba that you see today. The castle is famous for its prominence in the landscape, but also for its history. Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella once levied a 3-month siege on the Castillo de Gibralfaro. This notable battle was the first time gunpowder was used on both fighting sides in all of recorded Western history.More
#9

Pablo Picasso Birthplace Museum (Museo Casa Natal de Picasso)

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Picasso’s life in Spain spanned nearly all of the country’s corners, from the northwestern region of Galicia to big-city Barcelona, and, of course, Andalucia, where he was born in 1881. Indeed, it is in Malaga at the now-titled Casa Natal Picasso — Picasso’s former family home, located in the heart of Malaga’s old town — where he spent his first, and perhaps most formative years. Today, you can visit the artist’s childhood house, which is now the headquarters for the Fundación Picasso, a foundation that studies and promotes the artist’s work. The museum features more than 4,000 pieces by some 200 artists, including Picasso, as well as other contemporary artists. It also houses a variety of objects related to Picasso’s childhood, family, and his connection to Spain and the south.More
#10

Malaga Cruise Port

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Located on a stretch of Spain’s Mediterranean coast known as the Costa del Sol, the Andalusian city of Malaga offers a variety of historical and cultural attractions, from Moorish castles to Roman ruins to the birthplace of Pablo Picasso. If you prefer to see other highlights of Andalusia, take a shore excursion to the bullfighting town of Ronda or the old Moorish city of Granada, home to the famous Alhambra. Cruise ships dock at the cruise terminals – A and B – in the eastern section of the Port of Malaga. From the port, it’s about a mile (1.6 km) to get to the edge of the city center; there is a public bus that can take you to the Paseo Parque, and from there you can walk up to the Cathedral of Malaga and other historical attractions.More

Trip ideas

Granada Day Trips From Malaga

Granada Day Trips From Malaga

How to Spend 3 Days in Malaga

How to Spend 3 Days in Malaga

Food Lover's Guide to Malaga

Food Lover's Guide to Malaga

Recent reviews from experiences in Malaga

star-5
Great experience
Nessa_N, Mar 2020
Rent a City Bike: Full Day Self-Guided Bike Tours
A great way to see the highlights.
star-5
Fun and informative
val, Feb 2020
2-hour E-bike Tour of Malaga
Great way to get around Malaga and to see the sights.
star-5
Give this a try
Navigator705793, Nov 2019
Private Tour in Malaga.Electric Car Tour and visit to Gibralfaro Castle
The cars were a fun way to see a part of Malaga-the walking tour was interesting, informative, and fun Give this excursion a try
star-5
Best way to tour Malaga!
patcanputt, Nov 2019
Rent a City Bike: Full Day Self-Guided Bike Tours
Great way to see Malaga!
star-4
What a terrific UNESCO experience
David B, Oct 2019
Day trip to the Alhambra from Malaga and Costa del Sol
Time wise all good but we felt a bit stranded at old town not really knowing were to go or what to do for 1.
star-4
Malaga, Spain
judithsguerra, Aug 2018
Malaga Shore Excursion: City Sightseeing Malaga Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
Having gone to Malaga before, we expected to see some of the sites we visited before.
star-5
It was a great experience to get on...
fans842, Oct 2017
City Sightseeing Malaga Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
A must if you want to see most sites in Malaga, though most of them are centralized and you can walk exception, the Castle
star-4
The trip to Gibraltar took 3 hours...
Juris I, Sep 2017
Gibraltar Express: Sightseeing Full Day Tour from Malaga
No stop to visit guest room.
star-5
Really enjoyed the hop-On and...
bill_hk_88, May 2017
Malaga Shore Excursion: City Sightseeing Malaga Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
Great way to see Malaga for the first time.
star-5
A fantastic way to see Malaga. If...
Thomas M, Oct 2017
City Sightseeing Malaga Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
A fantastic way to see Malaga.
star-5
This was a great way to see a lot of...
Paul L, Apr 2017
1-hour Segway Tour in Malaga
This was a great way to see a lot of Malaga in a short amount of time.
star-5
very nice tour, I was surprised that...
Krasimir C, Apr 2017
Gibraltar Express: Sightseeing Full Day Tour from Malaga
We had English breakfast and it rained a bit.
star-5
Amazing way to see the city and...
kengel, Oct 2016
Malaga Tapas Tour with Flamenco Show
Amazing way to see the city and taste the local cuisine.
star-5
Great tour. A very cost effective...
Lael W, Jul 2016
2-hour E-bike Tour of Malaga
A very cost effective way to see the highlights of Malaga.
star-5
Our guide was so good. We spent...
Julie H, Jan 2017
Malaga Shore Excursion: Skip-the-Line Alhambra and Generalife Gardens Tour
He took great care to translate into English for us.
star-5
Our tour guide, Tim, was brilliant...
Brian A, Jul 2017
Rent a City Bike: Full Day Self-Guided Bike Tours
Biking Malaga was one of the best ways to see it, and it was effortless.
star-5
Alejandro was an excellent host...
Nicole W, May 2017
Malaga Tapas and Wine Tour
Spoke great English and was very knowledgeable on the places to eat and the history of Malaga.
star-5
This tour was fantastic and fun...
Valerie S, May 2016
Malaga Tapas and Wine Tour
Great food, great wine and a little bit of history plus Elena recommended other places to see and visit in center Malaga.
star-4
A great day to see areas east of...
Monica R, Mar 2014
Frigiliana and Nerja Tour from Costa del Sol
A great day to see areas east of Malaga!
star-4
Overall very good. Only one real...
Kenneth R, Jan 2008
Gibraltar Sightseeing Day Trip from Costa del Sol
Only one real problem though, when I rang the office in Malaga to confirm the pick up arrangements no one could speak English.

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