Málaga is just situated on the Costa del Sol in Andalusia. It is a very touristic city, as it receives almost 1.5 million tourists every year. The number of visitors has increased over the last few years – in fact it is one of the fastest growing cities in this regard.
To give you an idea about Málaga, it’s an ideal destination in several ways: It’s a city by the sea and the weather is great throughout the year. Although Málaga receives plenty of tourists all year round, it is between May and October when the number of visitors shoots up. And one of the reasons is because of the beach, which is understandable, but there is so much more to see and do in Málaga.
An introduction to Málaga
Málaga has around 570.000 inhabitants which is a considerable number, and there is everything you can think of when it comes to a city: Malls, a lot of restaurants and places to eat out (cafés, old taverns, bars), night clubs, a great variety of shops (mainstream chains and local vintage), street markets, a big university, urban art, great public transport (metro as well), cool neighborhoods, events, festivals, regular activities throughout the city, sea – and of course beautiful touristic attractions.
The city is pretty big, yet not huge. It is perfect if you like moving around at your leisure without being worried about getting lost. Most places are easy to find, so it’s never that difficult to navigate around in Málaga.
Over recent years, Málaga has shaken off its reputation as being merely the Gateway to the Costa del Sol.
Completely renewed, Málaga now has a modern port, an exciting bunch of places to eat out and a constantly increasing amount of nice attractions.
Málaga is finally being recognized as one of Spain’s cultural centers. Particularly when just focusing on the south, but the gap to cities such as Madrid and Barcelona is getting smaller by the day.
A city of art and culture
Málaga is the home city of Pablo Picasso. He was a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, poet among other things.
Besides being one of the most important Spanish painters, he is also considered as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, just in general. Although he spent most of his adult life in France, he was (and is) an icon in the city of Málaga. There is a museum dedicated to him, but more about that later.
Best things to do in Málaga
A visit to Málaga offers a variety of activities and stuff to do. While you can stay occupied for several weeks by exploring the cities, some attractions are obviously more important than others. Read on below to find inspiration for the absolute best things to do in Málaga!
Visit the Port of Málaga
Doesn’t it look awesome? Well it is way better when you see it in person!
It is a great place to walk, since there are many shops and restaurants around the port. If someone visits Malaga they should not miss the port. It’s beautiful, renewed, and being a port city is an important part of Málaga’s culture.
Castle of Gibralfaro
This ancient palace majestically overlooks the whole city of Málaga. It has become a very symbolic landmark of the city and we strongly recommend giving it a visit while you’re in town.
From November to March: 9 AM – 6 PM
From April to October: 9 AM – 8 PM
Sundays: Free from 14:00
Standard admission: 3.50 euros
Combine a visit to Alcazaba and Gibralfaro Castle: 5.50 euros (we highly recommend this)
Location: Camino de Gibralfaro, 1, 29016 Málaga
The Alcazaba of Málaga is probably the most known landmark of all of the city, it is kind of a icon of it. It has quite a lot of similarities with the Alhambra of Granada, especially on the outside because it is situated on a hill surrounded by trees. But also on the inside, and therefore it can be a solid alternative to Granada’s main attraction if you don’t intend to leave Málaga during your stay. It’s also less crowded, and we do believe that it is very underrated.
This palatial fortification is just a small, but very important, part of the history of this city. If you are into history you would be fascinated by this ancient masterpiece. Visiting Málaga and not going to the Alcazaba is like going to Paris and not visiting the Eiffel Tower… alright, maybe the comparison is not the most appropiate, but you know what we mean!
It is an almost-compulsary-visit site.
As we said in the Gibralfaro Castle’s paragraph you can visit both palaces for just 5.50 euros we strongly recommend going on a guided tour. Its cost is not very high, for further information on this guided tour and other guided tours in Málaga do not hesitate to read the “Guided tours in the city of Málaga”.
From November to March: 9 AM – 6 PM
From April to October: 9 AM – 8 PM
Location: Calle Alcazabilla, 2, 29015, Málaga
Museum Picasso Malaga
Pablo Picasso was and is a very important figure of the city. He was an icon to the locals. If you are into art you cannot miss this museum. There are many masterpieces among his works. There are over 200 works of his in this museum.
There are cool activities and exhibitions held within the museum, such as some which focuses on the way of understanding art as an activity or a process rather than production of objects. This is just one though, there are activities and exhibitions taking place all year round. Other examples are conferences, workshops, etc.
As for the prices they vary depending on the type of ticket you buy, but the Pablo Picasso. New Colection + the exhibition, taking place during period, costs around 12 euros.
Visitors over 65, holders of the Euro Youth Card, and students under 26 with valid identification can get a reduced fee. The New Collection + the exhibition would cost 7 euros for everyone meeting these requirements.
The museum is open every day, Sundays included, from 10 AM to 7 PM.
Location: Palacio de Buenavista, C/San Agustín, 8, 29015 Málaga
It is situated right next to the Alcazaba, at its foot. This is another evidence of the Romans in this area of the Iberian península. We recommend stopping by these remains when visiting the Alcazaba. It’s a very interesting sight, and historically it has importance.
It can be visited every day from 10 AM to 6 PM except for Sundays whose opening time is from 10 AM to 4 PM.
There are more than 10 beaches around the city, but this one is just amazing. Though it is not just about the beach but the neighbourhood, it just looks cute and cozy.
Although it is situated 30 minutes walk or so from the centre of the city, we recommend going there while in Málaga. It is a perfect place to spend some time together with family or friends. There are many restaurants and shops, plus it has the sea.
What else do you need to spend, say, a relaxed day with your family, with your partner or just with your friends? We highly recommend going here.
The Malagueta Beach is situated on the Eastern area of the coast of the city.
This area of the coast though is located in the neighbourhood of the same name, the Malagueta neighbourhood, which is actually in a central location within the city.
This area of the city is perfect for leisure, whether you just want to spend the day with some friends of yours, with your family or even on your own.
This neighbourhood features:
- A beautiful palm-tree promenade
- Cool street markets
- Several places to eat out, especially beach bars
- The Museum of Municipal Patrimony
- The English Cemetery. This is the first protestant graveyard in Spain. In this cemetery you can find the tomb of several distinguished figures, writters and poets of high prestige.
- Muelle Uno. Let’s say it is not the typical shopping centre: it is an open mall, where you can find anything there is in shopping centres but in the street: shopping, leisure and catering. It is situated right on Malaga’s port, where you can enjoy beautiful views while there.
- Activities throughout the year
All in all, the atmosphere is pretty laid-back. Oh, and we can’t forget about the beach itself! The Malagueta is known for its beach which is one of the most popular within the city of Málaga. Probably because of the location.
If you like cathedral and happen to be in Málaga, you can’t miss it! It’s just beautiful.
There’s nothing else to be said: It is one of those attractions where you just have to stop by and take it all in!
The Concepción Botanical gardens
What a better place to chill out, especially if it is hot?. We highly recommend to give these botanical gardens a visit especially if you are visiting Malaga during the summer.
Besides, it is one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in Europe. If you are interested in a guided tour to these botanical gardens don’t hesitate to check our guided-tours-in-Malaga article!
It is open every day from 9.30 AM to 7.30 PM
Location: Camino del Jardín Botánico, 3, 29014, Málaga
Mercado de atarazanas (Market hall)
This is the biggest market in the city. If you want to buy food for your stay in Malaga you should definitely enter it and buy whatever you need – or whatever you are in the mood for.
They’ll have any food you can think of, really. The food there is fresh and great quality, plus prices are not high at all. In fact, it is affordable.
But even if you aren’t hungry or thirsty, we recommend anyone in Malaga to give a this big market a visit. It’s a popular place, and it looks great from the inside as well as the outside.
It is open every day, except for Sundays, from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM.
Location: Calle Atarazanas, 10, 29005
Eat grilled sardines
Although this isn’t a tourist attraction, if you are in Málaga you definitely have to eat Espetos (grilled sardines), which is one of the most popular dishes in the city.
The locals love to eat Espetos on the beach. It is just an excellent option for both lunch or dinner. We definitely recommend having some Espetos at a restaurant on the beach while in Malaga, and the closer the restaurant is to the seashore – the better!
One of the best places to do eat grilled sardines in Málaga is in the seaside neighborhood of Pedregalejo.
Other tourist attractions we recommend visiting too:
- Museo de Artes y Costumbres Populares
- Centre of Contemporary Art
- Museum of Glass and Crystal
- Thyssen Museum
- Visit the birthplace of Picasso. This is the real house where he was born and raised. Here you will discover the life and work of one of the greatest artists of our country.
Another important feature of Málaga is that it has sea. If you are in Málaga you cannot miss la Malagueta and other beaches within Malaga. Other beaches which are really worth visiting are:
- Beach el Palo (BUS 11 from Paseo del Parque)
- Beach of San Andrés
- Beach of la Caleta
- Beach of la Misericordia
- Beach of Guardamar
- Beach of the Campo de Golf – San Julián
The city of Malaga has many fairs and festivals throughout the year. Sometimes, it is really hard to keep up. Apart from the national festivals, every village or community has got their own festivals and fairs to celebrate with colourful parades and fiestas with live music. And all have their own customs, traditions and food associated with it.
In the nearby towns, you will see the exact same thing.
If you are interested in these kind of events, you should check out the article on the fairs and festivales that take place throughout the year in Malaga city. Though, there are other articles on the city of Malaga that could interest you too, especially for those who wanna travel to this city:
- Best hotels and apartments to stay in the city of Malaga
- Best places to eat out in Malaga
- Best place for a night out in Malaga
- Best guided tours in the city of Málaga
Oh, and you shouldn’t miss the other articles on other beautiful places in the province of Malaga and of the whole autonomous community of Andalusia. The more you read about this region, the more you will want to go there!