An expert guide to Malaga: 20 things to do & places to see9 min read
An expert guide to Malaga: 20 things to do & places to see9 min readReading Time: 7 minutes
With so much to do and see around the world, it makes it seem impossible for the wanderlust traveler to remain in one spot for too long. However, the European nomad wants to make sure they don’t miss out on some hidden gem locations. Malaga, Spain is one of the spots not meant to miss. A port city on southern Spain’s Costa del Sol, this beautiful, less familiar region is known for its high-rise hotels and resorts atop of the city’s yellow-sand beaches. Its historic features also shine, making it a top European destination. We’ve come up with a list of cannot miss activities and spots on your trip through Malaga.
1. The Roman Theater
Wander the ruins of El Teatro Romano, the oldest construction in Malaga. It’s located in the cultural heart of the city, so you will be sure to take in all it has to offer. It lays at the bottom of the Alcazaba fortress, so you can make your way there after exploring the theater. It’s a great way to explore the city in less time!
2. Caminito del Rey
Adventure to Caminito del Rey, also known as King’s Little Path. This walkway is pinned along the steep walls of a narrow gorge in El Chorro, near Ardales in Malaga. It once had fallen into disrepair and was partially closed for over a decade because of the many people dying from trying to cross it. Now that the walkway has been restored for many, many years, lots of visitors have walked along the path to see the breathtaking, scenic landscape. The adrenaline will be coursing through your veins!
3. The Cathedral of Malaga
This Roman Catholic Church is one of the most unique and impressive cathedrals in southern Spain. Its north tower rises to 84 meters in height and makes for one of the tallest Cathedrals in Andalusia. Inside the temple, you will see decorative themes of Renaissance and Baroque influences.
4. Make a Day at Playa de la Malagueta
This is the city’s main beach, which makes for a perfect relaxation spot for a traveler coming to the Malaga for the first time. It’s the perfect combination of sand and street, as it’s in close distance to town. You can rent a sunbed, get some sun, and even go for a paddle. Many ice cream vendors roam the beach for a refreshing snack.
5. Practice the Sports of Malaga
This coastal town is perfect for water sports. Feel like you’re on a tropical getaway when you’re learning the ins and outs of the water along the Costa Del Sol. Adventure seekers can paraglide, surf, or kitesurf. If you’re looking for more, you can go rafting, drive a quad or ride a bike along the coast, or be one with nature and see wild dolphins. With so many historical sites in Malaga, it’s nice to take a break and see the natural beauty.
An extravagant fortress, the Alcazaba was built by the Hammudid Dynasty in the early 11th century, also marking itself as Malaga’s most important landmark. The Alcazaba perks itself up on a hill for grand elevation. Visitors can walk on the fortification and get some of the best views of the city.
7. Caves of Nerja
The Nerja Caves are a chain of huge caves that stretch for about 5 kilometers. The world’s largest stalagmite, a column that’s 32 meters high, lives here. It measures 13 meters by 7 meters at its base. This is perfect on a rainy day (which is rare), or just something to do that gives you a unique look at the city.
8. River Chillar
To make the most out of your days in Malaga, make sure to visit the River Chillar, which is the river that leads to the caves of Nerja. It’s a 3-hour route that will be sure to keep you refreshed by wetting your toes (and probably more). The river route features a scenic walkway in the crystal clear water and also contains beautiful waterfalls.
9. Castillo de Gibralfaro
As you already know, Malaga and the areas around it have much historical background. Malaga has an Islamic past that can be shown by the ramparts of the Castillo de Gibralfaro, ruins of a Moorish castle fortress high atop Mount Gibralfaro. The Castillo features walkable walls that create stunning views you won’t want to miss.
10. Flamenco Show
Listen to authentic flamenco music at an authentic flamenco show. Flamenco music is the traditional genre of Andalucia. Its roots mixed between the Spanish and Gypsy cultures. Since Malaga is one of the main Andalusian cities, it offers several chances to listen to real flamenco music and watch flamenco dancers captivate the crowds.
11. Feast on Food
Enjoy authentic food from Malaga. Eat like a local with the numerous amounts of seafood dishes that have grown custom to their culture. Their most typical dish, Gazpachuelo Malagueño, is a soup originally made by fisherman and was known to be a poor man’s dish, containing fish, potatoes, water, salt, mayonnaise, and wine vinegar. Over time it turned into a delicacy featuring shrimp, langoustines or clams. You can also try their plato de los Montes de Málaga, or “Dish of the Mountains of Malaga. It’s a combination plate of fried potatoes, a fried egg, chorizo, morcilla (or black sausage), fried green peppers and pork in lard mixed with paprika and other spices. It’s their perfect comfort food dish (and quiet heavy). To wash it down, enjoy sherry wine, a fortified wine made from white grapes that are grown in Andalusia, Spain.
12. Feria de Agosto
If your trip to Malaga happens to be in August, you’ll want to party like locals do and get a true insider’s perspective on the city. This is the largest fair on the Costa del Sol, which gather’s people from all over the world (so you’ll fit right in!). The fair commemorates the re-conquest of the Andalusian by the Christian. And what better way to celebrate than with an exciting week-long street party. Yes, there will be much flamenco dancing and sherry wine to enjoy.
13. Atarazanas Market
If you need a break from all the heavy eating of delicious, authentic Malaga dishes, try buying your own good. The Ataranzas has the freshest produce at this large, covered up, old-school market. There’s a large variety of fish, meat, cheese, fruits, and vegetables to choose from. Here you’ll find the city’s brightest colors with a combination of the food and 19th century architecture.
For a vacation more charming, visit Torremolinos, a former fishing village. It currently preserves the considerable charms of the Andalisian tradition. It’s only located 12 km south of Malaga, between Malaga Bay and the Mijay Mountains, and is made up of sandy beaches such as El Bajondillo and La Carihuela. This is a perfect spot for the most sun (as there are more than 300 sunny days a year), but it also is a nice blend to feel like you’re a part of Malaga.
Marbella town offers visitors the most extensive range of modern-day amenities and classic timepieces. There is a blend of tourism and cultural aspects that makes this a hot spot for everyone. If you have the time to spend, enjoy the beaches, food, and entertainment this town has to share with the world (all in perfect temperature).
16. Picasso Museum
The Malaga Picasso Museum opened in 2003 to dedicate itself to the most influential artist of the twentieth century, Pablo Ruiz Picasso. Fittingly, Picasso was born in this city in 1881, so the museum pays tribute to the local artist’s work. Art viewers can find this museum in Buenavista Palace and marvel at about 285 pieces or work donated by members of Picasso’s family.
17. Plaza de Toros
This arena is the bullring at Malaga, also known as La Malagueta. Since 1876, it’s been a huge cultural aspect of Spain, but is styled as Neo-Mudejar, a more recent Spanish building style that’s characteristic of Andalusia. Large at 52 meters wide, this ring accommodates up to 14,000 people. If there’s one, go catch an event there!
18. Holy Week
If you’re spending your time in Malaga during the last week on Lent, you may consider celebrating one of the most significant events of the country. The Spanish Holy Week is the commemoration of the Passion of Jesus Christ, and offers a unique attraction in Spain.
19. Royal Alcazar of Seville
A short trip outside of Malaga, Seville is a beautiful city featuring a historic site. The Royal Alcazar (also known as Qasr al-Muriq or Alazar of Seville) is a royal palace built for Christian King Peter of Castile. The older and more historic features of this city contrast with the new modernity of the hustling city, creating a perfect blend.
20. Alhambra Palace
This quick ride from Malaga, Alhambra is a palace and fortress complex in Granada. This historical architecture was so called because of its reddish walls. It was originally constructed as a small fortress in AD 889 on the remains of Roman fortifications, then ignored until its ruins were renovated and rebuilt in the mid-13th century. The current palace has walls with many beautiful, intricate details.
Written by Ivana, a Prague-based travel enthusiast devoted to caffeine, fashion, and interior design.