Our lovely list of all the best things to do in MalagaSave this post and enjoy Malaga to the fullest
In many ways Malaga surprised me and my mom, there is so many things to do in Malaga. In case you don’t follow me on snapchat or twitter, last June I went on a journey with only my mom as my companion. Two girls trying to enjoy Spain and Portugal to the fullest! And proving to some that Mediterranean destinations are super safe for traveling even with all the attacks that are happening in Europe. And believe me, you can’t believe the amount of emails and messages I get from people worried about that. Sad.
With over 300 sunny days per year, lively nightlife and yet calm beaches during the day, fresh barbecue sardines and other amazing seafood delicacies, Malaga made its way to the top of our list.
I’ll give you here some of the best options, both paid and free, of things to fill up a whole weekend. The city was even greater than I would expected. You’ll will love it for sure. And if you have extra time, the small beaches around Malaga are just amazing. Costa del Sol, Marbella and other names might sound familiar to you. I haven’t been there yet but I’ve heard from several people that it is a must go. Time was not on our side and we had only 2 days, we chose to explore only Malaga.
First, a little introduction of Malaga
Malaga is the sixth largest city in Spain but when you walk around you feel like you’re in a small and charming city. With an amazing historical side and a lively cultural side, Malaga is all that you’ve been asking for.
Malaga is also the birth place of Spain’s most famous artist: Picasso. And you can visit his museum, sit with him on one of the main squares and check out the house he was born in. How a city that presented us with such a beautiful mind can be anything other than fantastic, right? Malaga is also the city responsible for Antonio Banderas in case you need some recent celebrity from there.
I felt like Malaga was a smaller version of Barcelona but with a touch of everything you see on movies and TV about Spain. And the reason for it is because Malaga is located in Andalusia. And Andalusia is for Spain what Bavaria is for Germany, in case you don’t know. The Flamenco, the bull fighting, sombreros… All that is from Andalusia. Basically most of the things that comes to your mind as being Spanish are from this region. If you want to know a bit more about the region, Wanderlustingk has a great post about a roadtrip in Andalusia.
Malaga is perfect for cultural, smart and party travelers. Specially if you’re into the fusion between the Arabic culture with the Spanish. Almost everywhere you look you’ll see beautiful Islamic art and architecture mixed together with that lovely Spanish vibe we all love.
If you can, plan your stay there during the weekend to make the best out of the Sunday free entrance to all the top things to do Malaga.
Fotostrasse’s top suggestions of things to do in Malaga
This list is not in order of preferences or anything. I cannot rank the things I loved about the city. I’m adding the items just by looking at the photo folder from Malaga here on my laptop. So please, if you see something you love right there in the bottom of this list, don’t hate me.
Lets go to the beach
Lets start this list with a beach, bitch!? Of course! So let me present you the obvious: Playa de la Malagueta. Playa de la Malagueta is one of Malaga’s main attractions. This lovely beach is located in the center of the city more or less. It is just a few minutes from the port.
Playa de la Malagueta is the perfect place for a day in the sun or that reinvigorating swim in the sea. For the fitness lovers, there are also many places where you can exercise yourself and burn the extra calories you’ll get from the delicious paellas.
Playa de la Malagueta
Paseo Marítimo Pablo Ruiz Picasso, s/n, 29016 Málaga, Spain
+34 951 92 60 20
Exploring the old and the new
For the second item I’ll go with the opposite of beach. I’ll go with the lovely Old Town of Malaga. To explore the old town you just need comfortable shoes and lots of extra storage on your camera. That place is super cute! Sunny golden cafes, streets, fashion, art, museums and shops. Malaga’s old town is a mixture of what it was and what it is.
Narrow streets packed with little and adorable restaurants and cafes, hidden old churches and buildings, amazing squares are just a few of the highlights. Every corner of this old town will tell you a bit about the Spanish culture and Malaga’s rich history. Prepare to walk like a camel because this old town will never ceased to amaze you.
It is for sure one of the best things to do in Malaga – and it is for free!
Come on and wine about it
After a long walk I think everybody deserves a break, huh? And every break demands a drink – at least to me, ok? Judge me all you want. Lol. Did you know that Malaga is famous for its special wine? Well, it is. For this I think there is no better place than Antigua Casa de Guardia.
Antigua Casa de Guardia is the oldest wine bar in Malaga. It is full of charm and a must go place for at least 1 glass of wine. This bar is like an institution in Malaga.
Unchanged for only god knows how many years, it is basically just a hole in the wall. Inside you’ll find all sorts of local people and the opportunity to taste several of Malaga’s best wines directly from the barrels along the wall. Your order will be chalked up on the rough plank of a bar! Simply amazing! It is loud like Spain must be and the atmosphere is fantastic. If you’re hungry check out the fresh fruits and food across the street on the Central Market Atarazanas. That is another item on this list by the way.
Antigua Casa de Guardia
Alameda Principal, 18, 29005 Málaga, Spain
+34 952 21 46 80
More wine because we can
If you’re not a big fan of this kind of bar, you can have your wine in one of Malaga’s best place to eat, Bodega Bar El Pimpi. This place has the best Shrimp Russian Salad that I ever ate. Please don’t forget to order it, ok?
Bodega El Pimpi is an icon for the cultural and social life of Malaga. With walls filled with important client’s photos and huge barrels of wine, this place is not just for food and drink but also for photos. The decoration of this 18th century building is 100% inspired in Spanish culture. So prepare yourself to see a lot of bullfighting and all. Some might not liked it, some might get offended or sad but it is part of their culture. I am personally 100% against bullfighting and everything related to animal suffering but what can I say? I won’t impose my views.
Unless people ask me what I think I try to keep my mouth shut, right? I’m just writing this here because I know many of you are like me and I want to avoid surprises. Any way I think you shouldn’t skip this lovely place just because of some photos. I think you all should go and see that there is beauty in the Spanish culture beyond this madness with bulls. But I don’t want to talk about that here, if you guys want, we can have a conversation about this topic on our facebook group or on our twitter.
Just go there, introduce yourself and where you’re coming from and we’ll start a civil conversation. Show me your views and arguments, pro or against this. I’m all ears (eyes in this case, but you get the point). The space is yours.
But back to the wine talk, shall we?
Bodega El Pimpi is one of the best places to try the Sweet Wine produced in Málaga. The wine is made of Moscatel grapes and the local wine production dates back to when the Romans where there. The sweet and strong Malaga wine represents this city’s soul. And even tho I’m not a fan of sweet wine, this one is good. It is more to the Port wine family, so that’s why I liked. Maybe you’ll love it, maybe you’ll hate it. But the truth is that after the 2nd or the 3rd one, you’ll be ordering the next all by yourself.
Bodega El Pimpi
Calle Granada, 62, 29015 Málaga, Spain
+34 952 22 54 03
2000 years ago, 1000 years ago and now at the same time
Right outside of El Pimpi you can see the Roman Theater and the Alcabaza. And by ‘right outside’ I mean you can see it from the tables outside while you drink your wine, ok?
The Roman Theater is from around 2000 years ago, the Alcabaza is from around 1000 years ago and the place where you stand is the present. It is super magic this feeling of traveling back in time.
The Roman Theater is the oldest monument in Málaga, and it is fantastic. I have a thing for ruins and history so this place was one of the highlights of the day for me. Built around the 2nd or 3rd century, this place is open for visitors. Over there you’ll have an interactive exhibition and it is for free. So finish your wine #3, check the Roman Theater and go back to El Pimpi for wine #4. Deal?
If you’re already too drunk and needs a walk to sober up a bit, check out the Alcabaza on the top of the hill, just next to the Roman Theater.
The Alcabaza is a huge Moorish fortress with the best view of Malaga. Even tho it is not for free, you can try to check it out on a Sunday. Remember that I told you about the free entrance Sunday? So…
This place is by far one of the best preserved Moorish fortress I’ve seen in Spain. And since it is on the top of a hill, the view is to die for. From there you can see everything, so prepare your camera. You’ll easily spot the port, Malagueta beach and more.
Besides serving was a fortress, the ‘king’ used that place was his palace. You can see the Arab influence in the architecture all over the place. And the gardens inside are so pretty… I can imagine why the royalty chose that place to call home. The view, the weather, the garden… Just wonderful. Use this in your advantage and relax and drink some water, if you don’t want to sober up, get down and order some more wine. I won’t judge you.
Alcazaba of Málaga
Calle Alcazabilla, 2, 29012 Málaga, Spain
+34 630 93 29 87
Calle Alcazabilla, S/N, 29005 Málaga, Spain
+34 951 50 11 15
Visit a church while you’re drunk
Our next stop on this list is the Cathedral of Malaga. And please do not show up there after 5 wines, ok? It was only a joke.
This Cathedral is an imposing and majestic building in the middle of Malaga’s old town. It was constructed over 200 hundred years, from 1528 until 1782 and it is still not finished. The original plan was to have two big towers but you know, money does not grow on trees and they were able to finish only one. You can see the different styles of this church just by looking at it from outside. 200 years means a lot of trends and styles, you know? I thought it was super interesting this.
They call it La Manquita, which translates to something like “One Armed Woman”. I think it is pretty obvious why, right?
Cathedral of Malaga
Calle Molina Lario, 9, 29015 Málaga, Spain
+34 952 22 03 45
See Malaga from the top
There is a giant Ferris Wheel in Malaga and from the very top of it you can see the whole city and much more. The place is called Noria Mirador Princess and it is about 10€ per adult (children is around 7€). If you have time to spare, try to get one sunset from there or go during the lunch time. One option if for the most beautiful colors you’ll see and the other will maximize how far you can see.
Noria Mirador Princess
Muelle de Heredia, Malaga, Spain
+34 667 58 53 70
We need to talk about seafood
If you’re like me, a person completely in love with seafood, you’ll find your heaven in Malaga.
Remember all the way to the top of this post when I said that Malaga was amazing for some blablabla reasons and one of those reasons where seafood? Well, it is true.
Please make sure that one of your food stops is Los Mellizos, in the old town. The food there is so good, so delicious, so fantastic that I wanted to go back and eat there again but my mom said no. She said we only had 2 nights and we needed to try more places. She was right but still… I regret not going back.
While there check if they have octopus. Remember on my post about Barcelona that I mentioned that I’ve tried an octopus dish and instantly became my favorite dish ever? Los Mellizos have the same dish in their menu. Just saying… Pulpo a Gallega or Polbo á feira is what you’ll be looking for, ok?
But if you want to dine outside of the Old Town, by walking around the beach promenade you’ll see loads and loads of options serving the next best thing about Malaga: grilled sardines. The places will be doing the BBQ on the beach, ok? Right in front of you, ok? It will be magic, ok? (OMG I’m so hungry right now)
I’ll give you a pro tip if you’re on the sardines team: go for lunch time. It is amazing the experience to have fresh fish and the Mediterranean sea at the same time. Order a big jar of Sangria and embrace the day drinking.
Calle Sancha de Lara, 7, 29015 Málaga, Spain
Phone: +34 952 22 03 15
Take a walk at Paseo España
The palm trees and colorful flowers lays between the old town and new port. This park is a huge corridor connecting the old Malaga with the new Malaga. Paseo España or simply, Paseo Parque. It is the nicest walk you can have in Malaga. But you can also walk on the other side of the big Avenue called Paseo de los Curas but why would you do that?
Created in 1890´s the park is famous for its exotic and colorful plants, cute birds you can see singing from the top of the trees and the music concerts that happen every Sunday around lunch time there.
Paseo España is another great free option of things to do in Malaga.
Check the newest version of Malaga
Five years ago some renovations transformed the Malaga’s port quay into a recreation and commerce center. Shops, restaurants and bars are lined in front of the bay. Even the Pompidou is there. After Paseo de España, you’ll arrive at the port.
It is a perfect place to see the sun goes down and while you enjoy the summer breeze in your face. Shops, ice cream parlors, restaurants and bars. This side of Malaga has it all and everything is new and modern.
Designed by the architect Jerónimo Junquera the massive central Pérgola del Palmeral de las Sorpresas changes the city’s landscape with mastery. This port is one of the oldest in the world, it has around 3000 years old.
You can thank me later for the unforgettable sunset, ok?
Lets mix cars and fashion just to make you ask yourself “What?”
Located a bit far from the rest of the items in this list, this museum is a must if you’re into rare, original and vintage dresses and cars.
This museum is in the historic Tabacalera Building, which has been renovated for the museum. Even if you’re not into cars or fashion, go for the building.
There is over 80 cars inside and each and everyone is displayed next to a dress from the era the car is. The whole place is a private collection of a Portuguese guy that wanted to show that automobiles and fashion goes together like cheese and wine.
There are cars – and dresses- that were made in every decade since the cars were invented. Most of them have been beautifully restored, some repainted and some created just for this collection. This museum is probably the best car museum in the whole country.
Everything from Rolls Royce to concept cars. And the dresses range from original – and vintage – and Chanel to Oscar de la Renta.
It is not everywhere you can find such a huge and well preserved collection of the history of fashion and cars. I know I never saw a more unique museum.
Av de Sor Teresa Prat, 15, 29003 Málaga, Spain
+34 951 13 70 01
And for the last position, we save the best: Picasso
Like I said before, Picasso was born in Malaga. And did you know that his whole name was Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso? No? Neither do I. I’ve learned that in Malaga. For obvious reasons he chose to use only the first and the last name, of course.
Pablo Picasso was born in Málaga, in the heart of the city. There’s even a statue of Picasso sitting almost in front of the house he was born. The city has a museum devoted to Picasso’s life and work and it is open from Tuesday to Sunday. The admission is around €10, but like I said: Free entrance on Sundays in Malaga. Show up there between 6pm – 8pm and this museum will be for free.
In another corner of the old town, at Plaza de La Merced, you can find Casa Natal, Picasso’s birthplace. The name of this place is Fundación Picasso. Inside there is a permanent exhibition showcasing some of his first works and many objects from his childhood.
Museo Picasso Málaga
Palacio de Buenavista, Calle San Agustín, 8, 29015 Málaga, Spain
+34 952 12 76 00
Plaza de la Merced, 15, 29012 Málaga, Spain
+34 951 92 60 60
How to get your ass all the way to Malaga
Malaga has a busy airport with connection to almost all the other Europeans countries. There are new direct flights being open every year and there’s loads of low-cost flying there.
If you rather go by train or bus it is super easy, the buses in Spain usually offer free wifi and are a cheap way to travel. We did Malaga~Lisbon and it was a piece of cake even tho it was 8 or 9 hours.
You can get to Malaga by train too. I and my mom arrived there without a problem from Valencia by train. Consider getting a Eurail/Interrail pass. If you’re planing to include Malaga in your first Eurotrip, check out our guide on how to plan your Eurotrip like a pro.