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19 Best Things To Do In Malaga Spain In

Southern Spain is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world thanks to its extensive sandy beaches and endless days of sunshine. Located in the center of Spain’s southern coast, Malaga is one of the most popular cities on the Costa del Sol. The best thing about Malaga is that it has something to offer for everyone, whether they are interested in history or partying. From visits to Moorish castles to day trips to Marbella and its fantastic nightlife, the best things to do in Málaga can appeal to everyone.

In addition to the beaches and parties, the Spanish city is also known for its impeccable arts scene. It is the birthplace of Pablo Picasso and there are several museums to prove it.

Whether you want to enjoy a cocktail on the beach or explore all of Andalusia’s Moorish castles, Malaga is a destination worth considering. And this guide to the best things to do in Malaga will help you plan the perfect itinerary!

Excellent hiking trails, rich history and delicious tapas are some of the highlights of a trip to Malaga. The Spanish city is as diverse as it is breathtaking and it is impossible not to enjoy your stay here.

In Malaga it doesn’t matter what you expect from it because it has everything. From fabulous art museums to copper age monoliths, there’s something for everyone in this city and I’m about to tell you all about it!

Best Of Malaga Quick Guide

  • Must Visit: Picasso Museum, Alcazaba, Castillo de Gibralfaro, Roman Theatre
  • Where To Stay: Ibis budget Málaga Centro, Palacio Solecio, Only YOU Hotel Málaga
  • Fun To Do: Caminito del Rey, Caves of Nerja, Playa de la Malagueta, Museo Automovilístico de Málaga
  • Day Trips: Granada, Marbella, Montes de Malaga Natural Park
  • Must Try Foods: Tapas, Jamon Iberico, Gazpacho, Paella

Best Things To Do In Malaga

Best Things To Do  In Malaga 2 Cityview

Malaga is located in the center of the Costa del Sol, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. With countless kilometers of sandy beaches, incredible medieval architecture and spectacular art museums, Malaga is a destination everyone can appreciate.

It’s an ideal place for both a relaxing beach holiday and a multi-day hiking adventure. The mild climate makes a trip to Malaga worthwhile at any time of year, but it’s the great food that makes you want to return soon.

1. Visit The Picasso Museum Malaga, Spain

Best Things To Do  In Malaga Picasso Museum Malaga

Housed in a restored 16th-century palace, the Picasso Museum is one of the best in Malaga. Pablo Picasso was born in Malaga and spent many of his childhood years here. The museum celebrates the artist’s connection to the city and features 200 of his incredible works of art.

If you are not already a fan of art and Picasso, this museum may not be for you. However, if you are even mildly interested in the works of the artist who helped found the Cubist movement, this museum should be one of your first stops in Malaga.

Insider Tip: If you can’t get enough of Picasso in the city of Málaga, visit the Museo Casa Natal de Picasso. It is the artist’s former home on the Plaza de la Merced and features even more stunning artwork and antique furniture.

Practical information: The Picasso Museum is open from 10:00 to 18:00. Tickets cost €12. Book yours here before you go.

2. Walking Tour of Malaga Old Town

Best Things To Do  In Malaga Walking Tour of Malaga Old Town

The best way to get to know a new city is to take a detailed tour of the historic center. For tourists who want to learn all about the history and culture of the city, guided tours of the historic center of Malaga are offered. And for budget-conscious travelers who prefer to explore attractions on their own, self-guided tours are available.

Stroll through the narrow streets and discover the 3000 years of history of this Spanish city. See Malaga Cathedral, the Roman Theatre, Plaza de la Constitución and the Alcazaba. Then walk to the port and get the best view of Malaga’s lighthouse and the sea beyond.

A street art tour in Malaga is an alternative way to discover the city. The focus is on the Soho and Lagunillas neighborhoods, where most of the city’s graffiti and street art is found. Beautiful murals and fascinating paintings adorn the streets of Malaga buildings in these areas, making this tour the best choice for all art lovers in Malaga.

Practical: Malaga’s historic center is easily accessible on foot and self-guided tours can easily be organised.

3. Discover 3,000 Years of History at Alcazaba

Best Things To Do  In Malaga Alcazaba

The Spanish region of Andalusia is famous for its Moorish architecture, of which the Alhambra is the most famous example. But you don’t have to travel to Granada to see a Moorish fortress, as Malaga also boasts some impressive examples of medieval architecture.

Alcazaba is a medieval fortress in the historic center of Malaga. It is surrounded by lush gardens and offers some of the best panoramic views of the Spanish city. The construction of the palace began in the 11th century but was completed only in the 15th century.

Walk along the palace walls, admire the views and discover its fascinating history. You can enter as many rooms of the palace as you wish; Many have small exhibits inside that provide even more information about the site’s rich history.

Practical information: tickets to the Alcazaba cost only €3.50. Buy a combined ticket for €5.50 if you want to visit both the Alcazaba and the Castillo de Gibralfaro. The Alcazaba is open from 9:00 to 20:00.

4. Admire the Views From Castillo de Gibralfaro

Best Things To Do  In Malaga Views From Castillo de Gibralfaro

Located just 20 minutes from the historic center of Malaga, the Castillo de Gibralfaro is another medieval landmark in southern Spain that is worth a visit. The castle ruins on Mount Gibralfaro offer spectacular views of central Malaga and its ports.

This historic castle is best known for the irregular layout of its walls. The long perimeter has few bastions, the most important of which is the White Tower above the north-western walls.

A walk along the castle walls is a beautiful experience, but don’t forget to visit the various rooms of the castle. Many feature artefacts relating to the building’s history, including miniature replicas of Málaga’s topography and weapons found in the castle’s grounds.

Practical information: Castillo de Gibralfaro is accessible with a fee of €3.50. Combined tickets are available for €5.50 and give access to both this castle and the Alcazaba. The castle is open every day from 9:00 to 20:00.

5. Buy Souvenirs at Mercado Central de Atarazanas

Best Things To Do  In Malaga Mercado Central de Atarazanas

The Mercado Central de Atarazanas is a covered market at the western end of the old city. It is famous for the paintings that decorate its roof and is the best place in town to buy souvenirs. As long as your idea of souvenirs from Spain mainly includes olive oil, wine and jamón ibérico.

With the best fresh produce and meats, Malaga’s covered market is the best place to stock your fridge. And even if you don’t want to take home half a kilo of Spanish ham (please think again), you can grab a bite to eat at one of the many tapas bars under the roof of the Mercado.

Practical information: The Mercado Central de Atarazanas is open Monday to Saturday from 8am to 3pm. Entrance to the market is free.

6. See the Málaga Roman Theatre

Best Things To Do In Malaga Malaga Roman Theatre

The Roman Theater of Malaga is located right next to the Alcazaba, meaning you can see two of the city’s most famous monuments in just one afternoon. The theater dates back to the 1st century AD. and it is a fascinating sight for anyone interested in Roman history and ruins.

In front of the Roman theater there is a glass pyramid that allows visitors to observe the ruins. It’s beautiful and I have to remember her much older sister in front of the Louvre. This is appropriate as Malaga’s Roman Theater also serves as a contemporary museum, with statues and miniatures displayed in the ancient ruins.

Practical information: The Roman Theater is open from 10:00 to 18:00 (16:00 on Sundays). Entry to the site is free and tips are welcome.

7. Day Trip to Marbella

Day trip from Malaga to Marbella

Marbella is a tourist resort south-west of Malaga. It’s only 45 minutes by bus or car and if you’re looking for a quick day trip to southern Spain, this is one of the best options.

Known for its spectacular resort hotels, expansive sandy beaches and exceptional nightlife, Marbella is a destination that has something for everyone. It’s mostly a good place for travelers who just want to relax for a while: lie on the beach with a cocktail in hand and dive into the sea when it gets too hot. Afterwards, in the evening dine in a first-class restaurant and then spend a wild night in one of the best clubs in Marbella.

Day trip from Malaga to Marbella Beaches

On the other hand, Marbella is also a great destination if you are mainly interested in history and archaeology. With medieval ruins, excellent museums and a historic center surrounded by Moorish walls, Marbella is a charming city on the Costa del Sol.

Practical information: Buses from Malaga to Marbella leave from the main bus station every 20 minutes, with 20 departures daily. Tickets cost $8.

8. Sunbathing at Playa de la Malagueta

Best Things To Do  In Malaga Playa de la Malagueta

La Malagueta beach is one of the best on the Spanish Costa del Sol. The wide sandy beach constantly invites tourists to relax for a few hours, and it wouldn’t be a real trip to Malaga if you didn’t “waste” at least one relaxing day on the beach.

On a warm, sunny day there is no better place to stay in Malaga. Rent a sunbed with umbrella and spend as much time as you want here, preferably with a good book in hand. The beach is lined with seafood shacks, so you don’t even have to go for lunch, and ice-cold drink vendors are constantly walking up and down the beach.

Practical information: Playa de la Malagueta is accessible for free at any time of the day.

9. Hike Caminito del Rey

Best Things To Do  In Malaga Caminito del Rey

Only experienced hikers should attempt this adventure. It is no longer as dangerous as it once was, but it is still a challenging route that requires a lot of technical knowledge and experience.

Caminito del Rey is characterized by a steep path built into the cliff. It offers spectacular views of the Desfiladero de los Gaitanes gorge and is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding hikes in southern Spain.

The entrance to the Caminito del Rey is located in the north visitor center, about two hours from Malaga.

Practical information: The starting point of Caminito del Rey is 2 hours by bus or one hour by car from Malaga. Tickets cost €10 per person.

10. Tour Carmen Thyssen Museum Houses

Best Things To Do  In Malaga Carmen Thyssen Museum Houses

The Carmen Thyssen Museum is another fantastic art museum in Malaga. Housed in a 16th-century Renaissance palace, the museum captivates both by the architecture of its building and the spectacular works of art within.

The Carmen Thyssen Museum’s collection includes masterpieces by renowned artists from all over the world. Much of the museum is dedicated to Spanish artists, but there are also numerous works by international artists.

Prominent artists exhibited in this Málaga museum include Niccolò Frangipane, Francisco de Zurbarán, Manuel García y Rodríguez and Raimundo Madrazo.

Practical information: The Carmen Thyssen Malaga Museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 20:00. Tickets cost €10.

11. Stand on the Roof of Málaga Cathedral

Best Things To Do  In Malaga Roof of Malaga Cathedral

My favorite thing to do in every new city I visit is find the tallest cathedral and climb its bell tower. I don’t care how many steps there are to climb, I’ll do it every time because I can’t resist the panoramic view. Malaga Cathedral offers one of the most beautiful views of the city skyline and is an absolute must for stunning landscape photos.

The most important church in the city is located in the historic center. The intricate carvings on the ceiling are breathtaking, so don’t forget to look up when you’re inside. Visitors can climb the tower of Malaga Cathedral and enjoy sweeping panoramic views over the city’s rooftops.

Additionally, the cathedral has a small garden with a fountain and beautiful landscaping that is worth a visit if you are already in the area.

Practical information: Malaga Cathedral is normally open from 10am to 6pm. Combined tickets for the cathedral and roof cost €12. Single tickets are also available.

12. Wander Around Jardín Botánico

Best Things To Do  In Malaga Jardin Botanico

The Botanical Garden of Malaga is truly a special place and, in my humble opinion, the best garden on the Costa del Sol. With tropical plants from five different continents, walking through this garden is an incredible experience.

The huge green area is almost like a city forest with artificial lakes, ponds and countless plants. It’s a little far from the center of Malaga (45 minutes by bus), but definitely worth the longer journey.

This botanical garden in Malaga dates back to the mid-19th century and covers an area of 23 hectares. With cacti, countless palm trees and beautifully landscaped trails, it’s a place where you can spend hours without getting bored. Well, I could and I did, also because the view of the center of Malaga is breathtaking.

Practical information: The Jardín Botánico is located in the north of Málaga, 15 minutes by car or 40 minutes by bus from the city centre. Entrance to the Botanical Garden costs €5.20.

13. Excursion to Archaeological Dolmens of Antequera

Best Things To Do  In Malaga Archaeological Dolmens of Antequera

About 55 kilometers north of Malaga are the archaeological dolmens of Antequera, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which are estimated to be 6,500 years old. It is one of the best destinations near Malaga for history buffs who love visiting relics of another era.

The most impressive thing is that entry to the site is completely free and anyone can visit and walk around. However, if you are not particularly interested in history, you may want to skip this attraction as it is essentially just a collection of very large stones.

Dolmen de Menga is an ancient burial site and megalithic tomb. The Dolmen de Viera was originally built in the Copper Age but needed to be restored. The burial chamber is located under a hill and is accessible to visitors.

Practical information: The dolmens of Antequera can be reached from Malaga by bus (1-2 hours) or by car (1 hour). Entrance to the site is free

14. Be Amazed at Museo Automovilístico de Málaga

Best Things To Do In Malaga Museo Automovilistico de Malaga

The Museo Automovilístico de Málaga combines two of my great loves: high fashion and cars. When I discovered the existence of this museum I was amazed and it immediately went to the top of my list.

Located in the southern part of the city, near Playa de Huelin, the museum offers a unique collection of vintage cars and fashion and I can’t decide which I prefer. The cars on display range from Belle Epoque vehicles to hot rods and are all in immaculate condition.

As for the museum’s fashion, the exhibition explores the correlation (and collaboration) between high-end automakers and haute couture brands. From Chanel to Versace, the outfits on display at the museum are breathtaking.

Practical information: The museum is open from 10am to 2.30pm and from 4am to 7pm. Tickets cost €10.

15. Discover Contemporary Art at Centre Pompidou Málaga

Best Things To Do In Malaga Centre Pompidou Malaga

The Center Pompidou Málaga is a branch of the famous Parisian museum. The impressive museum building is located near the port of Malaga and cannot be missed on a city tour.

But it is a normal contemporary art museum, which may not be for everyone. The finds are extraordinary and often bizarre, but at the same time fascinating. It’s a must-see for art lovers in Malaga, but otherwise just see and admire the extravagant building.

Practical information: The Center Pompidou Malaga is open every day except Tuesdays from 9.30am to 8pm. The combined ticket for the semi-permanent and temporary exhibition costs €9.

16. Gastro Tour of Malaga’s Tapas Bars

Things to do in Malaga Gastro Tour

Spain has delicious food to offer and it doesn’t matter if you stay in Madrid, Barcelona or Malaga – travel is the time to forget about your diet and indulge in local delicacies.

Some of the best tapas bars in the city can be found in Malaga’s covered market. If you walk around the old town for 10 minutes you will come across at least 10 other tapas bars. The most popular in the city are Picasso Tapas Bar, Lechuga Tapas, Lo Güeno Mesón and Bar La Tranca. All offer excellent food, cocktails and original, inviting interiors.

Practical information: Most tapas bars in Malaga operate on two shifts, with an afternoon siesta from around 4pm to 7pm. Dinner is served late in Spain (8pm to 10pm) and reservations are recommended.

17. Roam Around Montes de Málaga Natural Park

Best Things To Do In Malaga Montes de Malaga Natural Park

The Natural Park of the Mountains of Malaga is another excellent destination for hikers on the Costa del Sol. If the Caminito del Rey is a little out of your reach, this beautiful natural park is the best alternative. With miles of hiking trails too many to count, you could spend your entire trip to Malaga here, discovering spectacular scenery.

The park takes its name from the mountain range that dominates the area and offers excellent hiking and climbing opportunities. The highest peak reaches 1,030 meters; This is not an intimidating hike, especially for anyone who has climbed a peak in the Alps.

Come here for relaxing hikes and a day in nature. The park also has numerous statues, attractions, viewing platforms and numerous cycling and mountain biking trails.

Practical information: The Málaga Mountains Natural Park is accessible 24 hours a day and entry is free. Since there is no public transport, a guided excursion is the best option if you don’t have a car in Malaga.

18. Excursion to Granada (See the Alhambra)

Visiting Alhambra in Grenada on a day trip

The Alhambra is one of the most famous monuments in the world and is located just 2 hours from Malaga. Granada is an hour and 45 minutes away if you have a car in southern Spain and is the best day trip you can take from this city.

The Moorish Palace is one of the world’s best examples of Islamic architecture. Therefore, it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Andalusia and is generally expected to be crowded.

Things to do in Malaga Day Trip to Grenada

There are different types of Alhambra tickets depending on which parts of the complex you want to enter. I recommend you go all out and get the most expensive tickets that will allow you to see everything. Plan to spend a whole day here, strolling through the palace complex, admiring all the little details of the palace’s various structures and entering as many rooms as possible.

Practical information: Granada is 1-2 hours from Malaga and is accessible by car, bus and train. Tickets for the Alhambra cost between 7 and 18 euros, depending on how many areas you want to enter.

19. See Neanderthal Paintings at the Caves of Nerja

Best Things To Do In Malaga Caves of Nerja

The Nerja Caves are a fascinating natural monument near Malaga. The nearly five-kilometer-long caves contain Neanderthal paintings estimated to be more than 42,000 years old. These are the oldest cave paintings discovered on our planet, making this attraction in Spain very special.

The cave system is divided into two parts and only one section is open to the public. Concerts are often held in one of the caves as it serves as an excellent amphitheater. If you managed to see a show in the Nerja Caves it would be an epic experience.

Practical information: The Nerja Caves are an hour and a half by bus or 50 minutes by car from Malaga. Entrance to the caves costs €16 for adults and includes an audio guide.

Frequently Asked Questions

Best Things To Do In Malaga Frequently Asked Questions

What Not To Miss In Malaga Spain?

The Picasso Museum, Alcazaba, and Castillo de Gibralfaro are the most famous attractions in Malaga. Caminito del Rey is also world-famous, especially among hikers and outdoor lovers.

What Is Malaga Best Known For?

Malaga is best known for being the birthplace of Pablo Picasso. The city is home to a Pablo Picasso museum, which houses more than 200 artworks from the famous artist.

Is Malaga Worth Visiting?

Yes, Malaga is worth visiting. The stunning Spanish city boasts beautiful architecture, panoramic sea views, and excellent art museums. Whether you want to spend your time lounging on the beach, exploring the city’s culture, or traveling through Andalusia, Malaga doesn’t disappoint.

How Many Days Do I Need To Visit Malaga?

Two to three days is the perfect amount of time in Malaga to see all the top tourist attractions. But consider a trip of five to seven days, if you want to take some time to relax, unwind, and discover Malaga’s spectacular beaches.

Tips And Information For Visiting Malaga

Best Things To Do In Malaga Tips and Information

Best Time To Visit

Summer is the best time to visit Malaga, especially if you love beaches and sunbathing. July and August are the hottest months in the city, with temperatures consistently above 30°C. May and October are also ideal for visiting the Spanish city, as there are fewer crowds but the climate is still pleasant.

November to April is the rainy season in Malaga. Even if it doesn’t rain constantly, the humidity is high and the chance of rain is much higher than other months, which could ruin your plans. Since there are fewer tourists in the rainy season, it’s not a bad time to be in Malaga if you’re primarily interested in the monuments and attractions rather than the beaches.

Getting There

Malga is served by Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport, which is just 15 minutes by train from the city center. It is also possible to take the bus from the airport to the center of Malaga, this is only 10 minutes slower than the train. Both the train and the bus stop at the city’s main train station.

Málaga Airport is the busiest in southern Spain and offers numerous connections to international destinations. Madrid airport is the largest in the country and may offer cheaper flights. It’s only three hours by train from Málaga, so it’s a good alternative if you can’t find a direct flight to Málaga.

Getting Around

The public transport network in Malaga is well developed and you can easily get around the city. Subway, buses and trains are available to all and are very convenient. Taxis are also a slightly faster but generally more expensive option than public transport.

Travelers who prefer to stay active can reach most places in Malaga by bike. Bike rentals are available at several locations around the city and are very affordable. In addition, the center of Malaga is within walking distance and you can reach many important destinations on foot.

How Much Time Do You Need

You can spend anywhere from 2-3 days to up to two weeks in Malaga, depending on what you want to do and how you want to spend your time. The city is a great destination for a relaxing holiday, and if you want to carve out a week to sip cocktails on the beach, you can do so in Malaga.

On the other hand, it also has a lot to offer anyone interested in history, art, architecture and culture. With Moorish castles, Roman ruins and the actual home of Pablo Picasso, Malaga is the ideal city break destination.

The central location on the southern coast of Spain allows for convenient day trips to nearby destinations. Marbella and Granada are both close by, as are stunning natural parks, archaeological sites and some of Spain’s best hiking trails.

Where To Stay In Malaga

Best Things To Do In Malaga Where to Stay in Malaga

The historic center of Malaga is the best place to stay, especially for those visiting the city for the first time. The best attractions are within walking distance and there are numerous shops and restaurants. Hotels in central Malaga range from budget to luxury, so there is something to suit every budget.

One could choose to stay in one of the remote areas, but I really don’t think that’s necessary. Additionally, traffic in Málaga can be quite heavy, and if you’re staying in a place where you have to take a bus into the city, you’ll be spending a lot of time on public transport.

Best Things To Do In Malaga Where to Stay in Malaga 2 Courtyard

Having fun in Malaga is as easy as breathing. The city’s attractions are so diverse that everyone can have fun here, regardless of whether their main interest is archeology or beaches. Choose what you like and enjoy every minute you spend in the city.

I hope this itinerary helps you discover the best of Malaga and find things that really interest you so you can have a great time in Spain.

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About author

Articles

Daniyal is an accomplished travel blogger boasting two years of extensive experience. Proficient in captivating narratives, Daniyal unveils the allure of undiscovered destinations and divulges insights into everything regarding traveling. Beyond the prose, he serves as the editorial architect, seamlessly incorporating editing finesse, SEO mastery, and strategic content deployment to ensure a sophisticated and enriching online travel experience.
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