Malaga is the largest city on the Costa del Sol and has a history dating back nearly 3,000 years. Not only is Malaga one of the oldest cities in the world, but it's one of the most popular tourist destinations in Spain. And it's no surprise why. The city combines a rich history and beautiful architecture with vibrant nightlife and creative culture; marrying the old with the new.
Whether it's your first time visiting or your fifth, you won't be short of things to do in Malaga, Spain. Eat, see, drink, explore: here is a round-up of the best things to do in Costa del Sol's best-kept secret.
Our Top 10 Sights in Malaga
Alcazaba and Castillo de Gibralfaro (Alcazaba and Gibralfaro Castle)
Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga (CAC Contemporary Art Museum)
Botanical Garden La Concepción (The Botanical Gardens)
Mercado Central de Atarazanas
Port (Muelle uno)
Playa de la Malagueta
Santa Iglesia Catedral Basílica de la Encarnación
El Hammam Open Space & Spa
Things to do in Malaga Old Town
As a beautiful port town, a stroll through Malaga's old town is the perfect way to see the sights. As is the case with many Andalusian cities, most of the main attractions are within walking distance. Go on a walk through the old town, and you'll see the Alcazaba and Gibralfaro Castle stretch up the mountain peak behind the ancient Roman theatre.
Calle Molina Lario
Plaza de la Merced
Calle Molina Lario is Malaga's main shopping street and will take you past well-known Spanish chains and local shops, as well as tapas restaurants, bars and art shops. From here, Malaga Cathedral is just a stone's throw away, as are the Picasso Museum and Carmen Thyssen Museum.
In the old town, you'll also find Plaza de la Merced - undoubtedly one of the most historic places in Malaga. Right next to it is Pablo Picasso’s house and a sculpture of the painter, which attracts many art lovers from around Malaga and beyond.
Continue your tour down the Paseo del Parque, a scenic path that runs along the harbour to the Muelle Uno port. Here ferries and ships arrive from distant lands and passengers are greeted by the Centre Pompidou and the Museo Aula del Mar. Overlooking the port, cafes and restaurants offer amazing Spanish food and tapas.
When we think of Malaga, we often think of the vibrancy and culture. Look no further than the district of Soho, sure to captivate with its artistic graffiti and youthful flair. Expect street markets, food stalls and pop-up bars with welcoming Spanish hospitality.
City Tours and Activities in Malaga
Historical Buildings in Málaga
Malaga is awash with historical buildings to see. A Plaza de Toros (Bullring) is a historical attraction found in almost all Andalusian cities. In Malaga, you can still visit the bullfighting arena, La Malagueta, but the chance to see a bullfight is rare.
Plaza de Toros La Malagueta
Palace of Buenavista
Alcazaba and Gibralfaro
Santa Iglesia Catedral Basílica de la Encarnación
The Santa Iglesia Catedral Basílica de la Encarnación (Cathedral of Malaga) began its build in the 16th century but was not finished until much later. It took so long to finish, that it was nicknamed "La Manquita", meaning one-armed.
The Palacio de Buenavista, in the old Jewish Quarter, was also built in the 16th century. The Counts of Buenavista once lived here, but since 1997 the palace rooms have housed the Museo Picasso (Picasso Museum).
The historical Malaga sights don't stop with the 16th-century offerings. The Alcazaba fortress is one of the most famous attractions you will find in Malaga. Known as ‘Little Alhambra’, Alcazaba is a fortified palace, built on the slopes of the Gibralfaro mountain. Atop the mountain, sits Gibralfaro Castle. Dating back to the 14th century, this well-preserved castle offers elegant gardens, labyrinthine walls and a beautiful view of the harbour and the city.
Museums in Malaga
Although known for its youthful culture and bars, this vibrant city on the Costa del Sol also has quite a few museums to offer. First of all, the art museums. After all, Malaga is the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, arguably one of the most important artists of the 20th century. His namesake museum - the Picasso Museum - is one of the main tourist attractions in the city.
Malaga Art Museum
CAC (Centro de Arte Contemporáneo)
Museum Jorge Rando
Museo Unicaja de Artes y Costumbres Populares
Museo del Patrimonio Municipal
Museo Revello de Toro
Coleccíon del Museo Ruso
Other Museums in Malaga
Museo de Málaga (Malaga Museum)
Museo Casa Natal Picasso (Picasso birthplace)
Museo Automovilístico y de la Moda (Automobile and Fashion Museum)
Museo Interactivo de la Música (Music Museum)
Museo del Vidrio y Cristal (Glass and Crystal Museum)
Museo del Vino (Wine Museum)
Aula del Mar Museo Alborania (Sea and Ocean Museum)
Museo de la imaginación (Imagination Museum)
Centro de Ciencia Principia (Science Museum)
Museo Aeronáutico (Aeronautical Museum)
Museo de Arte Flamenco (Peña Juan Breva)
Museo del Arte Cofrade - Semana Santa
Astilleros Nereo (Shipyard)
More Things to do in Malaga
Not all Malaga sights fit neatly into the categories mentioned above. These include the beautiful beaches and gardens of Malaga. The Roman theatre, the Botanical Garden and the Centre Pompidou are also among the city's best things to see.
La Malagueta Beach
Market hall Atarazanas
Holidays and Semana Santa
Hammam and Spas
The Botanico Historico La Concepcion (Botanical Garden) is Costa del Sol's very own garden of Eden. Located at the northern edge of Malaga Spain, it's not easy to get to on foot from the city centre, but there are hop-off bus tours that make it easy. Make the trip, and you'll find a beautiful garden filled with over fifty thousand plants from nearly three thousand different species.
Hop back on the bus towards the coast, and you'll find a number of famous beaches to explore. The most famous beach in Malaga is Playa de la Malagueta (Malagueta Beach). Stretching 1200 meters long, it's so popular that, despite its size, it fills to capacity in the peak summer months. If you're looking for a quieter beach, try Playa de la Caleta. Although quieter, it offers great views of the piers in the harbour, as well as of the rest of the beautiful coast.
Another one of Malaga's famed attractions is the Atarazanas Market. The Nasrid shipyard was once located here but in the 19th century, it was transformed into Malaga's premier market. Tour the Atarazanas market, and you'll find all kinds of fish, meat, cheeses and olives. There are even a few kiosks that cook up tapas with ingredients straight from the market stalls.
If you visit Malaga when one of the main festivals, the Feria de Agosto, is taking place, you will experience a completely different trip. During the Feria, people party, drink and dance until night turns into day. This is a folk festival celebrated at different times in each town and village of Andalusia. You'll find bars and tapas restaurants are filled to the brim, with many Spanish locals taking day trips into the city centre.
Cheap Flights to Malaga
Food and Drink in Málaga
Places to Visit Near Malaga
What is Malaga popular for?
Malaga is popular for its unique ambience. The city combines rich history, architecture and archaeology with vibrant nightlife, great food and creative culture; marrying the old with the new.
Is Malaga worth visiting?
Yes. And we're not the only ones who think so. The city is very popular not only with tourists but locals alike. With beautiful beaches, wonderful art and rich history, this untapped locality in Spain makes for the perfect trip. Treat yourself to a flamenco show, revel in the street art where Picasso was born or try the local cuisine at tiny tapas bars.
How many days in Malaga is enough?
Three days in Malaga is enough to see most of the sights. As a small city, you can find most of the sights within the old town and the port. From the Alcazaba and the Castillo De Gibralfaro Castle to the Picasso Museum, or the contemporary art gallery, there are plenty of things to see in a short space of time.