Why wouldn’t you want to leave Malaga? Easy, the city is full of charm, stories, mysteries and original flavours. In this post we will take a tour of Malaga in two days to get to know its essence.
NOTICE: This article is not a mere list. We have visited each place and adjusted the times and the route to make sure it is the best possible.
What you will find here
Day 1 / morning. VISIT TO THE MALAGA CENTRE
The first reason to fall in love with Malaga is its historic centre. You’ve just arrived and you’re staying in the historic centre. The best way to make the most of your time is to go for a walk in the centre. Here’s a route to the key sites not to be missed.
- Duration: approximately 2 hours
- Distance: 1.7 km.
- Type of tracks: 90% of the route is on pedestrian areas
- Route: Google Map (turn layers on and off as needed)
PLAZA DE LA MERCED (Merced Square)
Let’s start at the place where Pablo Picasso was born. This populous square is one of the liveliest places in the city. Markets and book fairs are usually held here. The huge obelisk is the monument to those shot on the Misericordia beach, a tragic episode that took place in 1831. Torrijos and 70 companions rose up against the absolutist power. The attempt ended with the execution by firing squad of the rebels.
There is no doubt that the best time to visit the Plaza de la Merced is in spring or autumn. Then the jacarandas bloom with their garish violet blossom, flooding everything with colour.
PARISH SANTIAGO APÓSTOL
A mere 100 metres away you will find the Parish Church of Santiago Apóstol, the first church built by the Catholic Monarchs after the capture of the city. It is well worth a visit to enjoy its mixture of Mudejar, late Gothic and Baroque styles.
This church gave its name to the collation or neighbourhood of Santiago, where many of the military and part of the Malaga oligarchy lived. The church is located next to the old location of the Puerta de Granada, in the northern part of the city and from where the road to the neighbouring city started. Incidentally, Picasso was baptised in this church.
ROMAN THEATRE OF MALAGA
After passing the Cine Albéniz we arrive at the Roman Theatre. It is undoubtedly one of the places to visit in Malaga. For years it remained hidden under other constructions, until 1951. Nowadays it can be visited through a small interpretation centre. We will tell you more about it later, as we will leave the visit to the Roman Theatre for the second day. We explain it in our guided tours of Malaga.
CALLE POSTIGO DE SAN AGUSTÍN
We are now entering a unique passage. The narrow Calle Postigo is flanked by historic buildings, the Picasso Museum and the convent of San Agustín. The charm of this street lies in its tranquillity (unless you find yourself on a crowded guided tour) and how well-kept it is.
The current appearance is not the original. When the Picasso Museum was built, an earlier building was demolished to create a small square. However, the old fig tree that once stood in the courtyard of the disappeared building has been preserved.
CISTER STREET AND OUTSIDE THE CATHEDRAL
Continue our walk along Calle Cister to admire the imposing Malaga Cathedral. We’ll leave the visit to the Cathedral for later, remember that we’re going to see Malaga in two days. We will pass in front of the Puerta de las Cadenas, a fantastic example of 18th century architecture.
This you cannot see, but we can tell you about it. Under some buildings in Cistercian Street, archaeology has brought to light rests of an ancient “sanctuary” dating from the 7th century B.C.. Although earlier remains have been found in and around Malaga, the city of Malaka was founded by the Phoenicians. Malaga in two days would be too short if we wanted to see all the archaeological remains of the city.
SAN AGUSTÍN STREET
San Agustín street leads to the church and convent of the same name. The church is usually closed, but you can see its façade from the outside. A little further on is the Picasso Museum. This route does not include the entrance fee, but if you have enough time we recommend a visit. In addition to the work of the painter from Malaga, the remains of the Phoenician city mentioned above have been preserved in the basement of the building.
After a stretch of Calle Granada, a busy street full of shops and restaurants, we arrive at Pasaje de Álvarez, better known as Pasaje Chinitas. It owes its name to a former café where intellectuals gathered from the mid-19th century until shortly after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War (1937). Artists such as Juan el Breva, La Macarena, Federico García Lorca, la Niña de los Peines and Juanito Valderrama, among many others, performed there. Its theatre/tablao was a temple of flamenco art for less than a century and its fame spread even outside Spain.
The crossroads of streets is practically occupied by cafés and restaurants, something that does not make much grace to the neighbours. We have to bear in mind that the centre of Malaga is a gentrified space with tourism.
PLAZA DE LA CONSTITUCIÓN
Just off the Pasaje Chinitas we find the Plaza de la Constitución. Other parts of the city have acquired great value today, but we can consider this square as the centre of the city. Here stood the Town Hall of Malaga, the Casa del Corregidor, the prison, the convent of the Augustinian nuns (now disappeared and replaced by the Chinitas passage and its buildings). It was and is the site of numerous festivities, including bullfights in the past. And from here starts Calle Larios, the richest street in the city.
Today this square commemorates the two Spanish constitutions: that of 1812 promulgated in Cadiz and that of 1978 which ushered in democracy in Spain. Newspaper covers on bronze plates decorate the ground praising this illustrious document.
We continue along Calle Larios. We walk along just a small part of this street, one of the most beautiful and stately in Malaga. It is now full of fashion shops and at Christmas time it is dressed up with lights that form an amazing tunnel. The event attracts thousands of people every year. This street was built as a boulevard at the end of the 19th century following a public tender. It was built by the Marquis and Marquise of Larios, who spent a fortune on it.
A curiosity is that the street used to have wooden pavements. The art and wit of Malaga even led to it being called “the dance hall”, due to the noise that was made when walking along it. However, the usual floods of the Mediterranean basin swept away the luxurious pavements within a few years.
SAN JUAN BAUTISTA DE MALAGA
We take a detour to the church of San Juan Bautista. It is another of the first four churches in Malaga commissioned by the Catholic Monarchs at the end of the 15th century. As usual, over the years it underwent alterations and extensions in different styles. The vicissitudes of history also caused serious damage. First in 1680 an earthquake knocked down its bell tower; then with the burning of convents in 1931 it was destroyed; and finally in the 1980s it caught fire.
The singularity of this church is in the mural paintings and in one of the access doors. The door is located on the ground floor of the tower rebuilt after the earthquake. An original solution for one of the most beautiful churches in Malaga.
LAS ATARAZANAS MARKET
This market would be the final stop on the route. It is not just a simple market. Its building is the maximum exponent of the iron and glass architecture of the late 19th century in Malaga. But it was also built on the ruins of the old Andalusian dockyards, of which one of the main gates has been preserved.
At the Atarazanas market you can taste the most authentic flavours of Malaga. We recommend you buy some cheese from the province or its famous almonds and dried figs.
We have skipped some points of interest along the way. It is impossible to explain in detail all the significant places on this route, it would take forever! But if you come to Malaga and you want to know more 👇
CORAZÓN DE MALAGA. GUIDED VISIT TO THE CENTRE OF MALAGA
We guide you. The best option to get to know Malaga’s culture and the history of the city is “Heart of Malaga“. Forget the map and join a super small group in a safe and responsible visit. Click on the banner to find out more.
Day 1 / half day. SOME LOCAL GASTRONOMY
A WINE BEFORE LUNCH
Near the Atarazanas Market is the Antigua Casa de Guardia, a place with a lot of history. The bodega/tavern was founded in 1840 by a famous Malaga winemaker, José De Guardia. If you fancy enjoying local wines in a place with a lot of tradition, we recommend a visit to this place.
VERY AUTHENTIC LOW COST OPTION
On one of our shoots in Malaga we were recommended to eat at Café Bar el Cid, next to the Atarazanas market. And we have to say that we were pleasantly surprised. It is a menu bar where they serve you fast, good food and at a more than affordable price. To this we must add that they treated us great, as usual in Malaga.
OTHER MODERN AND RESPONSIBLE OPTION
Recyclo Bike Café is a different place. It’s a bar, but it’s also a workshop, rental and bike shop. They serve international food, but they pay special attention to local, organic or artisan products. They also have vegan dishes, artisan roasted coffee and natural juices. If you like this type of bar you won’t be disappointed, they have an excellent reputation.
Day 1 / afternoon. bike ride along the coast of malaga
Another thing you can do to visit Malaga in two days is to take a bike ride. Malaga is not only its historic centre. The outlying neighbourhoods such as el Palo and Pedregalejo are an excellent option to visit. The whole route can be done along the Paseo Marítimo and some of the bike lanes. It is 100% flat and your effort will be minimal.
THE FISHERMEN’S NEIGHBOURHOODS
We are going to propose you to reach Pedregalejo, a very easy route for everyone. And if you still have enough energy left, you can continue on to El Palo. They used to be the fishermen’s quarters of Malaga and still conserve part of their activity and authenticity. A friend told us that the people of El Palo are from El Palo, not from Malaga. Their deep-rooted and unique character makes them feel independent from the capital.
Things work differently there. For a start, tourism is not so overcrowded. There are no crowds like in the centre of Málaga. And most of the people who live there are locals. On the beach there are plenty of little fishing boats that still go out to fish. A sardine espeto costs half the price and is probably better.
BICYCLE RENTAL IN MALAGA
There are several options for renting a bike near the coast. We recommend starting from the Plaza de la Marina. It’s close to the centre of Malaga and from there we’ll head towards the fishing districts of the city.
MARENGO. BICYCLE AND GASTRONOMY
Marengo is what the people of Malaga call the people of the sea. That is to say, the people with jobs related to fishing and other seafaring activities. Soon you will be able to enjoy this activity along the coast of Malaga.
ALTERNATIVE: VISIT A MUSEUM IN MALAGA
I DON’T WANT A BIKE.
If you prefer cultural plans or you still want to see the centre of Malaga, we suggest visiting some of the fantastic museums in the city. The Malaga Museum, the Picasso Museum, the Carmen Thyssen Museum or the Pompidou Museum are museums to take your time and enjoy their spectacular collections.
A museum for history and art lovers.
We particularly like the Museum of Malaga. It was one of the last major museums to open in the capital (2016). And at the same time it is one of the oldest museums in the city, since it was created in 1915. The Museum of Malaga is both an archaeological museum and a fine arts museum. For this reason it houses the entire history of the province, from prehistory to contemporary art. We recommend a leisurely visit to enjoy its collections, the architecture of the building or, why not, the beautiful rooftop café.
Day 1 / night. PLANS IN MALAGA BY NIGHT
If you can’t cope with your body, it’s time to rest. But if you still have some strength left, let’s continue discovering Malaga.
ENGLISH CEMETERY. Mystery
To delve deeper into Malaga’s dark history, the English Cemetery is your next destination. The cemetery is a romantic place by day and a dark place by night. Illustrious Protestants who lived in Malaga are buried there. The cemetery is full of beautiful tombs, sculptures and almost legendary stories that will make your hair stand on end. In this video you can get an idea of what we’re talking about.
During the day it can be visited individually. But ifyou want to visit it at night it must be in a guided group. Our guided tour “Paths of Mystery“, will take you through the centre of Malaga, the Gibralfaro mountain and will conclude with a visit to the English cemetery.
▶️ For more information about the English Cemetery.
▶️ For more on “Paths of mystery”
A GOOD TERRACE ON SOME ROOFTOPS. Relax
Tomorrow you have a hard day ahead of you, let’s find a relaxing place to end the day. There are plenty of roof top bars in Malaga. These terraces, set up as charming bars, are an ideal option for relaxing. They are usually quiet places to have a drink and some even have a swimming pool. They usually have impressive views of the city. If you’ve decided to visit Malaga in two days, don’t get too excited, you’re in for a tough day tomorrow.
Here are all the roof top bars that we know of in the centre of Malaga.
- AC Hotel Malaga Palacio. C/ Cortina del Muelle, nº 1
- AC Hotel Malaga Palacio.
- La Terraza Oasis. C/ San Telmo, nº 14
- La Terraza Oasis.
- Room Mate Larios Hotel. C/ Marqués de Larios, nº 2
- Room Mate Larios Hotel.
- The Top at Hotel Molina Lario. C/ Molina Lario, nº 20
- The Top at Hotel Molina Lario.
- Alcazaba Premium Hostel Malaga. C/ Alcazabilla, nº 12
- Alcazaba Premium Hostel Malaga.
- Salles Hotel Malaga Centro. C/ Mármoles, nº 6
- Salles Hotel Malaga Centro.
- Hotel Soho Bahía Malaga. C/ Somera, nº 8
- Hotel Soho Bahía Malaga.
- Terraza Chinitas. Pasaje Chinitas, nº 3
Day 2 / morning. VISIT ALCAZABA AND CATHEDRAL OF MALAGA
We hope you have woken up strong, because now comes a good cultural bath. In one morning, and if you start early, you’ll have time to visit the three great monuments of Malaga: the Roman Theatre, the Alcazaba and the Cathedral. These are the must-see monuments to see Malaga in two days.
VISIT THE ROMAN THEATRE IN MALAGA
Your second day’s visit starts at the Roman Theatre. Access is free, you just have to go through the Interpretation Centre. Although you can entertain yourself if you like to recreate yourselves in history, the visit is quite quick, about 20 minutes approximately. You can walk around the stage and the upper part of the grandstand.
We normally associate Roman theatres with a recreational use, and this is mainly the case. However theatres played an important role in politics, as they were also a place of social representation of power and hierarchy. It was built in the 1st century AD and 200 years later fell into oblivion. Much of its building material was used in the construction of the Alcazaba and other buildings in Malaga.
VISITING THE ALCAZABA OF MALAGA
WHAT IS THE ALCAZABA OF MALAGA
The Alcazaba of Malaga is an Andalusian fortress. In addition to its military use, it was also the residence of Muslim power in the city. At the top are the Taifa and Nasrid palaces. They are not as grandiose as those of the Alhambra, but they are some of the finest examples of Andalusian residential architecture.
As you ascend you’ll pass gardens, fountains and huge monumental gates, most of them set in bends to protect you more effectively in the event of a siege. At the top you will be comforted by the spectacular views of the city and the Mediterranean.
HOW TO VISIT THE ALCAZABA OF MALAGA
Just outside the theatre, is the entrance to the Alcazaba. You now have two options.
- Go around the Alcazaba and take a lift that will take you to the very heart of the fortress. From there descend between the walls until you get back to the city.
- Walk up to the Alcazaba, crossing all its gates as its inhabitants did in the past. On the way back you can retrace your steps or use the lift to go down.
In both cases you will visit the same spaces, the only thing that changes is the direction of the route. Tickets can be purchased either at the main ticket offices at the exit of the Roman Theatre or at the entrance to the lift. Which option you choose depends on your willingness to walk.
VISITING THE CATHEDRAL OF MALAGA
ART AND HISTORY OF THE CATHEDRAL OF MALAGA
Now we come to the last stop, the Manquita. This is what the people of Malaga call their Cathedral, which lacks one of its bell towers due to a lack of resources. It is the temple with the highest vaults in Andalusia and was built, as was customary, on the ruins of the city’s main mosque. Although it was built over many centuries, it has two main phases. The first is the 16th century, when its Renaissance floor plan was defined and only the ambulatory was built. It was not until the 18th century that the next major phase was completed, with its imposing body, vaulted roofs and surprising Baroque façade.
The architecture is only the tip of the iceberg, inside there is a real treasure. Altarpieces, paintings, sculptures, the choir? hundreds of works of art that make Malaga Cathedral a great place of worship and a true museum of Christian art.
HOW TO VISIT THE CATHEDRAL OF MALAGA
Access is through the Puerta de las Cadenas, on the north side of the cathedral. Once inside, you can walk around the cathedral at your leisure, but we recommend you do it in a circular route. Remember that it is not just a monument, it is a place of worship where we must be extremely respectful.
The entrance ticket costs €6 per adult and there are special prices for locals, children, groups and senior citizens. It can be purchased directly at the ticket office at the entrance. An audio guide in several languages is included in the price. The timetable varies depending on the time of the year, so we link you to the official website.
This is what we call our guided tour to discover the main monuments of Malaga. In approximately 3 hours you will enjoy the millenary history of Malaga from the hand of a Malagueño or Malagueña. Shall we guide you? Click on the banner to find out more.
Day 2 / half day. AN AUTHENTIC LOCAL
On one of our last walks through the centre of Malaga we discovered a very special place, the bar La Recova. We wouldn’t know how to classify it, maybe a bar or maybe a shop, but maybe a museum. What we are sure of is its originality.
As soon as you enter, you will feel the vintage flavour of mid-20th century taverns. Its walls are full of antique objects and artisan pieces from Malaga: jarapas, ceramics, glass, oil paintings, costume jewellery, basketwork,… Antiques also play an important role in the establishment.
The food does not leave you indifferent and is along the same lines. Local products, traditional recipes and simple presentations. You can have tapas and order portions, at lunchtime there is a set menu and for breakfast they serve the traditional Malaga breakfast. If you are looking for local gastronomy, this is the ideal place. It’s a 6-minute walk from Malaga Cathedral, our last stop on this two-day tour of Malaga.
Day 2 / afternoon. A WALK AT SPRING ONE
Something quiet to spend the afternoon before starting the return journey? The old docks of the port of Malaga have become an ideal place to stroll aroundMuelle Uno. Along the route you will find museums such as the Aula Del Mar or the Alborania Museum and the Malaga Pompidou Centre.
It is an ideal place to walk with children, as it is a pedestrian area where you can find some playgrounds.
The gastronomic offer is very wide and diverse. From small establishments where you can buy something to take away, to luxurious restaurants where you can try Mediterranean delicacies. It also has a shopping area.
Walking along the sea you will find beautiful sailing boats, the odd military ship and vestiges of the old port such as the stone stairs. These small stairs will allow you to get close to the water and sit down for a while to rest facing the sea.
At the end of Pier One is the Farola. This is what the people of Malaga affectionately call the lighthouse of the port. The current lighthouse dates from the beginning of the 19th century with later alterations. But since the beginning of the 18th century there has been a lantern on a wooden structure that served as a lighthouse.
La Farola is the end of Muelle Uno and the beginning of La Malagueta. If you still have time and desire you can continue along the Paseo Marítimo de la Malagueta.
To visit Malaga in two days is difficult, it deserves some more time, especially if we also want to enjoy its beaches. But this is a good plan to make the most of a two-day stay in Malaga.
MALAGA IN TWO DAYS IN A RESPONSIBLE WAY
We have already mentioned that Malaga’s Old Town is a gentrified space. That is to say, the original population has been displaced. From Andalucía 360 we always call for the responsibility of travellers in order to improve coexistence. After all, we are all tourists and neighbours at some point in our lives.
A few quick tips: A few quick tips:
- Avoid loud voices and noises, especially in narrow streets.
- Do not stay in illegal rental flats.
- Make use of litter bins and public toilets.
- Try not to block the streets in large groups.
- Walk around the centre of Malaga, there are practically no hills and everything is pedestrianised.
- Make use of the public fountains, although in this case it is difficult because there are not many. We leave you the map of public fountains in Malaga.
If you want to know more about the neighbours of the centre of Malaga you have to know the A.V. Centro Antiguo de Malaga.
Looking for accommodation in Malaga?
Compare and find your perfect accommodation at trivago.co.uk.
MAP OF THE VISIT TO MALAGA IN TWO DAYS
And here is the map so you can easily find all the places in Malaga that we talked about in the post.
We can’t close this “Malaga in two days” post without thanking our friends Felipe López (Malaga tour guide) and Pedro Gallego (a guy who likes to ride a bike). Two locals who have helped us with the documentation and have shown us some of the places we talked about in the article.