In this great city of Andalusia it is very difficult to establish a top 10, because Malaga has a spectacular tourist and cultural offer. If you want to know what to see in Malaga capital city and don’t want to miss the highlights, keep reading this post.
We usually think of the sea when we hear the name of this city, and no wonder, as it stretches along the Mediterranean coast. But Malaga is a city of Sea and Mountains. The capital is overlooking the sea, but surrounded by mountains. So if you are planning to go out of the city, keep this in mind.
To know 10 charming places and activities in Malaga follow the link.
What you will find here
It is neither the most visited nor the most accessible place, but it is the best rated. This is due to the spectacular views and, probably, to that strange feeling of being small in the face of the immensity of the landscape.
The most highly rated are the viewpoints you’ll find along the access road, but we include here a visit to Gibralfaro Castle, a 14th-century Nasrid fortification. The archaeological remains tell us of Phoenician and Roman activity, as is usual in these strategic locations. Inside the castle you can visit a modern interpretation centre about the history of this monument.
All the information for your visit here.
Alcazaba of Malaga
Connected to Gibralfaro Castle, the Alcazaba of Malaga stands on a hill overlooking the city and the coastline. Its construction began in the 11th century during the Taifa period, when al-Andalus was not unified but divided into small independent kingdoms. The best-preserved palace area corresponds to the Nasrid remodelling, the last Muslim kingdom on the Iberian Peninsula.
These courtyards are a haven of peace, where water flows and vegetation participates in the geometry prevailing in all the elements. Although the courtyards have been extensively restored, they maintain the essence of what they once were. Unbeatable views and pleasant walks between walls and gates complete the monumental complex, but if you are not a fan of climbing hills you can always use the lift!
Muelle 1 (Pier 1)
The Muelle 1 is one of the great infrastructures with which Malaga has been endowed in the last years. Since 2011 the port of Malaga is a space open to the public. The pier is a place to stroll along the sea, go shopping, enjoy Malaga’s gastronomy or cast off on one of the available boats.
At Muelle 1 you can enjoy wonderful views, walk to la Farola (Malaga’s lighthouse) and cross to the famous Malagueta beach to have some sardine spits on the sand of the beach.
The cultural offer of the port is also extensive. On the quay itself is the Picasso Foundation, the Alborania Museum (Aula de Mar) and the recent Pompidou of Malaga. Don’t miss the stone stairs that go down to the sea. This is one of those places where you can just sit and let time pass.
Marqués de Larios Street
Known as Calle Larios, this is a pedestrian street with the best fashion shops in Malaga. Unless you go there first thing in the morning, it’s usually quite a bustling street. It was built at the end of the 19th century and its main investors were the Larios family, bourgeois merchants who obtained their noble title from Isabel II. The design of this street is related to the opening of grand boulevards in all Spanish and European capitals. These streets were intended to improve urban planning, but they were also a space for the wealthy class, enriched by the industrial revolution, to stroll and build their mansions.
For a time this street was known as the “dance hall“. This nickname was given with irony, as the pavements were originally made of wood. The sound produced and the Malaga sense of humour did the rest. These pavements did not last long, as the floods that inundated the city put an end to them.
It is known by the people of Malaga as the “Manquita”. This nickname is due to its unfinished appearance, as one of the bell towers is missing. As is customary in this land, the Cathedral is located on top of the city’s old aljama mosque. This symbolised the domination of one religion over another. Although it also solved the urban planning problem of where to place the cathedral. Its construction lasted more than two centuries, so the style evolved. From Gothic to Renaissance, and from Renaissance to Baroque. This is also a constant in Andalusian cathedrals.
In its long history it has witnessed many important events in the city of Malaga. We would like to highlight that during the civil war it gave shelter to the refugees of the conflict.
We show you the Cathedral of Malaga in a monumental guided tour.
Plaza del Obispo
Of small size and monumental aspect. Next to the main façade of the Cathedral is this square which attracts the attention of almost everyone. Its name derives from the Palacio del Obispo (Bishop’s Palace), a beautiful example of Malaga baroque civil architecture.
It is a busy square, but at weekends it is even busier. Despite this, it is a good place to sit down and rest from walking around the centre. On entering, the impression is powerful. Usually cathedrals have a large square in front of them. This is not the case here, and the great stone mass makes you feel small at its feet.
The figure of Pablo Ruiz Picasso is known worldwide. He was a multifaceted artist who, although born in Malaga, lived most of his life between Catalonia and France. It was precisely there that he came into contact with the artistic avant-garde. Picasso shaped Cubism, of which he was the leading representative. The Museo Picasso de Málaga was founded in 2003 with an important collection of works, 233 in total. It is housed in the Renaissance and Mudejar palace of Buenavista. It was renovated and enlarged in a minimalist style. In the basement of the building you can visit Phoenician remains of ancient Malaka dating from the 7th century BC.
The museum is open almost all year round and is not closed on Mondays. Admission is approximately €7 and includes an audio guide in 10 languages.
The theatre is one of the indications of how prosperous the city was in Roman times. In it, as today, Greek and Latin plays were performed. It was not discovered until the 1950s, as it was hidden under other buildings. It was in use from the 1st to the 3rd century, when it was abandoned. Subsequently, and as is customary, its materials were reused to build the Alcazaba.
The access is free and there is a modern interpretation centre to help you get to know the site better before you visit. To get a general view of the ruins, we recommend going up to a small viewpoint which can be accessed from the back of the interpretation centre.
The CAC Málaga or Contemporary Art Centre houses almost four hundred works by national and international contemporary artists. But from the outside, this centre is much more than that. They run a project to bring art to the streets of SOHO, Malaga’s Arts Quarter. This project called MAUS (Málaga Arte Urbano SOHO) promotes urban artistic manifestations. A large outdoor art gallery is being forged. As they state in their own web they pursue a new urban vision, discovering new spaces, breaking with the everyday life of the city and involving the neighbours. For lovers of contemporary art, a stroll through the CAC Malaga and SOHO is a must.
It is striking that it is valued more highly than the famous Pompidou, but it is. The centre belongs to Malaga City Council and admission is free.
This construction clearly exemplifies the reuse of infrastructures over time. It was originally built in the 14th century as a shipyard for the Nasrid fleet. After the conquest it was used as a warehouse, arsenal, military hospital and barracks. At the end of the 19th century, the site was transformed into the city’s food market, with only the monumental façade remaining. In 2010 the market was restored, preserving its essence. Every morning it opens its doors and the locals continue to buy fresh produce from the sea and the land. But in addition to shopping, it is now also a place for tapas surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the market. There has been a proliferation of small establishments where fish is king. Especially octopus or prawn skewers and “pescaito frito” (fried fish).
Thinking about a guided tour through the centre of Malaga?
The Heart of Malaga will enchant you. You will walk through the historic centre of Malaga
and get to know its monuments and culture in depth.
MAP OF WHAT TO SEE IN MÁLAGA
On the map we show you the location of the places to see in Malaga described in this post.