Most people who want to visit Malaga think of the Costa del Sol, the beaches and all the glamour that is hidden within this beautiful place. However, there is much more to see in Malaga. Once you visit the centre, you realize the amazing history of the city and you can discover things to see and do in Malaga and the surrounding areas.
Things to see in Malaga
This palace-fortress has an Arabic influence and its name means citadel, it is considered one of the town’s most meaningful and historic places. Tourists like to visit this space because it combines history and beauty in one place.
Since the Muslim era, its location has been the foot of Mount Gibralfaro, home to the Arab defensive castle. This place was joined to a corridor protected by a wall called La Coracha; next to the Roman Theatre and in front of the Customs building. In just a few meters you have the opportunity to see the union of Roman, Arab and Renaissance cultures, and this combination of cultures is what makes this place so special for visitors.
The Alcazaba was built between 1057 and 1063, according to Muslim historians, and was built at the request of Badis the Berber King of the Taifa of Granada. During its construction, materials from other buildings were reused, like the ones from the Roman theatre.
If you also want to visit the Gibralfaro Castle, you should know that this castle was built to defend the Alcazaba from possible enemy attacks. If you go to the “Torre del Homenaje” (Tower of Homage), you will have incredible views of Malaga and from that same spot you are likely to enjoy one of the best sunsets Malaga has to offer.
This castle was built in the 14th Century to protect the Alcazaba and to shelter the troops. Nowadays, it is one of the most visited places in Malaga where you can walk inside and enjoy the stunning views of this beautiful city, or visit its Interpretation Centre to learn about its history.
It was named after a lighthouse that was located at its peak and was called Jabal-Faruk, the Lighthouse Mountain, and was used by Phoenicians and Romans. In 1340, Yusuf, the Nasrid ruler, turned this settlement into a fortress.
Pablo Picasso Museum
If you ever go to Malaga, you have to visit the Picasso Museum. This place has become a must-see for all those who decide to visit this beautiful city; besides, it is one of the most visited museums in Andalusia. The museum was opened in 2003 and it features a display of almost eight decades of Pablo Picasso’s work. The painter wanted to gift a part of his talent to his hometown and what better way to do it than to have a museum just to show his work? This incredible collection contains more than two hundred paintings, which are regularly renewed, allowing us to obtain a deeper knowledge of the artist’s career through a thematic and chronological tour.
The museum is located in the Buenavista Palace, in the heart of the city centre, and it was awarded the Institute Honour Awards for Architecture by the American Institute of Architects. The judging panel expressed these words “the beautifully simple architectural restoration work that has embroidered a museum into the fabric of this Mediterranean city. The new sections have been simply and elegantly inserted into the setting and surroundings of a 16th century palace, exterior courtyards and city streets.”
Malaga’s cathedral (cathedral de la Encarnación) is one of its most important monuments. The south tower and main facade are not completely finished, you can find the cathedral right in the historic centre of the city, specifically on the site of an Aljama mosque. Building began on the cathedral during the first half of the 16th century and it was built in a gothic style commissioned by the Catholic Monarchs and continued in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Inside the cathedral, you can find two gardens and a magnificent courtyard. The interior of the cathedral features Renaissance and Baroque influences. The choir stalls (17th century) in the central nave and, above all, the sculptural work of Pedro de Mena stand out. The chapels are also of great interest, such as the chapel of the Encarnación, which gives its name to the cathedral.
These are just some of the places to see, but you must be asking yourself what to do in Malaga or what to taste and experience in this outstanding city, which leads us to travel around places full of history. Ultimately, visiting all these places is unforgettable and, that said, we will talk about some activities you can enjoy in Malaga.
Things to do in Malaga
Visit the taverns and taste the vines
A glass of wine and a snack before dinner at the “El Pimpi” tavern would be an excellent place to enjoy something to eat and drink. Their sweet wine is highly recommended because it is a virgin wine which is typical of Malaga. A glass costs around €2.60 and you can accompany it with a mini-sandwich of pork loin, fresh tomato, bacon, cheese and aioli. This is one of the most touristy Malaga taverns located under the Alcazaba and next to the Roman theatre.
Go to La Concepción Botanical Garden with your children
If you like peaceful places and feel like being surrounded by greenery, La Concepción Botanical Garden is an oasis of peace. Opened in 1855 and later expanded, you will find many tropical species. The entrance fee is €5.20.
La Concepción Botanical Garden is one of the most beautiful and important tropical gardens in Spain and one of the most highly valued in Europe. Amalia Heredia Livermore and Jorge Loring Oyarzábal, Marquises of Casa Loring, created it in 1850. It was declared a historic-artistic garden in 1943, the Malaga City Council acquired it in 1990, refurbished it and opened it to the public in 1994.
It stretches across a total of 23 hectares and features a garden in the centre that has been declared a historical-artistic garden with waterfalls and fountains, together with a great selection of exotic plants from all over the world. The landscape is beautiful with neoclassical features.
Enjoy beautiful beaches
Both visitors to Malaga and residents enjoy swimming or sunbathing on the beautiful beaches, of which there are many, of course! The closest beach to the city centre is La Malagueta. If you have several days and feel like a change, you can head to the beaches of La Caleta, Pedregalejo or Huelin.
The province of Malaga offers tourists the possibility of enjoying extraordinary places, one of the most effective ways to relax is to spend a day at one of its fabulous beaches, you will find everything you are looking for: sand, clear waters and warm temperatures. Therefore, you are bound to go swimming in one of these beautiful beaches, because the weather is perfect 365 days a year.
Take a walk for the Atarazanas Central Market
Stroll through the stalls of the Atarazanas Central Market because it is a classic in Malaga. It was designed by Joaquín de Rucoba, who built the market on the remains of an old naval workshop of the Nasrid dynasty. If you visit, make sure you get to see the stained-glass window which is a real wonder.
The Atarazanas market is located in what was once a 14th century Nasrid shipyard, after the Christian conquest it was used as a warehouse, arsenal, military hospital and barracks. Later, in 1868, the Revolutionary Government requested its demolition to give work “to the poor classes”, although it was not carried out until 1870 in the same year as the project for a new market by the municipal architect Joaquín Rucoba, later called Alfonso XII.
Arriving by car is the best way to visit all these places. If you are perhaps planning on coming to Malaga in the future, you can rent a car at Malaga Airport with CarGest. There you can find a vehicle to travel from place to place without wasting too much time and, that way, you can visit more in less time and make the most of your visit.
Malaga is a beautiful city full of fun activities for you to enjoy, besides being a historic mix for those who want to discover the origin of each structure and how Malaga came to be the city that we see today.