Gibralfaro Castle is one of the most representative monuments of the Costa del Sol. It holds almost 30 centuries of history and several civilisations used it as a defensive fortress and views that you simply cannot miss if you come to Malaga. Below, we tell you everything you need to know for your visit.
Gibralfaro Castle History
The history of Gibralfaro Castle starts in the era of the Phoenicians, a civilisation of traders to which the original structure of Gibralfaro Castle dates back, and which put this trading area on the map of Mediterranean trade. It was also the reason a lighthouse was built with a series of structures surrounding it. This was the origin of Gibralfaro Castle.
Subsequently, with the occupation of the Arabs and due to the geographical and commercial importance of Malaga, Abd-ar-Rahman III decided to use the lighthouse to build a fortress that would defend the city from potential attacks, especially by sea, from looting pirates. When the castle was built, the sea almost reached the foot of the hill it is built on, which shares its name with the fortress, together with what was once the La Coracha neighbourhood.
Later, in the 14th century, an extension was built by the Sultan Yusuf I of Granada, situating a citadel, the current ‘Alcazaba of Málaga’, on the lower hill; this same Sultan contributed enormously to the building of part of Granada’s Alhambra, a symbol of excellence from the Muslim Al-Andalus era.
In this remodelling, they also built a double zigzag wall which connected both structures, and was in the Arabs’ hands until the victory of the Catholic Monarchs, after one of the longest and toughest sieges of the entire Reconquest. Despite the victory, it was always considered one of the most insurmountable fortresses of the peninsular.
Thanks to the strength of the defence, King Ferdinand punished all of the inhabitants with slavery of the death penalty; despite which, a small group led by El Zegrí resisted for several more days in Gibralfaro Castle.
Gibralfaro Castle Visit
If you decide to visit the inside of Gibralfaro Castle, you can book a guided tour or do it yourself. If you choose a guided tour, it will take you through all of the key points in order. If, on the other hand, you prefer to go it alone, we tell you some of the parts you must see.
Once inside, you will be able to walk around the interior and exterior walls of the castle, access the exhibition of weapons and uniforms from the 16th century and look out at the fantastic views it offers. Below, we note the best places to enjoy outstanding views of the city of Malaga.
The main point to visit is the Torre del Homenaje, which houses the 16th century exhibition. In addition, concerts of all types of music are organised in the parade ground on summer evenings, a show worth enjoying.
Being situated on the top of a hill, the views will be breath-taking. If you decide to climb up to Gibralfaro Castle, you will enjoy an excellent view of the whole city and sea from the viewing points, and from the Torre del Homenaje at night you can also see the coasts of Africa lit up.
However, it isn’t the only spot that offers outstanding views. If you access the castle from the northern side, it is a longer path to climb up, but you will cross the hill via a path that will offer you some incredible views of the northern part of the city, while walking among trees and it is usual to come across some locals from the neighbouring areas.
Tourist information: Prices, Opening times and How to get there
Below, we tell you the tourist information you need to be able to visit Gibralfaro Castle.
Gibralfaro Castle visit prices
The ticket includes the joint visit of the Gibralfaro Castle and the Alcazaba, and the updated prices for 2022 are as follows:
- Normal entry
- Gibralfaro Castle: € 3.50
- Gibralfaro Castle + Alcazaba: € 5.50
- Reduced entry (students)
- Gibralfaro Castle: € 1.50
- Gibralfaro Castle + Alcazaba: € 2.50
- Group entry (+10 people)
- Gibralfaro Castle: € 2.50
- Gibralfaro Castle + Alcazaba: € 4.00
- School entry
- Gibralfaro Castle: € 2.00
- Gibralfaro Castle + Alcazaba: € 3.50
Gibralfaro Castle Opening Times
Gibralfaro Castle opens its doors every day except for December 25th and January 1st, depending on the season, the opening times are as follows:
- Winter opening (November 1st until March 31st): 09.00 – 18.00
- Summer opening (April 1st until October 31st): 09.00 – 20.00
Last entry will be 45 minutes before closing.
The duration of the visit to Gibralfaro Castle may take between one and three hours, depending on the pace, and may even exceed five hours if you do the joint visit with Malaga’s Alcazaba.
Location and how to get to Gibralfaro Castle
It is situated in Malaga’s historic quarter at Camino de Gibralfaro, 11, 29016, Malaga.
Access to the castle is a little complicated. If you choose the ticket for the joint visit (Castle and Alcazaba), you can reach it from inside the walls, walking along them. Otherwise, you should access it from the outside. In this case, we recommend approaching from the south side, along the hill that was home to the former neighbourhood of La Coracha. It is a steeper climb, but with views of the sea, Muelle Uno and the Paseo del Parque.
Another point to climb from which is less common for tourists is the north climb, although locals sometimes use it for doing sport or walking. The path is a little more hidden and is accessed via Plaza de la Merced, next to the tunnel of the Alcazaba and the car park of the same name. So, if you have decided to hire a car at Malaga airport, this is a great option for getting there. If not, you can always try parking at the top of the hill, near to the castle entrance, although there is not a great amount of parking available.
If you want to arrive by bus, you should go to the ‘Alameda Principal’ (main boulevard), most buses go through here, and take line 35 which will take you to the top of the hill and almost to the door of the Castle.