Malaga is a sunny pearl in Andalucia in Spain, and 6th largest city of the country. It is home to around 600.000 people and the birthplace of Pablo Picasso and Antonio Banderas. Malaga is located on the Costa del Sol, a stretch of coast on the Spanish Mediterranean. Thanks to the mountains ranges nearby, the coast of Malaga is nicely protected from the wind, making it feel quite warmer. So be ready to expect sunny days and lovely weather during your city trip to Malaga. With this Malaga Travel Guide you get the best Malaga Travel Tips and the most out of your visit.
Travel Guide to Malaga and the city
There are many cheap flights within Europe to Malaga. For example, from my hometown Amsterdam, It’s only a 3 hour flight to this sunny city and tickets start at 20 to 40 Euro for one way. Malaga Airport is close to the city center. By train it’s only a 12 minute ride and that’s really fast. However there’s also an airport bus to the city or you can always take a taxi.
Old Town – Centro Histórico
The old town of Malaga is called Centro Histórico. It’s easy to lose your orientation within this charming labyrinth of narrow streets, but that is exactly what makes the Old Town of Malaga so attractive. One of the most beautiful streets is the palm-fringed Calle Puerta del Mar. Not far from there, you can reach the most famous shopping street in Malaga, Calle Marqués de Larios, which leads you past the Plaza de la Constitución. Surrounded by beautiful colorful buildings and this fountain, it is one of the most beautiful squares in the city. The Old Town is home to some of the most significant sights in city, including the impressive Cathedral of Malaga and the Mercado Central.
Cathedral in Malaga
This is one of the most beautiful buildings in the old center. It was built between 1528 and 1782. Nicknamed “La Manquita” which means “one-armed lady”. The name comes from the fact that to this day the south tower has never been completed, due to the lack of funds. However it’s still an incredible building and a must-see travel tip in Malaga. You can climb around 200 steps to the top of the tower, and then you will be awarded with a magnificent view of Malaga. Also one ticket will set you back around 10 Euros.
You can work on your health to do a great exercise to climb to the top of the Alcazaba mountain. I think it is the most famous tourist attraction in the city. A long time ago, between 1057 and 1063, people built a fort on this hill to protect the city. The complex is very well preserved and maintained. During your visit you will discover courtyards, fountains and beautiful gardens and you have a beautiful view over the sea and the harbor. A ticket will set you back around 3,50 euro. To save money you can visit Alcazaba every Sunday after 2pm, because then there is no entry fee.
From Alcazaba you can easily visit another nice place and that is the Gibralfaro Castle. Keep in mind that there is no direct connection between both attractions. You have to walk back and go up the hill for a second time. Please note that it is a bit steep! The castle on the hill was built in the 14th century to protect the Alcazaba, with a barracks for the soldiers and a lighthouse. Hence the name: Gibralfaro means “mountain of light”. On clear days it is even possible to see the Strait of Gibraltar. It’s the most picturesque view of Malaga and it is also very beautiful at night when the whole city is lit up. The entry fee is around 3,50 Euros and you get a discount when you buy a combined ticket for Alcazaba and the Castillo Gibralfaro for around 5,50 Euros.
Also worth seeing is the Teatro Romano, the historic Roman amphitheater at the foot of the Alcazaba. It is the oldest site in Malaga. It was built in the first century after christ (AD) and was used as a theater in the second century. After that period it was converted into a cemetery and eventually abandoned. The Roman theater ruins were not discovered until 1951, when the building above was destroyed. Today, there are many outdoor performances. The entrance is free.
Malaga City Beach – Playa de la Malagueta
There are several beaches near Malaga. The closest to the centre of Malaga is “Playa de la Malagueta”. It’s Located right at the gates of the Old Town. When you go by foot it is a 10 to 20 minutes walk depending where you come from.
Malaga Harbour Promenade – Muelle Uno
I have to say the city is not that big and everything seems to be close! Also the harbour/port, which is only about a 10-minute walk from the Old Town. This is called the port promenade of Malaga. If there was one word to describe this place, it would be: futuristic! The port of Malaga was previously shut off to the public, but a few years ago the port area was completely redesigned and reopened under the name Muelle Uno.
Muelle Uno is actually divided into two areas: The first area of the promenade is called: Muelle 1 and leads out towards the lighthouse. You walk past some cafes, restaurants and boutiques here. After about 10 minutes you will reach the lighthouse. From this promenade you have a really nice view back towards the centre of Malaga.
The second area, on your way back towards the city centre, is called: Muelle 2. This promenade runs under the white roof structure. The curved architecture is quite the eye-catcher and makes for an iconic photo spot. The Centre Pompidou Malaga is located at the point where Muelle 1 and Muelle 2 meet. It is actually the small counterpart to the Paris Centre Pompidou.
Mercado Central – Atarazanas Market
The most famous market in the middle of the old town is Mercado Central. This is the most important and largest food market in Malaga. It takes place in a historic market hall from the 19th century. Every day, except Sundays, you can immerse yourself in the hustle and bustle of the market. They sell mainly fresh food such as fruit, vegetables, cheese, spices, fish and meat. Keep in mind that the fish stalls are closed on Mondays because there is no fishing on Sundays.
When you like the heat and sun the best time to visit Malaga is between June and September. The hottest time of the year is July and August, which has an average temperature of 31°C or HIGHER and 11 hours of sunshine per day. The highest temperature ever recorded in Malaga was 43.3°C. For me it’s too hot and I prefer April,May or October.
Rent a bike – Go to Pedregalejo
It’s common to rent a bike and visit nearby villages. On a warm day it’s a perfect exercise and lovely to see a little bit more than only the city center. There are several places downtown Malaga where you can rent a bike for an affordable price. Pedregalejo is a great spot to head to if you are looking to get away from the crowds. This is a fishing village only 5 km from downtown Malaga and a great spot to head to if you are looking to get away from the crowds. Another small place to visit is El Palo.
Street Art – Soho District
You will find the best street art in the Soho district. Once a run-down neighborhood, it has been completely rebuilt and renovated by street performers. In this part of Malaga there are innumerable, sometimes really remarkable paintings and graffiti. Most of the works of art are located near the Malaga Contemporary Art Centre.