Malaga is renowned as the entry point to the Costa del Sol’s beaches and resort communities, but the port city is home to more than just skyscrapers and beachside restaurants. Many tourists are shocked to learn that Malaga, with its charming historic core and vibrant art scene—after all, it is the birthplace of Pablo Picasso—is more in line with Andalucia’s cultural hotspots like Cordoba and Seville than the flashy seaside sprawls of Fuengirola and Benidorm.
Málaga is considered as one of the oldest Mediterranean ports and was established more than two thousand years ago. The city’s rich legacy is reflected in the landmarks. Roman theater ruins, a 13th-century Alcazaba, a magnificent Baroque church, and a medieval Moorish fortress constructed on the foundations of a Phoenician lighthouse are just a few examples of the layers of history that can be seen everywhere you look.
Top 10 attractions in Malaga, Spain
Here, we listed the popular ten spots of Malaga worth visiting and spending your time on.
- Alcazaba de Málaga
- Gibralfaro castle
- Catedral de Málaga
- Museums of Malaga
- Jardín Botánico
- Museo Automovilístico Málaga
- Castillo de Gibralfaro
- Beaches of Malaga
- Muelle Uno
- Montes de Malaga Natural Park
Alcazaba de Málaga
This medieval Moorish fortress, which served as a stronghold for the Kingdom of Granada, was constructed in the 11th century on the site of a former Roman bulwark and later rebuilt. This castle served as the capital of the town’s Muslim rulers for many hundred years.
The fortified palace was built with three circuits of defense walls and once had 110 major towers in addition to several lesser turrets. It was strategically located atop the Mountain de Gibralfaro. Tourists may view some surviving buildings, including the spectacular Torre del Homenaje, the Tower de la Vela, and the Arco de Cristo entryway (Tower).
From the Alcazaba, a path that offers breathtaking city views leads to the castle. You may take bus #35 from the Avenida de Cervantes to reach there, albeit it is a little steep. The stronghold was built in the fourteenth century to protect the Alcazaba. It had a lighthouse and barracks where troops could stay. Gibralfaro, the name of the citadel, which translates as “mountain of light,” is derived from this.
The castle’s history can be seen in a structure immediately at the entrance, but the view over Malaga and the sea from the ramparts makes the trip worthwhile. Even the Strait of Gibraltar may be seen on clear days. It offers the most picturesque perspective of Malaga, and the city lights at night make it much more appealing.
Catedral de Málaga
The Catedral of Málaga (Santa Iglesia Catedral Baslica de la Encarnación de Málaga) dominates the Old Town, which may be reached through Calle Molina Lario from the Plaza de la Marina. The city’s Grand Mosque was replaced by the Cathedral of Málaga, which dates to the 15th century and is regarded as a masterpiece of the Spanish Renaissance. Baroque components introduced to architecture in the 17th and 18th centuries are also present.
The beautifully proportioned interior and sense of space astound visitors. Alonso Cano’s painting of the Virgin with Saints is displayed in the cathedral’s Capilla del Rosario, which is the third chapel in the south aisle.
Museums of Malaga
Malaga is home to several museums. The city has proudly emerged as Andalucia’s cultural epicenter, with close to 30 institutions. This is a selection of museums you should check out while in Malaga (depending on your tastes and interests).
- Picasso Birthplace Museum
- Museum of Glass and Crystal
- Picasso Museum
- Malaga Centre for Contemporary Art
- Carmen Thyssen Museum
- Museum of Arts and Popular Traditions
- Pompidou Centre Malaga
- Flamenco Art Museum
The Marquis and Marchioness of Loring established La Concepción Historical-Botanical Garden in the middle of the 19th century. Vibrant Mediterranean, tropical, and subtropical plants cover these lovely grounds. The gardens contain a variety of plant species from throughout the globe.
The Jardn Histórico-Artstico (Historical-Artistic Garden), a three-hectare Romantic-style Garden with rare species, tropical plants, and exotic flowers, is in the middle of the area. There are also waterfalls, fountains, and neoclassical components in this remarkable landscape.
Museo Automovilístico Málaga
Although the two topics might seem like strange bedfellows, they make a brilliant pairing when seen through the lens of this little unconventional museum in Málaga’s former tobacco factory. The museum displays Haute fashion from the same era as automobiles from the 1900s through the 1960s. Picture a mannequin dressed in a Chanel jacket standing next to a 1936 Merc in a row.
In addition to the chronological portions, there are unique exhibits on subjects like hats, British vehicles, and art deco. You may enjoy all of them while listening to a selection of hip music in the background. Everything is artfully presented and given ironically and humorously.
Bus 16 may be taken from Málaga’s Paseo del Parque and stops at Avenida de Sor Teresa Prat for €1.35 and 10 minutes. Take the metro to Princesa-Huelin instead, then walk the final 400 meters.
Castillo de Gibralfaro
Another medieval fortification built by the Moors is the Castillo de Gibralfaro, which is perched eminently on the peak of Mount Gibralfaro above the Alcazaba. On the location of a Phoenician lighthouse, the fortress was constructed in the tenth century. The term “gebel-faro” is the source of the name (Arabic and Greek words that mean “rock of the lighthouse”).
While the Sultan of Granada expanded the Castillo de Gibralfaro, Yusef the First, in the early 14th century, it is most well-known for the three-month siege by the Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile. King Ferdinand made the Castle de Gibralfaro the emblem on the province’s flag and the flag of Málaga following the Christian Reconquista.
Beaches of Malaga
It would be necessary to take advantage of the nearby beaches while visiting Malaga. Perfect for a little bit of relaxation. The top beaches around Malaga are listed below.
- Pedregalejo beach
- El Palo beach
- El Campo de Golf beach
- Penon del Cuervo beach
- San Andrés beach
- La Misericordia beach
- Malagueta beach
The city’s long-struggling port sector got a drastic renovation in 2013 to accommodate the rise in cruise ship visitors. Large quayside walkways now adorn Muelle 1 and Muelle 2, which stores, restaurants, cafes flank, and a tiny aquarium geared toward children, the Museo Aula del Mar, and are surrounded by palm trees.
Montes de Malaga Natural Park
See the Montes Natural Park while you are in Malaga. It’s the ideal location for fresh air close to the city. It’s roughly 25 kilometers north of the city center and is known as “Malaga’s green lung.” The park is 5000 hectares in size and has designated hiking trails. Most hiking trails are short and suitable for all skill levels, so you may combine a few in one day.
Mountain bikes may be rented and used to travel the two mountain bike routes. You have a choice of a 7 km or a 14 km route. The park contains spaces for picnics and even a few eateries that provide “plato de los Montes.” This regional specialty from the mountains consists of pig loin, blood sausage, sausages, and eggs with a side of potatoes and fried bell peppers.