Malaga | What to see
Malaga is the ideal destination for a city trip. It has so much to offer, from numerous museums and shops to a beach with sunny weather. Don’t forget the rich history of this city, which you can experience at one of the castles or several buildings in the historic center. The city is not very big, so if you don’t want to go to the beach, you can see the most important things in 2 days. However, it is also perfectly possible to stay here for a week, with many options for day trips in the region. This post lists the top things to do in Malaga city aside from the beach. Enjoy!
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This Moorish castle is one of the two castles that are located on the hill of Malaga. You get a beautiful view of the port. The castle was part of the walls around the city. Gibralfaro, which lies higher (on the top of the hill), was used to defend Malaga. You will see that the castle has Arabic and Roman influences, which makes it look like you’re in another country. To get to the castle, there are 2 options. If you go by foot, you just start following the path upwards that starts at the ticket office. You can also use an elevator, which is at the other side of the hill. There is a small outdoor cafe, where you can drink something, but don’t expect much from it. It is more to get a bottle of water or something like that. However, it is the perfect place to take a rest before climbing up to Gibralfaro, which lies more upward. You have a beautiful view from here. Entrance for Alcazaba only is €3,50 and for Alcazaba and Gibralfaro together is €5,50.
The Gibralfaro castle is very different, as it is more robust. It doesn’t have cozy little patios and plants, but high, thick walls instead. However, the asset of this building are the amazing sunrises and sunsets that you can witness here. There are 2 viewpoints on different heights. The viewpoints overlook different parts of the city. Besides the viewpoints, you can also walk on top of the castle walls, where you also have a spectacular view. Inside the castle, there is a little exhibition of objects and clothes from the inhabitants, as well as a scale model of the entire hill (so including Alcazaba). You get get to the Gibralfaro on foot, but you can also park your car at the car park of the castle. You can find a map provided by the city Malaga itself on how to get to the car park here.
The Cathedral of Malaga is impossible to miss. You can see the tower of the Cathedral from almost everywhere in the city. Because it took more than 200 years to build, you can see influences of different styles in the architecture of the building, like Gothic, Baroque or Renaissance. The cathedral has the nickname of “Manquita” which means “lady with one arm” because it misses one tower. The tower was never built because of a lack of money. The entrance fee for the Cathedral is €5 per person.
Palacio Episcopal is on the same square as the Cathedral. You can easily recognize this building by its iconic red-and-yellow facade. However, not only the outside is beautiful. Inside, there is a beautiful garden, you can see the amazing interior (including magnificent ceilings), and sometimes there are temporary exhibitions. The building itself is really big, but the most part is occupied by the administrations’ department of Malaga city, so only a small part can be visited. Be sure to stop here and go inside, you wouldn’t want to miss it!
Mercado Central Atarazanas
The local food market, Atarazanas, is located in the building where the ships used to be repaired. That explains the name, Atarazanas, which is Moorish for “shipyard”. The market is located right in the historic center, so stopping by to take a look is no effort at all. At the market, they primarily sell fresh food. There are 3 halls: one for meat, one for fish and one for fruit and vegetables. Very often, the vendors offer you some almonds and fruit to try. At the South side of the market, there are some little bars between the stalls where you can enjoy some tapas.
Calle Larios is the main shopping street in Malaga. You can find shops like Zara, Oysho, etc. there. It connects the port of Malaga with the historic center of the city. The street is beautifully decorated with lights, as you can see in the picture. It is very beautiful at night!
This is a new shopping area at the port. The area has around 60 shops, going from bigger brands to cute boutique shops. Most of them are open until late. Aside from shops, you can also find several cozy restaurants with a view on the port. To connect Calle Larios to this shopping area, there is a beautifully renovated promenade along the water. There are several benches where you can just sit, while you admire the modern construction above the promenade.
Centre Pompidou Malaga
This is the first foreign museum of the famous Centre Pompidou in Paris. Located at the port, it is perfect to combine with a walk to Muelle Uno. Just walk along the promenade and you will see the colorful cube of the museum. It is an interesting building, as it was first meant to be an underground car park, but eventually has become a very modern museum. There are 6 spaces for the permanent collection, and other spaces are for temporary exhibitions. They have artists like Picasso, Francis Bacon, Renee Magritte and Joan Miro here.
Museo Picasso is one of the most known and visited museums in the city. Picasso is born in Malaga, and his old childhood home is located not far from the museum. Most of the works in the museum are from the collection of the Picasso family and contain a lot of works from in his early years, before he developed his truly iconic style. Its most iconic works are in Barcelona, Madrid, and Paris, but here in Malaga are some works that have never been displayed somewhere else in the world. The building of the museum is also noteworthy. It is located in a small palace, Palacio Buenavista, that is renovated with a modern touch.
Carmen Thyssen Museum
This museum exhibits ancient art, but the interior of the building is very modern. It is located in a renovated Moorish palace, and it has a museum shop.
If you like modern art, this one is for you. CAC stands for “Centro de Arte Contemporaneo. Their philosophy is that both famous artists and regional artists should be exhibited in this museum, side by side. Entrance is always free. It is located next to Guadalmedina, a former river from which now the sidewalls have been painted with graffiti. There is a great sushi restaurant at the museum.
Museo Jorge Rando
This museum exhibits the work of artist Jorge Rando, an artist that is also born in Malaga. It is located a little outside the city center, but still at a walking distance.