Málaga attractions - our guide to the capital of Costa del Sol
A space of art and culture shrouded in the magic of Picasso's work that is second to none. Sun-drenched beaches and monuments hidden deep within the city. The labyrinth of streets in the Old Town and the bustling, lively seaside promenade. Hot flamenco and tasty food. Malaga, capital of the Costa del Sol, has something to offer for everyone.
What you will find in the article:
- Where is Málaga located?
- What to see in Málaga?
- 3 steps in the footsteps of Pablo Picasso
- Malaga - attractions for children in 3 scenes
- 3 Málaga sights you must visit
- 3 religious monuments in Málaga worth seeing
- Malaga - culinary attractions in 3 ways
- 3 ways to relax in Málaga
- 3 parks in Malaga that will delight you
- To be continued
Where is Málaga located?
Málaga is located in the south of Spain, on the Mediterranean Sea coast and at the foot of the Betica Mountains. It is the second largest city of Andalusia, right after Seville, and the capital of the province of Malaga. Nestled between the golden sands of the Costa del Sol, it is one of those cities that are said to have been many, but… no one has seen them. Due to the fact that Malaga is one of the two international airports in Andalusia (you can fly directly to Malaga from Warsaw, Katowice-Strachowice and Krakow-Balice), it is often treated only as a transfer point and starting city for others resorts on the Costa del Sol. Meanwhile, Malaga has attractions to offer to both: fans of intensive sightseeing and lovers of active recreation.
What to see in Málaga?
Although Malaga is somewhat overshadowed by the big Spanish cities of showpieces, Madrid or Barcelona, and the more popular resorts on the Costa del Sol, such as Marbella, no one who visits it will be able to complain of boredom. Just 2 days is enough to see most of the places for which it is famous: museums, monuments, beaches and nature parks.
If you want to see Málaga's tourist attractions, do a walking tour. However, if you want to see as many of the recommended places as possible in a short time, you can buy a hop-on hop-off bus ticket at any of the stops. You can also choose the "Malaga Experience Card" or "Malaga VIP Experience Card", which include: bus ticket and free admission to most museums in the city, boat tour and a ticket to a flamenco show.
3 steps in the footsteps of Pablo Picasso
Museo Casa Natal, or Picasso's house
In Plaza Merced, there is a small legendary house where Spain's most famous painter lived as a child. His rooms show what life could have been like in this artistic house - Picasso's father was also a painter. This museum has many interesting photos and exhibits related to Picasso's life on display.
Museo Picasso Malaga
If there is only one museum in Málaga to see, it should be the Picasso museum. Given that Málaga is the painter's birthplace, the museum houses around 230 works - whether of paintings as well as prints, sculptures or ceramics - that take you on a journey through Picasso's work, considering the main artistic themes and explaining what makes them stand out his works. The museum is located in the historic Renaissance building of the Palacio de Buenavista.
Visiting the museum takes about 90 minutes, visitors can use the audioguide option. It is open every day:
- July - August: 10.00 a.m. - 8.00 p.m.
- September - October: 10.00 a.m. - 7.00 p.m.
- November - February: 10.00 a.m. - 6.00 p.m.
- March - June: 10.00 a.m. - 7.00 p.m.
More information about tickets, current exhibitions and temporary exhibitions can be found on the museum's website:: https://www.museopicassomalaga.org/
In the center of Malaga, it is also worth finding a monument to the painter. You can sit with him on a bench and take a souvenir photo.
3 museums in Malaga that are worth visiting
At Picasso's birthplace, art and culture is a big deal. So big that there are over 30 museums in Malaga, thanks to which the city has already become the cultural capital of Andalusia. The most popular of them are:
Carmen Thyssen Museum
The museum has a rich collection of around 300 pieces of 19th-century Spanish and Andalusian paintings. The exhibitions are divided into four sections: old masters' painting, romantic landscape, naturalistic painting and fin-de-siècle. Its interiors host the very popular concerts from the Candlelight Malaga series.
Opened in 2016, the Museo de Malaga is a combination of archaeological exhibits and fine arts. It is divided into sections: archeology, Moorish and Spanish painting.
Admission to the museum is free. They can be visited in the following hours:
- Monday: closed
- Tuesday - Saturday: 9.00 a.m. - 8.00 p.m.
- Sunday: 9.00 a.m. - 3.00 p.m.
The Pompidou Center in Malaga
The first Pompidou Center, or the French center of contemporary art, outside of France is located in Malaga. In addition to works of art from famous artists such as Pablo Picasso, Frida Kahlo, Max Ernst, Rene Magritte and Francis Bacon, you can take part in live artistic performances or visit exhibitions for children.
The museum is located near the port of Malaga. More practical information about tickets and temporary exhibitions can be found on the gallery website:
Malaga - attractions for children in 3 scenes
If you plan to visit Malaga with children, the capital of Costa del Sol has prepared many attractions for them. We chose 3, which we think would appeal to both large and small tourists.
Aqua Velis water park
It is a great place to relax for the whole family. It has over 20 different slides, including two super fast ones. There are also slides for children, two large swimming pools - one with a wave generator - and a paddling pool for the youngest children.
More information on opening hours and tickets can be found at: https://www.aquavelis.es/
Interactive Museum of Music in Malaga
It offers an interactive, educational tour where both adults and children will try new experiences. The museum adapts to the preferences of visitors - at the entrance you can decide what you want to see and adapt your visit to your preferences and age. You can also play instruments, learn about the history of music, or visit the Living Lab, a laboratory dedicated to experimenting and developing new musical concepts.
The Mediterranean Sea is spectacular, especially for children. In addition to the madness on the beach, it is also worth seeing them from a different perspective. Children will love going on a sea trip by boat, ship or catamaran.
3 Málaga sights you must visit
Malaga is described as one of the oldest cities in Europe. In the 7th century BC, the Phoenicians established a trading post called Malaka on its territory. In the 3rd century BC the territory of Malaga came under the rule of the Romans, in the 6th century the Visigoths settled here, and in the 8th century Malaga was conquered by the Arabs who ruled it for eight centuries and left their permanent architectural mark.
There are so many attractions to do in Málaga for history lovers! If you only want to see the must-see points of any Málaga tour, start at the Alcazaba Moorish Palace, then head to Gibralfaro Castle and stop by the Roman Theater.
If you want to learn more about the history of these places, you can go on a guided tour
Alcazaba Moorish Palace
The Alcazaba is probably the most famous tourist attraction in Málaga. Built in the 11th century by the Moors, the palace was both the home of Muslim rulers and a fortress to defend the city against Catholics. As you explore, you will discover courtyards, patios, fountains, and stately gardens. As the palace is built on a hill, it offers a beautiful view of the sea and the harbor.
Another must-see is Gibralfaro Castle on the hillside of Málaga. From the Alcazaba you can walk up a steep, winding and seemingly endless path with great views of the city and a string of defensive walls. On clear days, you can even see the Strait of Gibraltar from here!
The castle of impressive size was built in the 14th century to protect the Alcazaba. It had rooms for soldiers, as well as a lighthouse, which gave it its name - Gibralfaro means "mountain of light". In addition to the defensive walls and the observation deck, you can now see the powder magazine there - a small museum presenting the history of arming the troops from the 14th to the 20th century.
The oldest monument in Málaga, dating back to the 1st century BC from the reign of Emperor Augustus, served as a theater until the 3rd century AD. When the Arabs took over the city, they treated it as a source of raw material for erecting their own fortifications, and the plundered building was forgotten for many years. The theater was discovered in the 1950s in the very center of Malaga. Currently, you can visit its well-exposed ruins, which are most impressive in the evening, when they are beautifully illuminated. Many outdoor performances take place there.
3 religious monuments in Málaga worth seeing
Cathedral of the Incarnation in Malaga
The construction of the Santa Iglesia Catedral Basílica de la Encarnación on the foundations of an old mosque began in 1528 and took 200 years. Although its construction took so long, the cathedral was never completed - the whole tower looks only from one side, the other tower looks as if it had been cut off. This distinctive structure earned the cathedral the nickname "La Manquita", which means one-armed lady.
The cathedral is one of the highest points in Andalusia. You can climb up to 200 steps to the top of the 87-meter tower, only in the company of a guide. Inside, the church in the Renaissance style is just as beautiful - the decorated ceiling, beautiful stained glass windows, chapels and huge organ are enchanting.
Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón is a neo-Gothic church built at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries in the very center of Malaga, with Islamic influences visible in its architecture. It is not a separate structure and has been incorporated into a number of other buildings adjacent to it. The cathedral in Toledo was the inspiration for its creation.
Church of the Holy Martyrs
Iglesia de los Santos Mártires is a small church that was built at the end of the 15th century after the adaptation of a Moorish building. It is distinguished by a characteristic tower and pointed arches as well as rococo decorations. It was rebuilt in the 18th century and can be admired in this form today.
Malaga - culinary attractions in 3 ways
What can you do in Málaga if you don't just want to explore? Of course, enjoy some delicious tapas! The food here is top notch, and the best way to get to know it is with a food tour of Málaga: visiting local bars and restaurants, exploring the famous town square or visiting museums.
A trip to a market doesn't sound like fun? Looks like you have never visited the Málaga market hall! Atarazanas market is not only a place to buy fresh fruit and vegetables, all kinds of fish, meat and delicious cheeses. It is also one of the best places to experience the local culture.
The market is located in a beautiful historic building that was once part of a shipyard. It combines 14th-century Moorish architecture with 19th-century industrial design. The huge arch at the front makes an amazing impression, and after entering - a huge stained glass window.
The market is closed on Sunday. On other days, it works from 8.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m. The best time to visit is in the morning, when vendors are just unpacking fresh produce. You can also admire the fairy-tale spectacle of the first rays of the sun falling into the hall through the nineteenth-century stained glass windows. Near the main entrance, you will also find tapas bars where you can try all the fresh and tasty products.
Málaga Wine Museum
Visiting the Museo del Vino in Málaga is a good way to learn about the history of wine production throughout the province of Málaga. The museum offers an overview of the history of wine, its production and the variety of existing wines, as well as displays including 19th and 20th century lithographs, ancient bottles, crates, bottle labels and posters. It also has an audiovisual room. The admission ticket also includes a wine tasting. The one that tastes the most can be bought in the on-site shop.
The museum is located in the 18th-century building of the Biedmas Palace. It can be visited in the following hours:
- Monday - Friday: 10.00 a.m. - 5.00 p.m.
- Saturday: 10.00 a.m. - 2.00 p.m.
More information about tickets and exhibitions can be found on the museum's website: : https://museovinomalaga.com/
Antigua Casa de Guardia
While strolling through Málaga, at the Alameda Principal, you have to go to the oldest bar in the city. The former port tavern was opened in 1840 and today it treats its guests with specialties. What attracts people to it is the amazing atmosphere of wine love - you will have the opportunity to taste it straight from barrels stacked in the restaurant. The food may not be exquisite here, but truly Spanish: shrimps, mussels, cold cuts and Iberian hams - tapas combined with wine taste delicious here.
3 ways to relax in Málaga
Hammam al Andalus baths
Arab Baths are a relaxing oasis hidden in the center of Málaga, which, in addition to pools with different water temperatures, also has a steam bath and a wide range of treatments and massages: you can choose from hot and cold baths, relaxing massages, peelings and much more.
The building in which it is located is an example of Moorish architecture. The rich interior, decorated with beautiful mosaics, is supported by marble pillars.
Due to the great interest in the baths, especially in the tourist season, it is worth booking your visit in advance.
Although there are several beaches in Málaga, Playa la Malagueta is one of the most popular. It is only a 10-15 minute walk from the city center and stretches for several kilometers. It has a very well developed infrastructure with sun loungers and umbrellas, equipment rental and the possibility of practicing water sports, as well as shops, bars and restaurants.
Mirador Princess Ferris Wheel
If you are wondering what Málaga has the greatest tourist attractions, this is without a doubt one of them! From a height of 70 meters, the views of the city are truly spectacular and reach as much as 30 km. The Ferris wheel near the port is one of Málaga's iconic pastimes.
3 parks in Malaga that will delight you
La Concepción Botanical Gardens
One of the largest tropical and subtropical gardens in Spain, and even in Europe, is located in the northern part of the city. You will see 2,000 species of trees and plants spread over approximately 250,000 sq m.
You can visit the garden alone or with a guide - you can choose from several types of themed tours, lasting from 1 to 4 hours.
The best time to visit is in spring and summer when the plants are blooming
Montes de Málaga Natural Park
Considered the "green lung of Malaga", the park is located approximately 25 km north of the city center. It is ideal for hiking - the marked trails have different levels of difficulty - or for cycling - there are 2 mountain routes, 7 and 14 km long. There are picnic areas in the park. You can also visit the eco-museum here.
Paseo del Parque
A beautiful avenue with stately trees and palm trees runs along the harbor and divides the historic and coastal parts of the city. It is conducive to relaxation and walks. There are numerous sculptures and fountains here, including Neptune's Fountain from 1560.
To be continued
Malaga is beautiful and you can lose yourself in discovering it. We hope that we have managed to show its attractions and their diversity. This is the first in a series of blog entries that we intend to devote to the capital of Costa del Sol. Málaga is definitely worth it.