Gateway to the romantic region of Andalucía and known to many as the capital of the Costa del Sol, Malaga is getting its mojo back. This Spanish city has had a facelift and as the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, is overflowing with culture (and tapas) for you to sink your teeth into! Follow our list of what to do in Malaga for the ultimate experience in the hub of the Coast of Sun.
There is no better place on the Costa del Sol to fully immerse yourself in the Andalusian culture than Malaga. With its capacity to organise impressive festivals, you’ll be dancing the Flamenco and knocking back the sherry in no time! Visit Malaga, Spain during Holy Week at Easter time to catch festival Semana Santa and on the third week of August for Feria de Agosto.
Strolling through the centre of town, you can’t help but notice the intricate architecture surrounding you at all angles. The city is home to some of Spain’s oldest creations such as Catedral de Malaga. Aim high and take in the views from the top of the turret walk at Gibralfaro Castle and the Moorish built Alcazaba fortress. Charge those cameras because you’re going to want to capture this!
From Moorish citadels and bullrings to Roman theatres, it’s safe to say this city’s walls have been built on a whole lot of history. One of the only few remaining Roman structures in Andalusia, Malaga’s Roman Theatre is the oldest monument in the city. The theatre, built in the 1st century is located at the foot of the Alcabaza making it one of the most historically significant sites in southern Spain.
If there’s one thing you’ll be offered when you visit Malaga, Spain, it’s shopping. The main street, Calle Larios is paved with marble and is pedestrianised ensuring you have easy access to all your favourite high street stores. Zara, H&M, Bershka, you name it, they’ve got it. Spend rainy days in one of the city’s many indoor shopping centres.
With one of its greatest achievements being the birth of Pablo Picasso, Malaga has a bustling art scene. Located next to the Guadalmedina river, the Soho district is a haven for urban graffiti artists but if your taste in art veers toward the more traditional, this Spanish city has got you covered. Pay a visit to Museo Carmen Thyssen for a taste of Andalusia’s past and stop by Museo Picasso Malaga to take a walk through the career of the great artist.
Of course no trip to the Coast of the Sun could be complete without a few beach days. Visit Malaga, Spain where the city boasts two beaches, Playa Malagueta, a 10 minute walk from the main street and La Caleta, a little further eastwards along the coast. The best thing about staying in Malaga is the access you have to the rest of the beaches in the region. Hop in the car or take a seat on the bus and you’ll be squelching sparkling sand between your toes before you can say ‘hola!’
Malaga is not only a hot spot for culture but also for activities. It’s near impossible to be bored in this city with all its bike tours, sightseeing buses, water-sports, Segway trips and wine/tapas tasting. There’s no way you’ll be left twiddling your thumbs on this getaway.
The real beauty of visiting Malaga is that you’re in a central hub for further travel. With the resort town of Nerja to the east and Marbella to the west, the possibilities of day trips are endless. The mountaintop town of Ronda, which is dramatically set above a deep gorge, is nearby and worth a quick trip. If you’re really feeling restless why not hop on a ferry to Morocco or pay a visit to Gibraltar?
Spain’s oldest continuously-operated port, Puerto de Malaga has become an impressive feature for the city. Since 2013, the port has had a revamp and is now home to restaurants, shops, bars and a long promenade perfect for cycling or a post dinner stroll.
Possibly the best thing about the city is that almost everything is within walking distance. The car-free historic centre means that its fantastically easy to see all it has to offer on foot. A short scenic walk from the main street through the park will take you straight to the beach and port meaning that hiring a car is really not necessary at all.
Eating out in Malaga is a treat! With all the pretty little squares bordered by restaurants and cafes, the choice is endless. Try traditional tapas al fresco in Plaza de la Merced or stop for a tea break at the oldest café in town in Plaza de la Constitucion. Head to the beach to try local cuisine, Espetos. These are grilled sardines cooked over hot coals in the sand and epitomise Spanish culture. You mustn’t leave without trying a sip of sweet Malaga wine and what better way to do it than whilst watching the sun go down over the ocean!
Never short of entertainment, this city is boasts some impressive stadiums. A Spanish city wouldn’t be right without its football team and Malaga is no exception. La Rosaleda is home to Malaga CF and is situated in the northern suburbs. Catch match action here every other week from August to May or take the tour to get the behind the scenes exclusives.
One thing that’s synonymous with the Coast of Sun is golf and Malaga is jam packed full of it. Channel your inner Tiger and hit the fairway on one the of oldest courses in the country. Parador de Malaga is just 10 kilometres down the coast from the city centre and welcomes all levels.
Visiting Malaga soon? Let us know which sites you checked off our guide of what to do in Malaga by tagging us in your holiday snaps on Instagram.
Flights to Malaga
- Lucy Norris