The 10 best things to do in Málaga

It is the capital of the Costa del Sol and, apparently… of the smile: we are talking about Malaga, a charming and very complete city. It offers culture, sunshine, cheerful people and a finger-sucking gastronomy (you’ll see that after eating a spit of sardines, this will be literal). If you are planning to spend a few days “to the south” we are going to recommend 10 unforgettable plans to enjoy in Malaga. Ready? Let’s go!

1. Visit the Alcazaba and the Castle of Gibralfaro, two of the great jewels of the city.

Let’s start strong: one of the activities you can’t miss is getting to know the Alcazaba, a fortification built by Muslims in the 11th century. A thousand and one beautiful corners await you, from patios to gardens and fountains, not to mention the views!

A short distance from the Alcazaba is the beautiful Castle of Gibralfaro which you can access after a somewhat steep but beautiful path (for the lazy there is always plan B: the bus number 35, which leaves right in front of the Castle. This construction dates from the 14th century and was erected with the intention of protecting and defending the Alcazaba from possible enemy attacks. From up there, the panoramic view of the city is amazing: it is even better if you go up at sunset J

2. Stroll through the Roman Theatre

Did you know that Malaga has a Roman theatre? It was discovered during some works, neither more nor less than in 1951 (what a surprise they would get, eh!). To find its origin you have to go back to the first century and, although its state of conservation is not spectacular, you will be in front of a bit of history, not every day you can walk in a Roman theater, right?

3. Get a selfie with Picasso and immerse yourself in culture

Michael Martinelli

You probably already knew that Pablo Picasso was a salty Malaga man, but you might be surprised when we tell you that you will be able to take a photo with him. How? You only have to go to the Plaza de la Merced, where there is a life-size bronze statue of the artist, sitting on a bench with his notebook. There he is waiting for you… so you can get an artistic selfie!

And of course, you can’t leave Malaga without visiting the Picasso Museum and surrounding yourself with paintings and works by one of the most famous painters of all time.

For restless travelers, there’s more. If you want to spend more time between paintings and art, you are in luck… Malaga is one of the most “cultured” cities in Europe, and if there is something that is not missing here, they are museums. Some of the best are:

The Carmen Thyssen Museum
Contemporary Art Center
Pompidou Centre
Automobile Museum

4. Shopping in Larios Street

If Madrid has the Gran Vía, Málaga has the Calle Larios. It is the commercial heart of the city, full of shops of all kinds and lots of atmosphere. Even if shopping doesn’t go well with you, a stroll around this area will still be recommended, in the surroundings of this emblematic street you will find a network of narrow streets full of shops and some of the best restaurants in the city… Which brings us to the next point:

5. Cover in the centre

There are hundreds of bars and restaurants in the centre of Malaga, but there are a couple where we try to return whenever we return to the city. One is the Pimpi bar, the perfect place to soak up Malaga air, drink a sweet wine and share a portion. And another is the Cortijo de Pepe, where you taste what you taste, you’re going to love it.

6. Flippy with how beautiful the Cathedral is

best places to visit in spain / malaga

best places to visit in spain / malaga

The Cathedral of Malaga is a real wonder, but building it was not easy… nor fast: it took about 200 years to finish it and it has a rather rare nickname: “la Manquita”. The motive? It has only one bell tower (the original design foresaw the construction of two bell towers). If you don’t mind climbing some 200 steps, don’t hesitate to visit the Tower… from up there the views of the historic centre of the city are sensational.

7. Take a dip on the beach.

Backpacking Spain - Beach in Malaga

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Not all the big cities have the luxury of having a beach, but Malaga has several. You don’t want to miss them, do you? The Malagueta Beach is the most centrally located and famous, but we also recommend you go to the Caleta Beach and the Pedregalejo Beach where, by the way, they eat some very good spits (another thing you have to do!).

8. Get to know Soho, the trendy district

It has nothing to do with New York’s Soho, but if you like urban art and the more alternative atmosphere of the cities, you have to get close to Malaga’s Soho. Once a decadent zone, today a resurgence of graffiti and urban interventions… so cool!

9. Trek along the Caminito del Rey (King’s Little Road)

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If you are lucky enough to visit Malaga for several days, we recommend that you devote one day to one of the most amazing hiking trails in the whole country: the Caminito del Rey (Little King’s Trail). Don’t be frightened by its fame (it’s said to be one of the most dangerous trekkings in the world): it was recently reopened after extensive restoration and today it’s super safe, although be prepared to go through a lot of vertigo and fear!

10. Visit some of the most beautiful villages in Malaga

It is also not a bad idea to rent a car and tour this part of Andalusia. And if there’s one thing that’s not missing here, it’s charming villages. If you only had time to see one, we have no doubts: go to Ronda. It is 1.5/2h from Malaga, but believe us… it is worth every kilometre you travel. This village is perched on a rocky promontory that offers an incredible panoramic view. Its most famous point is the Ponte Nuevo (New Bridge), located at 100 metres above sea level (guaranteed fotaza from there), but there is more to see: palaces, cellars, small squares and a lot of picturesque corners and some very curious ones (like the Bandido Museum!).

Hostels in Málaga

Babylon House Backpackers

In Malaga there are many hostels where you can stay for much less than you think. Some of our favourites are Feel Hostels Soho, which offers free paella nights and breakfasts for only €2.50, Casa Babylon Backpackers, which has a small terrace with lots of rolls, and Oasis Backpackers, with a super terrace with bar on the roof.

Of course Malaga offers many more things: take a relaxing stroll through the area of Pier One, get lost in the stalls of the Atarazanas Central Market, celebrate the Malaga Fair in style, enjoy the city during Easter and we are sure that an infinite number of plans more… For now we hope that our 10 proposals will serve you to spend some unforgettable days in this welcoming city.

About the authors

“Travel, gastronomy and art are the great passions of Rober and Lety, a couple who have felt tiny watching the sunrise in Burma, have travelled in a bus with a goat on the roof in the Philippines, have bathed under the Milky Way in New Zealand and… better discover more adventures on their blog: motto: if many dream the same as you, dream stronger!

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