Malaga City

Colloquially dubbed as the unofficial capital of the Costa del Sol, Malaga City is well-known for its quirky museums, delightfully pedestrianised centre and innovative restaurants. Another huge selling point for visiting Malaga City are its beautiful beaches, both the family-friendly El Palo and the man-made La Malagueta have an enticing stretch of sand suitable for any holidaymaker visiting the area. With showers to wash off your sandy feet, sun-loungers to rest your sleepy head on and parasols to protect your precious skin, there really aren’t many reasons to ever leave the solace of Malaga City’s beaches – especially when there’s also a copious amount of restaurants and bars to satisfy your needs!
If culture is the name of the game then Malaga City is an absolute world-beater. The opening of the Picasso Museum in 2003 served somewhat as a rebirth for the city and introduced it to the world stage of quirkiness and originality. Having been born in this very city, the Picasso Museum is a perfect encapsulation of everything this coastal resort has to offer. There are 12 halls dedicated to permanent exhibitions and they include such classic pieces of work as ‘Mother and Child’ and ‘Portrait of Paulo with white hat’. In addition to these fixtures there are also many temporary exhibitions which change seasonally, so be sure to check out the museums webpage for more information.
In addition to the Picasso Museum there are at least 30 more museums within Malaga, making it the most of any Andalucian city, and there are plenty of new ones opening all the time. Whether its wine you’re interested in, 19th century paintings or something like archaeology or glass, you will be well catered for in this culturally varied city. 
In addition to these amazing museums, there are lots of historical monuments dotted around the city. The Malaga Cathedral was built between 1528 and 1782 and although it was originally intended as a two-tower structure, funding was lost, and it is now affectionately known as La Manquita, or ‘the one-armed woman’, but no matter the number of towers it has, it is a sight you will never forget. There are roman influences throughout the city and this is best exemplified by the city’s oldest monument El Teatro Romano. Situated in the cultural heart of Malaga, this beautiful theatre was bombed during the Spanish civil war and despite it looking a little worse-for-wear, El Teatro Romano serves as one of the most beautiful history lessons you’re ever likely to receive. 

 

Overview

Also known as ‘The Capital’ and ‘The Gateway’ of the Costa del Sol, the city of Malaga is one of the oldest in the world, and is bursting with history and culture. It’s the sixth largest city in Spain, and tourists flock here to experience the contrast of both a city and beach holiday in one. 

The best way to discover this laid back city is by walking around and seeing the sights. There’s a beautiful old historic quarter to wander through, numerous art galleries, and a couple of the main must-see attractions such as the Baroque cathedral and the recently restored Roman Theatre. Take a stroll down to the harbour and check out the modern art collection at the colourful Centre Pompidou Malaga. For amazing views, take a bus up to Castillo de Gilbralfaro; one of the old Moorish castles that overlooks the city. 

Not many people know that the world famous painter Pablo Picasso was born here, and you can learn more about him at the Museo Picasso Malaga. There are many more museums to see, like the Museo Automovilistico de Malaga, which showcases a historic collection of vintage and restored cars; and the Museo Carmen Thyssen, a museum gallery of 19th and 20th century Spanish art. 

Hundreds of modern and authentic Spanish restaurants and bars line the streets, port, and promenade, giving the city a real cosmopolitan edge. It’s also a great place to hit the shops with the offering of many major chain stores, as well as independent boutiques.

Key Facts

  • Currency: EUR: Euro
    Language: Spanish, English widely spoken
    Approximate flight time from the UK: 2 hours 45 minutes
    Time zone: GMT + 1

Great For

Historical sights: there are so many historical buildings and monuments to see in Malaga; from churches to fortresses, you can learn about the past of this old and interesting city by visiting as many as you can. 
Art galleries and museums: there are museums and art galleries to suit all tastes and ages. For something a little different, try the Wine Museum. Art lovers will not fail to enjoy the Centro de Arte Contemporaneo, a great gallery showcasing pieces from artists from all over the world.
Beaches and city: perfect for those wanting to experience both the beach and the city on their trip, Malaga is close to some of the best beaches on the Costa del Sol and only an hour’s drive from the glamorous resort of Marbella.

Museo Picasso Malaga (Picasso Museum)

Malaga is the birthplace of one of the most famous artists in the world, and this museum celebrates his life and work. Housed in a beautiful 16th century stone building in the centre of the city, the 233 pieces of art show a timeline of eight decades of Picasso’s work. You can do a guided audio tour, which provides information about the art on show and Picasso himself. Special temporary exhibitions are also on display, and there’s a café and a shop to visit after a good look around. 
Address: Palacio de Buenavista, Calle San Agustín, 8, 29015 Málaga
Opening hours: November-February 10am-6pm, March-June and September- October 10am-7pm, July-August 10am-8pm  – 7 days a week
Cost: from € 7.00
Official website: http://www.museopicassomalaga.org/en

Alcazaba

Built in the 11th century, the partially restored Alcazaba is an ancient fortress and military museum. It’s well worth a visit for those wanting to learn more about the history of Malaga. If you climb on the tourist bus in the centre, this is one of the stops you can hop off at. An elevator makes the castle accessible to all, as it’s situated on top of a steep hill. Its raised position gives you incredible views over the city and the port, and beautiful courtyards and gardens surround the fort. There’s a small café at the top where you can buy refreshments and take in the views after your climb. 
Address: C Alcazabilla s/n, 29015 Malaga
Opening hours: 9am-8pm in summer, 9am-6pm in winter
Cost: Around €2.20 or usually free after 2pm on Sundays
Official website: http://www.malagaturismo.com/es/recursos-turisticos/detalle/alcazaba/6

La Concepcion - Jardin Botanico-Historico de Malaga (Malaga Botanical Gardens)

The botanical gardens are located a short distance from the centre, and provide a peaceful escape from the commotion of the city. Exotic, tropical, and subtropical plants and flora fill the park, with species from all over the world. The gardens are beautifully landscaped and well maintained, with water features and fountains throughout. You can also have tours of the garden for a more informed visit. There’s also a viewing point for great views over Malaga, and a café for snacks and refreshments. 
Address: Camino Del Jardin Botanico, 3, 29014 Malaga
Opening hours: 9.30am-8.30pm (Tuesday-Sunday)
Cost: €4.20 adults / €2.10 child / senior
Official website: http://laconcepcion.malaga.eu

Mercado Central de Atarazanas (Atarazanas Central Market)

The bustling Atarazanas is an undercover market in central Malaga, housed in a large and impressive structure. Even if you don’t want to buy anything you should come here for the atmosphere alone. Fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, cheese, meats, fish, and other local produce are on sale here. You can even stop and have a glass of wine at one of the tapas bars and watch the world go by. 
Address: Calle Atarazanas, 10, 29005 Malaga
Opening hours: 8am-2pm (Monday-Saturday)
Official website: http://gestor.malagaturismo.com/es/recursos-turisticos/detalle/mercado-central-de-atarazanas/455

Centre Pompidou Malaga

The iconic, coloured, cube-shaped building of the Centre Pompidou Malaga is found on the banks of the regenerated Malaga harbour. The structure in itself is a piece of art, and the interior of the gallery is just as amazing. The gallery houses a well considered selection of modern art, it’s not as big as its parent gallery in Paris, but this just means you can spend a few hours enjoying taking everything in. There’s a permanent exhibition including Ghosts by Kader Attia, and for variety, the other temporary exhibitions change on a regular basis. 
Address: Doctor Carrillo ticket Casaux, s / n, Muelle 1, 29001 Malaga
Opening hours: 9am-8pm in the winter, 11am-10pm in the summer
Cost: €4 adults / €2.50 child (for the temporary exhibition), €7 adults / €4 child (for the permanent exhibition), €9 adults / €5.50 child (for combined exhibition entry
Official website: http://centrepompidou-malaga.eu/

Here's the highest rated local restaurants and eateries in the area, as kindly recommended by TripAdvisor.

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