The city of Málaga is one of Spain’s most popular tourist destinations with gorgeous, sandy beaches and plenty of sunshine. In fact, it is said to have the best climate in the country, enjoying about 3,000 hours of sun a year as well as a mild climate due to the sea.

Beyond the beaches, the city is loaded with history, culture, and energy. It is the birthplace of Picasso, home to historic castles, and offers delicious culinary treats to enjoy. If you’ve only got 48 hours to explore, we’ve put together a list of things you won’t want to miss.

Must see

Castillo de Gibralfaro

The magnificent Castillo de Gibralfaro sits on a high hill and offers walkable walls and spectacular views of the city and port. The image of Gibralfaro is well known: you can see it in both the Málaga city's and the province's seal and flag.

It dates back to the 10th century and is famous for its three-month siege by the Catholic monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, which ended only when hunger forced the Malagueños to surrender.

The ramparts have been well restored and you can walk all the way round them – and the walls make for a fun, interesting and scenic walk.

Alcazaba

Just below the Castillo de Gibralfaro, the Alcazaba is Málaga’s most important landmark. It is a palatial fortification that was built by the Hammudid dynasty in the early 11th century. This is the best-preserved Alcazaba in Spain and probably the most important military fortification remaining from the Hispanic-Arabic period.

The fortress is a sight to behold, and visitors can view the magnificent Roman marble columns, Moorish horseshoe arches, and attractive landscaped gardens – as well as dungeons and original Moorish dwellings, mosque, and baths.

There is also a small archaeological museum exhibiting fragments of Roman pottery and statues of various sites around the province, including Lacipo (Casares) and Villa de Rio Verde, (Marbella). Moorish ceramics and other artefacts found on the site are also on display.

Malaga Cathedral

The majestic Málaga Cathedral perfectly combines diverse architectural styles – Gothic in the ground floor, Renaissance in its elevation, and Baroque in the main facade and decoration of its roof.

The north tower rises to 84 meters in height, making it the second highest cathedral in Andalusia, while the south tower is unfinished – earning the nickname 'La Manquita' (the one-armed woman).

The rooftop tour of the cathedral will require you to climb two hundred steps, but the views are magnificent and place you higher than any of the surrounding hotel roof terraces. The small Cathedral Museum, which is easily missed at the end of the main cathedral, is also worth a visit.

Before entering, be sure to stroll through the surrounding gardens, which are free to visit. The gardens include small collections of rusting iron sculptures by Jorge Rando, forming an open-air museum. Next door, you’ll find the quaint Cafe 'El Jardin', where you can grab a cup of coffee or a meal accompanied by a flamenco show.


Must eat

Espetos

To “espetar” means “to skewer,” and in Malaga an “espeto” specifically refers to 6 fresh sardines, skewered and seasoned with only olive oil and sea salt before being cooked over a pit of coals. The delicious treat is then eaten with your fingers and typically enjoyed on the beachfront.

Gazpachuelo

This typical fisherman’s dish is a delicious combination of the four basic ingredients of gazpacho (hence the name) – bread, garlic, oil and water. Unlike gazpacho, however, the dish is served hot. It often includes potatoes with shellfish or whitebait, and is eaten with a spoon and bread dipped into the broth.

Tejeringos

Tejeringos are Málaga’s take on churros, and a delightful alternative to doughnuts. They are made with more eggs and butter than typical churros, making them airier and well-balanced in terms of saltiness and sweetness. They’re deep fried in olive oil, and the result is a crispy, golden brown treat. The olive oil makes it less sweet than a classic churro, but cinnamon sugar can be added to taste.


Must do

Take a bike tour

Bike tours offer you the opportunity to get active and see the city and most beautiful attractions in Málaga with a local as your guide. Take a city bike tour to explore the history, religion, architecture, and culture of the city, or venture down the coast to enjoy breath-taking views and experience local neighbourhoods and traditions. You can even do a guided Wine & Tapas tour to experience the wonderful Meditteranean gastronomy and taste the sweet Málaga wine.

Visit the Atarazanas Market

Málaga’s central market offers a gastronomic treat for visitors and is well worth a visit. It is a buzz of activity and a great place to meet locals and to buy fresh, local fish, meat, cheese, and fruit and vegetables at fantastic prices. Crowned by a stained glass window that seems fit for a cathedral, the market is a great place to browse around, get cheap tapas, or even do a walking tour.

Visit the Picasso Museum

Málaga is the birthplace of Pablo Picasso and the Picasso Museum is an unmissable experience. Established in a renaissance palace in response to Picasso’s own desire for his work to be exhibited in the city where he himself was born, the museum features over 200 works. Donations by the artist’s daughter-in-law and grandson, Christine and Bernard Ruiz-Picasso, constitute the core of the collection. For light refreshments during your visit, there is a café with a very pretty outer terrace area.


Getting there

Various airlines offer daily flights from London to Málaga Airport. The cheapest tickets are available approximately 46 days before departure, with afternoon flights from London Stansted offering the best prices on the route.

For a hassle-free trip to Málaga, remember to pre-book a hoppa airport transfer to get you to the Costa del Sol’s popular resorts including Benalmadena and Torremolinos, as well as other fantastic holiday hotspots.

Hoppa is the world’s top specialist in smooth, reliable transfers, and every one of our partners stands by our promises – to be there when we say we will, to give you a safe driving experience, and to clearly confirm your pick up details.

Planning a trip to Málaga, or do you have any suggestions we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below.

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