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Malaga Travel Guide: 12 top attractions for an unforgettable vacation

Malaga, known to many as the capital of the Costa del Sol (“Sunny Beach”), is a city with a rich and diverse history, making it a fascinating destination for travelers. The city was founded by the Phoenicians in the 8th century BC and has since been influenced by various civilizations, including the Romans and the Moors. This has resulted in a unique blend of architecture, culture, and traditions that can be seen throughout the city.

In this city, you can learn about Spain’s Islamic past by visiting the majestic Alcazaba palace and fortress, and since it was here that the brilliant Pablo Picasso was born, you can also find museums that will tell you about the early years of the master’s life.

During the city’s famous festivals, you can also experience Andalusian culture, watch a flamenco show and drink local sherry. And of course, we can’t help but mention the world-famous beaches, restaurants and golf courses. If you’re planning a trip to this beautiful city, you’ve come to the right place.

Malaga Cathedral

Malaga Cathedral is one of the city’s most outstanding architectural landmarks. The south tower and main façade are still unfinished. The building stands on the site of the former main mosque of Alhama. Work on the construction of the cathedral began in the first half of the 16th century in the Gothic style, commissioned by the Catholic kings.

The cathedral is surrounded by gardens and has a picturesque courtyard. The interior shows the influence of the Renaissance and Baroque. The central nave features choir seats, but the highlight of the temple is the sculpture by Pedro de Mena.

There are 15 chapels with magnificent 18th-century halls decorated with works of religious art. Be sure to book a tour to the rooftop, which offers a magnificent panoramic view of the city.

Alcazaba di Malaga

The Alcazaba fortress, the materials for which were partially taken from the stones that lined the Roman amphitheater. And it was built in the 9th century on the site of a Roman fortification. The fortress has a rich history and is very important to local residents; it is remarkably preserved and you can walk through it.

Also inside the building there are a large number of various labyrinths with windows from which beautiful landscapes of a small Spanish town can be seen, and the building itself looks majestic on a hill. Previously, the fortress served as the residence of a local ruler in ancient times. Not far from the fortress there is also a picturesque garden that greets tourists with trimmed bushes and beautiful trees.

Plaza de la Merced

One of the central squares of old Malaga is Plaza de la Merced, where Pablo Picasso was born in 1881. It is now surrounded by bars and restaurants with sun-drenched terraces, making it a great place to relax.

Once you decide to leave Plaza Merced, you’ll enter La Merced, which can be considered a true hedonist’s paradise: Calle Alamo is literally dotted with super-trendy bars and clubs of all kinds. No less popular is Calle Carreteria, where you will find the La Tranca restaurant – a favorite establishment for local connoisseurs of delicious food.

La Malagueta Bullring

The best views of the magnificent 19th-century arena are from the towers of Gibralfaro Castle, where you can see it amidst residential buildings just a few steps from the sea. Work on the creation of this square began in 1874, and two years later it hosted its first bullfight.

Currently, it is one of the central arenas in Andalusia, hosting prestigious performances at Easter and the August Fiesta. To get a more detailed look at the arena, you can purchase a special tour or visit the museum located right there, dedicated to the history of this controversial Spanish tradition.

Picasso Museum

The Spaniards are very proud of the world-famous artist Pablo Picasso, who was born in Malaga. Two museums were built here in his honor.

One of the museums occupies the premises of the Buenavista Palace. The mansion in which the collection is located was built in 1530 on the ruins of a Moorish castle. The main collection contains about 300 exhibits, most of which were donated by the painter’s family. The building also periodically hosts exhibitions of other artists.

Automotive Museum

In the museum center with a dozen spacious rooms, located in a former tobacco factory, on an area of 6 thousand square meters. m. there are all kinds of cars, dating back to the 18th century. The collection of hundreds of rare cars is of great interest. In addition to inspection, almost all vehicles can be rented. However, the cost of rental is quite high – the trip will not be cheap.

Roman theater

The ancient theater structure was created in the first century BC. At that ancient time, the city was part of the ancient Roman province. Until the 3rd century BC, the building was used for its intended purpose. Later, after the capture of Malaga by Muslims, it lost its purpose and became a quarry. Gradually the theater started up.

But, despite the fact that the destruction was observed for many years, the ancient object was able to reach us in a fairly complete form: there is a round stage for performances by artists and a number of seats for spectators.

Modern Art Museum

The Museum of Modern Art is housed in an artfully reconstructed 1930s wholesale market building on the estuary. The facade, windows and walls of the building are painted bright white, and the building itself has an elongated rectangular shape.

It hosts temporary exhibitions showcasing the work of famous contemporary artists, with a clear preference for artists from Spain. It is always full of strange and unusual exhibits.

Atarazanas Central Market

When listing the best attractions of Malaga, do not forget about this 14th century market.

Currently, only the historically priceless arch has survived from the first market. In the 19th century, the building was almost completely destroyed. The last restoration was carried out ten years ago. Nowadays, the central bazaar offers all kinds of food and gastronomy, come to buy all the usual market produce, like fruit & veg, meat (both raw and cured), cheese, fresh bread and some local honey or sherry. It is one of the best places in Malaga to immerse yourself in and be part of the vibrant Spanish life.

Beach De La Malagueta

The central sandy beach of Playa de la Malagueta is the main place for recreation and sports for Malagans. The beach extends several kilometers east of the port. Here you can dine in one of the expensive restaurants or admire the modest fishing huts along the shore.

Everywhere along the beaches, you’ll find small food stalls called Chiringuitos, where you can eat fish and seafood dishes.

Paseo de España area

If you look at this place from the hill of Gibralfaro, it resembles a mini-jungle. The Paseo de España district was created in the 1890s on territory that the authorities literally “conquered” from the sea.

The garden along its southern side is full of exotic plants and trees that will protect you from the noise and bustle of the city. On Sundays it is always crowded, and street musicians and artists begin performing along the pedestrian street.

Malaga food - Do Eat Better Experience

Indulging in Malaga’s Culinary Delights

Malaga is not only known for its beautiful beaches and rich history, but also for its delicious cuisine. Influenced by its Mediterranean location, the city offers a diverse range of dishes that are sure to satisfy any foodie’s cravings.

Some must-try dishes in Malaga include pescaíto frito (fried fish) and espeto de sardinas (grilled sardines). These can be found in traditional Andalusian restaurants as well as street vendors. For a more upscale dining experience, head to the trendy Soho district or the bustling Atarazanas Market. Here, you can find a wide selection of fresh produce, meats, and seafood, as well as a variety of prepared dishes and snacks. If you prefer a sit-down meal, there are also plenty of restaurants in Málaga serving up traditional dishes with a modern twist.

Another local favorite is Malaga Virgen, a sweet wine made from muscat grapes grown in the region. Aside from traditional dishes, Malaga also offers a fusion of modern and international cuisine. Don’t miss out on trying local delicacies such as tapas and seafood.

One of the best ways to experience the tapas culture in Málaga is by going on a tapas tour or hopping from bar to bar, trying different dishes along the way. This is a great way to not only taste the delicious cuisine but also immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the city.

Don’t miss out on including these top attractions in your Malaga travel itinerary for an unforgettable vacation experience.