Malaga is a beautiful city and one of the best places in Spain to visit for a holiday. Filled with a history that goes back thousands of years, a gorgeous coastline and some of the tastiest restaurants – Malaga is a gem to explore. This all means there’s a heap of the best things to do in Malaga all across the city and for every type of visitor.
For the longest time, I was sleeping on Malaga!
I typically used Malaga Airport as a gateway to the wider Andalusian area of Spain. This was my first mistake!
Malaga is honestly incredible to visit and I just wished I’d realised earlier, on our countless trips through the airport, that this gem was worth exploring.
So, to make it easier for you, I’m sharing some of the top places and best things to do in Malaga when you arrive. This way, you won’t make those initial mistakes I did!
Have an amazing time travelling in Spain.
1.) Visit Alcazaba
As soon as you arrive in Malaga, make sure to put the Alcazaba at the top of your list. It’s one epic place to visit and one of our favourite palaces in all of southern Spain.
Built almost a thousand years ago, by the Al-Andalus that ruled this area of current-day Spain.
Honestly, the architecture is just beautiful to see – even if you’ll walk quite a bit around the site. It’s all just so scenic, with a garden around the walls of the palace.
Now, it can get quite busy within the grounds, so if you want a quieter experience, make sure to go earlier in the morning and avoid weekends.
Afterwards, book this amazing sunset catamaran tour with a glass of cava. It’s such a gorgeous experience and something we always love to do off the coast of Spain.
Just be sure to book this catamaran in advance. Tickets do sell out at peak times.
2.) Go to the Roman Theatre of Malaga
The Roman Theatre of Malaga is one of the most important entertainment venues in the world and still stands proudly to this day. Yes, it’s now a ruin but so much of the original design still exists and you can’t miss it.
This is one of the things I love most about Malaga, it has such a vibrant mix of histories, from Moorish influences to Roman influences.
Once here, learn more about the history of how the Romans built the theatre and how it was re-discovered in 1951. We loved exploring the site.
It’s right next to the entrance to the Alcazaba, so you can’t miss it.
3.) Walk Through the Historical Botanical Garden
Home to one of the most beautiful gardens in the region and one of the best things to do in Malaga on a trip to the city, the Botanical Garden is just so stunning to see. Referred locally as La Concepción Jardín Botánico – you honestly can’t miss it.
Over the years, the passionate team have amassed over 25,000 species of plants, which they’ll show off as much as they can.
Once here, take a stroll and learn more about the ecosystems and the preservation work that goes on behind the scenes.
One thing to note, it can get really intense in the sun, so make sure to take a hat, sunblock and water with you. If you want some shade, pop over to the gazebo and admire the tremendous view.
4.) Explore Montes de Malaga Natural Park
Fancying a ramble or hike? Then you have to get over to Montes de Malaga Natural Park. The whole area is massive and there are loads of trails that crisis crosses the park to follow.
Though be warned, some of the roads can feel a little sketchy at times. Especially the dirt roads. These can get muddy if it rains, so always be cautious of this when driving.
Anyway, as I said, there are heaps of routes (like the Yellow Route) that are perfect for walking, but pretty wide (almost road-like) and great for biking too.
Also, if you’ve got time, there’s a great spot for sunset at Mirador de Pocopán. It’s so beautiful, but it will mean you arrive back in the centre of Malaga quite late.
5.) Admire the Views of Gibralfaro Castle
Look, I have a thing for castles and Spain’s castles are no exception!
Visiting Gibralfaro Castle has to be on your list and it’s easily one of the best things to do in Malaga if you love history.
Not only that, the 14th-century castle is home to one of the best views of Malaga. Now, the walk to Gibralfaro Castle will likely take around 25-30 minutes but it’s all quite easy if you’re a relatively keen walker.
Again, like lots of the outdoor historical sites in Malaga, I’d suggest avoiding the midday sun and enjoying it as soon as it opens (which is typically around 9 am) or just before it closes.
This way, it’ll be a more pleasant walk – especially in the baking-hot Spanish sunshine.
6.) Relax on the Beaches of Malaga
Everyone has to make time to relax on a trip, right?
Well, if that’s you, head over to Playa de la Malagueta which is Malaga’s biggest beach. It’s all totally accessible and you can rent loungers and parasols once you arrive.
Afterwards, book this authentic Flamenco show that’s well worth seeing in the evening. We loved it.
7.) Tour the Malaga Cathedral
Malaga Cathedral is as majestic as it is beautiful.
If you’ve got time, pop inside and check out the incredible stained glass windows that are just beautiful.
Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for the tombs and the iconic gothic altar. You can’t miss it.
Afterwards, keep exploring the historic centre of Malaga and pop into some of the tapas and wine spots dotted all around the area.
For the best time, head to a few tapas bars.
Remember, there’s no need to get all your tapas in one spot.
8.) Relax in Parque de Malaga
Surrounded by palm trees and loads of trails, Parque de Malaga is pretty big. In fact, you can spend a few hours strolling the park and Jardines de Pedro Luis Alonso which was opened in the 1800s.
Once here, make sure to spot the sculptures of; Ninfa de la Caracola, Escultura del Fiestero and the Monument of Salvador Rueda which stands proudly on the grounds.
Afterwards, head over to Casa Lola Strachan for their delicious tapas. You’ll leave stuffed after all the pates!
9.) Pop inside the Picasso Museum Malaga
No visit to Malaga is complete without popping inside the Picasso Museum. You see, Malaga is the city where Picasso was born.
It’s one of the best things to do in Malaga if you want to know more about Pablo Picasso and his eclectic life and incredible art. It’s well worth taking a gander inside and the whole tour of the Picasso Museum will likely take around 90-minutes to complete.
Just be warned, there can be long lines to enter, so avoid this by arriving earlier in the morning.
10.) Explore Centre Pompidou Malaga
Okay, so Centre Pompidou Malaga is a pretty big deal in Malaga. You see, housed inside is a world-class mix of contemporary art from all over the world.
You’ll even get to see pieces by famed artists like Dali
Inside, you’ll likely spend 2-3 hours just wandering the exhibits. Though, if you don’t like modern art, you’ll likely want to give this a miss.
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