Malaga is one of those ancient cities in Spain that still holds a lot of secrets to discover. According to the latest research, Malaga’s history dates back 2,800 years, a period full of events that left a deep trace in the modern look of the city. It was under Roman rule during the republic and empire periods, then Malaga remained under the Visigoths, and for about 800 years of its history, the city was part of the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada. After the fall of the latter, Malaga became a Christian city and remains so today. The rich history of this place makes it especially attractive for visitors to come here. If you are planning to make a trip toMalaga, here are 15 fun things that you can do there.
1. Visit Alcazaba
It is a perfect idea to pay tribute to the history of Malaga if it is your first visit to one of the greatest cities of Spain. Therefore, many tourists go to Alcazaba when they arrive in the city. This is an old and very well-known monument-museum, that is a trace of Islamic rule, which lasted for about 800 years.
Alcazaba was home to the Moorish royal family before the reconquest of Spain by Christians. This place has seen a lot of important historical events, including the Spanish Inquisition, which took place right after the fall of the Moorish kingdom in Spain. After the city was conquered by Christians, Alcazaba passed to Catholic King Ferdinand and his wife Isabella.
Nowadays, visitors love Alcazaba as it tells them a lot about this period of Spanish history and provides them with the unprecedented pleasure of admiring one of the most beautiful places in Spain and the best site to visit there.
The Alcazaba castle-palace was started in the VIIIth century, but it was finally built in the XIth century. Alcazaba is located on Mount Gibralfaro, far from the crowded and buzzy streets of Malaga. Visitors of the Alcazaba museum can walk around admiring the place or even listen to the history of this perfect palace-museum via a special audio tour device.
2. Picasso Museum of Art
Malaga is famous for its historical monuments and museums of art, which will be covered later in this article. However, art fans can find a lot of interest in this one of the most beautiful cities of Spain as well. Malaga is the birthplace of one of the most talented artists of the XXth century – Pablo Ruiz y Picasso. Therefore, the Picasso Museum is a must-see art place in Malaga. To get there, you will be required to buy tickets, which are, by the way, not expensive.
With some key details from the biography of this famous painter, the art museum in Malaga boasts a lot of art works that are presented in all the spaces of the gallery. Visitors will be impressed by the number of works they can find there. Over 285 pieces of art can be seen there that are dated the end of XIX and the beginning of the XXth centuries.
Apart from the art museum and the works of art by the famous master of the brush, who lived in Malaga, the building itself is a must-see. The Picasso Museum of Malaga is housed in an outstanding palace that was built in the XVIth century. Art gourmets have the opportunity to buy a special Picasso museum tour, which will tell them more about the life and art of Picasso.
3. La Manquita: One of the Most Picturesque Cathedrals in the Region
The Cathedral can be seen in most snapshots of Malaga. La Manquita is included in most travel plans and tours across the city. The building commenced in 1528. La Manquita was planned in a Gothic style, but the architect transformed it into a Renaissance project by the end of construction. This is due to the fact that 250 years passed from the moment the building was started until it was finished.
Visitors can admire both the exterior and interior of the cathedral. It is attractive for both history and art fans as it hides a lot of secrets that will be uncovered during the visit. By reaching the decks, tourists will have a perfect view of the city of Malaga. However, if you want to enhance your experience, you should visit the cathedral at night, when the sun sets and Malaga plunges into a sea of fire.
Even if you don’t have enough time to visit La Manquita in Malaga, you can still admire the perfect cathedral from the terrace of the Chinitas Urban Hotel. It should be mentioned that the cathedral is included in the list of UNESCO heritage sites and is one of the best manmade monuments to admire.
4. Enjoy Picturesque Views from the Gibralfaro Castle
This is one of the most recognizable castles in Malaga that you should definitely enjoy during your trip to Span. Gibralfaro was constructed in the XIVth century, and later it was rebuilt. Nowadays, you can see the perfect exterior of the castle of Malaga that it received during the Renaissance period.
When you are in the castle-museum, you will enjoy the solid ramparts that encircle the fortress. Those who get inside, will find some buildings and courtyards. Even if you are not a big fan of history, you should definitely visit the castle for one reason. You will have a great view of the Malaga surroundings from the site. The most breathtaking impressions are promised especially before the sunset as the outskirts and the walls of what remains from the castle are painted in reddish.
Keep in mind that local scenery is worth admiring and that’s another reason for making a trip to Malaga. The castle-museum is situated on the hill, which, in turn, is part of Montes de Malaga. The territory is protected as a part of Montes de Malaga Natural Park. You can get there for free, but some best sites will require investments before you can enjoy them.
5. Discover the Natural Park of Montes de Malaga
Unlike many sites in the city of Malaga, where you will have to pay for simply going around, the Natural Park of Malaga is free for visitors. No tickets are required. After finishing the sightseeing at Gibralfaro Castle, you can go further and admire this perfect natural landmark, which is one of the most beautiful places in the region of Malaga.
Visitors love this park for many reasons. However, they mostly want to come here to see those stunning landscapes and the constantly changing scenery around them. The Natural Park at Montes de Malaga provides you with the best and most unforgettable impressions. You will see its meadows, mountains and chains of hills that seem infinite as you will catch them with the eye whatever direction you look at.
Visitors go there not only for the stunning landscapes of Malaga. The air that you will breathe in this natural park is not the same that you will inhale in the very city of Malaga. If you are a bit tired of the crowded, buzzy streets of Malaga, then you should definitely change the scenery and walk those unbeaten paths.
6. Touch the Antiquity by Visiting Roman Theatre
Back to the period of the Roman empire, Malaga is proud of being one of the cities of Europe, where you can see the remnants of the theatre built in the first century BC when Augustus consolidated the whole Rome after the civil war. This is, among other things, the oldest monument and open-air museums in Malaga and this part of Spain. Sightseeing there is free as no tickets are required.
For centuries, Teatro Romano de Malaga was abandoned and only in 1952 it was rediscovered by the scientists and sixty years later it was introduced to wide masses making it a kind of a museum. The monument has been one of the most popular tourist sites since that moment. Moreover, apart from being one of the most popular historical monuments of Malaga and Spain in general, the Roman theater of Malaga is the place where various performances take place in spring and summer.
7. Take Some Time to Relax on the Best Beaches of Malaga
This region of Spain is famous for a lot of monuments that come from various epochs. Each year, thousands and even hundreds of thousands of visitors come to Malaga to admire the historical and manmade landmarks there. However, Spain attracts tourists for one more reason. The warm climate and geographical position of Malaga make it the best market for those who want to sunbathe and swim in the Mediterranean Sea. This is another tickets-free attraction in Malaga.
The beaches of Malaga boast soft sand and picturesque views of the sea. Moreover, apart from tourists, you will see a lot of locals here who come to enjoy the seaside activities each year. The climate of Malaga, with warm temperatures and barely any rain throughout the year, favors those activities that seem to never stop.
Beaches of Malaga offer a lot apart from simply lying on a deck chair. The list of activities includes surfing, diving, water biking, and other interesting things. Keep in mind that some beaches are more crowded than others, so you can choose between them according to your current mood to find the best one.
8. Rent a Bike to Explore the Port of Malaga
Riding a bike is very popular in Europe, and Spain is not an exception to this rule. Therefore, visitors are offered the opportunity to rent a bike and take a trip through the city of Malaga. Being one of the most popular means of transport, bikes allow visitors to explore various parts of the city by making stops wherever they want. One of the most demanded spots for bike tourists is the local port of Malaga.
It should be mentioned that there are plenty of bike tours that are offered by local agencies. Moreover, you can rent a bike on your own and ride to the places you want. If you choose to start from the port of Malaga, you will enjoy magnificent views of the sea. Several tours go through famous wineries, where visitors can taste wines and local meals. Keep in mind that by renting a bike on your own, you will be able to conduct any tour for free (excluding the rent price). However, if you want to learn more about Malaga and its history, it is probably a good idea to join a guided tour.
9. Go to the Malaga Province
Malaga’s province is also worth a visit for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, this is a great opportunity for tourists to breathe in the atmosphere of rural life in Spain and learn more about the traditions of this part of the country.
Another reason for going there is the local architecture, which is a mixture of European and Moorish culture. White Towns attract a lot of tourists every year for being a heritage of the long history of the region, full of events. The White Villages are located close to Malaga, which is another reason for visitors to come here.
From Ronda to Setenil de las Bodegas, each village boasts constantly changing landscapes and picturesque scenery. Most villages of the Malaga province are built in mountains and rocks that form the streets of those towns. Make sure to take a camera with you, as you will be able to take a lot of great photos there.
Last but not least, when visiting Malaga province, don’t forget to taste local meals, which is another reason for tourists to leave the buzzy streets of Malaga and go deeper into the country.
10. Freshen Up in the Parque de Malaga
Visiting Malaga Park, which stretches from the Plaza de la Marina to the Plaza del General Torrijos is a good idea for all tourists for several reasons. First, it will give you the necessary coolness in the shadows of trees during the day, especially if you visit Malaga in high season when the temperatures range between 82 and 88 F (28-32 C).
Another reason for going there in the summer is to see a lot of artisanal market stalls where you can purchase a lot of souvenirs connected with local culture and history. Moreover, visitors have the opportunity to admire various musical and cultural events during this period of the year. The open-air venue is the best place to listen to classical music, taking into consideration that such concerts are absolutely free as you don’t need to purchase tickets for getting in.
There is one more reason for visitors to come to Parque de Malaga in the summer or in any other season of the year. It should be mentioned that Malaga Park is home to hundreds of plant species that came here from five continents.
11. Stroll Through the Streets of Malaga in the Evening
Malaga inhabitants, as well as Spanish people in general, have a very interesting habit that they call "paseo". They stroll through the streets of the city in the evening. Apart from being simply an interesting habit, it is also very useful for health, as it is good for the heart. Moreover, strolling in the evening is comfortable as the temperature is not as exhausting as during the day. Therefore, you can enjoy the coolness of a Spanish evening and walk through the streets of the city.
The "paseo" is not only about health and coolness. By strolling through the streets of Malaga, you will be able to enjoy a lot of interesting sites, especially if you choose the Old Town as a goal. Visitors will find crowds of tourists and local inhabitants there, walking up and down the streets and enjoying local meals and drinks.
The best day of the week to stroll is definitely Friday. Like in most countries where Saturdays and Sundays are the weekend days, Fridays are sacred as they are the "gates" to the world of relaxation and pleasure. There are plenty of events in Malaga on Fridays, and you can be a part of them by doing "el paseo" in the most crowded streets of the city. And what is even more important, this strolling is totally free, until you don’t want to buy something on your way.
12. Freshen Up at a Local Waterpark
Malaga is famous not only for its monuments and natural landmarks. The city is home to a lot of waterparks where you can swim in pools or enjoy various attractions. Those waterparks in Malaga are mostly family places, as there are a lot of things to do there for all ages. In particular, you will enjoy wave pools, slides, as well as special areas for children. Waterparks in Malaga are worth spending a couple of hours or even the whole day there. Tickets are sold at average price, which makes this place even more attractive.
Aqualand Torremolinos is one of the largest waterparks in Malaga, which is located 20 minutes from the buzzy streets of the city. Apart from all the most popular water attractions, you will find an exclusive surf simulator area. Another great waterpark is located in Velez Malaga. Aquavelis Water Park is worth spending the whole day there.
13. Learn More about Spanish Cuisine and Winery
Spain is famous for a lot of cultural and historical monuments that can be found in most regions, including Malaga. However, those manmade landmarks are not the only thing that attracts tourists from all over. Even if you came here to do sightseeing, it is worth it to spend some time indulging yourself with local meals that are as diverse as the history of the country.
You can start with a special Gourmet Tapas walking tour, which lasts for three hours and allows you to taste various samples of local cuisine and wineries. The private guide will take you through the historical center of Malaga, which is famous for its manmade monuments from various epochs and great cuisine traditions. Tapas, local appetizers eaten with drinks, are of great variety, and all of them are very delicious. However, those appetizers are not the only meals to taste in Malaga. There are plenty of other dishes that give you insight into the "taste" of Spain and Malaga. The 3-hour tour will be completed by lunch or dinner, depending on when it is concluded.
There are a couple more tours for those who want to taste local wine and have a couple of hours that they are ready to devote to these activities. First is the wine tour in Malaga, which lasts approximately 3.5 hours. During the tour, visitors will have the opportunity to visit those small villages in Malaga and admire the first-class wine there. Prepare yourself for some strolling, as the owners of vineyards will tell you a lot about various kinds of vines. Moreover, the guests will be able to see the magic of converting the grapes into wine.
Last but not least, visitors will be able to taste five different kinds of wine in Malaga during the trip. Each type will be served with locally popular meals and snacks.
Is it possible to combine wine testing and a Flamenco show in Malaga? Yes, if you decide to choose the next 3.5 hour tour, which is a great opportunity to try the greatest wines in Malaga and witness one of the best Flamenco shows in the city.
As in most wine tours in Malaga, you will be provided with five different types of wine while your eyes and ears will be delighted by the miracle movements and sounds of Flamenco, traditional dance in Spain, performed by a world-renowned bailora.
14. Visiting Local Food Markets
When visiting Malaga, tourists often go to local food markets to taste dried and fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, and other delicious things that they can buy almost everywhere there. Dried fruits, for instance, will be the best snack during your further trip around Malaga that you can buy in local markets.
You don’t need to bring anything with you if you don’t want to, but you can simply take a couple of tapas with a glass of locally popular wine while you are at the market as well as take a rest planning what to do next in Malaga.
There is a special tour of the market in Atarazanas, that will guide you through the place and help you find some really great things to buy. The trip lasts for two hours, and this time is enough for market visitors to learn more about the site as well as to buy everything they want.
15. Experience Romantic Moments on a Special Sunset Cruise
There is one more thing that you can do before saying goodbye to Malaga and Spain. If you are looking for a romantic date or simply want to enjoy the magnificent sunset from the deck of a boat, a sunset cruise is the best option. You will be able to admire the city plunging into darkness with the last flash of the setting sun as well as the dawn itself. Most cruise companies in Malaga offer some sort of dinner onboard with local meals and wines. Tickets for cruise are not expensive and worth buying anyway.
Ready to Enjoy Malaga?
There are plenty of things that you can do in this, one of the best cities in Spain. Malaga will provide you with unforgettable memories that you will hold onto for a long time. Moreover, if you have a good camera, you will take those memories with you to enjoy them later. The city provides visitors with a lot of positive emotions, and you will have a strong desire to come here again somewhere in the future.