In this article, you will find out everything you need to know about Malaga in Spain.
How to get there and travel around Malaga. The best places to see and visit!
Malaga truly has the best of two worlds – the beach and the city! It is quite international for an Andalusian city but it still has that magical Spanish vibe.
1. Travel to and from Malaga
2. Staying in Malaga
3. Top things to see and do in Malaga
4. The best viewpoints in Malaga
5. Malaga Cuisine
6. Day trips from Malaga
Travel to and from Malaga
Malaga has a great international airport so the easiest way is to fly to Malaga. It is a bit outside the city centre so you will need to take a bus or taxi from the airport. You will find a bus stop just outside the airport from which the bus to Malaga Town Centre is going every 20 minutes. You can also take a direct bus to all nearby cities and towns directly from the airport too, but those ones don't go that often.
More about the bus options from the airport and timetables you can find HERE
If you are planning to travel around Spain then Malaga is a very good starting point. It has large train and bus stations that offer many convenient routes around Spain.
Note from my personal experience: the cheapest car rental around Malaga is at the airport!
A car you will need only if you are planning to travel to nearby cities as you don't really need it to explore Malaga itself. All major sights and activities are within walking distance. Even if you do decide to travel to cities around Malaga, the city bus station offers many different routes.
Malaga also offers the typical tourist hop on - hop off bus. Normal adult ticket cost around 22 Euros, depending on where you book. There are several places online you can book.
Staying in Malaga
I find Airbnb in Malaga quite expensive so I would suggest that you get a hotel where you will get more for your money.
For a hostel, I personally recommend "Feel Hostel" where I stayed twice. It is very well located, within walking distance to all the major places in the town centre and near the beach at the same time. Just take your own lock.
For a more comfortable experience, I recommend AC Hotel - Marriott Malaga Palacio. The location is excellent and the rooftop terrace offers incredible views of the city and sea, but more about this I will comment below.
Interesting Fact: Antonio Banderas was born in Malaga and still has a house there so he trips back to Malaga frequently.
Top things to see and do in Malaga
The Alcazaba of Malaga - is one of the best well-kept fortresses in Spain. You can take a walk up via it to enjoy the beautiful views on the way up and feel the history of the city. In the beginning part you can walk around for free but to get to the very top you will need to pay an entrance fee.
Once you have reached the top of The Alcazaba of Malaga you will find the Gibralfaro Castle. The history of this castle takes back to the 10th century and is a big part of Malaga's history as it is on the flag of Malaga city and Malaga province. More about both, the castle and fortress, opening hours and ticket prices you can find here: https://www.alcazabamalaga.com/ as there are different parts with different accesses.
Old Town of Malaga is a lovely area full of restaurants offering the best of Spanish cuisine, shops and museums.
Whilst wandering around the old town you won't miss the Cathedral of Malaga. It is an incredible Renaissance architecture masterpiece in the middle of everything. Even if you do not plan to see it, you will eventually pass it. Opening hours and prices you can find here: https://malagacatedral.com/cultural-visit/
Port Area is like a promenade where you can walk on the ground floor or enjoy the views of the port from the first floor. You will also find bars and restaurants there, it is like a social area.
If you are interested in the arts then Picasso Museum is a must-visit! It is an art gallery and a museum of the legendary artist. Pablo Picasso was from Malaga that is why he has a special museum in Malaga for him. To find out about exhibitions during your visit see here: https://www.museopicassomalaga.org/en.
Malaga offers really long beaches. The whole city is by the coastline so if you have booked a hotel near the beach you can easily walk there. You will find many beach bars offering sunbeds, food and drinks.
The main street Larios is absolutely beautiful, covered with tiles, you actually have the feeling that you are walking indoors. It is full of shops and is the beginning and the main entrance for the old town. This street is famous in Andalusia as it hosts one of the biggest Christmas light show gatherings, people from all over Andalusia come to see it.
You can definitely enjoy shopping on the mail street Larios, but if you want proper shopping then I would suggest you to go to big shopping malls outside of the centre.
The best viewpoints in Malaga
One of my favourite things to do in Malaga is to discover new peaks of the city. Every top has its own magic and vibe allowing us to see Malaga city from a different perspective.
Mirador de Gibralfaro. It is a lookout place at the top of Castillo Gibralfaro, the part of The Alcazaba of Malaga. It is quite a walk up but definitely worth it! The way how it is situated you can see the whole city, it offers a 360-degree view! As I mentioned before you will need to pay an entrance fee to get there. There are a few lookout points on your way up, still in the free zone.
Not all tops in Malaga are reachable by walking. Another must-do in Malaga is to have a ride on the big Malaga ferris wheel, Mirador Princess. It is situated between the port and the city centre so you can’t miss it, only be ready to spend around 8 Euros per person to enjoy this ride.
My favourite top in Malaga is definitely the rooftop terrace of the AC Hotel - Marriott Malaga Palacio. The views are just breathtaking, the atmosphere superchilled and the drinks are always high quality. The prices are not the lowest, but they are definitely not overpriced for what you get. I recommend my favourite Spanish drink – Tinto de Verano, which is a red wine based sweet drink, not too strong.
Malaga like any other place in Spain will offer you the traditional dishes of Spain, like churros for breakfast and a selection of tapas for lunch, but Malaga like any other place in Spain will have its own special dishes. Here are the top 3 dishes very specific to Malaga.
Malagueño Gazpacho - Gazpacho, in general, is a cold soup, traditional food in Spain and usually, it is red as tomatoes are a usual ingredient, but Malaga has its own special 'Gazpacho Malagueño', which is simply potatoes, salt, vinegar and fish, moreover, it is a hot dish! However these days, people tend to add more variety of seafood to the soup like langoustines and clams.
*People living in Malaga or those from Malaga refer to themselves as Malagueños.
Plato De Los Montes De Malaga - A mixed dish, usually consisting of potatoes, meat, roasted vegetables and chorizo or other Spanish delicacies. The direct translation of this dish is 'Dish of the mountains of Malaga' so that is why it is heavier than other Malaga traditional dishes.
Tarta Malagueña - and for the dessert, I have to mention the cake of Malaga which is made from almonds and special Malaga wine.
Any coastal city in Spain always offers really good quality fresh fish and seafood. Malaga is no exception. You will find many wonderful beach bars on the beach offering 'catch of the day' and other seafood dishes.
Day trips from Malaga
As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, Malaga has a great infrastructure in place and by train or bus, you can literally get anywhere in Spain, even Barcelona! So if you have enough time to visit some nearby cities I definitely recommend these 3:
Nerja is just a 30min drive away and is my personal favourite spot on this side of the coast. It is a lovely beach town popular among locals as a summer holiday destination. It simply has a very nice vibe and Burriana beach is just the perfect summer chill spot offering many beach bars, kayak and sup rentals and beautiful views. More about Nerja watch below.
Caminito del Rey
Caminito del Rey is a really fun trail alongside a gorge. More about it read here: https://www.alikitravelblog.com/post/caminito-del-rey-walking-along-steep-walls-of-a-narrow-gorge
Ronda will simply take your breath away. It is an absolutely lovely, beautiful little city just a 40min drive away from Malaga that many people choose as a day trip. Wine tours are popular activity to try there. More about places to see and things to do in Ronda check out in the video below.
To all 3 above places you can easily get by train, but or driving yourself, but there are also many tour agencies that organize day trips to Ronda and Camenity del Rey, Nerja I more recommend for 2 or 3 days as a beach holiday destination.
I have been to Malaga several times and I will definitely return there again and again as Malaga is the main airport I travel from and I just love using the occasion and staying around Malaga for a little bit more.