Considering a trip to Costa del Sol? Málaga is not to be missed. It has the third-largest airport in Spain making it well connected to Europe and the world. The weather is absolutely amazing and the location is perfect because from Málaga you can easily visit other Andalusian cities! I’ve visited Málaga twice now and stayed an entire month during my first visit. During my stay, I got to see a lot of the city including the must-dos and some hidden gems. Get ready as I give you a list of some of the best things to do in Málaga, Spain.
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1. Sample local wines at Antigua Casa de Guardia
The Antigua Casa de Guardia is Málaga’s oldest winery and tavern. Founded in 1840, this tavern still has that old-time charm. Sample a variety of local wines and snack on tapas at this traditional place is worth a stop for any time who likes wine or vermouth. This is definitely one of the best places to drink in Málaga.
2. Visit the Alcazaba de Málaga
The Alcazaba of Málaga is a citadel dating back to the 11th-century Moorish period. It is the most well-preserved Alcazaba in Spain and a must-see when in Málaga. Located just above the Roman amphitheater and below the Gibralfaro Castle on a hill, the views from the Alcazaba are incredible. It’s where you can overlook the city, see the cathedral, sea, and pier, all in one place. Of all the things to do in Málaga, visiting the Alcazaba is a must.
3. Go to the Gilralfaro Viewpoint
Looking for the best viewpoint in Málaga? Head to the Gibralfaro Viewpoint at the Gibralfaro Castle! Go during golden hour and stay for the sunset. The view of the city changes as the sun goes down and the lights sparkle throughout the city. You’ll see a clear shot of the ferris wheel and the Plaza de Toros, where different events take place including bull-fighting (controversial but yes, it still happens here in Málaga).
4. Take a Walk around Muelle Uno
Muelle Uno (Pier One), is a waterfront open-air plaza with shops, restaurants, and bars. Watch the ferries come in or fancy yachts dock for the day. Muelle Uno is fairly new and very contemporary. Whether it’s day or night there’s always something to see or do!
5. Go to the Beach!
There are many beaches in Málaga and many more outside the city. If you’re looking for a place to enjoy the sun that isn’t far from the city center then check out the following beaches in Málaga:
There are plenty of beaches to go to in the capital is Costa del Sol. Malagueta is popular because it’s located close to the center. It’s a bit crowded during the summer but still a fine beach to go to if you don’t want to trek out too far.
Pedregalejo is a bit further out, but smaller and less crowded. Marvel at the charming beachfront homes and eat at one of the cute restaurants. Make it a day of it and grab some lunch, get some sun or swim then get some dinner and watch the sunset.
6. Indulge in Food and Drinks
Eat & drink at:
Enjoy tapas and drinks at La Tranca. It gets pretty lively during the evening hours with the music blaring. Expect a crowd and a great time!
A Málaga favorite, this popular restaurant is always busy serving up wine and tapas to tourists and locals alike. Come in for food and to check out the decor. Or sit outside and have a view of the Alcazaba.
Taberna Cofrade Las Merchanas
Need a quick bite and drink? Stop by Taberna Cofrade Las Merchanas and check out the quirky religious iconography decor. This no-frills gem is causal and located off the main walking streets.
Cortijo de Pepe
Looking for an amazing selection of tapas? Check to Cortijo de Pepe! Sit at the bar, order a caña of beer, and pick out what tapas you like. The selection of meats and seafood is extraordinary but there are also veggie options available!
If you love Mediterranean dish be sure to stop by Madeinterranea. Lots of delicious tapas to choose from and a fine selection of seafood and more!
La Terraza De La Alcazaba
Want to enjoy a drink with a view? La Terraza De La Alcazaba is where it’s at. This outdoor bar has an amazing view of the Alcazaba and is a wonderful stop during the day or at night. Expect a lively nighttime crowd but for a more peaceful setting stop by during the day.
This fun bar is small in size but draws in a good crowd each night. There are some tables for outdoor seating or you can grab a seat at the bar. This bar has a great beer selection and on certain nights there is a live DJ set.
7. Take a Day Trip to a Nearby City
Nerja & Frigiliana
A visit to both Nerja and Frigiliana is an easy day trip although you can spend more than a day at each. Nerja is an easy bus ride from Málaga, it takes about an hour with a direct bus that has only 2 stops in between. Explore the “Balcon de Europa,” the beach, and the enchanting cobblestone streets of the city.
After a few hours of exploring Nerja, take a bus or taxi to Frigiliana, a “pueblo blanco” (white town) of Spain. This town is known for its white painted house and colorful doors.
Another one of Spain’s “pueblo blancos” is Mijas, a small town located about a 40-minute drive from Málaga. Located on a hill with a view of the ocean, this picturesque town is just as charming as Frigiliana but with a lot fewer tourists, a must-see if you’re looking for a hidden gem.
If there are only a couple of smaller towns you get to visit in the south of Spain, Córdoba should be one of them. Marvel at the architecture of La Mezquita, a mosque turned Catholic cathedral with stunning Moorish architecture. It’s about an hour train ride from Málaga so while it’s not as close as Nerja or Mijas it can still be explored in less than a day. But at the same time, there is plenty to do so it can be an overnight trip.
A popular day trip from Málaga is Ronda. Hope on a train and in less than two hours you’ll arrive at this historic town, set on a deep gorge is stunning. Be sure to check out Puente Nuevo, and if you’re feeling outdoorsy take a hike down for a better view.
Granada and Sevilla
I don’t recommend these cities as a day trip as there is too much to see and cover but it’s a must if you can add 2-3 days to your itinerary. Granada is only a 3-hour bus ride away and Sevilla is a 3-hour ride from Málaga.
8. El Caminito Del Rey
If you’re an adventurous soul, head to El Churro to do the famous El Caminito De Rey hike. It’s known as now of the world’s most dangerous hikes and although it’s not for the faint of heart the recent renovations have made the pathways so much safer. Hiking in a gorge, over a thousand (330 meters) feet above the ground can sound frightening but the experience is exhilarating.
I found that securing a permit was a challenge so I opted to join a tour which included the permit for the hike, transportation to and from Málaga (and other parts of Costa del Sol), and tapas!
9. Visit the Málaga Cathedral Rooftop
Visit the Málaga Cathedral rooftop at golden hour and/or sunset. It’s the perfect time as the city becomes golden and just before it lights up for the night. It was only a few years ago that the cathedral welcomed visitors to its rooftop for the lovely view.
10. Get your Culture on at a Museum
Carmen Thyssen Museum
The Carmen Thyssen museum is a collection of predominantly 19th-century Andalusian art. This is a collection from Carmen Cervera (formerly Carmen Thyssen) herself, a Spanish philanthropist, socialite, and art collector.
*General admission between 2.30 and 4.00 pm is priced at 6€
Free museum days:
May 18th – International Museum Day
Every Sunday after 5pm
This is a popular choice for museum-goers visiting Málaga, after all, it is Picasso’s birthplace. Step inside the 16th-century palace filled with some of the best works of Picasso.
Entrance 12€ (includes both the “new collection” and the temporary exhibition)
Free museum days:
February 28th – Day of Andalusia
May 18th – International Museum Day
September 27th – World Tourism Day
Every Sunday, during the last two opening hours and up to 30 minutes before closing time
CAC (Centro de Arte Contemporaneo)
For the contemporary art fans, CAC is the home to around 400 works which have been loaned by private collectors. It opened in 2003 by her Royal Highness Infanta Cristina an is housed in a former wholesale market building.
11. Eat Ice Cream at Heladería Casa Mira
In my opinion the best ice cream in Málaga! Heladería Casa Mira has a fantastic selection of flavors. The queue can seem intense but it goes rather quickly. Take a look at the flavors to see what you’d like and be ready to give your order. Their menu also includes lactose-free and sugar-free flavors.
12. Party at La Feria de Málaga
Every August, Málaga hosts their annual feria (fair), a 10-day festival that takes over the city. This tradition dates back to the 15th century and is enjoyed by locals and visitors from all over Andalusia and the world. The party starts on a Friday as the night kicks off with fireworks. And the party doesn’t really end until the festival is over, bars and clubs stay open into the wee hours of the morning. There are concerts throughout the city, flamenco dancing all around, and lots and lots of beer and tinto de verano (a refreshing wine-based drink) flowing!
Where to Stay in Málaga
Ready to book your trip to Málaga? Here are some amazing places to stay in the city!
For budget-conscious travelers looking to stay in the city center, I recommend staying at Alcazaba Premium Hostel, located minutes away from the Alcazaba entrance! Just above the hostel is La Terraza De La Alcazaba which of course has this view…
If your budget is moderate consider staying at the highly-rated La Siesta Málaga Guesthouse. Its location is centrally located and within reach from many of the major attractions of Málaga.
For those who want the best of the best, the Gran Hotel Miramar is for you! This hotel feels like a palace. Check out their beautiful rooms and the ocean view. It isn’t in the city center but it is right now the beach so if you’re looking for something quieter this is perfect.
And if you do want to be in the center opt for the AC Hotel Malaga Palacio, a Marriott Lifestyle Hotel. It’s known for its amazing rooftop pool and bar with a killer view.
Or search for a deal here…
Hope you enjoyed my list of things to do in Málaga. Feel free to pin this post for later and enjoy your visit to this wonderful city!