From beautiful beaches to beautiful architecture, Malaga’s to-do list is as abundant as its scorching sunny days. It’s a city with a laid back vibe, so much so, it doesn’t like to shout about all the wonderful things there are to do. So what is there to do in Malaga? Consider this list your quick reference guide of what to do in Malaga. You’ll find great art, serene parks, performing arts, and so much more. Below, our list of the very best things to do on your break to Malaga.
(Given the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the hours and accessibility of many places are fluid and subject to change. We highly recommend that you contact directly for updated safety guidelines and hours of operation before visiting.)
Whilst it hasn’t got the worldwide reputation of the likes of Barcelona’s La Sagrada Família, Malaga Cathedral does not disappoint. The cathedral of Encarnación is a major landmark of the town. Both the main façade and the south tower have not been completed. They are both located in the historic centre of the town. The building stands where a mosque-Moorish quarter once stood. The construction began in the 16th century, ordered by the Catholic Monarchs, and continued throughout the 17th and 18th centuries.
A magnificent courtyard and gardens surround it. The interior of the cathedral has Renaissance and Baroque influences. Most noteworthy are the choir stalls (17th century) in the central nave and, especially, the sculptural works of Pedro de Mena. The chapels are also very interesting, such as that of the Encarnación, which gives the cathedral its name.
You have certainly heard of Picasso, but after a visit to the Picasso Museum, you will feel as though you know him too. The Palacio de Buenavista houses the Collection of Museo Picasso Málaga. It is located in the heart of the old city, and the building is a magnificent example of 16th-century Andalusian architecture with its characteristic mixture of Renaissance and Mudéjar elements. Tickets from 7 euros.
If you’re a foodie, one thing you should definitely do is to stroll through the Atarazanas food market. The actual building itself is an attraction, but of course the also mouth-watering local seasonal goodies and the lively market sellers, selling them. All of your senses will come alive, especially your nose and taste as you relish in all of the gourmet market tasty offerings.
The Alcazaba of Málaga is one of the most beautiful attractions that you can visit in Malaga. Take your time exploring this stunning Muslim Palace, its fortress, gardens and decorated backyards.
The best way to explore is via a guided tour, this way you can get a deep understanding of its art, history, architecture and discover its hidden legends and curiosities that make this place so special. A paid private tour is a great way to do the Alcazaba, but don’t despair if you’re on a tight budget. Malaga offers a free walking tour.
The Historic Botanical Garden of La Concepcion is an English landscape garden with more than 150 years of history. Located at the northern entrance of the city, and is one of the only gardens with subtropical climate plants in the whole of europe.
Boasting over fifty thousand plants, of two thousand tropical, subtropical and autochthonous species, highlighting the collection with more than a hundred different species of palms, bamboos, aquatic plants and its historic garden. It originated as a recreational spot for a family of the upper middle class, but it is now loved by all who take the time to visit.
They have limited hours where a visit is completely free on Sundays, but otherwise the entry fee is only (a well worth it) 5,20 euros.
The Museum of Malaga is located in the beautiful Palacio de Aduana. It is an archeological and historical museum and houses over 17 000 exhibits. The permanent exhibition brings together art and archeology since the Museum has joined Provincial Museum of Fine Arts and Provincial Archeological Museum.
In the Malaga museum you can see the remains of civilizations that have followed one another here (the Phoenicians, Romans, Visigoths and Muslims). Additionally, the last floor is a collection of paintings of the XIX and XX century.
Malaga’s Museum is the biggest museum in Andalusia and the fifth biggest in Spain.
Baños del Carmen, an old tennis club, has a restaurant with a huge terrace that is the closest to the water in all of Malaga. Go onto the roof to the bar – here you’ll enjoy drinks while looking out to the majestic ocean. If you are visiting Malaga as a couple, this might just be the romantic highlight of your trip. You will need to book ahead, it gets extremely busy.
You won’t find any zoos or aquariums on this list, as we are against animal cruelty, but you must make a visit to ARCH Rescue Centre, just outside Málaga. ARCH was founded in 2009 by a small group of horse lovers, all of whom had experience working with rescued animals. Rather than follow in the footsteps of so many charitable organisations who take on far too many rescued animals – reducing their capacity to provide each case with maximum support – with our limited resources we chose to take on fewer cases ensuring each animal receives the attention they require.
They do amazing work so make sure you either make a small donation or buy something from their charity shop. You can only visit on Sundays between 0900-1400
Malaga centre is great for shopping as you can walk between the main shopping hubs easily. To spend a few hours shopping we recommend starting on Calle Larios, meandering off to some of the many side streets. Here you will find more independent retailers and unique wares. After that, head to the main shopping mall of Malaga, Larios. Larios Centro is probably the most popular shopping centre in Málaga when city centre is considered. Over 150 stores reside on its 2 floors. Arguably Larios’ busiest store is Primark. There are plenty of places to stop and grab some lunch in Larios too.
Ask a Malagueño what their favourite church in Malaga is, and they are likely to say Santuario de la Victoria. The Basilica is located in the exact location where the Catholic Monarchs camped during the siege of Málaga during the Reconquest. It was originally a chapel and the church was built in the early 16th century. Then it was demolished due to being in a poor condition, but rebuilt in 1700. The tower-shrine, a key piece of Spanish Baroque, was one of the first to be built in the country along similar lines to the one at Guadalupe. The beauty of this place is on the inside, so make sure that you enter!
La Malagueta beach, favoured by Malaga locals, is probably the most famous beach in Malaga centre.
The beach can be found between the Port of Málaga and La Caleta beach. It’s 1,200 metres long and has an average width of 45 metres. It has a palm tree-lined seafront promenade where you will find several high quality restaurants / chiringuitos. This urban beach is a mere ten minutes from the city centre, the residential area surrounding it is the most expensive to live in Malaga.
There’s plenty of offerings close by, as well as services like sunbed and beach umbrella rentals and sailing equipment. The beach has a kids play area so it is perfect for a chilled family day out.
Malaga is certainly a destination in its own right, but it’s also well worth popping to one of the nearby beach towns for a change in pace and vibe. They all offer something different, so do a bit of research to which one will suit your needs. If it’s your first visit to Malaga and the Costa Del Sol, we would recommend trying them in this order. Torremolinos, Marbella, Fuengirola, El Palo, Benalmadena, Nerja.
If you don’t speak Spanish, then you might not have considered experiencing a night at the theatre for your visit to Malaga. But Teatro Cervantes has such a varied program of events and there may be something on that you can enjoy without the language barrier. Think Tango show, opera or visiting musicians. The 19th-century venue is stunning and that makes witnessing any performance their super special.
Hop aboard a spacious catamaran in Málaga and begin your sailing adventure. Admire the Alboran Sea at sunset as you glide across the waves. Take in the views of Malaga’s skyline as the lights come on. Enhance your experience with a glass of cava as you share this moment with someone you love.
Add a touch of magic to your evening with the option to include a romantic light show and music while you drift over the tranquil waters of the Mediterranean.
Experience the deep relaxation of a traditional Hammam with this 90-minute session at the Hammam Al-Andalus in Malaga. Step into the warm, cold, and hot baths, enjoy a relaxing sit in the steam room, or sip a delicious mint tea in the lounge.
Truely a restful place for hot & cold baths surrounded by elegant arabesque architecture. This is very rarely available for walk-in we highly recommend making a booking
Always wanted to learn to climb? Now you can iin Malaga at Space Block climbing. This is for those spending more time in Malaga, as the package is for 4 x 2 hours sessions (costing 100 euros). An intensive and practical introduction to sport and bouldering. With this course you acquire the basic knowledge to climb independently.
What you will learn…
This interactive museum allows you to connect with the museum and discover musical instruments from all over the globe! Whilst at the Museo de Malaga they chase you out with a stick if you dare to touch anything, here “touching”, well playing, is highly encouraged.
The MIMMA really makes for a fun day out with families, but grown folk will love it too. If you are travelling with a person who “doesn’t do” museums, but you love them, this could be the one to please you both. They have regular events and exciting exhibitions – check out their website to see what is currently on. Can be visited as part of the Malaga hop on hop off bus route.
A branch of the famous Paris contemporary art museum, displaying works in modern digs with a glass cube. You can either just stop by to take an instagram worthy photo outside, or pay around 9 euros to enter and visit one of the modern exhibitions.
We recommend purchasing a skip the queue ticket.
A super sized flea market hosted in Malaga each and every Sunday. Expect wide ranges of delicious fruit and vegetables alongside retro and previously loved clothes stalls. Whilst Malaga is not known for needing to haggle, here you can put that to one side and practice those bargaining skills. It is fun to have a slow meander around the market and see what bargains you can find.
An elegant setting where you can enjoy a large selection of drinks and spirits or sample its famous afternoon tea menu. Covered by a spectacular glass window and located in the heart of the hotel, this space with historical decoration and fine materials has become the city’s social and cultural hub.
Unfortunately afternoon tea at the Grand Hotel Miramar is reserved for hotel guests. Rooms can be found from £100 per person per night in winter months.