Malaga is a city that is often overlooked by tourists. Although millions and millions of tourists arrive in Malaga International airport, Malaga itself is more of a transit point, people tend to pass through on their way to the Costa del Sol’s more popular destinations.
It’s a shame, as the city of Malaga is a beautiful, very Spanish and a very traditional city. It offers some unbeatable things to do. Here are ten, handpicked and free things to do in Malaga.
For an updated list of personal family favourites, please see our Top 10 free and natural places to visit near Malaga with children.
Malaga’s central market dates back to the 14th century. Originally built by the Moors as a ship builder’s yard – Atarazanas – in Arabic can be loosely translated as such.
Despite its fascinating history, the market is a great place to go for all kinds of local produce. Olives, oils, fish, seasonal fruit and vegetables. It really is a feast for the senses.
Open from Monday through to Saturdays (closed on Sundays) from 0800hrs until 1400hrs.
For more information on Malaga’s central market and for the best stalls in Malaga’s Atarazanas
The Picasso Museum
Malaga’s most famous artist and most renowned museum. The last Sunday of every month, the entrance is free to Malaga’s Picasso Museum.
The museum has recently extended its collection and now offers 233 works of art. No trip to Malaga is complete without a visit.
Malaga’s Centre for Contemporary Art
Malaga’s centre for contemporary art (known as CAC) houses a fantastic collection of 20th and 21st century art.
Featuring artists such as Damian Hirst, Louise Bourgeois, Olafur Eliasson and various Andalusian artists. The museum promises not to disappoint. Entry is free.
For more information on Malaga’s centre for Contemporary Art
Alcazaba and Castillo de Gibralfaro
Entry is free on Sunday afternoons to both the Alcazaba and Gibralfaro castle. Without a doubt Malaga’s most famous landmarks, they should be high on anyone’s to do list.
A walk through the eucalyptus trees and carefully landscaped gardens to the top is highly recommended. The views are quite simply, the best Malaga has to offer.
Parador de Malaga Gibralfaro
The best view in Malaga. The same one you would get from the top of the Gibralfaro Castle. This is a far easier alternative with no walking whatsoever.
You can sit on the terrace of the Parador Hotel, having a drink and watching the sun set over Malaga.
Montes de Malaga
Malaga’s lung. The Montes de Malaga are well worth the effort. Situated only a few kilometres from the centre of Malaga, it really feels as if you are a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Numerous hiking trails, picnic spots and traditional ‘ventas’ (restaurants) are the order of the day and the best place to try one of the traditional ‘plato de los montes’.
El Tintero, El Palo
Ok – its a restaurant, so not free if you want to eat or drink. But the atmosphere is like no other.
Situated just outside of Malaga – in an area called El Palo, El Tintero is a very popular and a very different place to eat.
Located right on the beach, speaking/reading the menu or even ‘ordering’ is not necessary. The food is brought to you. You just point at the plates as they pass by.
Outstanding food at responsible prices. Officially known as Tintero Dos (two) there’s a Tintero Uno (one) in the mountains that specialises in meat. This one is predominately fish and salads.
Bodega-Bar El Pimpi
Image credit @flickr marcopolo
Bodega-bar El Pimpi is one of Malaga’s most renowed tapas bars. Situated in the heart of Malaga’s historical centre, you couldn’t hope for a better location.
The bar consists of a series of interior patios. With vines and plants growing everywhere and great tapas to boot. Go – you won’t be disappointed.
Image credit @flickr Javier Rey el de Málaga
The centre of Malaga is awash with picturesque squares and parks. They provide welcome relief from the sun and are a great way to spend a few minutes catching your breath between shopping trips.
The Paseo de los Curas is a beautiful walk through Malaga’s botanical gardens, stretching along the seafront from the Alameda Principal. Tropical, well maintained gardens, fountains and the scent of orange blossom, all add to the experience.
For more information on Paseo de los Curas and parque de Malaga
Image credit @flickr Carlos Cesar Alvarez
No list would be complete without a mention of Malaga’s beaches. There are several to choose from.
Amongst the most popular are Playa Las Acacias, Playa de la Malagueta and Playa de la Misericordia. All offer ample facilities, with children’s parks, numerous restaurants and beach bars.
For those who want to venture further afield, the beaches around Pedregalejo are recommended. One of Malaga’s oldest fishing ‘Barrios’ it offers a wealth of coves and beaches, with plenty of entertainment for all the family.