5 Awesome Things to do in Malaga April 10, 2019 · 10 min. readWhile the thoughts and opinions are my own, this article was brought to you by a third party. Also, this article may contain affiliate links.
Steeped in history dating back to the Phoenicians, Malaga, Spain has always been a trading post for the countries of the Mediterranean Sea. Both the Greeks and Carthaginians settled the area, with the Romans finally creating the first municipality. Originally, Malaga thrived on the export of meat, salted fish, olive oil and raisins.
When the Roman Empire fell, the Visigoths arrived and ruled the city until the Moors established their Caliphate somewhere between 714AD and 716AD. They continued to use Malaga to not only export foodstuffs but also products from a burgeoning textile industry.
After 100 years, the Christian armies finally managed to capture the city in 1487 and together with Cadiz, Malaga became an important port for Spain's conquests in the America's.
Today, Malaga has been given a Renaissance thanks to the redevelopment of its port, which now welcomes over half a million cruise ship passengers per year.
Malaga is an up-and-coming city and, like the rest of the Costa del Sol, has the best year-round weather anywhere in Europe.
Unfortunately, most holidaymakers are coming to Spain for sun, sea and sangria, and Malaga is merely the place they disembark and board an aircraft. For those more adventurous travellers, we have put together a list of 5 awesome things to do in Malaga.
1. Rent a bicycle by the Mediterranean
While not as bike-friendly as Copenhagen, The City Council in Malaga has gone out of its way to create a city where you can get around easily by bicycle. As the city is relatively flat, you will have no problem navigating the 29-kilometres of bike lanes.
While some roads in the historic centre are too narrow for bike lanes, getting there from the port or seafront promenade is no problem. From the seafront, you can cycle east to one of Europe's best botanical gardens or west to the Guadalhorce River Nature Reserve close to Malaga airport.
Like most city's in Europe, Malaga has a program that allows you to pick up a bike in one place and drop it off in another. While we like the idea, we prefer to use a bike rental company, as their bikes are of better quality and it works out cheaper to pay a daily or half daily rate.
3. Enjoy the Picasso Museum
The famous Spanish artist Pablo Picasso was born in Malaga and no visit to the city would be complete without visiting the Picasso Museum.
Housed in a Renaissance style building, the Picasso museum features over 200 of the artist's works representing every phase and style of painting that he is famous for.
The museum opens at 10am and closes at either 7pm or 8pm depending on the time of year.
Ticket prices start at 8€ with discounts for children, students and seniors.
4. Step back in time at the Roman Theatre, Gibralfaro Castle and the Alcazaba
One of Malaga's main attractions, this trio of historic buildings allows you to imagine how Malaga developed over the centuries. Start your walk in the Roman Theatre, built by Emperor Augustus in the first century BC.
Built by the Moors during their 700-year rule, the Alcazaba is the best preserved Moorish fortress in all of Spain despite having to play second fiddle to Granada's Alhambra.
Constructed between 1057 and 1063 under the orders of Badis ibn Habus, the ruler of Granada many of the building materials used came from the close by Roman Theatre.
Meaning "citadel" in Arabic, the characteristics of the palace are not only defensive but combine light, shade, water and a sewage system. All this is proof that the Moors had a high level of civilisation during the period of Islamic rule. With many attractive water features in the garden square under the shade of orange trees, you'll think you've found a spot of lush paradise.
Today the Alcazaba remains the best preserved Moorish fortress in all of Spain despite having to play second fiddle to Granada's Alhambra.
Sitting on top of a hill overlooking the city and port, the Gibralfaro Castle was built in the 10th century and is famous for its siege by the Christian armies who only managed to take the castle when its Moor defenders ran out of food and water. Today the Gibralfaro is a wonderful place to go if only for the spectacular views of the city and port below.
Ask any Malagueño what's the one thing you should see while in Malaga and they will no doubt say their beautiful cathedral. Built on the site of a former mosque, as was the practice in the 15th century, the cathedral lacks a south tower with legend saying that the money for the tower and completion of the cathedral was given to the American Colonists during the Revolutionary War. This domineering structure proudly stands 286 feet tall.
When visiting the cathedral be sure to look closely at the intricate details sculptured on the figures within the choir stall. It is said that some of the most venerated craftsmanship of its time remains for all to peruse today.
5. Pier 1 and El Palo Beach
With only 5 awesome things to do in Malaga we had to cram two things together, as both things we consider to be a part of the Malaga experience.
Pier 1 is the name given to the commercial and social space around Malaga's redeveloped port and is home to the "Cube", a part of the Centre Pompidou and its impressive collection of modern art. Pier 1 is also home to countless name brand fashion outlets and a number of trendy eateries that include the recently opened Hard Rock Malaga.
El Pala beach is where the Malagueño's go to play and relax next to the shimmering blue Mediterranean Sea and is the place where you will find the city's iconic grilled sardines cooked on bamboo skewers over an open fire.
Getting to Malaga from the Airport
Unlike many airports in the world, Malaga International Airport (AGP) is located just 8 kilometres from the city centre. Getting to Malaga is easier than ever with a variety of different options.
The Linea-A airport-city bus runs on a loop 24 hours a day, connecting Malaga to the airport and costs only 3€ which is payable to the driver. The journey into town takes around 20 minutes, depending on the time of day and makes 10 stops at important points that include the rail and bus stations. There is a train that will get you directly from the airport to the centre in minutes. Taxis are conveniently situated just outside the Malaga airport departures lounge.
Malaga has to be one of the most fascinating areas to visit when exploring the South of Spain. The climate here is said to rival the Canary Islands and boasts 320 sunshine filled days a year on average. Malaga attracts many millions of visitors a year and has also been a magnet for the rich and famous. Malaga's appeal was evident from the days when Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant were seen chatting over breakfast in the Malaga province. Then in modern day, Malaga born Antonio Banderas has chosen to keep his home situated right in the centre of the city.
Malaga sure has much to offer, and with its countless galleries, parks, museums, ancient buildings and 'social squares', you'll never run out of exciting things to see and do on your trip.
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