The Birthplace of Pablo Picasso
Once more returning this beautiful city in southern Spain, which not only gives us the chance to enjoy the city another time and complete the sights we did not see the previous times, but also for enjoying some nice time with our friends from there, and visiting other nearby cities. There is so much you can do in the nearby region than returning to Malaga has become more like a yearly tradition. And what’s best, this won’t be the last time; more for sure to come and especially taking advantage of the low season months where you can grab great flight fares here.
This is also a good chance for revamping this guide about the city that was in fact pretty old and vague since I created back some years ago. I cannot believe how quickly the time have passed anyway. And ever since I started with my travel guides blog project in 2011, I am very proud that I can continue to share with you all and absolutely for free the hundreds of guides already in place.
Malaga is for the great majority of tourists, the entry point to their beach holidays along the southern coast of Spain. After all, this is one of the warmest and sunnier places in Spain, with hundreds of kilometres of sandy beaches along the Mediterranean coast. However, the city is way more than just beach and it’s a great starting point for visiting the world renown cities of Granada with it’s Alhambra, or Cordoba home to the Great Mosque-Cathedral, that you can generally do in day tour, as the many millions of tourists that visit this region do.
As for the city itself, it is one of the largest in Spain with a big and beautiful old town having plenty of historic sights located around the Alcazaba and Gibralfaro hills, and along Larios Street, the main thoroughfare at the elegant heart of the city. There are 2 castles and a large and well preserved Roman theatre, all within a short walk from the Cathedral and old town which has been entirely recently revamped and restored, with majority of the streets now pedestrianised. A day is well more than enough to enjoy every sight in Malaga, and this is how we’ve been doing the previous times where we usually spend a day in the city with our friends, and the following day we use for visiting other great cities and places such as Granada, Cordoba, Ronda and the coastal villages.
Elsewhere outside the main core of the city, the residential areas are simply boring with nothing else to see and do. Many apartment blocks with tasteless design, even the ones aligning the city’s main beach, La Malagueta. But for the beach seekers, Malaga city is not the best spot to be honest, the beautiful countless beaches are nearby at the small historic fishing villages, or along the posh resorts attracting the rich and famous such as Marbella and Puerto Banus.
With regards to food, a restaurant/bar serving “Menu del Dia” will not be too far from wherever you are. But you must remember they stop serving food at around 15.00pm, if not earlier, and they are very likely to close after lunch service for some hours break. They will reopen towards the evening, but will not serve anymore the day menu. The price for these menus is very competitive and likely to be around 10 Euros in general. It does include a starter, a main course, dessert, bread and a drink (it can be even wine or beer). If I may suggest, try to avoid any fast food place while you are in general, anywhere in Spain, and enjoy some nice traditional food instead, it is likely to be even cheaper than a McDonalds menu.
For more information about Malaga check Wikipedia and Wikitravel sites. Spain’s currency is the Euro (EUR). Please note that any price reference is true as from when this guide was created, therefore check prices in advance as with the time they change.
What to see and do in Malaga
- East and south of the old city Where you will find some of the most impressive landmarks, both castles; the Roman theatre, beach and promenade by the port.
-La Malagueta Beach The main beach in the city. Do not expect a beautiful beach like the ones located few kilometers away. During the summer months it is also absolutely packed with people.
-La Malagueta Bullring Although not so impressive as in other Spanish cities (like the grandeur of Seville or the enormous in Madrid), it is best viewed from the Gibralfaro Castle.
-Gibralfaro Castle This Moorish castle is located higher above the Alcazaba Castle. Open from 09.30am to 19.00pm. Admission fee of 2.10 Euros or 0.60 Euros for students. It’s walls are almost entirely complete and perfectly restored, although the buildings inside are not so impressive. From here you will get the best views of the whole the city and the Mediterranean Sea.
-Alcazaba One of the most fascinating sights in Malaga, the 11th century Moorish castle, the best preserved of its kind in Spain. Right above the Roman Theatre by the same hill, it has beautiful landscaped gardens and buildings of traditional Almohad architecture. Open from 09.30am to 19.00pm, admission 2.10 Euros or 0.60 Euros for students.
-Roman Theatre Just below the Alcazaba Hill and the historic old town at the other side of the square. It’s one of many in the Iberian Peninsula, but very well preserved. Free admission.
-Paseo Parque This tree-lined promenade runs from La Malagueta Bullring at the east to Plaza de la Marina at its western end, having at one side the port, and at the other gardens by the slopes of the Alcazaba Hill.
-Pompidou Centre At the eastern corner of Paseo Parque and the Port, is the museum for modern art.
-Town Hall One of the finest buildings along the promenade, in a beautiful settlement by the gardens with palms and the Alcazaba farther above in the hill.
-Bank of Spain Next to the Town Hall, one of the major local headquarters of the bank.
-University Rectorate The next of the beautiful row of buildings in the Paseo Parque.
-Museum of Malaga At the western end of the Paseo, house in an elegant palace.
-Marina Square This is one of the most elegant places in the city at the confluence of Paseo Parque with Alameda Principal, and Calle Larios, the main pedestrian shopping street heading north towards the old town heart, Plaza de la Constitucion.
-Alameda Principal Following Paseo Parque is the next major tree-lined thoroughfare completely surrounded by elegant architecture. It reaches its end at Tetuan Bridge that crosses the Guadalmedina Bridge, to the new town.
- Old Town Malaga retains a medium-sized beautiful historic quarter worth every street, more even it’s been recently revamped with many more streets now completely pedestrianised.
-Cathedral of the Incarnation Open from 10:00am to 17:30pm. 5 Euros entrance. Located in the very centre of the old town, was built between 1528 and 1782 in Renaissance style with a main facade in the Baroque style. It has a tower of 84 meters height, making it the second highest cathedral in Andalusia. The south tower was never finished and it’s the reason why the cathedral receives the nickname of “La Manquita” (The One-Armed Lady).
-Bishop’s Square Right at the front of the Cathedral, with the Bishop’s Palace at one of the corners.
-Larios Street One of the main thoroughfares aligned with beautiful buildings. Its southern end is at the intersection with Paseo Parque/Alameda Principal at Marina Square, and heads north towards the Constitution Square.
-Constitution Square The main square within the historic old town, completely surrounded with beautiful architecture.
-Granada Street The continuation of Larios Street after Constitution Square heading northeast to the Jewish Quarter next to the Roman Theatre.
-Museo Birthplace of Picasso Open from 09.30am to 20.00pm. 1 Euro entrance. Located at the Jewish Quarter, with an entrance next to Granada Street and the opposite end facing the Roman Theatre.
Malaga International airport is the 4th largest in Spain in number of yearly passengers, and being such and important touristy city for sun-seekers, there is a vast choice of airlines and destinations served. Pretty much any airline within Europe has as one of their routes Malaga, this including especially any low cost carrier. Finding a good fare is rarely hard, however during the summer months you can forget about it. High season is serious in this part of Spain, and unless you are willing to fly at random odd days, a weekend trip can easily be as expensive as a flight to Dubai at over £300.
From the airport there are frequent trains ans buses towards the city centre. The train is the cheapest option at just 1.80 Euros per way. The train station is opposite the arrivals of Terminal 3, with frequencies of every 20 minutes during the day taking just 12 minutes to the train station. The other option is the Bus A, stopping at all terminals and along its way in Alameda Principal, Paseo del Parque and the main bus station next door to the train station costing 3 Euros per way.
Within the city, everywhere around the old town and both castle hills where majority of the sights are is extremely compact and as such, there is absolutely no need for taking any public transportation. It is of a great help to reach the Gibralfaro Castle if you’re having a rental car, but still it’s an easy climb. The Alcazaba on the other hand, sits nearer the city and it’s a shorter walk just behind the Roman Theatre.
Should you need any public transportation as if you accommodation would be farther from the city centre or if you would like to reach other areas of the city, there is a great network of urban buses, and an ongoing construction and extension of the metro.
There is a massive choice of hotels in this city, of any kind and any size, however prices either in low or high season are still much higher than expectations, unfortunately. It is very hard to find a good deal at a nice place, unless you are OK in lowering your comfort and quality standards. A good and reasonable point to start your search is by checking some of our preferred affiliate hotel search engine such as Hotels.com, Booking.com, Expedia, Otel.com, Agoda, Opodo, LateRooms, Ebookers or TUI.
From year 2013 I cannot recall which hotel we stayed so I cannot comment on that, however, from our stay back in November 2015 I keep the record. We stayed at the Tryp Malaga Alameda Hotel, in Avenida de la Aurora 25. From location was great, west of the old town yet along the main avenue heading towards Plaza de la Marina in an easy short walk. The hotel sits above the Larios Centro Shopping Centre, so you have plenty of choice for shopping and restaurants, and plenty of parking if you have a rental car. It was a nice stay, with friendly staff and very comfortable and quiet bedroom, and one of the very few that had breakfast included in the rate. Not the cheapest though, but good value for money for sure when comparing against other 4* properties.