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Must See Malaga – Planning a Holiday in Malaga Spain

Must See Malaga – Planning a Holiday in Malaga Spain

Must See Malaga

Malaga is a city that I return to often. Having recently planned a family holiday in Malaga city I´ve complied the Must See Malaga spots.

I could see that there were many new places to explore and discover.


Getting to Malaga

From Spanish cities, there are high speed rail links from Madrid and Seville with the AVE train network.

With an International Airport, flying into Malaga from Europe is easy.

From the USA and further afield their are good connections too.

Direct flights from Malaga AGP on long haul routes are becoming more common.

Spain Sunset walk Malaga Muelle Uno by piccavey

What to do in Malaga

As well as great shopping, good tapas and city beaches.

Malaga also has plenty of cultural and historic sites to visit too.

Malaga Roman theatre

Roman Theatre

Visiting the Alcazaba and Roman Theatre is a good choice for history and architecture lovers. Enjoy the views over the coastline and port from the Gibralfaro Castle perched directly above Malaga.

To get up there, its pretty steep so you are best to take a taxi or use the Malaga Sightseeing Bus that has a stop there. You can also take the lift up to the Alcazaba and work downwards after your visit. The Alcazaba fortress does not actually connect with the Gibralfaro (also it appears to when you look at them).

The Roman theatre was built at the time of Emperor Augustus and was only discovered in 1951. The Centre of Interpretation is free to visit.

It´s also a nice nightime view. Check out La Casa de la Aduana for a bar with a good view.

Views from Malaga Alcazaba

The Harbour

Muelle Uno is a wonderful place to wander in the evening.  Watch the boats, have an ice cream or have dinner at one of the restaurants there. Opened in 2011 this is a great addition to the city of Malaga. While I was there I ate at three different places in Muelle Uno. Toro which serves Spanish food. They pride themselves on using plenty of Andalusian produce. The fish I ate as a second course, Sea bass was delicious. The service was excellent.

We also tried the greek restaurant Saloniki one evening. Another day we had the menu del día at Lounge bar Plaza. This was great value for money. Delicious food in a lovely setting for 12 euros per person. (midweek lunchtimes only)

Must see Malaga

Malaga City Centre

Packed with tapas bars and plenty of gourmet options for foodies. Over the last few years the number of restaurants has tripled from 200 to almost 600. So plenty to choose from. I went to Cerveceria los gatos in Plaza Uncibay.

This noisy tapas bar prides itself on good meat and hearty raciones. We ate Plato de Feria (a mixed plate piled high with egg, chips, steak and chillis) and Lacon a la gallega smothered in red cayenne pepper.

All delicious, inexpensive and served with solera. They also serve local crisps Paco José made locally are yummy.

Plato Feria Los Gatos Malaga

Tapas in Malaga

While in Malaga I also had dinner in the smart restaurant Reserva 12 in Calle Bolsa. (Cathedral area) Elegant dining at a good price. I must not miss out the Refectorium opposite Malaga Cathedral. They offered great tapas in a modern setting. The service was attentive and slick.

For next time I have El Patio de Beatas and Mesón Cervantes left on the list.

El Pimpi on the Calle Granada (close to Roman Theatre) is a typical restaurant with lots of fried fish and tapas. It is busy at all times but a must see place in Malaga. The walls are covered with photos of famous and notable personalities that have visited over the years.

Museo de artes y costumbres Malaga

Malaga Museums

Another place that I´m sure could do with more visitors is the Museum of Art  & Popular customs. This small building next to the river is not far from Plaza Constitucion. They have 16 rooms with different aspects of spanish life. My favourite room were the 18th century dresses and theatre accesories from the grand Liceum of Malaga.

Malaga Glass Museum

Malaga Glass Museum

Malaga Glass Museum or in Spanish ´El Museo de Cristal y Vidrio´

This museum is tricky to find but well worth seeking out. (Look for Calle Ollerias) The collection is far more than just glass. This private house has beautiful Antique furniture and exquisite period paintings.

A remarkable glass collection gathered by three private collectors. They united their pieces together in this perfect setting.

They have loving restored stained glass windows from several countries. Collected from churches and escaping destruction. Many decorative glass items from designers across the world are on display and explained to the visitor.

The visit is a guided tour, available in several languages. (French, English, Spanish, Japanese..) The guides really know their stuff and often digress into historical anecdotes, providing an entertaining visit. If you love antiques, furniture, interior design you must visit this place.

Malaga Wine Museum Spain

Malaga Wine Museum

This is a great morning activity for foodies and wine enthusiasts. Read more about this from my recent visit Malaga Wine Museum

If you prefer a more modern museum why not head to the fantastic Car Museum and see cars from different centuries.

The Hop on Hop off Bus – Malaga has a stop there making it handy to get to.

Helicron Car Malaga Museum

Andalusian charm

In Malaga there is no doubt that you are in the centre of Andalusia. You will see horses and carriages circling the city. On most street corners almond sellers will offer you a taster. But my highlight are the biznaga sellers. These men dress in typical clothes. White shirt, black trousers and red cummerband. They carry the jasmine scented biznagas through the streets leaving the delicate scent on the air as they pass.

Take one home with you for 3 euros.



Ice Cream at Casa Mira

For traditional Malaga Ice cream stop off at Casa Mira on Calle Larios. They have been in business since 1890. The most popular flavour is Almond Turron. If you prefer to sit and watch the world go by head to Lepanto on Calle Larios.

They also serve ice cream, cakes and coffee.

Casa Mira Malaga Ice Cream

Malaga Cathedral – Must See Malaga

As soon as you enter Malaga you will notice the Catedral. With one tower finished and the other half built, it stands out from the skyline. We were lucky to see the Corpus Christi celebrations.

Malaga Cathedral in Spain

The long procession leaves the Cathedral and winds along the main streets. Each street had an altar set up for the passing of the procession. Traditions are still important here. Easter in Malaga is also a big tradition with the processions throughout Holy Week.

Malaga Altar festival

Cine Albeñiz

While I was in Malaga I went to Cine Albeñiz. This little picture house shows films in different languages. The night I went they had films in french, english and spanish. It was a treat to see a film in english.

It was a joy to stumbleupon across this independent cinema showing good films.

Malaga City Signpost

Picasso Museum

Malaga is the birthplace of Pablo Picasso. Visit the Picasso Birthplace in Plaza del la Merced. You can also visit the Picasso Museum close to the Roman Theatre.

Book Picasso Museum Tickets online ahead of time

Modern art enthusists will love the CAC Malaga which is close to the river

Picasso Museum Malaga

Day trips

With such great transport connections in Malaga you have lots of choice.

Take a day trip to Granada, to the Costa del Sol, Cordoba or Ronda.

Or you could enjoy a beach day in Benalmadena, Fuengirola or Torremolinos.

With short and medium distance bus services and an excellent train network from Malaga you will be spoilt for choice.

Caminito del Rey

For hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, why not venture along the Caminito del Rey?

Book a guided walk through this dramatic gorge to ensure that there is availability. Passes are limited due to the narrow corridor through the rock, to ensure safety for the hikers.

Hike the Caminito del Rey in Malaga – Book now

Calle Larios Malaga at Nightime

Malaga Shopping Area

Shopping in Malaga is one of my pastimes. Wander along the Calle Larios or visit the large Corte Ingles just past the end of the Alameda.

For more ecclectic and unique shops walk around the Thyssen area. Also check out the upcoming Soho area.

On the Cercanias train you can also head over to Plaza Mayor, a large outdoor shopping mall.

Malaga Beach Bar beach in Costa del Sol

If none of these suggestions have convinced you, remember that Malaga has several beaches. Pedregalejo and Malagueta beaches are popular with locals. Some great restaurants and bars are along those stretches of coast.

At Pedragalejo beach try La Galerna for fresh salads and healthy food.

Or the well known La Moraga by Dani Garcia at La Malagueta.

Is there something you would add to the Must see Malaga guide?


This post Must See Malaga contains affiliate links, which means that if you click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. All thoughts, feelings and opinions shared on this blog and in this post are my own.
  1. Catalina says:

    Personally, Malaga is a small and quiet version of Barcelona. The beach, the party, the food, and the culture. It has everything with a cheaper price tag comparing with Barcelona. I really wanna visit it again

  2. Erin says:

    It would be incredible to see the Roman theater and Picasso museum. Will definitely keep Malaga in mind when planning a future trip to Spain!

  3. I just passed through Malaga once but now I wish I’d stayed and seen some of the attractions. The Picasso Museum especially – so sorry I missed it.

  4. sandy Fry says:

    We were in Malaga last week and were worried about the people on electric scooters weaving in and out of the traffic…frightening

    • Molly says:

      Yes they are everywhere….
      it seems that they are beginning to look at regulating them… thank goodness

  5. Laura @Travelocafe says:

    I miss Malaga. I wouldn’t mind to do some house sitting, too.

  6. Laura says:

    Excellent! We’re heading to Malaga in August for house sitting -very excited 🙂

  7. Great article Molly – wish we had known you were in town …. next time!! A few more things for the list! The Museum of Contemporary Arts (CAC) is a definite must, as is the Vintage Car Museum (Museo Automovilistico de Malaga). Opening next year we will also have the Pompidou Centre (from Paris) which will open below the glass cube in the Port (Muelle Uno) and also the St. Petersburg museum of Art will be opening in the lovely old Tobacco factory (taking over the first floor above the Vintage Museum).

    Malaga actually has 15 beaches, my favourite being the beach of Misericordia to the west (some great chill-out chirringuitos there).

    Dani Garcia has not been associated with La Moraga for a couple of years. He now has no presence in Malaga. José carlos Garcia has a Michelin Starred restaurant in the port on Muelle Uno called JCG (and very fine it is too, although comes with a hefty price tag!).

    • Molly says:


      Yes I visited the car museum in 2012 and really enjoyed it (here´s my write up
      There are quite a few things I wanted to visit which I didnt manage to do. I will be off to the Hammam Malaga on my next visit and would like to have seen the English cemetery too.
      I didn´t manage to see the Soho or Thyssen area as much as I would have liked to either.
      Luckily I am only a short drive away!

  8. Paul Murphy says:


    Not sure if this is in the original post but The English Cemetery in Malaga is a lovely little corner of England with an interesting story/history and a nice chapel.


    • Molly says:

      Thanks Paul, yes I had this on my list.
      I saw it as we drove up to the Gibralfaro castle and knew it should be on my to do list
      Alas we ran out of time and I will head back there at some stage

  9. Danielle Pignatelli says:

    I’m moving to Málaga in the fall and this post got me more excited than I already am! Thank you for posting =)

  10. Rocio says:

    It’s great how Molly can show new special places even to the people who live here like me!

  11. El Tintero at the far end of Pedragalejo is great fun for fish. You just swipe the plates as they go by, and pay by plate and pitches of beer!

    • Molly says:

      Yep, a great place to see.
      Some years back they used to have sand on the floor rather than concrete. The people would bury the plates in the sand to pay less on their bill, so that had to concrete it over to stop losing takings.

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