As the capital of Costa del Sol, the seaside city of Málaga has more than meets the eye. Museums showcase Pablo Picasso’s early life, as he was born in the city. At Alcazaba fortress palace, you can learn about Islam’s history in Spain.
Learn about Andalusian culture during the city’s famous festivals that reveal flamenco shows and quaffling sherry in its home country. Additionally, some of the world’s best resorts, golfing, and beaches can be found in Costa del Sol.
- La Alcazaba
A Moorish fortress palace on a hill, Alcazba towers over the city, its walls seen almost anywhere in Málaga, and its existence a reminder of an Islamic Era.
Built in the 8th century, it continued to expand over the next five hundred years. Two walls protect the fortress, an inner and outer citadel.
The magnificent gardens, filled with fountains and gateways built out of Roman columns by the Arabs, lies in the outer citadel.
In the inner citadel, impressive dwellings and the palace stand among three courtyard gardens/
- Roman Theatre
Going down the hill, you’ll find the greatest ancient monument in Málaga.
Until the 200s, the theatre was used for about 300 years. Then it was forgotten and became a quarry when the Moorish ruled the area.
In 1951, the Roman Theatre was finally found again and for its age, it was in good condition.
The cavea, spectator’s circle, was 16 meters high and still has several rows of seating completely undamaged. A new visitors center showcases tools and amphorae and other finds found at the old theatre site.
- Málaga Cathedral
A mix of Renaissance and Baroque styles, the Málaga Cathedral was built over 150 years!
The grand façade, with columns, arches, and stone reliefs of saints, was one of the last pieces to be completed.
Standing at 84 meters tall, the north tower is the second tallest in Andalusia, beaten by La Giralda in Seville.
After funds were diverted to the American Revolution to help the Americans defeat the British, a planned south tower was abandoned.
More information about the cathedral can be found on a plaque where the south tower would have stood.
- Castillo de Gibrafaro
Another hilltop fortress similar to Alcazaba, Castillo de Gibrafaro is featured on Málaga’s and the province’s emblems.
Built for more warlike purposes, lookout towers and ramparts still stand among the pine trees on the hill.
For more than 2,500 years, the hill has held a fortress. First created by the Phoenicians, it was even a site for a pivotal siege in 1487.
For three months, Muslim Malagueños stayed in the fortress away from Queen Elizabeth and King Ferdinand until they ran out of food.
- Museo del Vidrio
An adorable house from the 1700s turned museum, the age show in the exposed beams, period furniture, and decorations.
The most notable in the house is a large collection of antique glassware spanning thousands of years.
Phoenicians, Romans, Ancient Greeks and Egyptians all are represented by the pieces.
One of the oldest is an intact green Roman glass bowl from 2,000 years ago.
Later, you’ll find Venetian items, 17th century glassware from the Dutch Golden Age, and lead glass from England spanning from jugs to wine cups from the 1500s.
- Ataranzas Market
Much of daily life in Málaga centers around the central market, Ataranzas, similar to Spain. It is a must see to really experience the culture.
At Ataranzas, the reasonable prices and freshness play to the locals.
The building itself is lovely, with a glass and iron canopy, amazing stained-glass window, and Mudéjar arches.
Usual market produce includes raw and cured meat, fruits and vegetables, fresh bread, cheese, and even local honey or sherry.
Additionally, you can find bars with tapa and glasses of cruzcampo.
- Parque de Málaga
To escape the heat, find your way into the undergrowth for a cool time.
Towering palm trees with green fronds shade the main three walkways from the blazing summer sun.
Baroque and Renaissance sculptures and fountains dot the landscape, surrounded by subtropical plants.
A beautiful rose garden with orange trees and cypress fill the front of the City Council building.
- Automobile and Fashion Museum
Celebrating the finest things in life, all will find this museum enjoyable.
100 classic cars from Cadillacs to Maseratis, Aston Martins to Bugattisf can be found inside.
The oldest car, a De Dion Bouton, dates back to 1903, some of the earliest years of automobile travel.
From the 1920s to the 1950s, take a trip through the decades and learn some history about some of the world’s favorite models on display.
Seven fashion galleries filled with 200 original pieces of haute-couture help fashionistas take a similar trip through some of the best of fashion.
- Picasso’s Málaga
A 20th century icon, Pablo Picasso was born in Málaga, so no trip is complete without a journey through his life.
First up is Casa Natal on Plaza de la Merced, Picasso’s birthplace.
Centrally located a short walk from the city’s landmarks, his home was the first floor in the early 1880s that his parents rented for a few years.
There, you’ll find artifacts from his youth as well as a small collection of his artwork.
A couple of minutes away, the Picasso Museum house a large display of his paintings.
Most are from the early 20th century, when Picasso was still developing his artistic style, with the collection showing his growth as an artist.
At the city’s waterfront, La Malagueta is good, but packed during summer and next to the busy N-340.
Europe’s sand and sun paradise, Costa del Sol promises great beaches not far away.
Torremolinos is only a 20-minute drive away, and a beautiful drive it is!
La Misericordia, a Blue Flag winner, has a amazing and long sandy bay with moderate waves hitting the shores.
Los Almos is also beautiful to visit, holding beachside concerts in the summer. However, it is more developed, with apartments behind it.
- Málaga Football Club
La Roseleda, a magnificent, 30,000 seat stadium, sits in the northern suburbs.
Málaga CF, the home team, has played for nearly a decade in the Primera División.
Málaga was in the Champions’ league for a while, as the team’s Qatari owner invested heavily in them, but now have fallen after he stopped investing as much money.
Every other week from August to May, Europe’s best league plays matches in the stadium. Additionally, there is a museum about Málaga CF’s trophies and most famous players, as well as a tour of the stadium.
Espetos, grilled sardine, is a delicious local dish that you can find at local chiringuito, beachfront bar.
Traditionally, a hole is dug in the sand, a fire started in the hole, then the sardines are roasted on the embers.
Skewers made of long and thick canes help cook and hold the sardines and when eating, add a bit of lemon and enjoy some white wine.
Málaga’s Paseo Marítimo de Antonio Machado even features “Espetero” cooking sardines.
- Semana Santa
Spain holds importance in Holy Week, and Andalusia and even more in Málaga, it is especially important.
Catholic brotherhoods here organize and take part more than in other areas of Spain.
Throughout the year, they hold masses and have more followers to prepare for Holy Week.
Amazing floats, some several meters tall, join in processions from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. Virgin statues also get magnificent decorations.
There is a special feeling among Malagueños in Holy Week; more exuberant, less somber.
- Feria de Agosto
Málaga’s best month to visit is August.
It was one of the last to change from Islamic rule to Christian rule in the Iberian Peninsula during the medieval period.
On August 14th, 1487, Málaga was taken. On the third week on August, this event is commemorated for a week.
This gives you a great look at Andalusian culture, including flamenco performances, fino (sherry) toasting, and at La Malagueta, daily bull fights.
Streets also join in, decorated with paper lanterns and flowers.
Every few kilometers in Costa del Sol, you’ll stumble upon an amazing golf course.
Parador de Málaga, located 10 kilometers from the city, welcomes everyone to its 18-hole course.
It’s the best place to get back into golfing.
Dunes, palms, and eucalyptus trees make up the landscape. Created in the 1920s, it is one of the oldest courses in the country.
Guadalhorce is on the western outskirts of the city. The 18-hole course varies in difficulty. The front 9 are great for every and are fairly straight forward. The back 9 are full of hazards, tripping up even the most experienced player.