Spain’s sixth-largest city, Malaga, is often overlooked by visitors who head to other cities or to one the many beach resorts along the southern coast.
It’s a shame- Malaga is a beautiful city with lots to offer and I’d encourage you to spend at least a day there if you’re visiting Andalusia. Especially if you are staying in a beach resort nearby, which can be far from an authentic Spanish experience.
Malaga offers a great taste of the real Spain; with lots to see and do in one of the oldest cities in the world.
The city is relatively compact and you can see a lot of it in a short time, so here’s my perfect itinerary for spending one day in beautiful Malaga.
Start your day with Churros and chocolate
Churros, a traditional Spanish fried dough pastry, are a delicious way to kick start your day of exploring. They are typically eaten during the morning, but may be available all day long in some cafes.
Order a couple per person, along with some thick hot chocolate for dipping. Those with a less sweet tooth might want to opt for a white coffee (café con leche) to go with it instead.
Devour Malaga have put together a comprehensive list of the best Churros places in Malaga; including Los Valle and Casa Aranda.
Head up to Gibralfaro for amazing views over the city
At 130m high, Gibralfaro offers incredible views over the city that are not to be missed.
Go there during the morning to beat the crowds and make sure you’re wearing shoes that have a decent grip, it’s pretty steep in parts.
You can reach the viewpoint by foot from the city but it is high up in the hills, so you may want to grab a taxi up and walk back down.
Alternatively, you can get there on the Hop on Hop Off bus that operates in the city. Touristy but a good way to see what the city has to offer if you’ve got limited time.
Ride the Malaga Big Wheel
If you’re after more great views, take a ride on the Malaga Wheel, also known as the Noria Mirador Princess.
It’s close by the port and offers amazing views over the city. The ride takes around 15 minutes and costs €10 for an adult ticket.
Have a relaxing lunch
After a morning of exploring, it’s time for a relaxed lunch in the old part of the city.
I’d recommend heading towards the Cathedral and finding somewhere near there that takes your fancy. Yes, it’s touristy but it’s a great place for an al fresco lunch in lovely surroundings.
Admire the Cathedral
The Cathedral dominates the old part of Malaga, and although it’s technically unfinished- the Cathedral was supposed to have two towers but due to lack of funds, only one was finished- it’s magnificent.
Walk around the beautiful exterior or pay the €5 to go inside.
Visit the Picasso Museum
One of the most famous artists of all time, Picasso was born in Malaga and so it’s only right that there is a museum paying homage to him and his work.
Featuring more than 200 works, the museum is a must-see for art lovers.
It’s open from 10am to 6pm most days and costs €12 to visit the whole collection. Free on Thursdays from 6pm to 9.30pm.
Enjoy an ice-cream
There are lots of great ice cream shops dotted around the city, perfect for a late afternoon snack after a day of exploring.
Wander the old town and its shops
Finish off your day by wandering around the pretty streets of the old town and visit some of its many small shops.
Browse the homemade ceramics and traditional fans, or pick up some deliciously sweet local wine- Cartojal.
If you’re not interested in shopping, spend your time instead taking in the beautiful architecture and narrow, winding streets.
There you have it- how to spend a perfect day in Malaga! There’s quite a lot to cover but the city is really easy to navigate around and you should be able to fit everything in with a bit of forward planning.
If you have more time, here are some more things to see and do:
Visit the beach
Malaga has some nice beaches. Playa de La Malgueta is close by the city and has a relaxed, local feel to it.
Stroll in Malaga Park
El Parque de Malaga is a beautiful green oasis in the heart of Malaga. Stroll through to see the various monuments or relax in the shade of its many trees.
See the Roman Theatre
Rediscovered in 1951, El Teatro Romani is the oldest monument in Malaga city.
It was built in the 1st century under the rule of Emperor Augutus but is well preserved given how recently it was discovered.
Other useful information for visiting Malaga
When to visit?
Although the weather can be quite mild or even cold in the winter, Malaga is a year-round destination. It’s busiest in the summer months but has a really great buzz.
Sunday is a good day for sightseeing as many of the attractions are free to enter.
How to get there?
There are frequent flights to Malaga from around Europe, as it’s the main hub for the Costa Del Sol. You can get from the airport to the city via taxi, train or bus.
If you’re arriving from one of the coastal towns nearby, there’s a regular train service that is reliable and affordable. More information can be found here.
How safe is the city?
Malaga is a relatively safe city but be aware of pickpockets, particularly in busy areas. One common trick is for somebody to force flowers in to your hands to distract you whilst somebody pickpockets you. If this happens, drop the flowers and keep a hold of your bag, or make a scene to scare them off.
- Don’t forget that the Spanish observe siestas during the afternoon, even in large cities. Some shops and restaurants may be closed between 2pm and 5pm.
- Meal times may be later than you’re used to- lunch starts around 2pm and dinner is usually from around 8.30pm onwards.