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Home » The best things you can do in the city of Malaga


Beyond its sunny beaches, Malaga has a fascinating cultural side, and it is where Pablo Picasso was born. If you take the combination of culture and the sea and add a lively atmosphere, the result is a city full of passion that is one of the most popular cities in Spain.

Suzanne, a serial traveller and the writer behind The Travelbunny blog gives an insight into Malaga’s unique identity: “Malaga is a city on the Andalucian coast in Spain. It’s probably best known for being the gateway to the Costa del Sol and for the beaches, resorts and tourists that go with that. But the city also has a traditionally Spanish side to it. Malaga has depth, culture, character and a history which is well-worth exploring.”

If you are booking a stay at our Ramada Hotel & Suites, then a visit to Malaga is a must as it is just a shot drive away. There are so many things you can do and see in the capital of the Costa del Sol, and this guide goes through some of the best attractions and activities in Malaga.

A view over the city of Malaga, Spain

Things to see and do in Malaga

• Explore Malaga’s historic sites
 o Alcazaba
 o Malaga Cathedral
 o Walk around Malaga’s historic centre
 o Experience the Malaga Roman Theatre
• Relax on Malagueta Beach
• Explore the Picasso Museum
• Try the local cuisine
• Take in the culture of the Automobile and Fashion Museum

Explore Malaga’s historic sites

The Alcazaba Fortress of Malaga

Malaga might be more famed for its golden sand beaches lined with palm trees and for its vibrant nightlife, but it is a city that is also steeped in history, full of attractions that date back thousands of years. Here are some of the historic attractions you should visit.


Built between 1057 and 1063, the Alcazaba is one of the most important military fortifications that is remaining from the Hispanic-Arabic period. It is one of the best-preserved Moorish fortresses in Spain and is home to beautiful gardens, stunning architecture, and stunning views over the city and the Mediterranean Sea.

Andrew and Emily, who are the writers behind the Along Dusty Roads blog, have visited the attraction before, and they spoke about their experience: “A surprisingly large, layered complex, this is the most important landmark in the city. Although it attracts lots of visitors, moments of tranquillity can still be found in the shadows and arches, whilst there are fantastic views from all sides over Málaga, old and new.

“When you eventually pass through the Puerto del Jesus gate, you’ll have the option to go left or right – we recommend going left first. This gently takes you up through some photogenic arches to the gardens and palace rooms, which are the most known and beautiful areas of the Alcazaba: make sure to linger over the details of Patio de los Naranjos (Courtyard of the Orange Trees) and the Patio de la Alberca (Courtyard of the Pool).”

Malaga Cathedral

Malaga Cathedral or La Manquita as it is also known, is one of the most important buildings in the city.

Located in the historic centre of the city, the cathedral is not only home to beautiful Renaissance-style architecture but there is a picturesque garden and a magnificent courtyard that you can explore.

Walk around Malaga’s historic centre

Many of the signature monuments and buildings in Malaga are located in an area known as the Historic Centre.

By walking around this picturesque area, you will see churches, palaces, convents and buildings dating back to Moorish times. The narrow streets, charming plazas and historical buildings are best explored on foot.

Experience the Malaga Roman Theatre

A close-up view of the Malaga Roman Theatre

It remained hidden underground for centuries, and it was only discovered in 1951. The historic theatre lies at the foot of Alcazaba Fortress and is the oldest monument in Malaga, dating back to the 1st century BC after it was built during the Empire of Augustus.

Today, the beautiful theatre is free to visit, and it hosts plays and shows. In the visitor centre, you can see excavated artefacts and find out more about its fascinating history.

ALSO READ: A ranking of Costa del Sol towns and cities

Relax on Malagueta Beach

An image of Malagueta Beach

This picturesque beach has golden sands, clear waters and a seafront promenade, which is lined with palm trees.

The beach is just 10 minutes from the city centre, and here you have a choice of water sports you can try or beach bars where you can enjoy a nice drink. If you want a relaxing day by the sea, then Malagueta Beach will be one of your best options.

The beach has been given Blue Flag status; a distinction awarded by the European Foundation for Environmental Education to beaches whose water quality is of the highest standard.

ALSO READ: The best beaches on the Costa del Sol

Explore the Picasso Museum

He may have lived and died in France, but Picasso was born in Malaga. As the city’s most famous son, Picasso lived in the city until he was 10, and then he went on to become one of the best-known artists in the world.

The artist discussed the idea of a hometown museum dedicated to his works, but it wasn’t until Christine Ruiz Picasso, the widow of the artist’s eldest son, that it became a reality.

The Picasso Museum is home to more than 150 pieces of his artwork, and whilst there are other museums around the world, the personal and family collections make the Museo Picasso Málaga that much closer to the artist.

There are paintings, sculptures, and ceramics on display, and these range from his early sketches to some of his more famous paintings.

If you are staying at one of our Costa del Sol hotels and plan to visit Malaga for a day trip, the Picasso Museum is a must-visit. It is regarded by many as one of the best art museums in the whole of Spain.

Try the local cuisine

Sardines being grilled

Malaga’s food scene is rich with traditional Andalusian dishes and seafood. There are many ways you can experience the cuisine, ranging from food tours, exploring quaint local markets and stopping at tapas bars to dining at top-quality restaurants.

You may not have time to try them all during your visit, but some of the most popular ones are:
• Sardine skewers: These are sardines strung on thin, long reeds, which are grilled over firewood.
• Malaga salad: Its ingredients are potato, orange, cod, spring onion, olives and olive oil.
• Porra antequerana: Also known as a cold truncheon, this is a cold soup made from tomatoes, bread, red bell pepper, olive oil, salt, vinegar and garlic. It is traditionally served with diced serrano ham and a hard-boiled egg.

One of the best food markets you can visit is the Malaga Atarazanas Market. This thriving market is one of the best places to experience local life and taste fresh produce, seafood, and traditional delicacies.

ALSO READ: The best day trips from the Costa del Sol

Take in the culture of the Automobile and Fashion Museum

The Automobile and Fashion Museum, which is located in the emblematic building of the old Tobacco Factory, perfectly combines hundreds of vehicles restored to the highest standards with vintage garments and fashion outfits.

The museum features luxury cars from Jaguar, Cadillac, Rolls Royce, Bentley, Ferrari, Aston Martin, and Porsche.

The museum doesn’t just display cars, it is also a fashion bible, and there is a magnificent collection of dresses and design exhibitions on display. You can see iconic designs from Dior, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Givenchy.

Federico and Kemkem from the Next Bite of Life blog have visited the Automobile and Fashion Museum before, and they loved their visit:

“I admit l was gobsmacked when l saw just how wonderfully kept all those cars were! The building itself is cool enough. It is humongous and is just architecturally beautiful, with its colourful Spanish tiles and fountain. Make sure to visit when in Malaga. It is definitely worth it and a nice way to divert from sun and sea and tapas, the other top things to do in Malaga.”

Why you should visit Malaga

Malaga offers the perfect blend of historical charm, cultural experiences, delicious cuisine and modern amenities, making it a must-visit destination in Spain.

If you want to go on holiday to the Costa del Sol, then take a look at our Ramada Hotel & Suites and Wyndham Grand Costa del Sol accommodation or speak to one of our experts on 0800 031 9066 if you have any questions.

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