Top 10 Things to do in Malaga

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Kissed by the waters of the Mediterranean Sea, renowned as the birthplace of Picasso, and overflowing with Spanish culture, the province of Malaga is a treasure trove of everything Spain. From sizzling Flamenco performances to sandy beaches, delicious food, and rich art and history, Malaga has it all, making it one of the most desirable holiday destinations to visit while on a trip to Spain. Below are 10 things to do in Malaga for interested travellers.

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Marbella in Malaga
Puerto Banús, Marbella's port where the millionaires tie up their yachts

Marbella, located some 60 km to the west of the Malaga city, is a delightful place to explore. Featuring historic places, a maze of narrow streets, a long seaside promenade and attractive shopping opportunities, Marbella makes for a well-rounded coastal holiday. One of the city’s highlights is Puerto Banus, an upscale resort with a marina filled with yachts. Also, there are plenty of gorgeous and well-maintained beaches to spend a relaxing day.

  • Good to know: A city as beautiful as Marbella is popular with celebrities. Expect to run into big stars such as Hugh Grant, Eva Longoria and Antonio Banderas, mainly in Puerto Banus.
  • Suggested tour: Visit Marbella & Puerto Banus from Malaga
Visiting Nerja is a must do Malaga activity
Nerja is a popular resort town with beautiful beaches, cobble-clad pathways, and amazing caves

Located just over an hour bus ride from Malaga city, Frigiliana and Nerja are two magnificent Andalusian towns that are a must visit. Overshadowed by the mountains of Sierras de Tejeda, Frigiliana is one of the most postcard-perfect whitewashed villages in Spain. You will admire the traditional Andalusian architecture and the former Moorish fortress, now converted to a molasses factory. Nerja is a popular resort town with beautiful beaches, cobble-clad pathways, and amazing caves. A trip to these two destinations is a must-do when in Malaga.

Caminito del Rey Hike
El Caminito del Rey reopened after undergoing a thorough renovation
The Chorro Canyon on Caminito del Rey
Chorro Canyon on Caminito del Rey

Hiking along the narrow paths of Caminito del Rey, also known as the King’s Little Pathway, is another essential part of Malaga sightseeing. Located near Ardales in Malaga province, the hike features a series of man-made walkways that are pinned along the walls of a gorge. As you advance through this gem of nature, imposing cliffs will fill you with awe. If you aren’t scared of heights, this hike is a definitive must to experience the full might of Mother Nature, the deep gorge and the narrow walkways.

Alhambra in Granada Spain
The Alhambra in Granada, Spain

A major Malaga attraction, Alhambra in Granada is the epitome of Moorish architecture and a great option for art, history and culture aficionados. The opulent palace complex is set against a gorgeous backdrop of Sierra Nevada and will take you back in time to when the Nasrid Dynasty ruled these regions. As you get around, intricate tiles, stucco carvings and other decorations of the lavish palace won’t fail to delight. Furthermore, the adjacent late-medieval Generalife Gardens boast verdant greenery and offer scenic views of the city.

  • Good to know: Tickets for entrance to Alhambra cost around USD 18. A complete tour takes around three hours, so it might be best to arrive early.

Here is a Granada tour with a tour to Alhambra in the option.

Seville in Andalucia
Plaza de Espana in Seville

Located 115 km away from the city of Malaga, Seville is a charming town that is worth more than just a day visit. As the Moorish capital before the reconquista, Seville features grand architecture of that period. Many buildings have World Heritage status and can be reached via winding medieval pathways. Once the Spaniards took over the city, they exerted a great effort to leave their mark. The looming Gothic Seville Cathedral and Baroque buildings prove their success in that regard.

  • Good to know: Make sure you head to the Calle Sierpes Street for attractive shopping options.
  • Suggested tour: Seville tour from Malaga
Cordoba in Andalucia
The Great Mosque and the Roman Bridge

Under an hour’s train ride from Malaga, Cordoba is one of those Spanish cities that boasts the diverse colors of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, while staying Spanish at heart. A stroll through Cordoba reveals some unforgettable attractions, mostly places of worship and grand residences such as the Alcazar of Cordoba, a royal residence of Spanish sovereigns; the Cordoba Synagogue, a medieval Jewish place of worship; and magnificent Mezquita, the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba.

  • Good to know: Don’t miss out on the night show of the Mezquita. The one-hour light and sound show takes place on different days of the week and at different times, depending on the season. Book tickets a day in advance for around USD 22.
  • Suggested tour: Cordoba tour from Malaga

7. Enjoy the natural surroundings of the Sierra Nevada

Sierra Nevada in Andalucia
Sierra Nevada is a wonderful ski destination

The Sierra Nevada is among the highest mountain ranges in Europe. Spread across three provinces in Spain, including Malaga, the range (which has also been declared a biosphere reserve) boasts many endemic plant species and diverse wildlife. A hike in the Sierra Nevada will lead you to Moorish mountain settlements and open up exceptional panoramic views from multiple vantage points. Besides exploration opportunities, the mountain range also offers many adventure activities such as canyoning and skiing.

  • Good to know: Given the various altitude of the mountains in the Sierra Nevada, there is always a possibility of a hike or a trek year-round.
  • Suggested tour: The 3 Great Peaks of Sierra Nevada

8. Explore the Picasso Museum

While this one may not be the most brilliant of all Picasso museums, it definitely is very special. Situated at Palacio de Buenavista in the heart of the city of Malaga, the Pablo Picasso Museum was born out of Picasso’s desire to showcase his work in his home city. The relatively small museum holds almost 300 works of Picasso, some of it being his earliest sketches, paintings, and sculptures. Along with the permanent collection of Picasso, the museum also showcases temporary exhibitions.

  • Good to know: Ticket fee for access to the permanent collection is around USD 7. A combination ticket costs around USD 11. Purchase a combination ticket if you want to offer everything the museum has on display. A ticket to view Picasso’s collection won’t allow you to see the other exhibitions.

9. Attend a fandango show

Watch a Flamenco performance in Malaga
Fandango is a form of Flamenco

While Spain is known for flamenco, Malaga is the birthplace of fandango, a variety of flamenco. Fandango sees musicians, singers and dancers perform together, and is a beautiful sight to behold. For a truly unforgettable experience of this passionate dance form, make sure you visit a reputable tavern that hosts live shows. The taverns may be a bit expensive, but the price is worth the experience.

  • Good to know: For authentic flamenco (NOT fandango) try a to visit to Tablao Los Amayas. Also known as LICEO, it is one of the more reputable flamenco taverns in Malaga.

Check out some of these Flamenco tours in Spain’s various destinations.

10. Soak up the sun on one of Malaga’s beaches

Malaga beach
La Malagueta beach is a great place to come and mix with the locals
Fuengirola in Malaga
A less crowded sight of Fuengirola beach

The Malaga province has exceptional beaches that cater to all kinds of visitors. Be it for water sports, a family getaway, romance, or just a day in the beach, Malaga has scores of beach options. Playa de Guadalamina in Marbella is a great choice if you are after windsurfing, jet skiing or kayaking. If you are on a holiday with young children, head to Malibu Beach (Benalmadena). For a relaxing day on the beach or some archaeological exploration, visit Linda Vista Beach, west of Marbella. And if you want to experience something local, head to Playa de La Malagueta in Malaga city.

  • Good to know: Sea temperatures in Malaga are most favorable for swimming from July to October.

There are many great things to do in Malaga, the aforementioned ones being just a few of the highlights. Enjoying all the treasures of Malaga would require you to return several times — but, we’re sure you won’t find returning difficult once you start discovering the incredible province of Malaga.

Published by Marie Storm, updated on May 30, 2023

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