Malaga's top sights and tips

Malaga's top sights and tips


Cruise ships regularly visit the Spanish city of Malaga. The city is the "capital" of the holiday region Costa del Sol, the second largest city in the autonomous community of Andalusia and the sixth largest city in Spain.

Málaga - one of the most beautiful cities in Spain

We like to be in Malaga. There are many reasons for this: The city, spoiled by Andalusia's sun, has interesting historical buildings, attractive squares and pedestrian zones, beautiful bars and restaurants as well as a remarkably attractive art scene with more than 20 museums. Even if the hoped-for recognition as European Capital of Culture 2016 did not work out, the services provided in advance for the planned events are worthy of recognition and money well invested.

Málaga - city center

Málaga - city center


We do not give insider tips on bars, restaurants and trendy locations. Instead, we name the city's top sights from the abundance of attractions. We describe buildings from Roman and Moorish times, sacred buildings, selected museums, parks and beautiful places.

Central Málaga - Calle Marques de Larios
Malaga - Teatro Cervantes
Malaga - Plaza de la Constitucion
Málaga - covered market

Buildings from Roman times

After Roman troops broke the power of Carthage in the Second Punic War, the Iberian Peninsula, previously ruled by Carthaginians, fell to the Roman Empire. Málaga quickly became an important trading center for the region. Several important buildings in Malaga bear witness to Roman rule, including the Teatro Romano and the Roman fish factory.

The Teatro Romano

It was created at the beginning of the reign of the first Roman emperor Augustus. It was used until the 3rd century AD. The dimensions suggest a small theater. The radius is 31 meters. The assumed height is 16 meters and the stage area was 15 meters wide. These dimensions are nowhere near the huge Roman Coliseum.

Málaga's Roman Theater


Málaga's Roman Theater


Málaga's Roman Theater - the Interpretation Center


Málaga's Roman Theater - the Interpretation Center 


Although only remains of the theater have survived, it is a living testimony to the Roman era. To the chagrin of the beholder, the Moors ruling later used the stones, columns and capitals of the theater when they built their Alcazaba. The stage, part of the underground kennels for animals, the remains of the audience tiers and the orchestra, which was reserved for members of the upper levels, have been preserved. Visiting the ruins is permitted. An interpretation center with interactive displays has been set up for a better understanding of the excavations.

The Roman fish factory

A meter-high glass pyramid was erected in front of the Roman theater in today's pedestrian street Calle Alcazabilla. It gives a glimpse of the remains of a fish factory built in the 4th century AD. The production facility was built in Roman times and was used to produce salted fish and a fish sauce called "garum".

Glass pyramid of the Roman fish factory

Glass pyramid of the Roman fish factory


Worth seeing buildings from the Moorish times

After the fall of the Roman Empire, Málaga experienced an eventful history. Continuity did not materialize until 711 when Moors and Arabs conquered the city. The region remained under Moorish influence until the end of the 15th century. Two important buildings from that time have remained, the Alcazaba and the Castillo de Gibralfaro.

The Alcazaba

Above the Roman theater is the Alcazaba, the heavily fortified palace of the Moorish rulers. The extensive complex, adapted to the topography of the site, was built in its current version in the 11th century, although the Moorish rulers had the site fortified for the first time in the 8th century AD. The Alcazaba has two areas protected by walls. Behind the walls are small green courtyards and buildings. The so-called Coracha terrestre, a covered corridor, connects the Alcazaba with the fortress Castillo de Gibralfaro above. The Alcazaba is not only an important symbol of the history of Malaga; it offers visitors wonderful views of the city and the sea.

Málaga's Alcazaba
Málaga's Alcazaba
Model of the Alcazaba
Alcazaba gardens


The fortress is accessed via numerous stairs and coarse cobblestones. Visitors who take the elevator to the Alcazaba avoid the strenuous ascent. Access to the Ascensor a la Alcazaba (located between the Banco de España and the City Hall) is via Calle Guillen Sotelo.

The Castillo de Gibralfaro

During the Spanish Reconquista, the Moors built a fort on Monte de Gibralfaro in the 14th century to defend the Alcazaba and the city below. Protection was of little use to them; in 1487, troops of the Spanish kings conquered the emirate of Granada and Malaga became Spanish. At the beginning of the 19th century, French troops destroyed a large part of the fortress.

Castle of Gibralfaro
Castle of Gibralfaro
Castle of Gibralfaro
Paths in the Castillo de Gibralfaro


Nevertheless, we recommend visiting the facility. Gibralfaro is in excellent condition. The walkable, wide battlements of the citadel offer wonderful views of the city, the mountains in the north and the sea. An information center is available and a small café-bar invites you to relax.

Castillo de Gibralfaro - view of Malaga

Castillo de Gibralfaro - view of Malaga


Málaga's remarkable buildings of the modern age

At all times, buildings of lasting value have been created in Malaga. The buildings from more recent times include two sacred buildings and a secular structure, the La Malagueta bullring.

The Catedral de la Encarnación

The Cathedral of Santa Iglesia Catedral Basílica de la Encarnación is an impressively beautiful church and one of the most important sights of Malaga. From 1528 onwards, the three-nave church was built on the remains of a former mosque. Construction proceeded hesitantly; it was not completed until 1782. Due to a lack of money, the originally planned second tower was not completed. For this reason, the Spanish vernacular calls the cathedral La Manquita, the "one-armed" one. The long construction period required a mixture of different architectural styles. The styles Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque are represented.

Malaga Cathedral
Malaga Cathedral - entrance area
Malaga Cathedral - Chancel
Window in Malaga Cathedral
 
 
 
 

The three naves are each 42 meters high and of different widths. The north tower is 93 meters high. The main altar and the four side chapels inside the church are particularly worth seeing.

The Palacio Episcopal de Málaga

The Palacio Episcopal is within sight of the cathedral. The bishop's palace consists of several buildings. The most representative part is the building erected in Plaza del Obispo. It comes from the second half of the 18th century. After a devastating fire, the building was rebuilt in a modified form in the 1940s. The palace is one of the most successful examples of 18th century architecture. The diocesan museum uses the building.

Málaga's Archbishop's Palace


Málaga's Archbishop's Palace


Málaga's Archbishop's Palace - courtyard


Málaga's Archbishop's Palace - courtyard 


La Malagagueta

We do not admire or appreciate bullfighting at all. The impressive rotunda of the bullring in Neomudejar style is undoubtedly worth seeing; especially from the height of the Castillo de Gibralfaro. The information on capacity fluctuates. The number of visitors is from 9.000 to 15.000. The arena has been in operation since 1876. The ring measures 52 meters in diameter. A museum is attached.

Bullring Málagueta

Bullring Málagueta


Some selected museums

The Museo Picasso

Málaga's history has many famous names. Pablo Picasso is named as the city's most famous son. More than 200 works by the artist from all creative periods are exhibited in the Museo Picasso. The show includes paintings, sculptures and ceramics from various creative periods.

Calle San Augustin

The Museo Casa Natal - Fundación Picasso

The Museo Casa Natal in the Plaza de la Merced is the birthplace of Pablo Picasso. The Picasso Foundation has its headquarters in the building. Adjacent is a small museum that deals with Picasso's youth.

Centro de Arte Contemporaneo (CAC)

The Centro de Arte Contemporáneo is located in the “Soho of Málaga”, on the edge of the dry Guadalmedina River. The exhibition area of ​​the museum dedicated to contemporary art is 2.400 square meters. It is one of the most important museums of modern art in Europe. Around 400 works by renowned international artists are continuously exhibited.

The Malaga Museo

After its reopening, the museum housed in the old customs palace is called the “Andalusian Prado”. It is dedicated to archeology and the fine arts. Of the 17.500 collectibles, 2.000 are on display. In the archaeological part there are mainly objects from the Alcazaba. In the fine arts section, items on loan from the Prado Museum and the Reina Sofia Art Museum are on display. Works by local artists from the 19th century are also presented. Two large-format Picasso works from his earlier era are also on display.

The museum is opposite the Teatro Romano.

The Pompidou Center

The futuristic building with the colored glass fronts is called "Cubo". For a period of five to ten years, the first Pompidou center outside of France will be presented in Málaga. At the Muelle Uno, in the port area of ​​Málaga, an "enclave of the avant-garde" was created. The facility shows 90 top-class works of art.

Center Pompidou Málaga


Center Pompidou Málaga


Malaga Museum


Malaga Museum 


Málaga's public parks

Green spaces are part of the appearance of Malaga. We are particularly impressed by four gardens.

The Jardín Botánico-Histórico La Concepciòn

From 1855 onwards, the foundation of a botanical garden was laid on a private initiative. In 1943 the garden was given the attribute of an "art-historically significant garden". The city of Málaga acquired the site in 1990 and made significant changes in the years that followed. Today the garden is a natural paradise with many tropical and subtropical plants as well as numerous trees. In the center is a villa called Casa Palacio. The University of Málaga uses the garden for research purposes.

The disadvantage is that the beautiful facility is around five kilometers from the center.

The park

The manageable, rectangular gardens of El Parque, on the other hand, are centrally located. The Parque de la Alameda runs between the inner harbor basin and the Paseo del Parque. The garden, which is more than 100 years old, was intended for the public from the start.

Promenade in Parque de Málaga


Promenade in Parque de Málaga


Open-air theater in Parque de Málaga


Open-air theater in Parque de Málaga 


Its features are well-tended paths under shady trees, tropical and subtropical plants from different continents, fountains and small bodies of water, sculptures, play areas for children and a small open-air theater.

Gardens of Pedro Luis Alonso

Visitors to the city enjoy the best view of these gardens from the heights of the Alcazaba or the Castillo de Gibralfaro. The Jardines de Pedro Luis Alonso connect to the east front of the town hall.

Jardines de Pedro Luis Alonso from a bird's eye view


Jardines de Pedro Luis Alonso from a bird's eye view


Jardines de Pedro Luis Alonso from a bird's eye view


Jardines de Pedro Luis Alonso from a bird's eye view 


The Latin-style facility was laid out on an area of ​​6.500 square meters. Many flower beds, low hedges, shade-giving orange trees and two water basins delight the visitors. Rose lovers see 75 species from all over the world.

Calle Roma, 1st Junto al Ayuntamiento

Palmeral de las Sorpresas

After its redesign, the Muelle Uno presents itself in an unusual form with the “palm garden of surprises” and a business center. Cruise ship guests pass through the Palmeral when walking back to the cruise ship from the nearby center. The palm grove has 420 palm trees. There are also thousands of plants and trees.

Research ship alongside the Palmeral de las Sorpresas


Research ship alongside the Palmeral de las Sorpresas


Palmeral de las Sorpresas with sailing training ship


Palmeral de las Sorpresas with sailing training ship 


Two major places in the city center

Not every big city has a multitude of attractive places in the city center. Málaga offers many places worth seeing. We especially liked the Plaza de la Merced and the Plaza de la Constitución.

Merced Square

Plaza de la Merced is a sprawling, downtown historic area. The house where Pablo Picasso was born is located on the “Place of Mercy”, and an obelisk called Monumento a Torrijos stands in the plaza. The pillar is dedicated to General José María Torrijos and 48 soldiers who were shot on the orders of the absolutist Spanish King Ferdinand VII in 1831. The name “de la Merced” is derived from the Convento de Nuestra Señora de la Merced, which originally stood together with a church on the site of the current square.

Málaga - Plaza de la Merced from a bird's eye view


Málaga - Plaza de la Merced from a bird's eye view


Merced Square


Merced Square 


Plaza de la Constitución

Since the reconquest of Malaga and the end of Moorish rule, this square has been the heart of the city. Originally the town hall, the court, the prison, the house of the city judge and a Jesuit college were located there. The name stands for Spain's constitution.

Plaza de la Constitución


Plaza de la Constitución


Plaza de la Constitución - metal covers


Plaza de la Constitución - metal covers 


After the end of the Franco dictatorship in 1978, Spain's daily newspapers reported in large format about the country's new constitution. To commemorate the reporting, numerous front pages of important newspapers cast in metal were embedded in the floor of the square. Starting from the plaza, the streets and alleys of the old town can be easily explored.

Tips for cruise ship guests

In the past few years, Málaga's port authority has been promoting cruise ships intensively. Passenger ships dock in two areas: the Levante Dock and the Palmeral de las Sorpresas.

The large Levante Cruise Terminal accepts several ships at the same time. The walk to the old town bordering the port takes up to half an hour, depending on the berth of the ships. However, there is a lot to see in the harbor area, e.g. many bars and restaurants, ships and Málaga's lighthouse. Buses shorten the route, especially in the summer months with high temperatures.

The overpriced buses advertised by the cruise companies are not recommended. In Málaga, public transport offers much cheaper port shuttle buses. Easily understandable signs point the way to these buses.

Málaga - cruise terminal
Malaga - Levante Cruise Terminal
Málaga - Port shuttle bus stop
Waiting horse-drawn carriages


Sightseeing buses also make their rounds through Málaga. Day tickets from 18,85 euros are available. The buses stop at Plaza de la Marina, where passengers leave the port shuttle buses. The bus tickets are valid for 24 hours. You can get off at each stop and continue with one of the following buses.

Those who appreciate it can experience Malaga on a ride in a horse-drawn carriage. The coachmen wait for passengers at several places, including the Plaza de la Marina. The journey takes 45 minutes.