To be honest, Malaga wasn’t at the top of my list for places to travel to. I didn’t know much about it before visiting but I walked away really having enjoyed exploring the Moorish influence on the town.
If you’re traveling through Spain, it would be pleasant to stop through for a couple days. Otherwise, I wouldn’t plan a trip there alone. If you happen to make it there for a short stay, these are activities I recommend checking out. Here’s a quick video of my trip, where you can see some of the places!
STAY AT THE AC HOTEL MALAGA PALACIO
This isn’t an activity, but I wanted to drop in this recommendation because I stayed at this hotel and liked it.
It is only a 15 minute taxi ride from the airport and is located in the city center and is literally minutes away by foot from major sites (including the Alcazaba and Castillo Gibralfaro Moorish fortress and castle) and eateries. The hotel is newly renovated and has nice amenities like free, fast Wi-Fi and a rooftop terrace/pool/restaurant with tasty food (get the french fries, yum!) overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and the city. A couple pics of the views from the rooftop are below.
By the way, there’s a taxi line directly in front of the hotel. Taxis are easy to catch, cheap, and accept Visa credit cards.
AUTOMOBILE & FASHION MUSEUM
If you like cars and/or clothes, then head to the museum. It’s full of replica cars dating back to the early 1900’s, matched with outfits from the same time period. As you walk through the museum, you get a glimpse of how the rich and famous rode around back in the day.
The museum is a short 10 minute taxi ride outside of the city center. The admission fee is 8.50 euros and it takes about 1.5-2 hours to see the entire exhibit.
JARDINES DE PUERTA OSCURA
What makes these gardens worth a visit is how beautifully they’re curated. The flowers, bushes, trees and stone walkways make you feel like you’re in a fairytale. Also, the gardens line the Gibralfaro castle, which sits high up on a hill. So you can ascend the gardens and look down on the city, taking a rest every now and again because there are areas to sit, relax, and take shade from the sun.
ALCAZABA & TEATRO ROMANO
Alcazaba is a Moorish fortress and palace and the entrance that can be accessed directly from the city center. At the base is Teatro Romano (Roman Theater) with ruins of an ancient amphiteatre. From there, you walk up a few inclines (wear shoes with grip!) to get to the palace. At the top you get stunning views of Malaga and can take in the medieval architecture and artifacts from the Arabs and Muslims who built it in the 11th century. I recommend waiting to go until after the peak rush, 2 or so hours before it closes and when the sun cools down. Otherwise, it’s HOT and crowded. On Sundays, admission is free after 2PM. Otherwise, it’s 2.20 euros.
For the best views of the city (check out of one of my pics below captured from the castle) and to experience more of the Moorish influence dating back to the 14th century, hike up to Gibralfaro. I recommend walking to the top – it’s about a 45 minute trek up a steep, cobbled path. If you’re able to walk up several flights up steps, then this path is manageable, though it’s not easy. Wear shoes with grip (no heels or sandals that slip) and bring water. It costs 3.55 euros. A joint ticket with Alcazaba is 2.95 euros.
PARQUE DE MALAGA
There’s a large botanical garden lining the Mediterranean sea that’s nice for a peaceful, relaxing stroll. There’s no admission, it’s an open area you can just pop in and out of. Also, there are vendors along the way if you want to grab water or a snack.