Malaga, Spain is often known as the gateway to the Costa del Sol. Many travellers fly into the airport and then disperse to the golden beaches of the famous coastline, but if you’ve got some time to explore before you hurry off, there’s plenty to see and do in Malaga.
Tourist attractions in Malaga
Malaga has undergone something of a transformation in recent years. Huge amounts of money have been invested in developing the cultural scene, and the waterfront has been restored and renovated. Even if you plan to escape the city and hit the beach, it’s well worth taking a day to discover magnificent Malaga.
The mayor of Malaga has dedicated the last few years to turning the city into a cultural hub, and you certainly won’t be disappointed if you’re looking for museums. The city boasts more than 30 in total, but if you’re short on time, there are a few must-sees. The Pompidou Centre, which is modelled on the Parisian version, is an eye-catching structure, which features coloured panes of glass that glisten in the sunshine. Here, you’ll find a stunning collection of contemporary art. Other highlights include the Collection of the Russian Museum, the Automobile Museum and a must for art enthusiasts, the Picasso Museum. Picasso hails from Malaga, and his former childhood home has been lovingly restored and adorned with more than 200 masterpieces.
Alcazaba de Malaga
The glorious, domineering structure of the Alcazaba de Malaga is a sight to behold. This ancient fortress overlooking the sea was built by the Hammudid dynasty in the 11th century.
The Roman Catholic cathedral is a striking building with a baroque facade dating back to the 16th century. The cathedral features a single tower, rather than the double tower included in the original sketches. Due to lack of funds, the second tower was never completed, and the building gained the nickname ‘La Manquita’, which roughly translates as ‘the one-armed woman.’
Exploring the local area
Malaga is ideally located to explore the local area, soak up the sun on Andalucia’s prized beaches and sample the famous nightlife of resorts like Torremolinos and Marbella. Long associated with the rich and famous, Marbella has emerged as a popular holiday spot for young tourists, with hordes of visitors from the UK, Italy, France and other parts of Europe arriving at Malaga airport on a daily basis. The harbour and the Puerto Banus strip are lined with exclusive clubs and trendy bars, and you’ll also find designer boutiques, luxury hotels and a dazzling array of yachts and supercars. The resorts of Torre del Mar, Benalmadena and Estepona are more family-friendly, and kids will love Sea World and Tivoli World in Benalmadena and Torremolinos’ Aqualand theme park.
Airport transfers and getting around
If you’ve booked a package holiday, there’s a good chance that transfers are included, but if you don’t already have transport to your hotel sorted, don’t worry. If you’re staying in Malaga, there are regular bus services from the airport to the centre of town, and you can also take a cab from the taxi rank outside the airport. If you’re travelling slightly further afield, it’s a good idea to do a bit of research in advance and take advantage of lower prices. Take a look at Malaga airport transfers to Marbella, Estepona, Benalmadena and Torremolinos online before you travel. If you organise transfers before you fly, you’ll save time, you won’t have to queue for a taxi, and you can take advantage of discounted rates. Once you’ve arrived at your destination, it’s very easy to get around. You could hire a car if you fancy travelling from one resort to the next or you could take taxis or local buses.
When is the best time to visit Malaga?
Malaga is blessed with a pleasant climate, and even in the winter months, the average temperature doesn’t fall below 12 degrees. If you’re looking for sun, sea and sand, it’s best to visit between April and October. If you can travel out of season in April, May, September or October, you can take advantage of lower prices and the beaches won’t be as busy. It gets very hot at the height of summer, so pack plenty of sun lotion. Temperatures can reach over 32 degrees in July and August.
Eating and drinking
Malaga is famed for its seafood, so don’t miss out on unctuous platters or resist the temptation to try the catch of the day if you’re looking for an authentic feast. You’ll find small, understated bars offering traditional tapas everywhere you look, and these modest eateries provide an alternative to the lavish fine dining restaurants and beach clubs you’ll find in Marbella and Puerto Banus. The centre of Malaga is packed with bars and restaurants, but for the best food, catch the bus to Pedregalejo, where you’ll find a seafront strip bursting with cafes serving delicacies from the sea. If you’re looking for somewhere to quench your thirst and grab a jug of sangria, the narrow streets around the Alameda are the place to be. Nearby Marbella is the best option if you’re looking for hip DJs and fancy cocktails while Torremolinos is an excellent choice if you’re hitting the tiles and painting the town red on a budget.
Are you thinking about visiting Spain for your next holiday? If you’re searching for sun, sea and sangria, why not head to Malaga? Often used a base to explore and enjoy the beaches of the Costa del Sol, it’s easy to overlook Malaga as a destination, but it has plenty of endearing characteristics. There’s an impressive collection of museums and galleries on offer, you won’t struggle to find good food, and you can also discover historic sites before hitting the beach and soaking up the rays. It’s very easy to get around once you get to Malaga and you can combine cultural activities and seeing the sights with chilling out, partying until the early hours or enjoying fun-filled family-friendly days out.