Travelers have been drawn to visit Malaga, Spain, and the Costa del Sol for decades, drawn in by the warm sun and relaxing beaches. We were hesitant to travel to Malaga, afraid it would be swarming with sun-seeking Brits. We were wrong (at least in the off-season). Whether the goal is to visit the best beaches in Malaga, learn about the Andalusian culture, or eat amazing tapas and drink local wines, Malaga is the perfect destination.
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How To Visit Malaga Spain
In this Malaga travel guide, we will share our tips on how to make the most of a trip to Malaga. This includes recommendations for some of the best places to visit in Malaga, Spain, as well as where and what to eat and drink in Malaga.
Where Is Malaga Spain
One of the oldest cities in Europe, Malaga is a port city in the Costa del Sol (Coast of the Sun) region of Spain. Founded nearly 2,800 years ago, it is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.
Malaga is the birthplace of the acclaimed artist Pablo Picasso. One of the most important port cities in Europe, Malaga plays a vital role in the economic development of Southern Spain.
Malaga Travel – When To Go To Malaga
With the Mediterranean Sea to the south and the Malaga Mountains to the north, Malaga experiences mild winters and extremely warm summers. While winds from the Mediterranean can make the summer heat manageable, don’t count on rain to help cool off.
With over 300 days of sun per year, rain isn’t a common sight to see in Malaga. For comparable cities of its size in Europe, Malaga experiences the warmest winters of any city on the Continent with average temperatures around 65˚F (18˚C) making it the perfect winter getaway.
What To Do In Malaga– Top Malaga Attractions
Best known for its white sandy beaches, reason enough to visit Malaga city, the city offers a wide range of attractions to explore. For art lovers, the Museo Picasso Malaga showcases over 250 works of art donated by the Picasso family.
Housed in the 16th Century former palace, the museum is a great way to beat the summer heat of Malaga while experiencing works from one of the greatest artists of all time.
Perched above Malaga with commanding views of the city and the sea sits the Moorish fortification known as the Alcazaba. Built-in the 11th Century, this vast complex set the standard for military architecture for centuries to come.
Dubbed “La Manquita” or one armed lady for its unfinished state, the Cathedral of Malaga was constructed over 200 years beginning in 1528. It is the second largest cathedral in Southern Spain.
Where To Eat In Malaga Spain
For any traveler planning a trip to Malaga Spain, food should be an important part of your research. More than in some other cities in Spain, there are a lot of Malaga restaurants that are touristy, and might not provide the best Malaga food experiences. It’s best to be prepared when planning your trip.
Check out our recommendations for How To Find The Best Tapas In Malaga.
How To Make The Most of One Day in Malaga
We understand that travelers don’t often have as much time as we do when visiting a destination. Often, travelers will take Malaga day trips, only spending a day in Malaga.
Here, we make some recommendations on what to see in Malaga Spain in one day. In addition to some of the Malaga attractions we discussed above, here’s a few more ways to spend a day.
Although I would recommend taking a walk along one of the beaches near the Malaga city centre, most of our recommendations here will focus on Malaga Old Town.
This area is the best place to explore when it comes to food, drink, and cultural activities. There is also a load of shopping to be done, mostly around Calle Marquis de Larios.
Picasso Museum In Malaga
So, what to do in Malaga in a day? We recommend the Picasso Museum. It’s one of the best museums in Malaga. Picasso is the most famous son of Malaga city.
The museum is located in the center of the city, in a restored palace. The Museum Picasso Malaga is open seven days a week, from 10 am to 7 pm. Admission is only €7.50.
Malaga For Food And Wine Travelers
The best of Malaga Spain has to come in the form of food and drink, particularly for people to travel for food as we do. For food travelers, definitely visit one of the Malaga city markets. They are generally open in the mornings to early afternoon and are closed on Sunday.
Try the Mercado Central de Atarazanas, which is one of the top Malaga tourist attractions. It’s also a very local market too. There are a few market bars inside the market as well as outside that are great places to eat some great local tapas.
If you have a little more time to kill, the local Malaga wine consortium created this quaint Malaga Wine Museum on the first two floors of its headquarters. This is a museum really for die-hard wine aficionados and wine travelers.
It’s for people who know a good amount about wine already and really want to learn about the local wine history. It might not be one of the hippest places in Malaga, but it has its charm.
Recommended Hotels In Malaga Spain
When we traveled to Malaga, we stayed at the Petit Palace Plaza Malaga. It’s steps from the center of Malaga and our room offered the most amazing views of the Cathedral.
They are within walking distance of some of the best restaurants in Malaga Spain. I would definitely recommend them as one of the top hotels in Malaga city centre. Check the best rates for Petite Palace here.
Another option, closer to the beach, is the Gran Hotel Miramar Malaga, one of the top Malaga luxury hotels with views of the water. This area of Malaga is a little too quiet for me during the winter months, but it is still only about 10-15 minutes away from the center of town. In the summer, there are loads of beach bars and chirinquitos near the Gran Hotel Miramar. Check the best rates for Gran Hotel Miramar Malaga here.
Outside of the city center, on the beachfront, most of the accommodations focus on apartments. This is a great place to use Airbnb. If you’ve never used Airbnb before, get a discount on your first stay here.
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FAQs – How To Visit Malaga Spain
Malaga is easily one of the most affordable destinations to visit in Spain. It is connected to Europe by several discount airlines including RyanAir and EasyJet. With a tapas culture, food and drink are very affordable. The city is full of self-catering accommodations including those listed on Airbnb.
Unfortunately, yes. Malaga is an incredible city full of art and culture. Because it is an affordable destination it does attract many holidaymakers looking simply to have a good time. It’s a popular destination for bachelor and bachelorette parties.
While it is helpful to learn some Spanish, English is widely open by staff at restaurants, bars, and popular tourist attractions.