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Malaga, Costa del Sol, Spain » City Info

The Spanish city of Malaga is a Mediterranean seaport on the Costa del Sol in the Andalucía region of southern Spain. It is the second most populous city in Andalucía, the sixth in the whole of Spain and more importantly it's a major tourist destination. Famed for its rich architectural history, delicious Mediterranean cuisine, outstanding local wines and beautiful sandy beaches as well as being the birthplace of Picasso.

Discovering Malaga is not as easy as it sounds since it loves to pass down so much of its history and richness to be uncovered slowly. For this very reason, we have compiled a complete tourist guide of Malaga including its main attractions, outdoor activities, bars & nightlife, FAQs and means to get around the province. Malaga once a city of Moors and now a city to revel in its gastronomy and festivities is an exceptional place.

Top 10 Malaga Landmarks

  

Alcazaba (Fortress) ( Wikipedia )

King Badis of the Zirid Dynasty built the Alcazaba Fortress in 1040 to protect the royal family from outside invaders. Situated on the highest point of the hill, it's one of the best-preserved Alcazaba (from the Arabic word al-qasbah, which literally translates to the English word citadel) in Spain. The Moorish Muslim rulers that erected the fortress used the remains (visible in its columns and pillars) of a Roman theatre lying adjacent to the Moorish construction.

Castillo de Gibralfaro ( Wikipedia )

The ruins of the Gibralfaro castle lie on the slopes of the Malaga hill overlooking the city and the Mediterranean Sea. A Moorish castle of an unknown origin, Yusuf I of the Kingdom of Granada built it during the Phoenician-Punic period. The name of castle is derived from the Arab word Yabal (Hill) and another Greek word Faruh (Lighthouse). The name Gibralfaro means lighthouse hill.

  

Malaga Cathedral ( Visit Site )

Between the 16th - 18th centuries, Diego Siloe planned the Malaga Cathedral also known as Catedral de la Encarnación on the site of a mosque, which represented eight centuries of Muslim power. Though the construction of the cathedral continued until the 18th century, it is still unfinished as the main façade and south tower is incomplete. Along with the splendid sculptures and rare antique architecture, the cathedral also houses its own museum.

  

Roman Theatre (Teatro Romano) ( Visit Site )

The Roman Theatre belonging to 1st Century B.C. lies adjacent to the Moorish Alcazaba Fortress. Augustus built it as a medium of entertainment employing it until the 3rd century. Later on, the Moors used the remains of the theatre to construct the Alcazaba. The year 1951 dawned for the people of Spain to locate the theatre when the local administration started planning a garden at the entrance of the Citizens' Arts Centre.

  

Plaza de la Merced (Casa Natal de Picasso) ( Wikipedia )

Plaza de la Merced is a large walking plaza home to the birthplace of famous painter Pablo Picasso. The cosmopolitan square is full of cafes and temporary exhibitions but the main attraction is Picasso's birthplace that includes a facility to incorporate the painter's works and art collections as well as organises exhibitions and collections of other painters like Frank Rebaxes and Luis Molledo.

Jardines de Pedro Luis Alonso Gardens ( Visit Site ) ( Wikipedia )

A garden built on Mediterranean lines by architect Guerrero Strachan in 1945, Jardines de Pedro Luis Alonso is one of the post-war historical gardens designed to imbibe both Hispanic and French styles. It is one of the famous places in Spain depicting the extraordinary botanical wealth of Malaga.

  

Plaza de Toros de La Malagueta (Malaga Bullring)

The Plaza de Toros Malaga or Malaga Bullring built in 1874 by Joaquín Rucoba is located right in the heart of the city near the Castillo de Gilbralfaro. The arena annually organizes bullfighting contests starting from the month of April lasting until September. Feria de Agosto marks the height of the season in mid-August when bullfights are a regular sight.

  

CAC - Centro de Arte Contemporaneo ( Visit Site )

The CAC Malaga was built in 2003 with an intention to enhance and promote interest in contemporary art. Pioneering works of contemporary artists get to exhibit here from time to time, especially for lovers of art who have a profound interest in the art and culture of Europe. The entry is free of charge.

  

Buenavista Palace (Picasso museum) ( Visit Site )

The Buenavista Palace, address to the Museo Picasso Málaga was built in the 16th century on the ruins of a Nasrid palace. The historical edifice was handed over to the present Museo Picasso Málaga in 2003 to exhibit works of Pablo Picasso donated by members of his family. The museum authorities have also adorned the role of enriching the city cultural life through the medium of tourism.

  

Playa de La Malagueta beach ( Visit Site ) ( Wikipedia )

The Playa de La Malagueta beach or simply the Malaga beach is a popular beach among both tourists and locals as it is closest to the city centre. In fact, the beach is an artificial one made from sand imported in the 17th century from the deserts of the Sahara. Surrounded by many cafes and restaurants, it is an ideal place to sunbathe, relax and enjoy.

Top 5 Bars

  

Antigua Casa Guardia ( Visit Site )

This is one of the Picasso's old haunts and still going strong over 170 years after its inception. This bar is one of the famous bars in Malaga. Drink local sweet wines such as the Moscatel direct from the wooden barrels lined up along the long counter.

  

El Casino

Located at a short distance from Malaga Cathedral and the Picasso Museum this lively, chic hang out does good coffee and great cocktails from 3:00 pm-3:00 am every day… what's not to like?

  

TerrazaLarios (Larios Terrace) ( Visit Site )

Located on the roof of the Room Mate Larios hotel, this al fresco bar is open all-day till 1am. It's a great place to grab a pre- or post-dinner drink or two.

  

Tapas Bar ( Visit Site )

Tapas Bar in La Bodeguita de Carlos is a great place to visit. Decorated in a marine environment, it provides both traditional dining area and a bar area. A destination to enjoy traditional home cooked dishes, especially fresh seafood.

  

Calle de Bruselas ( Visit Site )

A perfect destination for locals as well as visitors in Malaga, but only 16 and above can visit Calle de Bruselas. It is undoubtedly a reference point for daytime and nighttime life in Malaga city centre.

Top 10 Activities

Malaga Bike Tours ( Visit Site )

There couldn't have been a better idea than exploring Malaga on a bicycle. As you manoeuvre through the amazing narrow alleys, the beach promenades and the winding streets of the historical centre, one gets to know better about Malaga's rich olden times, which would have never been discovered otherwise. Every day at Plaza de la Marina around 10:00 am, a guide accompanies a bunch of enthusiasts on a tour of amazing Malaga. Moreover, Malaga Bike Tours offer the option of capturing the best of Malaga in just less than four hours.

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Malaga City Hop-on Hop-off Tour

Malaga Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tours offer a different way to see the city - aboard an open top, double-decker bus. Choose from famous sights like Picasso's birthplace, botanical gardens, Malaga Cathedral or plan a journey of your choice.

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Malaga Bullfighting Rin ( Visit Site )

The bullfighting ring at Plaza La Malagueta, near the Gilbralfaro Castle attracts a lot of tourists in mid-August during the Feria de Agosto (Malaga Fair), which marks the height of the bullfighting season. Bullfighting is still a popular spectacle in Malaga and should be watched with true Spaniards who love the adrenaline rush of the sport.

Playa de La Malagueta Beach ( Wikipedia )

As a coastal town, Malaga is endowed with miles of beaches, but Playa de La Malagueta beach is closest to the city centre. The stretch across the miles from the local port attracts thousands of tourists who come to relax, sun bathe, swim and enjoy water sports activities every year. The beach is well equipped with showers, toilets and lifeguards. In addition, a lot of Chiringuitos bars surround the beach where tourists head to after a day of activities.

Cueva de la Pileta ( Wikipedia )

In the village of Benoajan (southwest of Ronda), Cueva de la Pileta is home to some extraordinary Palaeolithic paintings depicting hunting men, deer, horses, fish, goats, bulls, seals, bison's and abstract figures. Neolithic remains were also found in this cave discovered by a farmer called Jose Bullon Lobato in 1905. His descendants still act as guides educating tourists about the 25,000 years aged paintings. The caves are not as commercialised, so there are no pre-decided entry times. As soon as large groups of visitors are formed, the guide commences the visit.

Malaga Wine Tours ( Visit Site )

Malaga is known for its sweet wines made from Moscatel & Pedro Ximenez varieties. To make tourists aware of the rich history of the Malaga wine region, many guided tours around the province can be availed for wine tasting and detailed information on the topic. The wine tours include a visit to some of the oldest taverns in the province like the Bodega Antigua Casa de La Guardia in addition to wine tasting. These are full day tours where meals are included.

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Skiing in Sierra Nevada ( Visit Site )

About 160 km from Malaga in the province of Granada is the popular tourist destination of Sierre Nevada famous for its high peaks and adventurous skiing possible during the winter months. Just 25 minutes from Granada, getting to the resort is very easy if you arrive at the Pablo Picasso Airport (AGP) in Malaga. By car it takes only 90 minutes to reach the resort. There are a number of hotels and apartments in the area where you can rest, while during the day you can enjoy various activities like skiing, snowboarding, driving a snowmobile, dog sleighs amongst others. On a clear day on the slopes, you can see the sea in the distance… not many ski resorts in the world where you can do that!

Excursions to Morocco ( Wikipedia )

Morocco lies just over the Mediterranean with regular ferries from Malaga, travelling to this beautiful treasure in North Africa. As it takes about 6-9 hours, it is advised that an overnight stay for a couple of days is booked to explore this magnificent city. There are many tour companies who arrange tours ranging from one day tour to 5 days tour from Costa del Sol landing on the exotic country of Morocco to explore cities like Casablanca, Marrakech, Meknes, Fez and Rabat.

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Visit to Granada (Alhambra Palace and Generalife Gardens) ( Visit Site )

A trip to Granada to discover the extravagant Moorish castle of Alhambra and Generalife should certainly be on the cards during Malaga holidays. These architectural marvels in the province of Granada are characteristic of Nasrid Emirs way of living when Granda was the 'Emirate of Granada'. Named on UNSECO's list of World Heritage Sites, the Granada garden garner attention for their Persian architecture and long surviving history.

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Trip to Seville ( Wikipedia )

From the town of Marbella, visitors can book a day trip to Seville, the beautiful land of Santa Cruz quarter, the Alcazar, Maria Luisa Park, the Avenue of the Palm Trees and the Expo 92 development and parks. A trip of approximately 10 hours, the land of Seville on the banks of Guadalquivir River, boasts of a rich Arab history including Alcazar fort and UNESCO listed Cathedral.

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Top Malaga FAQs

Q.1) What is the capital city of Spain?

Ans: Madrid is the capital city and largest city of Spain. After London and Paris, it is the third largest city in the European Union.

Q.2) What is the official language spoken in Malaga?

Ans: The people of Malaga; the second largest city in the province of Andalusia speak Spanish.

Q.3) What is the weather in Malaga like?

Ans: Malaga enjoys a Mediterranean comfortable climate all-year round with an average of 300 days of sunshine. It experiences the warmest winters in the European continent along with Almeria and Alicante.

Q.4) How safe is Malaga for tourists?

Ans: Malaga is a safe city for tourists but since it is the sixth largest city in Spain it is prone to minor crime like pick pocketing and bag snatching. Beware of lonely places and narrow side streets. Be on guard while at the beach or while availing public transportation services. Also be cautious of women offering rosemary as these are bag snatchers on the sly.

Q.5) Which is the cheapest way to get around in Malaga? – taxis or car rentals?

Ans: Taxis identified by their green (libre) lights are cheap and in plentiful, except when extra baggage is to be charged. Tourists from other European countries like UK will find taxis comparatively cheap. Find them at train stations, airports or pre-designated taxi points. For a more comfortable travel, car rental is available in plenty and significantly cheaper than other Spanish cities.

Q.6) Could you provide information on Intercity Bus Travel from Malaga?

Ans: Malaga is surrounded by many beautiful cities like Marbella, Nerja, Ronda, Granada, and Seville among others. The main station at Vialia, at Paseo de los Tilos has regular bus tours to these cities and other locations in Spain. You can find the timetable at http://www.estabus.emtsam.es/ in addition to booking tickets online.

Q.7) Which countries border Spain?

Ans: Spain is bordered by France, Gibraltar & Portugal that come under the Schegen, due to which passports are not checked at the crossing point. The third, Andorra which is a micro-country is not a part of the European Union and is referred as a “tax haven”. Spanish immigration and custom authorities thorough check of the travellers and vehicle leads to waiting of long lines. Spain's borders also include its autonomous cities Ceuta & Melilla in North Africa, bordering Morocco.

Q.8) What are the Important Phrases in Spanish while conversing with locals?

Ans: Useful Spanish phrases in towns where locals don't speak English

  • Hello: ¡Hóla!
  • Good Day: Buenos diás
  • Good Evening: Buenos tardes
  • Good Night: Buenos noches
  • Bye: Adiós
  • See you soon: Hasta luego
  • Please: Por favour
  • Thank you very much: Muchas Gracias
  • Excuse me: ¡Perdone!
  • Yes: Sí
  • No: No
  • Do you converse in English? : Habla ingles?
  • How much does it cost? : Cuánto cuesta

Q.9) Can you provide a list of Emergency Numbers in Malaga?

Ans: The emergency numbers to call for if in distress and need help.

  • Ambulance Service (Ambulancia/Servicios médicos) – 061
  • Fire Service (Bomberos) – 080 / 085
  • General / Pan-European Emergency Number – 112
  • Civil Guard (Guardia Civil) – 062
  • Local Police (Policía Municipal/Policía local) – 092
  • National Police (Policía Nacional) – 091
  • Sea Rescue (Salvamento marítimo) – 900 202 202
  • Duty Pharmacies – 010

Q.10) What are the Tipping & Etiquette practices followed in Spain?

Ans: Spanish people are known for their disciplined manners & etiquettes. Also, though modestly, all locals tip every time they avail any service. Leaving a change to round up to the nearest Euro is an accepted tipping practice. If the service was really good or in 5-star restaurant, good tipping is expected. As the service staff works for very little money, tipping is always appreciated.

Q.11) What is the electric current voltage in Spain?

Ans: The electric current voltage in Spain is 220V, 50 Hz. If one needs to use 110V, 60 Hz, a common practice in US, a transformer (converter) is necessary. Also, since two round plug pins are used, an adapter to plug in flat pin appliances is essential.

Q.12) Can you provide me a list of 24-hour Pharmacies in Malaga?

Ans: Travellers visiting Malaga are bound to get sick at anytime during their trip. So here's a list of 24-hour pharmacies in Malaga.

  • Farmacia Castillon: Maestranza, 16 Malaga
  • Farmacia 24H: Alameda Principal, 2 Malaga
  • Farmacia Reding: Paseo de Reding, 17 Malaga
  • Farmacia Castro Castillo: C/ Martínez Maldonado, 40 Malaga
  • Farmacia Teatinos 24 Horas: Calle Mesonero Romanos, 2 Malaga

Q.13) How do I exchange foreign currency in Malaga?

Ans: The currency of Spain (Euro) is shared by all countries of the European Union. Banks are open from Monday-Friday: 8:30 am to 1:30 pm while on Saturday's they close earlier. The Bureaux de change where currency is commonly exchanged is available at banks, airports and at holiday destinations. However these are closed on Sundays. Other than banks and Bureaux de change, Spain has the highest number of ATM's in EU countries making it a safe bet to get local currency.

Q.14) What are the Visa Requirements for Malaga?

Ans: Please visit our Visa Requirements page for more details.

Q.15) What is the Time Zone of Malaga?

Ans: The Standard Time Zone for Malaga is UTC/GMT +1 hour, while daylight saving time during summers is UTC/GMT +2 hours. The time zone abbreviation is CEST – Central European Summer Time.

Getting Around in Malaga

Walking by foot is the best way to explore Malaga since all the attractions, beaches and museums are within a walking distance. It's the most inexpensive way and also the best one to admire every attraction in its true essence as most of Malaga's historical area is pedestrianised.

One can also catch a bus from the main bus stop, Alameda Principal or the main terminal at Paseo de los Tilos. You can buy a single ticket or a multi-ticket which allows ten rides. The bus is an excellent way to explore the surrounding Costa del Sol towns and villages. Trains are also another public transportation to visit neighbouring towns and Spain's capital Madrid.

Taxis and car rentals are available if you want to roam in Malaga at your own comfort and convenience. Not only are they inexpensive, the drivers are also fluent in English.

If you are an exercise freak plus love to discover the outdoors, go for the option of renting a bicycle in Malaga.

Malaga is the first Andalucian city that has come up with the idea of free for all BiciTaxi rickshaw service. An electrically facilitated pedal cycles available for use to anyone who can stop an empty BiciTaxi. The service can be ordered on phone as well.

Bus System

The bus system in Malaga has an extensive coverage in and around the city, including Spain and the neighbouring European countries. Operated by EMT (Empresa Malagueña de Transportes) it is more popular than the rail system as buses are an ideal mode of transport if tourists are unfamiliar with the narrow alleys and unknown lanes. The buses are air-conditioned; operate through the majority of the top destinations with tickets available at most of the estancos (tobacco shops) in Malaga. There are night service buses as well tourist buses especially for outside travellers. Many of the buses ply from Malaga's main terminal at Paseo de los Tilos where you can buy single travel tickets and multi-travel tickets, which allow up to 10 trips.

Taxis

Taxis are a popular mode of transport in Malaga and can be identified by their white colour in addition to the blue stripes. Call for any taxi on the road as long as they have their green (libre) lights on. As with cars or bike rentals, taxis don't face any parking problems. Also, they are available in plenty except in summers when a shortage of taxis augmented by rush hours creates problems for tourists.

Taxis in Malaga are quite cheap compared to the ones in other European countries for short trips around the city. However, for the extra baggage it is more likely they could cost more. On the other hand there are companies providing private taxi transfers throughout Malaga, similar to public taxis. They are comparatively expensive but the drivers are fluent in English as well the cars used are also better.

Rail

State-owned company RENFE manages rail travel in Spain covering more than 13,000 kilometres of tracks along the Costa del Sol including international travel from neighbouring EU countries. RENFE operates from Malaga's main railway terminal 'María Zambrano' located on Explanada de la Estacion, nearby Larios Commercial centre connecting the province with the rest of Spain and Europe. The train station is an important traffic junction and home to a modern leisure centre. The Spanish rail system is the most inexpensive rail system in Europe offering various passes for youths (Tarjeta Joven), tourists (Tarjeta Turistica) and for odd days. The most special train connecting the beautiful towns of Seville, Cordoba, Granada, Malaga, and Jerez de la Frontera is the Expreso Al.Andalus travelling over a period of 5 days with all attractions and meals included. Another similar train is the 'Transcantabrico' to tour the north of Spain.

Car Rental

Car Rental in Malaga is availed by tourists who prefer to travel around the city at their own convenience and privacy. Highly professional services plus cheap discounts available from time to time are the highlights of car hire companies in Malaga. The cars are fully equipped with the latest amenities so that tourists can enjoy their vacations comfortably. In addition they also guarantee the security of its passengers by taking adequate safety measures. From cheap economy cars to luxury cars, visiting sightseeing landmarks or attending business meeting is feasible with a personalized car rental service. The companies also provide for airport pick-ups and drop-offs in addition to collecting tourists from their hotels. Car rentals give the most advantage to large families comprising of more than 5 members. They have the option of booking a large 7 or 9 seated for maximum enjoyment in a stress-free environment.

Communication in Malaga

Telefonica is the main telephone provider in Spain including Malaga. The telecom sector was privatised in 1997, but still Telefonica is popular among people for its good customer service and responsiveness. In many rural areas, Telefonica owns an exclusive monopoly on the phone, cable TV and internet departments. Services can be ordered on their website or by calling 1004. Enquiries can also be made at Telefonica stores across Malaga exclusively opened for paying bills. Though telephone installation is paid, there are times when the telecom company runs promotional campaigns for free installation. Alternatively, you can contact Orange, ya.com and tele2 for telephone connection.

Internet in the urban area is erratic where some areas achieve a maximum broadband speed of 6 MB while in rural areas connection it is available only as dial up.

Spanish television offers six international and one local cable channels broadcasting dubbed UK and US shows with long commercial breaks. Digital+ offers cable television services in Malaga including free to air terrestrial channels and paid channels.

Post offices in Malaga (Oficinas de Correos) identified by their yellow facade, partner with Deutsche Bank and Western Union to provide banking services and international money transfers. Post office in Malaga is situated at Avenida Andalucia, 1 and is open from Monday-Friday until 8:30 pm. It is also open on Saturday morning.