Málaga. Wonderful in every way
With over 3000 years of history, Málaga is one of the world's most famous cultural destinations. Home to artists such as Picasso, Málaga has taken full advantage of its potential to provide unforgettable experiences for all the senses.
Visitors can come to visit and admire the monuments left to us by Phoenicians, Romans and Arabs. They enjoy the beauty of the art exhibited in the many museums that open their doors every day of the year. They savour the exquisite and varied cuisine in our bars and restaurants that offer the best products from our land and from around the world while taking advantage of making purchases in our shopping streets. Our visitors feel the breeze and the sun and they savour the scent of the sea and the jasmine that perfume our city.
Culture, cuisine, parks, natural areas, beaches, shopping, fiestas and so much more. Málaga is simply wonderful in every way. Enjoy your stay.
Perhaps you will need more than two days to get to know everything Málaga has to offer. But two days will be more than enough to make you fall in love with Málaga and want to return.
Make the iconic Calle Larios, Málaga's main shopping street where the world's leading brands have their stores, your starting point. Next, follow it as far as Plaza de la Constitución, the heart of the city's historical quarter.
From there head west, down the Calle Compañía where, halfway down, you will arrive at the Palacio de Villalón (dating back to the 16th century), home of the Museo Carmen Thyssen Málaga (Málaga's Carmen Thyssen Museum), the first goal of this route. This museum that was opened to the public in March 2011 exhibits a permanent collection of over 200 works by 19th century Spanish artists, and focuses particularly on Andalusian painting, of which it has Spain's largest collection. Here we find works of great artists such as Valeriano Dominguez-Becquer, Eugenio Lucas Velázquez, Julio Romero de Torres and Joaquin Sorolla as well as from others. The museum also has a carefully selected programme of temporary exhibitions of unquestionable artistic interest. A visit to the Museo Carmen Thyssen Málaga is a must.
Recharge your batteries with a Málaga-style breakfast at one of the many cafés in the area when you are back in the Plaza de la Constitución. Some good coffee with churros (deep-fried pastry) or a pitufo (toasted sandwich) will be just the thing. But beware, you have to know how to order coffee in Málaga because, depending on the quantity of coffee, it has different names. For example, a "café mitad" is half coffee and half milk and a "sombra" is three quarters milk and one quarter coffee. On the other hand, if there is more coffee than milk, it would be a "largo" and so on, with up to nine different ways to order a coffee. But not to worry, the friendly staff will make it easy to learn this peculiarity which is unique to Málaga.
With renewed energy now head east and take Calle Santa Maria, which leads towards the Cathedral and the Museo Catedralicio (Cathedral Museum). Although work on the Cathedral began during the Gothic period (16th Century) on the site of the old Arab mosque, the building is in the Renaissance style and is still unfinished. In 1782, when the budget ran out, the works were stopped, and, for example, the south tower was never built. This earned the building its popular nickname "The Manquita" (One-armed). Opposite the cathedral is the Plaza del Obispo and Palacio Episcopal (Bishop's Palace; dating back to 1762). This palace is actually a set of terraced buildings where the main front façade is a beautiful example of Málaga's baroque architecture.
Walk around the Cathedral along the last stretch of Calle Santa María where you can view and admire the majestic Elizabethan façade of the Sagrario (the Shrine). Next, go down Calle Císter that ends in the Palacio de la Aduana (Customs House from 1826) future home of the Museo de Málaga (Museum of Málaga), which will showcase the collections of the Museo Provincial de Bellas Artes (Museum of Fine Arts) and the Museo arqueológico Provincial de Málaga (Provincial Archaeological Museum of Málaga. Next to this, at the entrance to Calle Alcazabilla, is the next goal: The Alcazaba that is the city's most important archaeological site together with the Castle of Gibralfaro and the Roman Theatre.
The Alcazaba, built between the 11th and 15th centuries, was the fortress-palace of the Moorish rulers. It is located on the site of an earlier Phoenician building at the foot of Mount Gibralfaro, a privileged spot overlooking the city. The museum houses an interesting exhibition hall where ceramics from 11th-15th century Muslim Málaga are displayed.
The palace is connected to the Gibralfaro Castle by a steep mountain passage. However, you can easily reach the hilltop fortress by public transport. This should be left for later.
The next stop after leaving the Alcazaba is the nearby Roman Theatre, an essential visit. Built in the first century BC, it was in use until the third century AD After its recent restoration, Málaga's Roman Theatre regained its use as a performance space.
Resume your route and follow Calle Alcazabilla towards the north to reach the Plaza de la Merced where it joins the Málaga Picasso Route. Objective: Fundación Picasso (Picasso Foundation) Museo Casa Natal. (Picasso's Birthplace Museum) The museum is in a 19th century building where the artist was born and lived during his early years. Original works by Pablo Ruiz Picasso from the museum's permanent collection and temporary exhibitions are displayed here. Ceramics, prints and illustrated books, as well as personal items belonging to the painter and his family, can all be seen.
From Plaza de la Merced continue towards Calle Granada where you will find Santiago Church where this street starts where Picasso was baptised. Built in Mudéjar Gothic style, the church was begun in 1487 and is, therefore, one of the oldest in the city. The wealth of artistic value conferred by being home to some of the most important procession brotherhoods during Málaga's Holy Week is as important as its architectural beauty.
About 200 metres from the church and on the left, you will see the narrow Calle de San Agustín and the Palacio Buenavista, home of the Museo Picasso Málaga (Málaga Picasso Museum).
It is a building with 16th century Renaissance decoration, beautiful Mudéjar carvings and a lookout tower. The Palacio has been extended by including other buildings to house the Museo Picasso Málaga.
Opened in 2003, this museum displays 233 works by Picasso including paintings, drawings, sculptures, prints and ceramics that are part of the permanent collection along with pieces from temporary exhibitions.
Now, the time has come to take a break and enjoy the varied and rich local and international cuisine at one of the many places in the historic quarter of Málaga. Fried fish, ajo blanco (white garlic), Málaga salad ... there is plenty to choose from. And all accompanied by the delicious wines from this region.
We now set off for the next goal: The Castillo de Gibralfaro. To reach the Gibralfaro Castle, again go down Calle Larios, which is always busy with people going about their business. In fact, you will have been able to observe bustle and activity all along the way and perhaps you may have taken the opportunity to do some shopping in some of the city's many excellent shops.
Having reached the Plaza de la Marina, go towards the entrance of the Paseo del Parque in the east, where the number 35 bus will take you to the Castillo de Gibralfaro. Abd-ar-Rahman III turned the ruins on top of this mountain, which included a Phoenician lighthouse, into a fortress; the lighthouse gave the place its Arabic name, "Jabal Faruh" (Mount Lighthouse).
Later, in 1340, the Nasrid King Yusuf I extended it and built the castle. The visitor centre, housed in the former magazine of the fort, houses an exhibition reviewing everyday military life throughout the castle's history. But above all, you can enjoy the stunning views over the city and the bay of Málaga where you will be able to identify all the places that you have visited and those you will visit later on.
After admiring the view, take the bus back to the city and get off at the stop in front of the "Malagueta" bullring (in Spanish: Plaza de Toros). This is practically at the door of the next destination: the Museo del Patrimonio Municipal de Málaga (Municipal Heritage Museum of Málaga).
This museum, opened in 2007, permanently exhibits the City Council's artistic and historical heritage with items dating back to the 15th century to the present day.
The next point of call is just across the street. Cross the Paseo del Parque and enter the Paseo de la Farola that leads to the place it was named after. La Farola (1817) is the symbol of the city of Málaga par excellence.
From the Farola you can enjoy stunning views of the Port of Málaga and the Historic Quarter, to which you can return along Muelle 1 (Pier 1). This promenade has a shopping and entertainment area where you can do some shopping in the exclusive establishments or stop and rest at any of the bars and restaurants by the sea. Continue this route along Muelle 2 (Pier 2), which is now a boulevard called El Palmeral de las Sorpresas. This is a pleasant area for walking and relaxing and it eventually takes you back to the Historic Quarter. Here you can enjoy an evening in Málaga before returning to your hotel after a day of unique experiences that will leave you wanting to discover even more.
There are so many things to see in Málaga that two days will seem too short a time. So now you need to choose a route for the second day. We would like to suggest two options.
Option 1: Botanical and contemporary Málaga.
You can spend the day to get away and see Málaga from another perspective. You can visit the Jardín Botánico-Histórico La Concepción (La Concepción Historical-Botanical Gardens).
This is the most beautiful and important tropical garden in Europe and was created in 1855 by the Marquises of Casa Loring, the owners of the land. Thanks to their relationship with leading European figures, the Marquises cultivated the most exotic species brought back from around the world. Fruit trees, bamboos, palms, vines, Mediterranean plants, aquatic plants, etc. have all created different environments in which you can walk and learn. Charming settings with ponds, fountains, waterfalls, bridges, greenhouses and statues are combined to offer a true spectacle of nature. At the same time, the couple were collecting an extraordinary collection of archaeological pieces, creating what would become the Lonringiano museum. Part of this collection is still on display today.
After visiting this fascinating garden, you can return to your starting point, the Alameda Principal, and head for the next place to visit. If you go west, you can reach the river and follow its course to the Calle Alemania where you can find the CAC Málaga - Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga (Contemporary Art Centre of Málaga). Set up in the former wholesale market, the Centre exhibits works by the best foreign and national contemporary artists. Since it has opened its doors to the public, it has become an international benchmark not only because of its permanent collection of major artists such as Juan Muñoz, Tony Cragg, and Sigmar Polke, but for the educational work it does and the very interesting temporary exhibitions of great figures from the world of art that it displays. Within the context of the Centre, the "Man Moving" by Stephan Balkenhol and "La Sombra Azul" (The Blue Shadow) by Chema Alvargonzález are Málaga's new contemporary milestones.
Next, we recommend you visit the sea area and taste some of its delicious products. One of Málaga's most popular areas is the Paseo Marítimo de Pedregalejo (Pedregalejo Esplanade).
On the southern side of the Alameda Principal, take a number 11 or 34 bus that will take you to the Pedregalejo beaches where you can enjoy Málaga's most characteristic gastronomy in the "chiringuitos" (beach bars) and restaurants by the sea: anchovies, skewers of meat and fish, conchas finas (clams), Málaga fried fish and much more. Aromas, tastes, sand, sun and peace.
A delight for all the senses that will ensure you want to enjoy Málaga again and again.
Option 2: Traditional Málaga.
There is still much to do in the city and so much to learn about the life and traditions of its residents. You can take advantage of this second day to visit traditional Málaga and see some of the city's great museums.
This time take the Plaza de la Merced as your starting point and go along Calle Gómez Gavel to Teatro Cervantes (a theatre) built in 1870 by Jerónimo Cuervo. Declared a National Historic Monument, it is distinguished by the very many diverse activities that take place there: symphonies, dramas, comedies, operas, ballet performances, jazz, flamenco, rock concerts, musicals and shows of all kinds. It is also the major venue of the Festival de Málaga de Cine Español (Málaga Festival of Spanish Cinema).
Next, go to Calle Carretería, but before going down it, turn slightly to the left and look for Calle Muro de San Julián and the Museo de la Semana Santa de Málaga (Museum of Málaga Holy Week). This street and the surrounding ones follow the outline of the wall of Moorish Medina.
This museum is housed in the old Hospital de San Julian, a late 17th century building where the church contains an important collection of paintings and is designed as a space to present the history and heritage of Holy Week (i.e. the Easter celebrations). It is divided into seven rooms that offer visitors an interesting tour of the history and development of Holy Week in Málaga. It is one of the most representative religious artistic exhibits in Spain.
Leave the building and enter Calle Carretería; halfway down and on the right you will find Calle Biedmas that will take you to the Plaza de los Viñeros and the Museum of Wine Málaga and the next stop.
Here you can discover all the secrets of making this famous wine and you can buy a few bottles of the ones you like best after having tasted the different wines. A real pleasure.
Continue along the route of the old wall to the river and if you go south by the Pasillo de Santa Isabel, you will reach the Museo de Artes y Costumbres Populares (Museum of Arts and Traditions) located in a former 18th century inn. A journey through the history of 19th century Málaga and its traditions.
Next, head south towards the Alameda Principal. But first, take a break to visit the Mercado de Atarazanas (Ataranzas Market), so called because it occupies the site where the Nasrid shipyards (i.e. ataranzas) stood. The main gate has been preserved. They say that, if you want to know a city well, the first thing you should do is visit the market.
The beautiful set-up and the great products you will have seen in the market will probably have made you hungry.
We recommend you eat a snack at a tapas bar or popular establishment in the area and, continue, by walking along to the Paseo Marítimo Pedregalejo to enjoy its many bars and its magnificent and varied gourmet food.
A perfect end to these 2 days in this wonderful, brilliant city of Málaga.
We are sure you will want to come back.