Malaga, Spain

Castillo de Gibralfaro ramparts, Malaga, Andalusia, Spain

Walking the ramparts of the Castillo, one of the best things to do in Malaga – apart from eating!

Malaga things to see and do

The Bugcrew spent a few involuntary days in Malaga and found that, as expected it’s a bit short of major attractions, mainly consisting of churches and even those few are hardly world-class, but has very lively and cheerful locals, pretty good beaches nearby, some sensational eating places – the best tapas bars in Spain as far as we were concerned – and plenty of good value nightlife.

Malaga's Malagueta beach, Andalusia, Spain

Grey sand Malagueta beach, just a couple of minutes walk from the Plaza de Toros but with little parking so get there early or travel by something other than a hire car. More Malagueta beach. 40 minutes along the coast is Nerja, with smaller but cuter beaches.

Is this city a must-see?

The Alcazaba, Malaga, Andalusia, Spain

The Alcazaba, not at all a ‘sumptuous palace’ as one popular but misguided guide book has it though it has a modest charm, the walk up there is pleasant and the views are panoramic.

The interior of the Alcazaba in Malaga, Spain

And that’s about as good as it gets. No comparison to Granada’s Alcazaba!

It’s no longer possible to walk up to the Castillo from the Alcazaba so a steep and roundabout route is required instead, though a taxi will get you up there in double-quick time. However, once you’re there, expansive views, a pleasant stroll around the ramparts and. . . that’s it.

Fine Malaga architecture, Andalusia, Spain

The best architecture in town, the smart Ayuntamiento (Town Hall) on the right, a bank on the left and the Alcazaba in the middle.

Paseo del Parque statue, Malaga, Andalusia, Spain

Some well-rubbed public figure on the Paseo del Parque.

Local architecture

Malaga Cathedral, Spain

Malaga Cathedral is another of Spain’s massively over-budget, over-worked religious institutions with a good museum of extravagant religious goodies but without the extraordinary style of Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia or the awesome ambience of Seville Cathedral.

 palacio episcopal, malaga, costa del sol, spain.

The Palacio Episcopal, Bishop’s Palace, Plaza del Obispo.

‘In the sumptuous Plaza del Obispo where the blood-red Bishop’s Palace’. . . blah blah, same newly published but totally dated guide book using the same inaccurate words to describe the scene. Neither sumptuous nor blood-red IMHO, more of a dusky pink.

Picasso's birthplace, Malaga, Andalusia, Spain

Picasso’s birth place in 1881, the last townhouse on the left, with well-stocked museum nearby.

El Pimpi tapas bar interior, Malaga old town, Andalusia, Spain

Now this is the biz, one of Malaga’s brilliant tapas bars. El Pimpi (aka Big Pimpi by us) Tapas bar  is not only a good value drinking and lite-eating joint with a 300 year-old ambience, but offers different spaces according to mood and sherry barrels signed by Spanish glitterati including Antonio Banderas.

Malaga Map

Malaga map, Andalusia, Spain

A map of central Malaga with ferry port and Malagueta beach.

33 – Alcazaba (with track leading to up Castillo de Gibralfaro).

19 – Municipal Museum.

24 – Plaza de Toros.

17 – Roman Theatre.

22 – Town Hall.

25 – Palacio de la Aduana.

16 – Picasso Museum.

6 – Plaza de la Constitucion.

13 – Palacio Episcopal.

The yellow stretch at bottom right is Malagueta beach.

A short drive out of Malaga (47kms) gets you to quite interesting, ancient town of Antequera and good walks nearby in El Torcal Natural Park.

So, is Malaga a must-see?

All in all, Malaga is not a place to make a huge effort to visit but if a tourist needed to spend a couple of days here en route to the more serious attractions of Andalusia such as Seville or Ronda they would not be wasting their time.
And a little advice on accommodation . . . Malaga has the squeakiest road surfaces ever to pain our ears. The shiny, stone-mixed asphalt just about everywhere squeals with tyre contact, even just mild braking or cornering, so make sure that you get a room high up or at the back of a hotel/hostel unless you wish to spend your sleep-time awake.


Malaga to Madrid: 537 kms. By fast train about2. 5 hours.

to Sevilla: 216 kms. By train or car/bus about 2. 5 hours.

to Granada: 127 kms. No train. By car/bus about 1. 5 hours.

to Cordoba: 169 kms. By train or car/bus about 2 hours.

to Ronda: 102 kms. By train (change trains) at least 2 hours or by car/bus about 1. 4 hours.

to Mijas: 35 kms. No train. By car about 30 minutes.

to Torremolinos : 16 kms. By bus (Portillo Autobus is good) or car about . 5 hour.