Malaga Attractions Guide

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Malaga is a major city and holiday resort, which is the capital of the Province of Malaga in Andalucia in southern Spain. It lies on the Mediterranean Costa del Sol ("Sunshine Coast") and is the southernmost of the large cities in Europe.

Malaga boasts a large number of impressive museums and historic sites, many of which date back as far as Roman times. There are also many impressive cathedrals to visit, as well as an ancient Roman theatre. There are also many parks and gardens in and around the city. Malaga is also the birthplace of Pablo Picasso and features some museums that are dedicated to him and his works.

Due to Malaga's favourable weather and coastal location, Malaga is a good spot for water sports, and during summer and early autumn the seas are warm enough to comfortably facilitate diving and swimming. There are many professional dive centres nearby and there are facilities for kayaking, kite-surfing and windsurfing, among other water-related activities. There are some good sports facilities and theme parks nearby, but in many cases you will need to look to nearby cities such as Torremolinos and Marbella in order to obtain a wide choice of good options.

Theme parks

Although there are no water parks in Malaga itself there are three main ones nearby within the Malaga district. Aqualand at Calle Cuba, no. 10, Torremolinos boasts numerous water attractions including the helter-skelter-style Multipistas and the Surf Beach, rapids, and a Kamikaze slide, which is 22 metres high. The Torre del Mar waterpark at Urbanisation El Tomillar, Torre Del Mar also offers a range of attractions including slides and helter-skelters. The Aquamijas Mijas water park, situated off the Fuengirola bypass, is more suited to families with younger children and tends to be the least busy of the three. The Aula del Mar Aquarium at Calle Manuel Agustín Heredia 35, Malaga offers displays of marine life of the Alboran Sea.

Go-karting

Karting Campillos is an outdoor karting venue, approximately 40 minutes' drive away from Malaga Airport, located at 29320 Campillos. There are two tracks and karts for hire. Another fairly nearby go-karting facility is located at the headquarters of TeamXtreme in Marbella. As well as offering go-karting, TeamXtreme also provide facilities for kite surfing, canyoning, snowboarding, trekking and more.

Horse riding

All-inclusive horse riding holidays are available with Horse Riding Spain in Malaga, based by the Sierra de las Nieves National Park. They offer a range of horse riding trips and, between April and early October, they provide an Andalusian horse show in the form of a presentation of Andalucian Horsemanship "Cartujano del Arte Ecuestre" on Thursday evenings. La Rejertilla offer hacks also around the Sierra de las Nieves National Park - alongside other activities such as climbing and canyoning. 

Golf

There are many good golf courses in the Malaga district though you will need to head outside of Malaga City to find them. The Las Brisas golf course in Marbella, situated about 60km from Malaga Airport, has many water hazards and a range of vegetation, making it a challenging course which is particularly suited to seasoned golfers. Finca Cortesin Golf Club is another challenging course, set in a picturesque valley. Marbella Golf Country Club, 7 kilometres east of Marbella, is a hilly golf course with wide fairways and some good views.  Mijas Golf (Los Lagos & Los Olivos courses) near Fuengirola offers good golf facilities in a picturesque valley setting. The nearest course to Malaga City itself is the Real Club de Campo de Malaga at Parador del Golf, Ctra Campo del Golf, Guadalmar, which has a seaside open parkland layout and features 18 holes and is only 10km from Malaga.

Walking & hiking

Caminata pro el rio Chillar in Nerja is a pleasant countryside walk featuring three good waterfalls and the opportunity to walk through the water. Xtraventura, at Calle Casas de Campos, offers hiking trips in attractive locations near to Malaga, including the mountain peak at Alcázar - La Maroma and the Montes de Málaga. In addition, there are numerous good hiking routes around Malaga that hiking enthusiasts can try instead of taking a guided walk or hike. Examples include the El Chorro Gorge and Bobastro, the Neria Caves, and White Villages- for example consider Comares, Colmenar and Alfarnatejo.

Town walks & bike tours

Malaga Bike Tours, based at C/ Trinidad Grund 4 (Pasaje Talavera), 50 metres from the Plaza de la Marina, offers sightseeing tours of Malaga by bicycle, which include seeing the likes of the Alcazaba, the Picasso Museum and the promenade. The main meeting point is in the Plaza de la Marina. There is also a Football Tour for football fans and those who are interested in the history of Malaga Football Club. Another good bicycle tour operator is Bike2Malaga, which offers numerous guided tours of the city that can be customised for individual tastes and needs, and also offer bike taxi tours for those who would rather sit back and relax while sampling the many attractions that Malaga offers.

Pancho Tours Malaga based at Calle Casapalma 4 arrange tours of the city, as well as and pub crawls. There is a Walking Tour, a Nightlife Tour, a Tapas Late Tour, a Lunch Tasting Tour and tours for groups, which should cover most tastes. Segway Tours Malaga at Calle Trinidad Grund 8, offer a city tour via Segway, which take visitors around attractions including the Roman Theatre, Alcazaba Palace and the Cathedral. They also have a special day tour featuring a visit to a winery. Welovemalaga Tours at Trinidad Grund 33-4 G, Rotonda del Marques de Larios, offer walking tours through the Malaga Historical Centre and offers opportunities to sample some of the major attractions and try out some tapas. Look out for Gourmet Tapas Tours at Calle Guillermo carrera Rubio 4, which feature walking trips around the city centre and sampling traditional Spanish food.

Cycling, mountain & quad biking

Bike2Malaga, based at Calle Vendeja 6, as well as offering guided bike tours of the city, also offers bike rental for non-guided trips around the city. Quad biking trips are offered by TeamXtreme, who are based in Marbella. The quad bike tours are based at El Chorro, 20 miles inland from Malaga, and can be combined with a jeep tour for groups of upwards of 24 people. There are mountain biking holidays provided by AllMountainVenture near the village of Olvera, and Sierra Cycling near the sea front at Fuengirola.

Climbing

Fans of climbing can try a climb up the Malaga Mountains, which offer many attractive routes, although the difficulty is generally intermediate to advanced and is thus not recommended for novices or the faint-hearted. One good trail is up El Torcal Alto, where you can find the rocky peaks of Las Vilaneras. A good climb for beginners is the El Chorro Canyon. The highest peak, at approximately 2,066m above sea level, is at La Maroma, and there are multiple ways to access the summit, for example, from the Oak Grove Zafarraya Sales or from Canillas de Aceituno Climbing trips are also offered by TeamXtreme at Avda Ricardo Soriano 72, Portal B, Planta 1a, 29601, Marbella.

Jeep safari

Jeep safaris are provided by Rally Rangers Jeep Safari at c/ Carril del Siroco s/n, 29630, Benalmadena, which is to the west of Torremolinos. They provide safari trips into the countryside, trips along river beds and visiting villages in Land Rover Defender jeeps, and there are a few different tours to choose from.

Sky diving

If you want to hit the skies, there are a few clubs at Malaga which offer sky diving opportunities. The Club Vuelo Libre de Malaga at Plaza del Sol, 4, Valle de Abdalajis, and the Real Aeroclub de Malaga, at Calle Trapiche, Buzon 20, Velez-Malaga, offer sky diving opportunities. Xtraventura, at Calle Casas de Campos, offers tandem jumps accompanied by an experienced instructor, and also paragliding options.

Flamenco & salsa dancing classes

The Kelipo Centro de Arte Flamenco at Calle Alamos N0 7, Antique Palacio Cropani, provides an especially well-received flamenco show in an impressive 18th century palace. Liceo Flamenco at Calle Beatas, 21, features similarly well-received flamenco performances and also opportunities to try out some traditional Spanish food.

Arabic baths

The Arabic Baths at Calle Tomás de Cózar 13 in the centre of Malaga are sensitively decorated with historic artefacts and provide dry heat and steam rooms, and a wide variety of massages. It is strongly recommended to book in advance for those after a massage. Time to lie back and relax

Wine tasting

Segway Tours Malaga at Calle Trinidad Grund 8, have a special day tour featuring a visit to a winery, featuring opportunities to taste wines and food pairing. Bodega Antigua Casa de Guardia, located at Finca El Romerillo, Barriada de Olías, offers opportunities to taste a variety of wines, sherries and tapas. Joaquin Fernandez Bodega, situated at Finca los Frutales, also offers good opportunities for wine tasting. Salud!

Local markets

There are many local markets in Malaga that are worth giving a try. The Mercadilo Banos del Carmen at Quitapena S/N, Playas del Palo, is held on every first Sunday of the month and sells clothing, foods and some local crafts, vintage and antique items ideal for a spot of souvenir shopping.  The Mercado Central de Atarazanas at Calles de las Atarazanas boasts an impressive Moorish entrance and sells mainly food, with meat and vegetables, seafood, meat and chicken, and also some local treats such as tapas and "almendras fritas". There is also a market held at the Mercado Central de Salamanca.

Water sports

Fans of water sports can try Xtraventura, at Calle Casas de Campos, which offer opportunities for kayaking and diving, as well as other activities including canyoning, skydiving and paintball. Simply Diving in Torremolinos are a British-run 5-star PADI centre offering a wide range of dive courses, and dive trips to various sites, including a 240km dive from Tarifa all the way to Almuñecar. Malaga Diving are a relatively new dive centre in the centre of Malaga, offering a range of recreational and technical diving courses catering to divers of all skill levels - from novice to expert. Another good dive centre is the One2One dive centre in Fuengirola, which is another 5-star PADI dive centre offering many dive courses and dive trips to various sites including Torreblanca House Reef, Tarifa and Gibraltar. Those into kite-surfing should consider a trip to TeamXtreme in Marbella.

Boat & fishing trips

The Grupo Mundo Marino- Day Tours, which operate from Puerto de Malaga, Muelle 1 offer boat trips from the Port of Malaga, including sailing trips and motor boat trips, including a glass bottom cruise. Luna Pesca at Puerto Banús, Marbella provide fishing and sailing trips over the Costa del Sol, as do Medboat at various marinas in the Costa del Sol. Dolphin Boat Trips at Yacht Dolphin, Puerto Deportivo Fuengirola, Pier 3 / 211, 29640 Fuengirola, offer dolphin safaris off the coast of the Costa del Sol, in a special dolphin yacht.

Sites & sights

The La Concepcion botanical gardens at Carretera de las Pedrizas feature numerous species of plants and trees, and boasts some of the largest tropical plant gardens in Europe, as well as a few lovely walks. La Maroma is the highest peak in the Sierra de Tejeda, in the Natural Park of Sierra Tejeda, at approximately 2,066m above sea level, and there are multiple ways to access the summit, for example, from the Oak Grove Zafarraya Sales or from Canillas de Aceituno.

The Cementerio Ingles de Malaga at Avenida de Pries is one of the first cemeteries for Protestants in Spain and is surrounded by pleasant gardens and contains numerous tombs dating back from the 19th century. Malaga Port has recently been renovated and boasts pleasant walks along the promenade and a large selection of cafes and restaurants, shops, and a children's play area.

The Parque de Malaga, located at el Paseo Príncipe de España, la Plaza de la Marina y la Plaza General Torrijos, is a carefully-landscaped park with curving pathways, fountains and statues. The Pedro Luiz Alonso Gardens at CL Roma 1, 29016 Malaga, was laid out in 1945 and features gardens of Hispanic-Muslim and French style. The Riu Gaudalhorce Nature Reserve is particularly recommended to fans of bird watching.

For history buffs

One of the most significant landmarks in Malaga is Alcazaba, located at C Alcazabilla s/n, 29015, which boasts some faithfully-restored and maintained Moorish castle ruins. Malaga Cathedral on Molina Lario Street was constructed between 1528 and 1783 and boasts an impressive Gothic interior, Renaissance head and Baroque tower. Another church worth checking out is Sacred Heart Church at Plaza de San Ignacio, which is a Neo-Gothic church built in 1920 and boasts two towers that end in spires, and a rose window in the centre.

Gilbrafaro Castle at Cmno Gibralfaro boasts some ruined walls, good views of Malaga, and a walled passageway to the Alcazaba, and a large tower known as the Torre Blanca. The central part of Malaga features the Plaza de la Constitucion which often hosts entertainment, and is a busy square with a fountain and some good statues, ice cream parlours, cafes, restaurants and shops.

The nearby Plaza de la Mecred contains the house where Pablo Picasso was born, and today serves as a vibrant city centre square with many cafes and restaurants. The Iglesia de Los Martires at Plaza de los Martires is a Gothic temple that is dedicated to the local martyrs San Ciriaco and Santa Paula.

The Teatro Romano, situated at the foot of the Alcazaba fortress, is the oldest monument in Malaga and is an ancient theatre, with a visitor centre in which visitors are taught about the history of the ruins and the subsequent excavation.

Museums & galleries

Malaga has an impressive array of good museums and galleries to try out. The Museum of Glass and Crystal at Plazuela Santisimo Cristo de la Sangre boasts approximately 700 objects of glass and crystal, dating from Egyptian and Roman times to the present, in an 18th century palace.

Fans of automobiles should try the Museo Automovilistico De Malaga at Avda Sor Teresa Prat. There is an impressive art gallery at CAC Malaga at Calle Alemaniais, which is quite small, but offers a wide range of modern-themed and colourful art exhibits.

The Museu de Artes y Costumbres Populares at Pasillo de Santa Isabel is another good art museum, which is set in an 17th century house and features paintings and exhibits of tools that were widely used back in the 17th century.

Malaga is the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, and the Museo Picasso Malaga at Palacio de Buenavista San Agustin showcases a selection of his works, arranged into chronological order, and close by is the Picasso Foundation- Native Home Museum which is the birthplace of Picasso and has exhibits of historical artefacts and a small collection of his works.

The Museo Carmen Thyssen at Calle Compania has well-received displays of local art, giving an overview of Spanish art during the 19th and 20th centuries. The Revello de Toro Museum at Calle Afligidos is a museum dedicated to Felix Revello de Toro, a local artist who has produced numerous paintings, mostly portraits, some of which are pencil-drawn. Those after something a bit different can consider the Dolls House Museum at Calle Alamos which boasts exhibitions of dolls' houses which are based on actual buildings, spanning as far back as 1850. Aviation fans can try the Museum Malaga Airport at Av Comandante Garcia Morato 81, Pierre George Square Latecoere.