Visit Malaga in 2 days
Visiting Malaga at least once in a lifetime is something you can always afford, but will never forget. This city is fascinating and irresistible – it can enchant your heart and captivate your soul in the blink of an eye! Whether you are a seasoned explorer or a budding traveler with itchy feet, you must come and stay for a short break in Malaga, the pearl of the Costa del Sol region.
The recipe of an ideal trip to Malaga is simple. Take fabulous architecture, mesmerizing museums, and comfortable parks as basic ingredients; add shopping areas, welcoming cafes, and exclusive restaurants to your flavor.
Mix them well with colorful fiestas, numerous tourists and diverse cultures, and then decorate everything with the country’s cleanest sandy beaches, mild climate and 300+ days of sunshine. This is how mouthwatering and delicious your gourmand travel experience can be, if you book a short visit to Malaga.
No matter where you come from and how long you are going to stay, one thing is unquestionable you will fall in love with Malaga the moment you set your foot on its soil! Don’t you believe it? Then you are highly recommended to read our e-book and discover how to get the most of Malaga in just 100 hours. So may the adventure begin!
Spending just one day in Malaga is definitely not enough to explore its hidden gems and get used to its lifestyle. Yet, it is quite sufficient to shape your first impression of the city and let you see the main sights with your own eyes.
Breakfast to start a busy day
Wherever you stay in Malaga, you need to start your thrilling acquaintance with the city after a delicious breakfast. The locals prefer to drink coffee with a small bread roll called pitufo, crispy churros or chocolate.
If you are a sweet tooth, you may as well want additional fillings. Keeping in mind your Day 1 itinerary, we suggest dropping in and eating at one of these downtown cafes:
- Mia Coffee Shop (Plaza de los Mártires Ciriaco y Paula, 4) – a small, but cozy venue where gurus of espresso, cappuccino and specialty coffee make the best drinks in Malaga.
- Café Tramezzino (Calle Carretería, 45) – a hidden gem in the heart of Malaga, widely known for its gorgeous omelets, wonderful coffee and tea, crispy toasts, and delicious pancakes.
- La Recova (1º, Pje Ntra. Sra. de los Dolores de San Juan, 3) – an authentic food stop for excellent coffee and toast served by friendly staff.
- Casa Aranda (Calle Herrería del Rey, 3) – a top-rank Spanish bakery with lavish portions of mouth-watering churros.
- Santa Canela Soho (Calle Tomás Heredia, 5) – a cheap, European-style and vegetarian-friendly café in Malaga where you can taste coffee on an outside terrace.
It goes without saying that a guided tour of Malaga offers a pre-prepared look at the city’s bestselling sites.
Yet, there are many other ways to explore the downtown area – on foot, by bike, by e-car, Segway, or a tourist bus. Whatever option you choose, you will focus on the main sights and reach the best observation points. Let us design a possible route of your maiden walk along the streets of Malaga.
We suggest starting your self-guided tour of Malaga at the Plaza de la Constitucion, whereto you can easily get from any of your breakfast locations in a matter of several minutes.
Plaza de la Constitucion
As you walk along Calle Granada, you can admire a lot of wonderful facades until you reach Plaza de la Juderia. At this point, you may take a right turn, stroll past Malaga’s Tourist Office to find the emblematic El Pimpi bodega bar.
El Pimpi Bodega Bar (Calle Granada, 62)
Originally a wine cellar, the iconic El Pimpi Bodega Bar offers delicious gastronomy and is a popular meeting place of tourists and residents. Moreover, it is the favorite bar of Antonio Banderas, who was born in Malaga and owns a house near El Pimpi. If you are lucky enough, you may see him there! The bar is made in an authentic style, it is very cozy inside and there is a large wall with photos of the celebrities, who visited El Pimpi Bodega Bar.
If you go back to Plaza de la Juderia and turn to the left, you can get to the 16th-century Catholic Santiago Church, walk to Plaza de la Merced, where you can drink a cup of coffee at Starbucks and take a glimpse of Pablo Picasso’s house, Fundacion Picasso, located nearby. You can pay tribute to the legendary artist by viewing a selected exhibition of his paintings there.
Leave Plaza de la Merced and head for Calle Alcazabilla. In this street, you will find the remains of the ancient Roman Theater.
Teatro Romano de Malaga (Calle Alcazabilla, s/n)
Teatro Romano de Malaga is an incredible historic site that offers a trip back in time. The ancient Romans built this theater almost two millennia ago, but many of its parts are very well preserved.
The old amphitheater gives you a clue what the monument looked like when it was packed with the viewing audience on the ancient days of its first theatrical performances. The original glory of Teatro Romano de Malaga continues to attract people.
Therefore, even nowadays, performances are sometimes held there. The theatre has become one of the most famous tourist sites in Malaga. Besides, there is an information center, where you can learn about the excavations, the finds and many useful things.
However, there is too little time for relaxation and philosophizing. The towering walls lure you, though you need to be ready for a bit of climbing. The Alcazaba Walkway, a passage between Teatro Romano and the Cine Albeniz cinema, will lead you to one of the best observation decks in the region – Mirador Alcazaba, from where you can enjoy the view of Malaga skyline. Now, you are right in the heart of the old Moorish castle – La Alcazaba de Málaga.
Alcazaba Fortress (Calle Alcazabilla, 2)
La Alcazaba de Málaga is the closest neighbor of the ancient Roman Theater. Moreover, some parts of the Roman structure were taken for the construction of the fortress. This majestic citadel is the most ancient and well-preserved Moorish building in Spain.
La Alcazaba de Málaga consists of three palaces and more than a hundred towers. The corridors that you need to go through to get to one of the palaces are worth seeing for yourself!
Alcazaba may not match Alhambra in Granada in size and grandeur, but it helps you get a clear picture of how the Moors lived. The citadel was built in the 8th century, and the inner palaces were completed in the 11th century.
The fortress survived massive restoration in the 1930s, but mainly preserved its original style and look. Endless courtyards, towers, battlements, an eventually the palace itself… Save a couple of hours to explore this monumental landmark.
After you leave this beautiful fortress, you will want some escape from the sun and will head for Malaga Museum. On your way there, be sure to pause for lunch. Below is the top-five pick of the best restaurants and eateries near Alcazaba.
- Araboka Restaurante (Calle Pedro de Toledo, 4) – a fabulous restaurant in the old part of the city offering Mediterranean, Spanish and international cuisine with local wines.
- Garum Casual (Calle Alcazabilla, 1) – it is comfortably located among Malaga’s best attractions and is valued for its tapas, seafood, drinks and much more.
- Osteria Angelino dal 1899 Malaga (Calle Pedro de Toledo, 4) – a place where you can enjoy good Italian cuisine and fresh seafood options.
- Uvedoble Taberna (Calle Císter, 15) – this upscale tapas restaurant is a good venue for tasting unforgettable Spanish dishes and having a fine dining experience.
- Pizzeria Italiana Vittoria (Calle Afligidos, 3) – this is much more than just a pizzeria. It is an islet of Italy in the heart of Malaga, noted for its great atmosphere and excellent service.
Having had a hearty meal, you are ready to continue the walking tour. So, you are interested in Malaga Museum now, which is located in Plaza de la Aduana, which is named after the old customs building, La Aduana, refurbished to contain the art exhibits.
Museo de Málaga (Plaza de la Aduana)
Malaga Museum, in fact, unites art and archaeological collections under the same roof. The two provincial museums, namely the Museum of Fine Arts and the Archaeological Museum, were united a long time ago to create the largest museum complex in Andalusia and the 5th largest museum in Spain.
The museum’s top floor brings together the main archeological finds, including Marquis of Casa Loring’s collections, and the first floor is home to the exhibits of Spanish art, mostly executed in Malaga. The archeological department has more than 15 thousand artefacts, and the art department includes more than 2 thousand items.
On the way out of the museum, find Calle Cister that will take you to the spiritual sanctuary of Malaga, its Cathedral.
Catedral de la Encarnación de Málaga (Calle Molina Lario, 9)
Santa Iglesia Catedral Basílica de la Encarnación, as the cathedral’s full name suggests, is the center of Malaga’s religious life. 150 years were not enough to erect two traditional towers, so this cathedral has only one. The reason for this is that the funds raised for the construction of the second tower were spent to support American independence.
The cathedral is also distinguished by its huge size and a large number of details made of gold. Its chapels and choir stalls look amazing, and there is a collection of religious art inside. You can also go up on the roof of this cathedral and to a large observation deck.
To reach the top, you will climb 200 steps, but the reward is doubtless – you will enjoy an incredible view of the city and study in detail the domes and the towers of the Cathedral of Málaga.
Just around the corner, you will also see the Bishop’s Palace (Palacio Episcopal), which is built in the notable Spanish Baroque style and looks gorgeous.
If you walk to the south and along Calle Molina Lario, you will reach Plaza de la Marina and Paseo del Parque. To the right of the street, there is a picturesque landscaped area, Malaga Park.
Parque de Málaga (Paseo España, 2)
Parque de Málaga is a park in the heart of the city. Here you can find a botanical garden and a zoo, a rose garden, and a cypress alley. It is an ideal place to take a break from the bustle of the city.
The entire territory of the park is an artificially expanded shore during the construction of the port of Malaga. Parque de Málaga contains plants and trees brought from all over the earth. Cuban palm trees and other plants, that are not typical for southern Spain, grow here.
To the left from Paseo del Parque, there are wonderful buildings of the Bank of Spain, the University of Malaga, and of Malaga’s Neo-Baroque Town Hall. Paseo del Parque finishes with a roundabout where you can admire the classic fountain, Fuente de las Tres Gracias. From this spot, you can already have a view of the seaport and Muelle Uno, or of La Malagueta historic bullring.
At this point, you have a lot of options: explore the bullfighting memorabilia in the museum of La Malagueta Bullring, shop till you drop in the malls and department stores of Muelle Uno, visit Centre Pompidou Malaga, marked by the multi-colored cube installation, and discover modern artworks by Chagall.
Kandinsky, or Picasso; study the menus of seafront restaurants and bars located along the central orange tree promenade, or walk all the way along Paseo de la Farola and have a look at the Faro de Malaga lighthouse. Anyway, spending the evening of your first day in Malaga somewhere near the Playa de La Malagueta beach is a good option!
Playa de La Malagueta
Malaga’s waterfront is the tourists’ favorite place. Amazing sandy beaches of Playa de La Malagueta and luxury yachts are something you need to see without any delay.
Playa de La Malagueta is a city beach that differs from other Malaga’s beaches in the color of sand and water temperature. The sand here is gray and the water is a little colder. With hot Spanish summers, people are always looking for this place to cool off. The sea is bright blue, the water and the beach are clean. Isn’t it the best combination for a traveler?
While chilling out at Playa de La Malagueta, you must drop in to one of the numerous beachfront bars and taste the local seafood.
Palmeral De Las Sorpresas
As the day is drawing to an end, you need to find a very picturesque place to rest and watch the sunset. We suggest walking to Palmeral De Las Sorpresas. It is a very beautiful and modern promenade with many yachts, palm trees, fountains, modern sculptures and the Ferris wheel. Here you can find a large number of restaurants and cafes to dine at.
- El Merendero de Antonio Martín (Plaza de la Malagueta, 4) – a decent place where you can enjoy the traditional Andalusian cuisine in one of the three environments: a bar-like zone for tapas, a terrace with beach views, and a usual restaurant hall.
- Restaurante La Ménsula (Calle Fernando Camino, 17) – a cozy restaurant offering local cuisine, Mediterranean and European dishes at a reasonable price.
- Restaurante José Carlos García (Puerto de Málaga, Plaza de la Capilla, 1) – a
Michelin-star restaurant, which truly deserves the accolades. Recommended are the chef menu and Andalusian wines. Tables must be booked in advance.
- Miguel Restaurante (Calle Puerto, 4) – a good venue to dine with the locals and like the locals. The food is fantastic, the portions are large, and the service is generous.
- Sabor a Fuego (Paseo de Sancha, 30) –an excellent restaurant to eat Latin and Mediterranean cuisine or enjoy grilled foods with top-class service.
- Marisqueria Los Delfines (Calle Reding, 12) – this seafood restaurant stands out due to delicious fish dishes, excellent Mediterranean cuisine, and mouthwatering desserts.
In the evening, the promenade becomes even more beautiful due to the lights. You can also try the popular local dish Espeto de Sardinas (sardines on skewers) or a barbecue made of sardines with salt and lemon. They are cooked in small boats and in beach bars all over the place.
Finish your intense Day 1 itinerary with a quiet evening stroll along Paseo Maritimo Pablo Ruiz Picasso. Such was your first acquaintance with Malaga! Have a good rest and restore your energy. Day 2 is on its way!
Hopefully, you have got enough night sleep because the itinerary of Day 2 includes many other attractions to visit and discoveries to make. Your adventures start from the Atarazanas Market.
Mercado Central de Atarazanas (Calle Atarazanas, 10)
The central market of Malaga, Mercado De Atarazanas, is located in a big building, which has its interesting history. Initially, there was a shipyard. At that time, the sea reached straight to this place. Then a monastery was built there; later there was an ammunition depot, a hospital, and then a university. And in the 19th century, this place finally became a market.
Now it is a real “Gourmet Paradise”. Here you can find a huge amount of fresh seafood, which is also much cheaper than in supermarkets. Mercado De Atarazanas is also famous for its olives. The construction is made in the classical Moorish style. Its main features are thin columns and horseshoe-shaped arches. Malaga’s main market is always busy and vibrant. It is truly Andalusian by spirit, and you will shop like a local here. After you do so, you really have to stop and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the terraced Bar Mercado Atarazanas.
As you exit the market, you will walk along Calle Atarazanas until you reach Calle Larios. Stroll here at your pleasure, admiring the facades, the shop windows, and Marquis of Larios statue.
La Calle Larios
One of the most recognized streets of Malaga, La Calle Larios, is not only a significant commercial street, but also one of the most favorite walking places of residents and visitors of the city. It is no wonder that this street ranks fifth among all the commercial cities in Spain. In this street, you can find a huge number of stores of world-famous brands, as well as many modern bars and restaurants.
La Calle Larios fascinates with its beauty. There are many arches with lights that are installed during various holidays and carnivals. All year round, you can marvel at unusual monuments and sculptures, as well as a magnificent fountain. Walking along the street, you can’t stop staring at the incredibly beautiful architecture. Yet, do not forget to watch your step because the whole street is paved with marble of different colors, which looks very unusual.
After you reach Plaza de la Constitucion, where your yesterday’s tour began, turn to the right and walk along Calle Sta. Maria. Here you can find a very beautiful church, Iglesia Capitular de El Sagrario. If you do not mind walking astray from the main route, you can turn to the left and walk along Calle San Agustin to the Catholic Church of St. Augustine and eventually to Picasso Museum.
Museo Picasso (Calle San Agustín, 8)
Museo Picasso is a museum dedicated to the creativity of the Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, who was born in Malaga. Here you can find 285 paintings by the artist, which his family gave to this museum.
Museo Picasso’s building is the former palace of the Counts of Buenavista. This two-storey building was built in the 16th century on the ruins of the Nasrid Palace. Before this building was first used as a museum, the Red Cross Hospital had been located here during the Spanish Civil War.
After you explore the interior and the exhibits of this unique museum, you need to return to the crossroads of Calle Sta. Maria and Calle Cister. Keep walking, and you will soon pass the Alcazaba Fortress on your left. If you would like a shady refuge in a serene environment, go directly to the skillfully landscaped park, Jardines de Pedro Luis Alonso. For your information, there is a municipal museum nearby – Museo del Patrimonio Municipal, which showcases the works of Malaga’s local artists.
But you should be focused on a far more outstanding destination – the Gibralfaro Castle. After you have enough rest, return to Paseo Don Juan Temboury and walk the winding path to the glorious historic landmark.
Castillo de Gibralfaro (Camino Gibralfaro, 11)
Castillo de Gibralfaro is another majestic fortress located on Mount Gibralfaro. Being perched on this hill, it overlooks a major part of the city, the bullring, and the bay. Castillo de Gibralfaro is the 14th-century Moorish citadel, which started small as barracks for the soldiers defending Alcazaba. Like all fortresses, it also has its own history and is associated with heroic deeds.
One of them is a three-month siege by Catholic monks, who brought Catholicism to Spain. In addition, it was the very first conflict on Spanish soil, where gunpowder was used.
Inside the castle, there is a permanent exhibition of armors, swords, and other historic artefacts. Its double walls are a great place to walk. The entrance to the castle is in its western part, and there is also a long, narrow passage connecting Castillo de Gibralfaro and Alcazaba into a single complex.
In the eastern part of this magnificent fortress, there is an observation deck, from which the breathtaking view of Malaga opens.
There are a few cafes and bars on the premises of the castle, such as La Terrazita Gibralfaro or Souvenir Lozano, so you can either have a bite or order a hearty meal anytime you feel hungry. Outside the historic complex, you can take a short walk along Plaza Jesus el Rico and then Paseo Reding to find such venues as El Ambigú de la Coracha, Zarte, or Restaurante Spaguetteria Circus.
All of them serve wonderful lunches that can replenish your energy.
If you are not tired yet, you can walk all the way back to Plaza de la Constitucion, from where you will quickly get to the popular Arab Baths.
Hammam Al Ándalus Baños Árabes (Plaza de los Mártires Ciriaco y Paula, 5)
Malaga’s Arab Baths look gorgeous despite the age. Inside, marble floors, tiled walls and ceilings resemble a Moorish palace, so rich and decorated they are. Cleanliness and comfort are perhaps the main words to characterize this venue.
There are cold, warm and hot pools, steam sauna, and a room with heated massage tables from marble. Visiting these baths is a very recreative and invigorating experience that every tourist has to experience at least once.
By now, you have done a great job and walked a long distance, so we suggest spending the rest of the day in a relaxed manner. Why not explore the art district of Malaga, Soho, during a leisurely walk? Or check out the souvenir shops and brand stores in Calle Larios street once again? Alternatively, you can go to Muelle Uno and see what the shops and malls there have to offer.
If shopping is not your cup of tea, head for Playa de la Malagueta and spend the rest of the day there. There is always plenty of beach entertainment and sunbathing available.