Malaga Cathedral: The Unfinished Masterpiece

Malaga Cathedral: The Unfinished Masterpiece

Malaga Cathedral, known under the official name as Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación (Our Lady of Incarnation), is one of the most important landmarks in Malaga.

Standing in the old town, close to the Alcazaba and Roman Theater, the cathedral lies within the borders of the old Moorish walls, on the grounds of a former mosque.

Together with the other historic monuments mentioned earlier, it is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the city.

While I spend a lot of time in Malaga, the visit to the cathedral was somehow pushed to the bottom of my list, probably thanks to seeing much more impressive places in Andalusia, like the cathedral in Seville or Mezequita mosque/cathedral in Cordoba.

Nevertheless, if you’re staying in Malaga, it’s worth taking a tour inside.

History of Malaga Cathedral

The cathedral dates back to 1530 and the last finishing touches were added in the 17th century. The cathedral remains incomplete and unfinished to this date. It is missing coping on the main facade and the south tower is completely unfinished too.

The incomplete state of the cathedral is visible right away as you approach it – if you look up you will see some abandoned columns on one of the towers.

The unfinished nature has earned the cathedral a nickname ‘La Manquita’ (one-armed).

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malaga cathedral, spain

Malaga Cathedral: The Building

The building of the cathedral is structured in a rectangular shape, with a nave and two isles finished in Rennaisance architectural style.

The tower of the cathedral is 84m tall, making it the second tallest cathedral in Andalusia, after the Giralda in Seville.

From the tour of the inside of the cathedral, you will get a chance to admire different artwork and most notably the impressive choir stalls with 42 sculptures by Pedro de Mena, Ortiz de Vargas and Giuseppe Micael Alfaro. These are considered to be of extreme artistic value, and some of the most important works of art of that period.

Other noteworthy features include two huge organs dating back to the 18th century, with more than 4000 pipes. The organs are still used today at concerts.

Inside the cathedral, you will also find a small museum.

As part of the tour of the cathedral, you can also visit the rooftops (I didn’t do that because we missed the time spot for tour).

Below is a little visual tour of the inside of the cathedral, and at the end of the post, you will find some practical visitor information.

malaga cathedral, spain
malaga cathedral, spain
malaga cathedral, spain
malaga cathedral, spain
malaga cathedral, spain
malaga cathedral, spain
malaga cathedral, spain
malaga cathedral, spain
malaga cathedral, spain
malaga cathedral, spain
malaga cathedral, spain
malaga cathedral, spain
malaga cathedral, spain
malaga cathedral, spain

Visiting Malaga Cathedral: Essential Information

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 10am to 6pm, Sunday 2pm to 6pm

Practical tips: no flash photography allowed, also no selfie sticks. The tour of the roof may be cancelled without prior notice due to weather, and it is recommended only for people who can scale the steps without any issues. If you’re wearing heels it might not be the best idea to try to climb the tower.

Entrance fees: general admission is 6 euros, tickets that include a tour of the roof are 10 euros. You can also visit the cathedral at night, the tickets cost 10 euros. Tickets can be bought on the spot by the entrance, or online on their website.

Free entrance: there is a free entrance to the cathedral from Monday to Thursday, from 9am to 10am.

Guided tours: the cathedral only offers an audio guide which is included in your ticket price

Location: marked on map below

Frequent Questions

What is the name of the Cathedral in Málaga?

The official name is Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación (Our Lady of Incarnation).

Is Málaga Cathedral free?

The cathedral can be visited for free from Monday to Saturday, between 9am and 10am. Otherwise, the entrance fees start from 6 euros for a basic ticket.

How old is the Cathedral in Málaga?

The cathedral is 240 years old.

Why is the cathedral in Málaga not finished?

It is mainly due to the lack of funds required to finish the construction.

Explore More in Malaga

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The Alcazaba of Malaga: All You Need to Know for Your Visit

Castillo de Gibralfaro, Malaga

La Conception Botanical Gardens in Malaga

10+ Amazing Day Trips from Malaga

Picasso Museum, Malaga

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Hi, I'm Lucia

At Viva La Vita, I will help you to discover Southern Spain like a local!

I've been living on Costa del Sol since 2020, and fill these pages with first-hand insights, personal experience and practical tips that will help you plan a wonderful trip to Spain.

Make yourself at home and find the best places to explore in Andalusia and beyond.

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