Is Malaga Worth Visiting? Local Guide [2023]

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Are you thinking about visiting Malaga?

Do you wonder if it’s worth a visit, whether for a day trip or a holiday?

The short answer is YES.

Malaga is a well-known holiday destination on Costa del Sol and for a good reason – it offers the perfect mix of sandy beaches, culture, history, and a lively night scene with exciting culinary experiences.

It’s a city with rich history, but also a modern metropolis by the sea which is developing and changing quickly.

If you’re considering visiting Malaga, this article will answer all your questions!

Is it Worth Going to Malaga, Spain?

I live right next to Malaga and have travelled to all of the big cities in Andalusia. If your time is limited and you want to see the highlights of Southern Spain, I would personally choose Granada or Seville over Malaga.

If you’re staying somewhere on Costa del Sol and have more time, then a day trip to Malaga makes perfect sense!

It also depends on your preferences – if you’re a fan of art, you would enjoy visiting the Picasso Museum in Malaga, along with the Centre Pompidou (sister museum of the more famous one in Paris).

Malaga is also very pretty and a lovely destination for the winter – especially at Christmas time when they go all-in with the Christmas lights.

The city is still very warm even in the winter months, making it the perfect destination for winter holidays.

How Hot is Malaga?

One of the most frequent questions is of course weather-related.

‘How hot is Malaga in November or January?’

Below I listed average temperatures for each month of the year, which are pretty realistic.

I live in Fuengirola, not far from Malaga, and the temperatures don’t swing to any extremes from the ones listed below.

  • How hot is Malaga in January? Between 17C – 8C on average, with some rainy days and more clouds.
  • How hot is Malaga in February? Between 18C and 8C on average, also rainy with clouds around.
  • How hot is Malaga in March? Usually, temperatures don’t go as low as the previous two months and are in the range of 15C – 19C, with nights being still very cold. Less rain and more sunny days.
  • How hot is Malaga in April? April weather is a bit unpredictable and you can have random cold spells, but temperatures are warmer around the low twenties.
  • How hot is Malaga in May? 15C to 25C with lots of sunny days, rain is rarely seen this time of year.
  • How hot is Malaga in June? Temperatures hitting 30s for the first time, average between 18C and 28C.
  • How hot is Malaga in July? One of the hottest months of the year, temperatures between 20C and 33C.
  • How hot is Malaga in August? Hottest month of the year, temperatures between 25C and 35C.
  • How hot is Malaga in September? Cooling off with temperatures between 25C and 30C.
  • How hot is Malaga in October? Pleasant temperatures between 20C and 25C.
  • How hot is Malaga in November? Still relatively warm with temperatures between 18C and 25C.
  • How hot is Malaga in December? Cooling off with temperatures between 15C and 20C.
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How Many Days Do I Need in Malaga?

I personally think that one day is plenty of time to explore the main sights in Malaga.

In one day, you get to see the Alcazaba, climb the stairs to the Gibralfaro Castle, and even squeeze time to see the Picasso Museum.

Anything beyond that is a bonus, but one day would cover the main historic sights.

If you would love to spend time on the beach, do a boat trip and explore a bit of the culinary scene, 2-3 days will be plenty of time to do all of that, on top of visiting the main sights.

Is Malaga Touristy?

I’ve seen Malaga at its best and worst.

The best was right after the pandemic when the travel restrictions were lifted and Malaga was absolutely peaceful. The only people you would meet were locals living here, and all of the historic sights were empty with nobody waiting up to buy the tickets and waiting to get in.

The worst is probably in the middle of the summer.

If you get unlucky with the timing, you might arrive at the same time as a bus full of tourists is unloaded in the old town. Worse even, if a cruise ship arrives in the port and everyone on board takes off to the old town.

In that case, it’s almost impossible to walk through the old town as it’s clogged up with thousands of people, and visiting any of the monuments becomes a challenge too.

That also means it’s almost impossible to find a place for lunch as everything is packed.

I would advise having realistic expectations if you’re visiting Malaga in the summer and being prepared for the crowds.

So short answer – YES, it can be very touristy if you visit in the summer months.

Castillo de Gibralfaro, Malaga
Hotel Parador de Málaga Gibralfaro

What to Do in Malaga?

There is plenty to do in Malaga, for full list check my article here.

Which is Better: Seville or Malaga?

It depends on personal preferences, but I believe that there is much more to see in the capital of Andalusia – Seville.

Which is Better: Malaga or Marbella?

Again, it depends on your personal preferences, but I find Marbella much more enjoyable than Malaga. There are no historic sights though, and it can feel pretty crowded in the summer as its much smaller than Malaga.

Explore More in Malaga

Best Day Trips from Malaga by Bus: Travel Tips from a Local Expat

Best Day Trips from Malaga by Train

Malaga Cathedral: The Unfinished Masterpiece

13+ Brilliant Things to do in Malaga, Spain

Immerse Yourself in Modern Art at the Centre Pompidou, Malaga

La Conception Botanical Gardens in Malaga

Car Museum in Malaga: Fashion & Vintage Cars Under One Roof

How to Get from Malaga to Granada: Your Detailed Transport Guide

Picasso Museum, Malaga

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

Castillo de Gibralfaro, Malaga

Malaga to Seville: Your Detailed Transport Guide

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Lucia is a founder and travel writer at Viva La Vita. She has been living on Costa del Sol in Southern Spain (Fuengirola) since 2020. She helps travellers plan the perfect trip to Spain thanks to her local insights, practical tips and unique insider perspective complemented by original photography.

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