As you make your way through Malaga, it’s almost impossible not to spot Castillo Gibralfaro.
Stretching on the top of the Gibralfaro hill, this 14th-century fortress is one of the most recognizable monuments of Malaga.
Even though the name suggests it’s a castle, in reality, it was a fortress built to house the troops protecting the Alcazaba under the foothill. So if you’re expecting beautifully decorated interiors and intricate courtyards, you will have to head elsewhere.
The castle has 8 different towers and two lines of walls, considered to be impregnable at that time. The walls and stairs are in great condition and serve as the perfect vantage point to capture some stunning city landscapes.
The Castillo is divided into two parts, the upper courtyard and the lower part which used to house the soldiers and horses.
To cut to the chase, there isn’t much to see inside the castle. You will spend most of your time walking along the defence walls and enjoying the views. For the views alone, the entry price of 3.50 euros is well worth it.
Get some comfy shoes on and join me for a little tour!
How to get to Castillo de Gibralfaro
I was staying in the Parador de Malaga Gibralfaro, from there it’s only a short 5-minute walk.
If you want to venture on foot, there is a pathway that leads uphill from Paseo de Don Juan Temboury which takes about 20 minutes.
Public bus number 35 that runs approximately every 30 minutes can drive you there.
You can also reach the castle by taxi from downtown, the journey will take approximately 10 minutes and costs around 10 euros, depending on where you take the taxi from. You can also drive there yourself fairly easily – there are some parking spaces available outside the castle (although the space is not huge).
The upper courtyard houses a small building where you will find a castle museum showing different artifacts and replicas from the castle’s history. It was one long room filled with historic trivia which I didn’t find particularly interesting.
Right behind the museum is a small castle cafe with refreshments.
The upper courtyard is where you enter as you walk in.
Right in front of you will be the museum, and on the right side staircase that will take you to the castle walls.
From there you can continue walking all the way to the lower parts of the castle, or descend by the cafe.
I found that this staircase was the only really steep one within the grounds, so if you don’t like the climb, you can walk further along the wall and enter elsewhere.
Right behind the castle museum, you will find a charming little cafe shaded by a pergola and a gigantic fig tree.
They have cold drinks and a small selection of food (sandwiches, snacks, pizza) – surprisingly good food!
Best of all – you can enjoy the views with cold drinks in hand while watching the local squirrels chasing each other on the trees.
I have spent over an hour sitting here just enjoying the view and watching other tourists pass by.
Lower Parts of Gibralfaro Castle
After spending an extended break in the cafe, I ventured further down to explore the remaining parts of the castle.
To see it all didn’t take very long, as you just keep moving down the walkway between the walls and stop to take photos.
I got lucky with the timing as the sun just started going down, and a beautiful fog rolled over the city, providing a movie-like atmosphere.
The lower part of the castle offers different panoramic views and leads back to the entrance in the upper courtyard. If there are not many people visiting, you’ll be done with the tour of this part in 30 minutes.
Gibralfaro Castle: Visitor Information
Entry price: 3.50 euros for adults, students, kids & retired: 1.50 euros. The combined ticket for Castillo + Alcazaba costs 5.50 euros.
Tickets: There are self-service ticket booths by the entrance to the castle, where a friendly lady helps you to purchase your tickets. The languages available are English, Spanish and German.
Practical tips: It may be obvious, but I will state it anyway – comfortable shoes are a must to climb the stairs and navigate the cobbled paths. If visiting in summer, make sure you take water with you and a hat to shelter from the summer heat.
More information: if you’re interested in detailed information about the history of Gibralfaro Castle, you can find more details on their official website.