30 Brilliant Things To Do in Malaga [2024]

30 Brilliant Things To Do in Malaga [2024]

Planning a trip to Malaga in Spain, and wondering what it has to offer?

What are the best things to do in Malaga for 2024?

In this article, you will find ideas for activities, experiences and monuments worth visiting, not just in Malaga but also around.

Best of all? As I live in Southern Spain, right next to Malaga, I know the city a bit better than a passing travel blogger and will happily share my insights from over three years of visiting Malaga regularly.

Best Things To Do in Malaga for 2024

This is by no means an exhaustive list of what Malaga has to offer, but more of a sample of the best activities you might enjoy on your trip.

The list is regularly updated and reviewed, so you can never miss a local gem or activity to enjoy. Dive in and get inspired!


1. Picasso Museum

Malaga is the birthplace of Picasso and it’s only appropriate that he has a museum dedicated to his life’s work. In addition to the museum, you can also visit the house where he was born, but from what I’ve read it’s not very informative or educational compared to the museum.

The museum is located close to the cathedral and tends to be quite popular, especially in the summer (expect to spend some time queuing up if you didn’t get tickets in advance). It holds 44 paintings, 49 drawings and 40 different graphic works, and a limited selection of sculptures.

There are small information boards next to each artwork and a few photographs from Picasso’s life.

While the artworks themselves are pretty impressive, I was hoping the museum will offer a bit more insight into his personal life, in addition to focusing on his professional work, but that’s not the case. I didn’t take the audio guide, perhaps that tells you more about his life in general.

The museum is very spacious and hosted in a gorgeous old building, and even if you are not a huge fan of art, it’s such an important part of Malaga’s cultural heritage that it shouldn’t be missed.

Opening Times: Open every day Monday to Sunday, November-February: 10 am – 6 pm, March-June: 10 am – 7 pm,  July-August: 10 am -8 pm, September to October: 10 am – 7 pm.

Picasso Museum, MalagaPicasso Museum, Malaga
Picasso Museum, Malaga

2. Catamaran Sunset Cruise

One of the best ways to enjoy your time in Malaga is to spend some time at sea!

There are a number of catamaran cruises offered from harbour area (Muello Uno), and the most popular one is definitely the sunset cruise with a free glass of cava!

I took a 60-minute catamaran cruise in September (pictures below), on a lovely summer day with a calm sea and we even saw some dolphins and baby dolphins (the guide said that we were very lucky, as in September they’re usually not anywhere around this area).

malaga spain 1 of 1 16
things to do in Malaga

3. Alcazaba of Malaga

Probably the number one attraction with the Gibralfaro Castle, Alcazaba is an old fortress that became synonymous with the city.

It used to be connected to the Gibralfaro castle but now there are just ruins remaining from the old walls.

Alcazaba was built between 1057 and 1063, and since 1279 it was part of the Nasrid Kingdom. It has undergone a number of transformations and upgrades and has some structural similarities to the architecture you would see in the Alhambra Palace – although certainly not as impressive.

The fortress is accessible from the old town, next to the Roman Amphitheater ruins and it gets very busy most of the year. As far as I could see, you cannot buy tickets in advance online and they can be purchased from one of the ticket machines by the entrance.

Alcazaba Visit Essential Information

Opening times: Summer hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and winter hours from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. It’s closed on bank holidays.

Tickets: The tickets to Alcazaba cost 3.50 euros per person (reduced rates available). If you want a combined ticket to also see the Gibralfaro Castle, the ticket costs 5.50 euros.

Bonus tip: if you visit on Sunday after 2 pm, you get free entrance. There is a lovely cafe up the hill on the right side when you get in, from where you get some of the best views while you can enjoy a cold drink. Toilets are also located next to the cafe.

Alcazaba in Malaga
Alcazaba in Malaga

4. Gibralfaro Castle

If you want to continue your visit from Alcazaba, the Gibralfaro Castle is the next obvious choice – you can get the combined ticket and just continue walking up the hill to see the castle itself.

The climb to the castle is partly shaded by trees, but in the summer months it can be quite a challenge, so make sure you have water with you.

Unlike the Alcazaba, the castle is pretty basic as it served mainly as a defence structure.

It consists of outer walls with build-in walkways, and a central courtyard where you will find a small building with a museum.

Just behind the museum is a small cafe where you can get some simple food (sandwiches, pasta, small tapas) – this was one of my favourite places in the castle. You can sit down and watch the tourists stroll past, and the squirrels chase each other on the roof of the cafe.

The castle has even better views of Malaga and the coastline than the Alcazaba, and if you time your visit for the sunset or later afternoon hours, you get some pretty amazing photos too!

Gibralfaro Castle Visit Information

Ticket prices: 3.50 euros for adults, students, kids & retired: 1.50 euros. The combined ticket for Castillo + Alcazaba costs 5.50 euros.

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.

Castillo de Gibralfaro, Malaga
Castillo de Gibralfaro, Malaga

5. Shopping at Calle Larios

If you’re in the mood for a bit of shopping, one place you can’t miss is Calle Larios.

This long pedestrian promenade with shops lining both sides is one of the most popular places for shopping in Malaga.

On the last weekend of November, the street is decorated with spectacular Christmas lights and turning on the lights is an event in its own right.

The street is pretty long and wide, but it does get very busy over the weekends.

It spills into the small alleyways of the old town where you will find gorgeous cafes, tapas bars and local restaurants.



6. Visit the Roman Amphitheater

Right under the entrance to the Alcazaba, you will see the ruins of the Roman Theater.

I haven’t paid a visit yet as you can see the whole structure from the Alcazaba entrance, and also from the small pedestrian plaza next to it.

Next to the ruins on the left side is an Interpretation Centre, where you get a chance to experience the history of the building through the use of modern technology.

The ruins were only discovered in 1951 as they lay hidden under the Cultural Building of Malaga. The amphitheatre is thought to have been built at the time of Augustus, at 1 AD.


Roman Theater Malaga

7. Day Trip to Caminito del Rey

Don’t worry, no need to drive anywhere – this day trip is organised by a local travel company, with pick up in central Malaga.

It’s the most popular day trip option that will take you to the breathtaking ‘King’s Path’, once declared one of the most dangerous hiking paths in the world. Today, it’s one of the top attractions in the whole Malaga district.

You don’t need any special gear or hiking shoes, just something comfortable you would wear for a forest walk. The pathway is attached to rocks towering over the El Chorro gorge, and I can guarantee these will be the best photos from your trip to Malaga!

This trip tends to sell out very quickly and they have limited entrance capacity for each day, so check out the booking link below to book your spot.

views from caminito del rey spain
views from caminito del rey

8. Malaga Park

Dating back to 1897, Malaga park is a piece of a green oasis just outside of the old town.

It’s not just a park, but it also contains a botanical garden and an outdoor amphitheatre. It has three promenades, each 800 meters long and runs alongside the Guadiaro Pier (which connects to Muelle Uno).

I have fond memories of this place as it’s where I watched Flamenco for the first time when I visited Spain over 10 years ago.

The park does not have any cafes or other establishments, but it’s a very pleasant place to explore, especially if you’re visiting with kids. There are benches where you can sit and rest, and enjoy a break from the scorching heat in the summer


things to do in Malaga, Spain

9. Andalusian Horse Show

Enjoy an authentic equestrian performance with the most gorgeous Andalusian horses, complemented beautifully with flamenco music. A free tour of the stables is available to those who arrive 45 minutes before the start of the show.

Book via the link below.


10. Centre Pompidou

If you’re in a mood for a bit of culture, head to the multi-coloured cube at Muelle Uno – it’s the home of Center Pompidou.

This modern art museum is an extension of its more famous sister in Paris and was supposed to have been only a temporary project that has been extended for a number of years.

If you’ve visited the Picasso Museum earlier, you will find this one much less impressive in terms of the number of works exhibited, but they do have some nice gems like the work of Miro.

I personally found it fairly limited in terms of the exhibitions, the space looked almost empty and most of the work I didn’t find very inspiring. Perhaps the most exciting part was the gift shop with a very cool selection of art books and other gifts.

Opening Hours: every day except Tuesdays, from 9.30 am to 8 pm.

Centre Pompidou, Malaga

11. Visit Hammam Al Andalus

Relax and unwind from all the exploring in the stunning setting of Hammam Al Andalus, traditional Arab baths offering a range of treatments and massages.

There are plunge pools in three different temperatures, steam room and a lounge where you can enjoy some refreshing tea before your massage.

A wonderful way to end or start your holiday in Malaga!


12. Flamenco Show

Enjoy a dining experience while watching an authentic flamenco show in one of Malaga’s favorites spots! I linked the most popular options in the city below:



Fancy a change of scenery? How about venturing down south to the British territory known as ‘the Rock’, to watch monkeys running freely in the nature reserve, do a bit of duty free shopping on the high street, and enjoy spectacular views from a glass viewing platform (Skywalk)?

If that sounds like your idea of a perfect day trip, you can book this trip below – they do pick up in central Malaga, so it’s completely hassle-free and also a very affordable way to see more than just Malaga.

gibraltar spain 20
gibraltar spain 24 1

14. Book a Tuk Tuk Tour

Explore Malaga in a truly unique way – on board an electric tuk tuk!

A fun way to see the city without enduring the heat and any climb uphill – your personal driver will be your guide on this 2-hour excursion showing you all the highlights of Malaga!

This activity has free cancellation up to 24 hours before your scheduled trip for full refund, and book now pay later option. Click the link below to see availability and prices for this activity.


15. Shop for Souvenirs

If you’re planning to take home some souvenirs, there are a few places you can look at – Calle Larios is one of them, but they also have lots of souvenir shops in the old town – these mostly contain magnets, cups, T-shirts and some other items.

One of the cooler places to find souvenirs is the place I will mention in detail below, the Paco Jose store, where you have a better selection of food gifts – they have gorgeous vintage-inspired chocolate tins, organic chocolates, a selection of candy and lots of other cool food items.

Alternatively, a good place to look is also the main municipal market where you can find some hidden gems from the local produce.


16. Taste the Local Tapas

It would be a sin to visit Malaga and not taste some of the local cuisines.

Tapas dining is an establishment in Southern Spain and something you will get used to very quickly – locals nibble all day long, till late hours of the night.

Tapas varieties are different from place to place, but there are a few staples you will find almost everywhere, which I listed below.

As a non-meat eater, choosing from tapas can be a bit of a struggle, and if you’re a vegan it will be even more challenging – having said that, Spain is known for amazing quality vegetables and even if you don’t see any veggie options on the menu, they’re normally happy to recommend and make some alternative for you.

Traditional Local Tapas

  • Gambas Pil Pil – prawns cooked in spicy chilli and garlic oil, served with fresh bread or baguette. If you taste them once, you will find yourself asking for them in each restaurant. The quality can vary a lot!
  • Sardines on a Skewer – a local classic especially for the area of Malaga, these are sardines cooked over a fire just outside the restaurant
  • Boquerones – fresh anchovies in vinegar
  • Spanish Omelette – eggs and potatoe omelette, a Spanish classic
  • Jamon – in all shapes and varieties, Spanish people are obsessed about their Jamon. Its usually served on a piece of bread or as a sharing platter.
  • Patatas Bravas – my choice of tapas usually, these fried potatoes are served with a spicy sauce with distinct flavour. The sauce flavour vary from place the place, the best bravas I had were in Casa Blanca in Marbella.

Free Tapas?

There is an old-fashioned tradition of serving free tapas with a drink when you sit down in a restaurant in Spain, unfortunately, this custom doesn’t extend to Costa del Sol. You might get plain bread that lots of restaurants will charge you for (and I’ve been charged also for the use of cutlery & napkins!!!).

If you want to enjoy free tapas, you will have to head to Seville or Granada.


17. Visit the Botanical Garden La Conception

Fancy a bit of an escape from the crowds and city life?

La Conception is the place you want to be!

Only a short drive out of Malaga (took about 10mins with a taxi), this historic botanical garden is massive and so lush, you will feel like you’re visiting a private jungle.

If you’re staying in Malaga with kids, they will love this place too – it’s perfect for safely running around and exploring nature, and most importantly – it provides the welcome retreat from the sun in the summer.

La Conception Botanical Garden Visitor Information

Opening Times: From 1st April to 30th September 9.30 am to 8.30 pm, from 1st October to 31st March 9.30 am to 5.30 pm.

Entrance fees: 5.20 euros per person, reduced rates available. You can visit the garden for free on Sundays between 1st October & 31st March, between the hours 2 pm and 5.30 pm and between 1st April & 30th September in the hours of 4.30 pm and 8.30 pm.

jadin botanico conception malaga spain 5
botanical garden malaga 14

18. Shop for Sweets at Pacos Jose

My very recent discovery on a day trip to Malaga – this gorgeous old shop is striking from a distance with its vintage-inspired facade and a shop window filled with trinkets.

Wanting to see what was inside, we wandered in to find a wonderland filled with hundreds of types of candy and the old fashioned charm of a traditional shop.

They have a large selection of nuts and chocolate covered nuts, and we ended up going home with 5 bags of these. The shop is also a great place to look for original souvenirs from Malaga, they have vintage-inspired chocolates, cookie tins and much more.

If you’re visiting with kids beware – there is a risk they won’t leave without a meltdown and a full bag of candy!


things to do in Malaga
things to do in Malaga

19. Enjoy a Sunset on the Beach

Malaga has plenty of beaches that will allow you to enjoy a summer holiday at its best.

Best visited at sunset time when most people left back to their hotel, take your own snacks & drinks to hold a private farewell to the sunset!

If you want a better glimpse of the sunset, I recommend booking a sunset cruise from Muelle Uno.


20. Go on a Treasure Hunt

If you want to learn more about Malaga in a fun way, then a treasure hunt is the right activity for you!

This tour organised by a local travel company in Malaga is suitable for all ages, and allows you to explore the history of the city with a bit of fun. During this 3 hour activity tour you will also see all the highlights of Malaga.

Check availability and prices via the link below.


21. Visit Malaga Cathedral

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

The cathedral dates back to 1530 and the last finishing touches were added in the 17th century. The cathedral remains incomplete and unfinished, earning it the nickname ‘La Manquita’ (one-armed).

The cathedral offers visits with an audio guide, and you can also book a tour of the rooftops to enjoy the stunning views of Malaga.

Malaga Cathedral Visitor Information

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

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. 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 9 am to 10 am.

malaga cathedral, spain
malaga cathedral, spain

22. Explore Old Town

Get lost in the streets of the old town and explore cute narrow streets filled with tapas bars, old tavernas and gorgeous historic buildings.

The old town is very easy to walk around and almost impossible to get lost!

Some of the prettiest locations in Malaga old town include:

  • Plaza del Obispo – small plaza right next to the cathedral with charming restaurants and the best views of the cathedral
  • Calle Molina Lario
  • Calle Alcazabilla – with glass pyramid, view of Alcazaba, the Roman Amphitheater and Park of Manuel Atentia Garcia
  • Plaza de la Mercedes – one of the main plazas of the city, especially beautiful in spring with blooming wisteria trees
things to do in Malaga, Spain
things to do in Malaga, Spain

23. Eat at a Michelin Star Restaurant

Still on my to-do lists, the Michelin star restaurant in Muelle Uno – Jose Carlos Garcia – will catch your eye with its striking appearance from outside, stunning simplistic design inside and an innovative menu inspired by local flavours.

The restaurant stems from the well-established older sister of Cafe de Paris, which was also run by Jose Carlos Garcia.

As expected for such a place, you will have to book a bit in advance to secure a reservation (especially in summer), so if you’re coming for a holiday and don’t want to miss the chance, book your spot very early on.

I can’t wait to visit and report back here!

Jose Carlos Garcia Restaurant Information

Opening times: from Tuesday to Saturday, for lunch and dinner

The menu: set menu with the price of €126.50 (contact them before booking in case of food intolerances or dietary preferences)

Reservations: Book online here


24. Try Local Malaga Wines

Malaga may be better known for sunshine and beaches than its wines, but it’s certainly an area worth exploring, especially when combined with the local tapas!

The wine production in Malaga is gaining momentum and the local wines are starting to get recognition around the country and the world.

There is a small Wine Museum where you get some wine tasting included in your ticket and you can buy some of the local wines directly in the museum.

Another popular way to experience the local wine is booking a wine & tapas tour in the city, visiting one of the wine cellars, or booking a meal at restaurants specialized in local wine, like the Casa de Vinos la Odisea in the old town.

Some of the local wineries are also located just a short drive out of Malaga, and you can book wine tasting in advance. Few options include:


25. Visit Carmen Thyssen Museum

Explore the treasures of 19th century Spanish and Andalusian art in this museum located in the stunning 16th-century Palacio de Villalón. Not just for art enthusiasts!

The tickets include skip the line access and an audio guide – get the tickets via the link below.


26. Visit the Local Market

The main Municipal Market in the old town of Malaga is a charming place to visit, especially at the weekend.

The market is divided into a few sections, selling anything from meat, fish, fresh vegetables, nuts and even has a few tapas bars. It’s also a great place to hunt for unique culinary souvenirs.

Locals love to sit just outside the main building and enjoy a quick bite with a drink over the weekend.

Visiting Mercado Central de Atarazanas

Opening times: 8 am to 3 pm, from Monday to Saturday, closed on Sundays

Location: C. Atarazanas, 10, 29005 Málaga


27. Visit the Car and Fashion Museum

I know what you think – what a strange museum idea, but I can guarantee you will love it! Especially if you’re travelling with kids, this museum is going to be so much fun to explore.

It’s located at an old Tobacco factory, about 10 minute taxi drive from central Malaga. The building in itself is stunning, and the exhibits in the museum left even a zero car enthusiast like myself very impressed! I have been there with our son and he keeps asking to come back and check it out again.

There is also an impressive collection of fashion artifacts from various periods, so ladies will find something cool to look at too! If you’re looking for a place to hide from the scortching heat in the summer, and keep the kids busy, this place is my top recommendation!

malaga car museum 18
malaga car museum 13

28. Explore Soho District

As you head off from Malaga Centro station, you’re entering the Soho neighbourhood – a modern, artistic and cool part of the city. The neighbourhood stretches from the port north towards Alameda Principal, and it’s very easy to walk around.

This neglected neighbourhood was developed as part of a city-funded project, which aimed to bring tourism and interest back to this area by supporting and funding art projects, which you can now admire on the many buildings in Soho. The project transformed this part of the city into a real-life art gallery.

In addition to the street art, you can admire modern art at the CAC Gallery – the Contemporary Art Centre.

Soho is known for its street art, cool cafes, restaurants and unique shopping options which include comic book stores, concept stores, and lots of independent small boutique brands.

On the first Saturday of each month, there is a Soho market where you can shop for local artisan items and independent brands.


29. Explore Montes de Malaga Natural Park

If you fancy seeing a bit more than the city itself, venturing out to the Natural Park next to Malaga is the best way to spend some time outdoors.

Don’t worry – you don’t need to go hiking in the middle of the summer – I suggest taking an e-bike tour of the Montes de Malaga natural park! This tour organised by a local travel company will take you on a 3 hour e-bike tour, at a leisure pace, allowing you to see Malaga from a different vantage point and enjoy the stunnign views from the park.

A great adventure without breaking a sweat!


30. Book a Bike Tour

Tour the historic city of Malaga by bike and discover the area’s most beautiful locations. Visit Picasso’s birthplace, a fresh market, and much more. Take a lovely ride by the beach.

Check availability and prices for this activity via the link below.

Most Popular Day Trips from Malaga

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links – if you decide to book using one of the links, I will earn a small commission that helps me run this site. This is at no extra cost to you.

Photo of author
Lucia has been living on Costa del Sol since 2020, and through her love of photography and travel, she has been documenting the best places to see in Southern Spain and uncovering hidden gems only known to locals. All the articles on Viva La Vita are written based on personal experience and local expertise.

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.

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