An impressive well-preserved 10th-century Islamic fortress
The magnificent Castillo de Gibralfaro sits on a high hill overlooking Malaga city and port and dates back to the 10th century. The hill where the Gibralfaro is situated forms part of the Montes de Malaga mountain range, located to the east and north of Malaga city – this land is protected by the Montes’ natural park status.
The castle was built in 929 A.D. by Abd-al-Rahman III, Caliph of Cordoba, on a former Phoenician enclosure and lighthouse, from which its name was derived – Gebel-faro (Arabic and Greek, meaning rock of the lighthouse). Yusef 1, Sultan of Granada, enlarged it at the beginning of the 14th century, also adding the double wall down to the Alcazaba.
The castle is famous for its three-month siege in 1494 by the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella, which ended only when hunger forced the Malagueños to surrender. Afterward, Ferdinand occupied the site, while his queen took up residence in the town. Interesting historic fact: this was the first conflict in which gunpowder was used by both sides.
The most visible remains of this historic monument are the solid ramparts which rise majestically from dense woods of pine and eucalyptus; inside the fortress itself, you will find some buildings and courtyards, reminiscent of those in the Alhambra. The ramparts have been well restored and you can walk all the way around them. At one point, you can get a good view down into the La Malagueta bullring – some visitors linger for a free view of the bullfight. These walls make a fun, interesting and scenic walk, and usually, you will have it to yourself.
Near the entrance, you can find the Interpretation Centre (formerly known as the Museo Militar), a small military museum.
Winter (from November to March):
9 am to 6 pm.
Summer (from April to October):
9 am to 8 pm.
Standard admission: €3.50
Combined visit Alcazaba – Gibralfaro Castle: €5.50
Sundays: Free from 14:00 h.