Must-Visit attractions in Málaga
Málaga is home to some of Andalusia’s greatest historical monuments, such as the Moorish Alcazaba fortress and the stunning Roman amphitheater. But that’s not all: from a restaurant where you can eat kangaroo while enjoying live flamenco to a museum showcasing the works of a Málaga-born painter who revolutionized 20th-century painting, here are the city’s top 20 attractions.
Alcazaba | © Ronny Siegel/Flickr
The Moorish rulers of southern Spain built the Alcazaba Fortress, it is the best-preserved Moorish citadel in Spain, on the remains of a Roman fortification around the middle of the 8th century. Though it doesn’t have the grand interiors of its; more famous counterpart in Granada, this amazingly preserved fortress is every bit as beguiling as the Alhambra.
The fort was extensively rebuilt by the Sultan of Granada in the 11th century and connected up to the nearby Gibralfaro Castle by a Nasrid King in the 14th century. One of the most notable features of the Alcazaba is how effortlessly it fits into the hillside above Málaga, while inside it is a maze of secret courtyards, open-air corridors and battlements that command incredible views out to sea and over the city’s rooftops.
Málaga’s Roman theatre is the oldest monument in the city and one of the few remaining Roman structures in Andalusia. Its location at the foot of the Alcazaba makes this part of Málaga’s center one of the most historically significant – and beautiful – sites in southern Spain. Built during the 1st century AD, the theatre was in use until the 3rd century AD, after which it fell into disuse until the Moors settled in Málaga in the 8th century. They showed little respect for this once-magnificent place of entertainment and plundered it for material with which to build the Alcazaba. Only in 1951 was it rediscovered – during the construction of an arts center, fittingly – and it opened to the public in 2011 after a complicated and lengthy restoration. Now it once again stages concerts and plays and features an informative visitors’ center.
Teatro Romano, Calle Alcazabilla, S/N, Málaga, Spain, +34 951 50 11 15
Castillo de Gibralfaro, Camino Gibralfaro, S/N, Málaga, Spain, +34 952 22 72 30
Málaga’s great cathedral, one of the city’s key architectural attractions, is known locally as ‘La Manquita’, or ‘The One-Armed Woman’, due to its uncompleted second tower. Built between 1528 and 1782 near to the site of an early Almohad mosque, original plans for this huge Renaissance and Baroque-style cathedral had included two towers, but the second was never built because of a lack of funds. Construction dragged on for over two hundred years before the Mayor of Málaga commissioned Aragonese architect José Martín de Aldehuela (1729–1802) to finish the cathedral off in the late 18th century. Aldehuela’s other iconic contributions to the province include Ronda’s stunning ‘New Bridge’ and bullring.
Pablo Picasso Museum
After lunch or drinks at El Pimpi, pop next door to the superbly maintained Picasso Museum to admire the work of Málaga’s most famous son. The museum was opened in 2003 by Christine and Bernard Ruiz-Picasso, Picasso’s daughter-in-law and grandson, and the permanent collection features over 200 works from every stage of Picasso’s eclectic career. Over the next three years (from March 2016), the museum will also be displaying a further 166 Picasso pieces – some of them rarely displayed to the public before.
Over recent years, the oldest continually-operated port in Spain has been transformed into one of the most Málaga’s most aesthetically pleasing and vibrant areas, mainly with the addition of the tropical-feeling ‘Palm Garden of Surprises’ along the promenade.
At the far end, near Málaga’s historial bullring, is the Pompidou Centre – Málaga’s answer to the famous Parisian gallery, topped with a giant, multi-coloured cube – and the Paseo del Muelle Uno, a lively thoroughfare lined with bars and restaurants that leads to the Malagueta beach. This is now a great area for an early evening stroll, or from which to watch the enormous cruise liners come and go on their voyages around the Mediterranean.
Cenre Pompidou Málaga, Muelle Uno, Puerto de Málaga, Pasaje Doctor Carrillo Casaux, s/n, Muelle 1, Málaga, +34 951 92 62 00
One of old Málaga’s central squares is Plaza de la Merced, on which Pablo Picasso was born in 1881: nowadays, it is lined with bars and restaurants with sun-drenched terraces, making it a great place to hang out. The fact that it’s favoured by street performers of all kinds means there’s likely to be live entertainment as you enjoy your tapas, too. Venturing off Plaza Merced itself, the neighbourhood of La Merced itself is a hedonist’s playground: Calle Alamo is lined with super-trendy bars and clubs and gives way to the equally popular Calle Carreteria, on which you’ll find La Tranca, the tapas joint of choice for La Merced’s locals.
De la Merced Market