Málaga Cathedral at dusk
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Málaga Cathedral at dusk

© Malaga Tourist Board

Málaga travel guide

The birthplace of Picasso is home to historic fortresses, great beaches and a thriving tapas scene, so it’s little wonder that Malaga is the Costa del Sol’s shining, understated gem.

To say Malaga is overlooked is something of an understatement. But as one of Spain’s liveliest, most enticing cities, it couldn’t be more different from the Costa del Sol resorts nearby, where English is the lingua franca and all-day breakfasts displace traditional tortillas.

The Picasso Museum is Malaga's major draw but the city’s museums are numerous and history lurks in every corner with the ruins of the Roman Theatre and the wonderful Alcazaba fortress. In fact, with about 30 museums Malaga is the museums capital of Spain. Higher up, Gibralfaro Castle offers pristine examples of Moorish, Roman and Christian architecture.

Plaza de la Constitucion remains the heart of the old town, constantly criss-crossed by locals heading to a web of narrow pedestrian lanes. Stroll along Calle Larios, Malaga’s glitzy shopping street, using the soaring Cathedral as your guide - its single tower is a distinct landmark on the skyline.

It’s a city in transition too. Between the port and Malaga’s Contemporary Art Centre is the revived neighbourhood of Soho. New bars, restaurants, micro-breweries, shops and street markets give it an alternative vibe.

The surreal architecture of Malaga’s promenade, El Palmera de las Sorpresas, leads to the wonderful harbour development of Muelle Uno where 15 urban beaches remain a hidden secret.

When it comes to food, Malaga comes into its own. From gastrobars and experimental fine-dining to traditional tapas and casual chiringuitos (beach bars), there’s no getting away from great plates. Wash it all down with some local Moscatel or vino dulce (sweet wine).

At night, there’s no shortage of bars, clubs or live music. Spaniards play late, so many shows begin at midnight, but if that’s not your scene, there’s always a bar selling churros (fried doughnuts) and hot chocolate too.

It often surprises first-timers that Malaga is more than a gateway to the Costa del Sol, but for those in the know, it's a destination to return to over and over again.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.