One of the most beautiful Spanish cities, located directly on the western Mediterranean Sea, is Málaga. The largest city on the Costa del Sol is increasingly compared with the famous Barcelona. The numerous historical sights and museums of the city attract numerous visitors year after year. Lovers of Spanish cuisine also get their money’s worth in the city’s many restaurants and tapas bars.
How has Málaga dressed up in recent years. New harbor, great museums and a large part of the old town shines in new splendor. In the past, tourists gave the city a wide berth and drove straight on to the resorts on the Costa del Sol. Today, thousands of visitors pass through the pretty streets of Malaga every day, especially in summer.
Tip 1: Malaga Cathedral
The Cathedral of Málaga (Santa Iglesia Catedral Basílica de la Encarnación) is located in the center near the city port and is the highest cathedral in Andalusia It is a mosque converted by the Christians from 1528 and immediately catches the eye – not only because of its size.
The Santa Iglesia Catedral Basílica de la Encarnación is the most famous building in Malaga. The imposing cathedral is located in the heart of the city and cannot be overlooked. It was built on the remains of a mosque of the former Arab rulers after the city was conquered by the Christians in 1487. The construction was finished only in 1782 and therefore took more than 250 years. Due to the extensive period of time, many different styles, such as Baroque and Renaissance, have been incorporated into the building. Gothic elements can also be seen on the facade.
The main facade consists of three archways, which are in reddish marble. In total, the cathedral has three naves, all of which are about 42 meters high, but have different widths. The cathedral is also affectionately called La Manquita – little one-armed lady – because originally two towers were planned, but for financial reasons only one was built.
There are 14 bells in the 93 meter high tower. Furthermore, the cathedral has its own gardens and an inner courtyard, which is decorated by numerous orange trees.
Tip 2: Alcazaba of Málaga
If you are in Málaga, you should definitely visit the Alcazaba. It is not for nothing that it is called the “little Alhambra” and is considered by some to be its model. Already the way up here is an experience. Over small paths with cobblestones and stairs, the gentle ascent leads past the Roman theater and through green spaces and parks. Among palm trees and lush flowers, small wild parrots cavort. Within just a few meters, you’ll encounter evidence of Roman, Moorish and Renaissance culture.
Especially in winter it is not too hot and the temperatures are ideal to explore the extensive complex. In spring, the orange and jasmine trees blossom and exude a beguiling fragrance. You’ll find yourself in the lush palace gardens and idyllic tiled courtyards, where light and shadow play off each other. The acoustic background is provided by small fountains that splash in the middle of the courtyards. Numerous corridors and archways connect the rectangular courtyards to each other and to the gardens and small ponds.
The Alcazaba of Málaga was built between 1057 and 1063 on the foundations of a Phoenician palace complex by Sultan Bādīs. It uses the existing hill and consists of two concentric circles: the outer, slightly lower ring and the inner palace complex. The military component make the Alcazaba of Malaga one of the most important preserved Muslim works in Spain. Its strategic location is ideal, and during your tour you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the bay, the newly remodeled port of Málaga, and the city.
Tip 3: Malaga Roman Theater
The Teatro Romano is located in the cultural heart of the city directly at the foot of the Alcazaba, probably the most important building in Málaga. The Roman Theater is easy to reach and is visited by many people.
The Roman Theater in Málaga was built as early as the first century AD under the Roman Emperor Augustus. It was then used for cultural events until the third century, but then the structure visibly deteriorated.
Then, in the eighth century, the Arabs used large parts of it to build the nearby Alcazaba. Several of these original components of the Teatro Romano can still be found today in the Alcazaba of Málaga.
After that, the theater was not used for many centuries and became more and more dilapidated. It was not until 1951 that it was rediscovered and since then it has been open to the public again.
The Roman Theater in Málaga is divided into three parts. In addition to the seats for the audience, there is the so-called Orchestra, behind whose enclosure sat the high society of the time on elaborately crafted stone chairs, and finally the stage. In total, the theater is up to 16 meters high and has a diameter of 31 meters.
The semicircle provides good acoustics, and the high seats meant that every spectator always had a good view of what was happening on stage.
Tip 4: Atarazanas Central Market
Malaga’s oldest and largest market is located east of the Guadalmedina River and north of Avenida de Andalucia on the eponymous Calle Ataranzanas. The Atarazanas Market is also within easy walking distance of downtown Malaga.
The original building of the municipal central market in the heart of Málaga was built on a former shipyard site already from 1876 to 1879, but from this first construction only the imposing marble gate (Puerta nazarí), which is a good 25 meters high, has been preserved. From the shipyard (“ataranza”), the Mercado Central de Atarazanas has also received its name, which is still valid today. The steel construction of three halls with a glass dome and rich interior decoration was based, like other comparable market buildings of the 19th century, on the famous Parisian market hall “Les Halles”.
Since the redesign, the market shows its original face again. Between the beginning of 2008 and April 2010, the entire Atraranzas Market in Málaga underwent a thorough and fundamental renovation and redesign, during which the entire site was extensively modernized.
Here you can experience and observe the inhabitants of Malaga in an unadulterated way.
Today, the building, which is listed as a historical monument and has been restored to its former glory after extensive restoration, is one of the most popular destinations and meeting places in the city. Here you can not only buy fresh food for your daily needs, but also have a chat with friends, neighbors and acquaintances over a coffee or a snack.
Tip 5: Picasso Museum
Malaga, the birthplace of the great painter Pablo Picasso, has created a very special monument to the city’s most famous son. In the Palacio de Buenavista in Calle San Agustín, it has established the Picasso Museum in honor of the artist.
The Picasso Museum is conveniently located in the middle of the old town of the southern Spanish city. For art lovers, a visit to the museum is one of the highlights of a stay in Andalusia.
The Picasso Museum is located not far from the artist’s birthplace. Since 1997, the Palacio de Buenavista has served as an exhibition venue for many of Picasso’s works. The magnificent building was built in the 16th century in the typical Andalusian style mix of Renaissance and the Mudejar culture with Italian influences.
Until the 19th century, the Palacio, with its prominent tower and main courtyard, was used as a family residence and only then became municipal property.
Even during his lifetime, Picasso had expressed a desire for a museum in his hometown. However, the regime under Franco prevented these plans. It was not until the city of Malaga received numerous works from Picasso’s family in 1997 that Picasso’s wish was fulfilled.
More than 200 art objects can be admired in the Picasso Museum. Numerous oil paintings, various sculptures, drawings and engravings give an impression of the work of one of the most famous artists of the 20th century. The exhibits on display cover eight decades of Picasso’s life’s work.