13 best things to do in Málaga (with map)

Málaga is the perfect destination in southern Spain to combine a city trip with a beach trip! Andalusia in the south of Spain is known for its beautiful sandy beach and its wonderful historic cities. If you want to combine the two, Málaga should be your first choice. The coastal town is packed with interesting sights, historic buildings, hip hotspots, world-class museums and charming streets. We already visited this city twice and loved it the second time even better than the first. This blog will help you find out about the best things to do in Málaga, the best neighborhoods to stay and the best places for food and drinks.

Read more: all our blog posts about Andalusia.

Malaga Cathedral
Malaga Cathedral

Where is Málaga and how to get there?

Málaga is located in the south of Spain, in the Andalusia region. It is an important city on the Costa del Sol, the southern Spanish coast. Málaga has its own international airport with international flights for competitive prices, making this one of the best cities to start a trip around Andalusia.

The well-known cities of Seville, Granada and Córdoba are located in the same region as Málaga and are often combined with Málaga on a road trip around Andalusia. You can easily reach most destinations in Andalusia by public transport, but a rental car is a much better and faster option. You can then pick a rental car up directly at the airport in Málaga, starting your road trip right after landing.

Parking in Málaga is not always easy. Most of the old town is car-free – only residents can enter the old town by car – and the rest is paid parking. We recommend you to look for parking garages, as they usually have reasonable prices. There is only one free parking spot we found and it is located directly along the Parque de Málaga. But there are only few spaces and most of them are usually taken, so it can be difficult to find a spot. There are no (paid) official motorhome or campervan locations in Málaga.

Gibralfaro Viewpoint in Malaga

Where to stay in Malaga

The sights of Málaga are not all huddled together, so it is wise to consider in which area of the city you want to stay. Although all attractions are within walking distance, it is good to determine what you find important for your city trip to Málaga. These are the three different neighborhoods you can choose from:

  • The Centro Historico with the most museums and places of interest
  • The hip Soho with hotspots for good food and drinks, street art and a hip atmosphere
  • The Malagueta district with the harbor and the beach

The three districts are glued together, so you can easily visit all three during your trip.

If you are looking for a hostel instead of a hotel, you’ll have an easy choice, as you’ll simply have to stay in the Centro Historico. Remarkably, there are not a lot of hostels in Málaga – and most lack good reviews – and the best options are in the old town. Hostels in Malaga with good reviews are The Urban Jungle Hostel and Hostal Vidamia.

The best hotels to stay in Málaga:

  • Room Mate Valeria on the corner of Soho overlooking the harbour. The roof terrace has lovely lounge beds and a view over the harbor and the city.
  • Parador de Malaga Gibralfaro on the Gibralfaro hill with phenomenal views. The luxury hotel is one of the special paradors in the most beautiful locations and in the most beautiful buildings in Spain.
  • Hotel Boutique Teatro Romano in the car-free historic center. It is quite new and only opened its doors in 2016. All rooms have the same luxurious and clean appearance.
  • NONO Charming Stay in Soho with nice studios and apartments. Did you know that the rooms are styled by the Dutch stylist duo Jeroen Schless and Frens Witte?
  • Mariposa Hotel in Soho with a sunny roof terrace and art deco-style rooms.
  • Palacete de Alamos in the Centro Historico for luxury rooms and a top breakfast, which is one of Málaga’s top-rated hotels on
Malaga street art

Tourist map of Málaga in Spain

Top things to do: 13 Málaga must-see attractions

#1 The Picasso Museum & the other (free) museums of Málaga

Did you know that Málaga is one of Europe’s best museum cities? This destination in Andalusia is full of great and even world-class museums. Whether you are a museum lover or not, it is highly recommended to plan in some time to visit one or two.

The main attraction of Málaga is the Picasso Museum. The famous painter was born in Málaga. His birthplace is also turned into a second Picasso-centred museum and even the church where he was baptized mentions this on its facade. A city so proud of its most famous resident, is also home to a museum dedicated to his works of art. That’s the well-known Picasso Museum. It is filled with works by the Picasso family itself, so all artworks have never been sold and have always remained in the family. The is housed in a historic palace in the historic center. Although Picasso’s well-known masterpieces are not displayed here, the museum is certainly fun to visit.

Our top tip for Málaga: most museums are free to visit on Sundays. Including the Picasso Museum that can be visited for free during the last two hours before opening time. The same goes for other museums, including the Alcazaba and Center de Pompidou. It’s different for each museum what the exact free visiting times are. Sometimes all afternoon and sometimes the last opening hours. So we recommend you to check this online in advance and also check the exact opening hours during that season. At the Museo Picasso, the free entrance is linked to the closing time and that is different in high and low season.

Other great museums that are always free to visit are the CAC for contemporary art and the Museum of Malaga about the history of the city, including historical paintings. Other major museums in the city are the Carmen Thyssen Museum, the Museo de Málaga, Center de Pompidou and the Russian Museum of Art. So there is plenty to do in Málaga for museum and art lovers!

Picasso Museum Malaga

#2 The historic center of Málaga

As one of the oldest cities in Europe, Málaga’s historic center consists of beautiful streets and monuments. Unfortunately, there are also many large shopping streets with a less historic appearance, but apart from that, the charming historic streets are also not to be missed. The city center is almost entirely pedestrianized, making Málaga one of the largest car-free zones in Europe.

Wandering through the old town is one of the best things to do in Málaga. Don’t miss Plaza de la Constitucion and the streets nearby. The square was given that name when the Spanish Constitution was enacted. On the floor at the edge of the square you see plates with the front pages of the major Spanish newspapers bringing this news. On that same spot is also a beautiful gate, which was once the entrance to a large monastery. The streets behind it are still exactly as they were in the monastery complex back then.

Another street that you can’t miss is the wide Calle Marques de Larios . The street is named after the wealthy man who had it built as a connection between the harbor and the old town. There is a statue of him at the end to honor him. Why is this street one of Málaga’s landmarks? And the most famous street in town? In winter this street is transformed twice – around Christmas and Carnival – into a paradise of lights with new decorations every year. We visited the city in February around Carnival time and were amazed when we walked the Calle Marqués de Larios in the evening.

Centro Malaga

#3 La Manquita, the cathedral of Málaga

If you thinkthe Sagrada Familia in Barcelona is the only Spanish church under construction for over a hundred years, you’ve never seen Málaga Cathedral. The construction of this cathedral started in the sixteenth century and is still not completed.

Over the centuries, money problems were always the reason for the project to be halted. When money was available again, construction continued, and then of course in the new architectural style of that moment. The result is a church that is still unfinished and with many different architectural styles.

We were told that the construction will never be fully completed. The cathedral now has a clearly recognizable tower of 84 meters high. The other tower is half this size though it was supposed to be similar to its counterpart. This unfinished tower has now become an important part of the cathedral’s history, so it was decided to leave it this way and never finish it. The cathedral is therefore La Manquita called, which translates to ‘the one-armed woman’. There is one part that will be completed though. The Roof! The beautiful vaulted roof was once replaced by a temporary flat roof. That roof is still there and is leaking with each rain shower.

The history of money shortages is what makes the church so beautiful. The baroque facade on the side of the bishop’s palace is very impressive, but other sides of the church have other unique styles. If you continue to walk around the enormous cathedral, you will come across Renaissance and even Gothic elements. And if we dive even further back in time: the church was once a mosque. After the expulsion of the Moors by the Catholics, the mosque was reused as a church. Later it was later replaced by the much larger cathedral we know now, but you can still see parts of the old mosque walls.

You can admire the cathedral from the outside, but we also recommend you to go inside. Tickets cost € 6, but on working days you visit the church for free early in the morning during Mass. Admire the carvings in the many chapels and marvel at the enormous organ from 1871.

Cathedral of Malaga in Spain

#4 The Alcazaba and the Roman Theater

Another sight not to miss are the Alcazaba castle and Roman Theater right next to each other. They almost seem to belong together, but they really come from very different times.

The Alcazaba is the old Moorish Castle that once stood at the highest point within the old city walls. This hill was located directly on the sea, but over time a piece of land has been reclaimed and you can now find the city park and the Palmeral de Las Sorpresas promenade between the castle hill and the sea. The name Alcazaba is derived from a Moorish term for citadel, because the fortress once housed a true mini-city between the ninth and eleventh centuries. During a visit you walk through a maze of streets, buildings, old palaces and gardens. You will probably notice many Moorish influences, but also some Roman details. Those elements have been reused from the Roman theatre. 

That theater is located on the slope of the hill on which the Alcazaba is built. For residents of Málaga, the theater is a fairly new attraction. It was only fully excavated in the 1990s. Roman remains had already been found during earlier construction work on this hill. But it was only decades later that it was decided to tear down the buildings on the hill and excavate the theater. The Teatro Romano dates back to the time when the Romans controlled southern Spain. The theater was still used in Moorish times and even today performances are still given.

Directly in front of the Roman theater is a glass pyramid stand. It allows you to peek under the square, where you can see the remains of a Roman fish factory. This is where ‘garum’ was made, which is a kind of strong-smelling fish sauce. Everywhere in Andalusia ‘garum’ was made, but each location used its own, local fish species. In Málaga it was made from sardines and anchovies.

Entry to the Moorish fortress costs just €3.50 (or €5.50 for a combination ticket with Gibralfaro Castle). On Sundays the fort is free to visit in the afternoon. You can admire the Teatro Romano from the street, but you can also visit it up close for free.

Teatro Romano in Malaga

#5 The beaches of Málaga

In addition to a old town, the city of Málaga also has a city beach, which makes this a unique city trip destination. Just behind the Muelle Uno pier with its restaurants and terraces, is the Praia de la Malagueta. There are sunbeds, umbrellas, beach showers and beach tents to make your beach visit perfect. It is not our favorite Málaga beach. The greyish sand doesn’t make this the most idyllic place to enjoy the sun. During some seasons, it is also partly in the shade in the afternoon due to the high-rise buildings.

If you walk a little further, you will come to the beach La Caleta and even further you will find a lovely beach in the former fishing village of Pedregalejo. Other beaches along this coastal strip are El Palo and El Peñon, but then you are quite far from the Málaga old town.

What few people know is that you can also find beaches to the west of the old town. The first beach from the city center in that direction is Playa San Andres and then Playa de la Misericordia, which is popular with young families for its play area.

Praia de la Malagueta
Beaches of Málaga

#6 The harbor and the Muelle Uno promenade

The history of the city revolves almost entirely around the important economic position of the port. For centuries Málaga has been an important and strategic port city in the Mediterranean region.

Directly in front of the old town is the new port, where large cruise ships dock. Along the harbor is the Palmeral de Las Sorpresas promenade lined with palm trees and an undulating white pergola. Right next to the promenade is the Muelle Uno, one of Málaga’s most popular attractions. You might also notice a remarkable colored cube where the promenade ends and the Muelle Uno starts. It is part of the Center de Pompidou museum, an annex of the famous museum in Paris.

The Muelle Uno is a pier with the modern harbor on the right and a long line of shops and restaurants on the left. It is not the place for a local experience, as everything is aimed at tourists. But that shouldn’t spoil the fun, as a walk on the pier is definitely one of the top things to do in Málaga. Along the way you’ll pass an old chapel, which contrasts beautifully with the modern shops at the pier. At the end is a white lighthouse. On the other side of the pier and the lighthouse you will find the nearest sandy beach of Málaga, the Praia de la Malagueta.

Muelle Uno in Malaga

#7 The covered market hall Mercado Atarazanas

One of the most beautiful sights in Málaga is the Mercado Atarazanas. The covered market hall is located in the old town and is still used by the locals. Although many tourists also come here, it still feels very authentic.

The market hall is located in a beautiful hall of cast iron. It was built between 1876 and 1879, although the design includes an even older city gate. This horseshoe-shaped gate has a Moorish feel and Moorish influences are also reflected in the cast iron design. It is built in neo-Mudejar style, which is a modern version of the Moorish and Christian mix that emerged in the Middle Ages.

The name is also a nod to the Moorish times of Málaga. Atarazanas means shipyard in Moors, because there used to be a shipyard here. The water then came to this spot in the city. All the area between the market hall and the sea is man-made. An old city wall stood on the site of the market hall. And that horseshoe-shaped gate ? That was the city gate then.

The Mercado Atarazanas consists of three linked halls. One for meat, one for fish and one for fruit and vegetables. The fish market hall is in the middle, which is the prettiest part of the market. It has a huge stained glass window depicting the history of the city. On Mondays, this middle section is empty and only the side halls are full of liveliness. As the fisherman don’t work on Sundays, there is nothing to sell on Mondays. The market hall also has some tapas bars, where you can enjoy tapas with a drink at one of the high tables around lunchtime.

#8 Malaga’s street art

One of the unexpected highlights of Málaga is the special street art that you can find around the city. Not in the historic center, but in what were once dilapidated neighborhoods. By enlivening the street scene with graffiti and murals, the neighborhoods were given a boost. They now no longer are the bad areas of Málaga, but draw in many visitors.

You can find the most street art in two districts of Málaga: Soho near the harbor and Lagunillas north of the old town. Soho was the first of the two to be transformed into a street art mecca. It is now a hip neighborhood known for its artistic atmosphere. There are hip hotspots, a museum for contemporary art (the CAC) and lots of street art. Since 2013, as part of the Málaga Arte Urbano Soho (MAUS) project, international artists have been invited to enjoy themselves on the streets of Soho. The Belgian ROA came here to paint his famous black and white animals on the walls, and you can admire enormous murals on an apartment building behind the CAC. You can use an online street art map from MAUS to find the best works.

Lagunillas has received less international attention and mainly has artworks of more local artists here. It is for sure the most colorful district of Málaga and it has much more street art than Soho. Stroll down Calle Lagunillas and visit as many side streets as you can. You will for sure come across many works.

Malaga street art
Malaga street art

#9 Gibralfaro Castle and its viewpoint

Not far from the Moorish fortress of Alcazaba is another castle, the Gibralfaro Castle on Gibralfaro Hill. The Alcazaba was not enough to defend the city and the important port, so in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries a second castle was constructed in an even more strategic position. In the event of a siege, the important inhabitants of the Moorish fortress could seek safety in Gibralfaro Castle through a defensive wall over the mountainside. You can still see those walls from the harbor.

You make a similar climb if you want to visit the castle these days. A path leads up the mountain from the historic center to the top. Our secret tip for Málaga: if you don’t want to make that climb, it’s good to know that there is a road on the other side and that the Hop On Hop Off bus stops here. You can visit the inside of the castle, though we didn’t as we hadn’t heard very good stories about it. The most important reason to climb up to the castle is for the view.

On the way up – or down – you will pass one of the most beautiful viewpoints in Málaga. You have an unprecedented beautiful view over the bullring, the harbor, the promenade, the city park, the Alcazaba and the old town. Especially during sunset the view is phenomenally beautiful.

Do you like that view? You can also fall asleep with it! On the hill is one of the best luxury hotels in Málaga, Parador de Malaga Gibralfaro. It may not be for everyone’s budget to book a stay here, but if you do have the budget, you’ll get to stay in the best location in Málaga. The term ‘parador’ is more common in Spain. It are a kind of state hotel located in a beautiful historical monument or in an exceptional location. There are almost a hundred of them around Spain.

Gibralfaro Viewpoint in Malaga

#10 The bullring Plaza de Toros La Malagueta

We are quite strongly against bullfighting and hate that it is still quite popular in Andalusia, but that does not alter the fact that there are beautiful bullfighting arenas scattered throughout the region. This is also the case in Málaga, where you can visit the Plaza de Toros La Malagueta on the edge of the historic center.

The round building was built in the nineteenth century for bullfights and is used for that purpose to this day throughout the summer months. At the time of its construction, the neo-Mudejar style was very popular. It was a new twist on the Medieval mix of Moorish and Christian elements. You will clearly spot this unique building style at the arena.

Since the arena is located at the foot of the Gibralfaro mountain, you have a beautiful view of this arena from the viewpoint on the mountain. In fact, you can see the arena best from there, as you can’t visit the arena outside of the bullfights. You can enter part of the arena (for free) though, as there are temporary exhibitions indoors. In between the art, you can peek into the arena, but you can’t really see much of it.

Plaza de Toros La Malagueta

#11 The hip Soho district

Soho – also called Zoho – is one of the upcoming neighborhoods of Málaga. The district is located southwest of the old town, sandwiched between the historic center and the new harbour.

What once started as a deprived neighborhood is now one of the best parts of the city. It is referred to as the cultural and artsy hub of Málaga because of its galleries and the colorful street art in the streets. Scattered throughout the neighborhood are many organic shops and hip hotspots, attracting many young people to the area.

Some of our favorites hotspots are in Soho. You can enjoy speciality beers at La Fábrica, a local brewery with its own speciality beer. Picnic has a spacious terrace and serves many vegetarian options, as well as burgers and tasty beers. For coffee you have to be at Santa Coffee Soho and MIMO Vegan Bistro serves vegan food with a Japanese twist. We often heard Señor Lobo Café as a tip for Soho, but unfortunately this hotspot is closed permanently.

One of the best places to visit in Soho is the CAC, the museum of contemporary art. We are big fans of contemporary and modern art and we also loved this museum. The contemporary art museum is free to visit and had many unique paintings and art by new artists on display when we visited.

Do you want book your stay in Soho? We can recommend the trendy Room Mate Valeria overlooking the harbor. The roof terrace has lovely lounge beds and a view over the harbor and the city. You can also have a drink there in the afternoon without being a hotel guest. Another great option is NONO Charming Stay with lovely studios and apartments or Mariposa Hotel with a sunny roof terrace and art deco-style rooms.

Santa Coffee in Malaga

#12 The Parque de Málaga and the Botanical Gardens

For those who need a rest during their city trip to Málaga, it is good to know that you can also find some green oases in this city. Right next to the historic center is the city park Parque de Málaga. Sandwiched between the old town and the new port, this long green strip makes a lovely resting point.

The Parque de Málaga – also called Paseo de Málaga – is an elongated city park of 800 meters long. Traffic rushes along the busy avenues, but in between is a peaceful area. In the warm months it is wonderful to visit the park to escape the summer heat, as it is mainly shaded by palm and banana trees. There are many exotic plants, as well as statues of local celebrities and azulejos tiles depicting the coats of arms of localities in the region.

More outside the center is the Jardin Botanico La Concepcion. It has statues, waterfalls, a pavilion, ponds and especially many exotic plant species. The botanical garden was created when a marquis bought several gardens in the nineteenth century to combine them into a large garden park. In the 1990s, the gardens came into the hands of the municipality and were opened to the public. The park has several walking routes, so you can certainly enjoy yourself here for an afternoon.

Malaga Park
Malaga Park

#13 Restaurants in Málaga: local food, hip coffee spots and vegan hotspots

As a popular destination in Spain, Málaga has plenty of choices for good restaurants. We prefer vegetarian and vegan restaurants, so we loved discovering the many great options for vegetarian food in Málaga. And Sebastiaan’s coffee hobby? He had absolutely nothing to complain. Besides trendy hotspots, Málaga also has many authentic restaurants to try the local cuisine. We received many great restaurant tips from a local and we will share them with you to find the best local experience.

Where to go for coffee, brunch and breakfast in Málaga:

  • Next Level Specialty Coffee: a small coffee shop in a corner building, where it is very small inside but the terrace offers enough space to slowly wake up with your coffee. Breakfast is also on the menu.
  • El Último Mono Juice & Coffee: this spot for coffee, juices and cake is located in an alley next to a major shopping street. Unfortunately, there is no extensive food menu, but it has sockets and wifi for the digital nomads.
  • Santa Coffee Soho and Centro: in both the Soho district and in the center you can find the popular Santa Coffee. Make sure to have the crepes for breakfast.
  • Mia Coffee House: when there’s a line at a coffee shop, you know the coffee has to be really good. This little place is very popular with locals. And with Sebastian.
  • Recyclo Bike Café: cycling and breakfast are a popular combination that you can find in almost every city. Also in Málaga, where you can go to Recyclo for pancakes and DIY sandwiches.
  • Brunchit: if you want to have breakfast at this popular spot, you usually have to book a table. Or find a table on the terrace, where you can wake up with your pancakes or avocado toast while watching people strolling by.
  • Dulces Dreams: this hostel doesn’t just serve breakfast to its hostel guests, but is open for all visitors. The menu has options such as club sandwiches and açai bowls.

Where to go for local food in Málaga:

  • Casa Aranda: you could easily pass this small insignificant place, but it is very popular among locals for breakfast with churros. When locals want to feast on this sweet treat for breakfast at the weekend, they all come here. Casa Aranda has been serving the popular churros since 1932. They only cost 50 cents each and you pay € 1.95 for a cup of chocolate to dip them in like the locals do.
  • El Pimpi: if Antonio Banderas owns shares in a business, you know that not only locals but also a lot of tourists come there. Yet, as the oldest bodega in Málaga, El Pimpi has remained a typical Spanish tapas bar. It has a huge terrace, but be sure to take a look inside as well.
  • Mercado Altrazanas: at this attraction you can not only take beautiful pictures and go grocery shopping, but also sit down at one of the tables outside the market hall for a local lunch with tapas and a drink.
  • Casa Lola: this tapas spot is so popular with locals that you usually have to wait for a while to get a table. You can eat delicious tapas and pinxtos at Casa Lola for a good price.

Where to go for for lunch and dinner in Málaga:

  • Noviembre Healthy Food: in the north of the old town you will find this healthy hotspot with dishes like burgers, salads, sandwiches, pancakes and more.
  • BYOKO: we especially recommend this hotspot for brunch and lunch. The menu has dishes such as buddha bowls, salads, burgers and galettes.
  • MIMO Vegan Bistro: in the popular Soho district, MIMO is the place to be for dishes with an Asian twist. From sushi to Japanese sandwiches to ramen. But burgers and pies are also on the menu.
  • Picnic Soho: this trendy place has a large terrace and a menu with burgers, pulled pork, nachos, tapas and beers.
  • La Fábrica: this is the place to be in the evening for burgers and spare ribs, but especially for locally brewed beer. This local brewery is from the well-known Cruzcampo brand and brews its own specialty beer here. For Spanish standards, La Fábrica is a bit pricey with main courses for € 16.
El Ultimo Mono in Malaga

Best things to do near Málaga: 5 best day trips

#1 The pueblos blancos of Andalusia

Andalusia is known for its picturesque white-washed villages – called pueblos blancos in Spanish – and visiting one or two should definitely be on your Spanish bucket list. Many of them have become popular tourist attractions because of their photogenic and charming cityscape and several of those are close to Málaga. We visited dozens of those iconic pueblo blancos and highly recommend visiting a few on a day trip from Málaga.

Ronda is perhaps the most famous white village in Andalusia. It is built on a rocky plateau, or actually two plateaus separated by a deep gorge. An impressive bridge has been built across that gorge and is one of the most iconic monuments of southern Spain. Although the town has few major attractions, it is wonderful to wander through the old streets with white houses. Ronda is well worth a visit, if you’re curious about the region’s most visited village.

The pueblo blanco Ojén is a lot less known and therefore has a more authentic atmosphere. Ojén is located in the mountains above Marbella and is a somewhat cooler destination in the Costa del Sol. Nearby you can also enjoy a nice walk in the Refugio de Juanar. For example, you can take a short hike to a mountain top for a phenomenal view over Marbella and the coast.

One of the more off the beaten track, but equally charming villages is Montejaque. The pueblo blanco is located on the edge of the Sierra de Grazalema nature reserve and has a beautiful location in the mountains. Only a few tourists visit the village, so you can still enjoy the authentic Spanish village life. On Thursdays there is a small market, on weekends the terraces are full of locals and every street has a cozy atmosphere. This picturesque village is nestled in the mountains, so be sure to visit the two viewpoints for the most beautiful views of Montejaque!

Another highlight is Setenil de las Bodegas, one of the more popular villages in southern Spain. This village has the typical white-washed houses, historic atmosphere and picturesque streets. But it also has a unique and stunning location! In the mountainous environment, which is sweltering in the summer, the residents of Setenil came up with the perfect solution: houses in and against the mountain walls. They created a unique cave house village, located in a gorge between two mountain sides. Setenil de las Bodegas still has many of those cave houses and mountainside houses, making this one of the more unique pueblo blancos to visit on a day trip from Málaga.

Viewpoint Montejaque Andalusia

#2 The Caminito Del Rey Walk

A special highlight in Andalusia is the Caminito del Rey, about half an hour’s drive from Málaga. This unique mountain walk along steep cliffs offers you spectacular views during a short hike of 7.5 kilometers that is suitable for almost every age and condition.

The route is a hundred years old and was once built between two hydroelectric power stations. When the path was no longer used, it fell into disrepair and the path continued to crumble along the cliffs. What remained was one of the most dangerous hikes in the world. It was forbidden to go here, but that didn’t stop the real daredevils, resulting in a number of deaths. The path has now been restored and is open to the public. It is now 100% safe to do this walk and we highly recommend to go here on a day trip from Málaga.

road trip southern spain | caminito del rey andalusia

#3 The Castillo Monumento Colomares

This fairytale castle is a somewhat odd tourist attraction. The castle is located on the Costa del Sol with sea views, not far from Málaga. Or castle? It’s more of a fantasy building. Or a monument.

It was built between 1987 and 1994 in honor of the famous explorer Columbus. The eccentric owner built the castle all by himself and incorporated all kinds of references to Columbus and his discovery of America in the strange building. All kinds of architectural styles are reflected in the castle. There are stained glass windows, a pagoda, the bow of a ship, fairytale towers and Gothic decorations. The Castillo Monumento Colomares is therefore an extremely odd and out of place, but also beautiful creation.

The entrance is only € 2.50. The castle is not particularly large and you cannot visit it from the inside, so a short visit should be enough to enjoy this attraction. It is less than half an hour’s drive from Málaga.

#4 El Torcal de Antequera

Less than an hour north of Málaga is one of the most beautiful pieces of nature in Andalusia. The Natural Park El Torcal de Antequera combines beautiful mountains with special rock formations. You can enjoy beautiful walks and several hiking routes have been set out through the park.

The unique limestone formations make El Torcal a special mountain area. You can simply visit the two viewpoints – they are also accessible for wheelchairs and prams – near the visitor center. But we recommend you to make one of the three hikes in the park. The green route is 1.5 kilometers long, the yellow route is 3 kilometers and the orange route is 3.6 kilometers. The orange one is a linear route, so you will have to walk back the same distance.

We would recommend the yellow route which took us about 2 hours though the route is only 3 kilometers. The short hike involves a lot of scrambling over rocks and passing narrow gorges, though we wouldn’t say this hike is hard. We probably mainly took this long because of the many stops to take in the beautiful views and observe the Spanish ibex from up close. This short hike is definitely one of the highlights of Andalusia and we highly recommend it for a day trip from Málaga.

El Torcal de Antequera
El Torcal de Antequera

#5 Nerja and Frigiliana

Nerja and Frigiliana are beautiful towns on the Costa del Sol, which you can visit on a day trip from Málaga. The towns are close to each other and with only a 50-minute drive from Málaga, both are definitely worth visiting as a day trip.

Nerja is located east of Málaga on the Spanish coast. It is a touristy destinations with a few charming streets, but above all a lot of shops and tourists. The main attraction of Nerja is the Balcon de Europa viewpoint. From there you have beautiful views over the mountains, beaches and sea around Nerja. This viewpoint is a popular spot in Nerja, but we didn’t find it particularly spectacular. We especially liked wandering through the cozy streets and the many sunny terraces. Also highly recommended is the special aqueduct Acueducte de Aguila, which is located just outside the city. The 40-meter high aqueduct was built more than a hundred years ago to transport water to the old sugar factory and is still a sight to behold.

Frigiliana is a small and charming mountain village, just 10 kilometers north of Nerja in the mountains. It is one of the typical pueblos blancos of the Andalusia region and is often called the most beautiful village in Spain. The town is located at an altitude of 400 meters and has beautiful white streets. The pebbles on the streets, the pots with colorful plants along the facades and the white houses make the village a beautiful picture. We loved strolling through Frigiliana and looking up the viewpoints for a beautiful view over the white mountain village. Make sure your camera is fully charged, because Frigiliana is very photogenic and every street corner is worth a picture.

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