Malaga: Gateway to the Costa del Sol

Advisor - Kathryn Evans
Curated By

Kathryn Evans

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  • Spain

  • Arts & Culture

  • Food & Wine

  • City Travel

  • Coastal

  • History

  • Sightseeing

  • Foodie

Advisor - Malaga: Gateway to the Costa del Sol
Curator’s statement

Malaga is the largest city on Spain’s Costa del Sol and the gateway to exploring this enchanting coastline. With the largest airport in the area, it is likely that you will begin and end your journey to the Costa del Sol in Malaga. While less famous and romanticized than some of its Andalusian neighbors, Malaga is full of sights, history, and a food scene that deserve a couple days exploration in your southern Spain itinerary.

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Where to stay in Malaga, Spain

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H10 Croma Malaga

This new city-centre hotel is a strikingly contemporary structure, paying homage to the creative and cultural heritage of the vibrant city.

Palacio Solecio

An Andalusian 18th-century palace serves as the setting for this ultra-stylish boutique hotel, located in Málaga's dynamic Jewish quarter, a multicultural and dynamic neighborhood steeped in history.

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  • $100 hotel / resort credit

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  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible

Icon Malabar

Immerse yourself in coastal elegance and Mediterranean charm at Icon Malabar, Spain, where luxury meets relaxation on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

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Things to do in Malaga, Spain

ornate gold ceiling

The Alcazaba - Originally built as a Muslim fortress in the 10th century, Malaga’s Alcazaba has also been used as a royal residence and military fortress. Commanding sweeping views over the city and coastline of Malaga, the Alcazaba is a great place for a stroll through gardens, ruins, and reconstructions of the various fortifications. At the entrance to the Alcazaba there are also the remains of a Roman amphitheater.

Museo Picasso Malaga - Perhaps most famous as the birthplace of Pablo Picasso. While the collection here may not have some of the artist’s most impressive works, its breadth shows the infamous artists creativity across mediums.

Malaga Cathedral - Lovingly referred to as “La Manquita”, or the one-armed lady, by locals, Malaga’s cathedral remains unfinished, with only it’s north belltower completed. Local lore speculates that the funds to complete the south tower were instead used to help the British Colonies that would eventually become the United States gain their independence. (Local records indicate that the funds were more likely redirected to road repairs.) Accompanied tours to the roof are possible multiple times a day on the hour for an extra fee and provide views over the city.

Take a Food Tour - This is the land of tapas and a food tour is the perfect way to explore the culinary treats of Malaga. Do a food tour at the beginning of your stay to learn tips and tricks for ordering, learn new dishes, and get local recommendations you can use during the rest of your stay. Don’t miss the local, sweet wines that Malaga is famous for!

Enjoy Street Art - Take a stroll through Malaga’s SoHo neighborhood and enjoy the proliferation of street art that has made this area famous.

Museo del Vidrio y Cristal de Malaga - Housed in a restored 18th century house, this affectionately curated museum traces the history of humanity through glass. The collection of art glass on display is second to none. If you’re lucky, your tour guide will be the owner/collector himself and include his personal stories about the items and artists.

Museo de Malaga - Malaga’s state-owned museum is the largest in Andalusia and the 5th largest in Spain with expensive fine art and archaeological collections housed in the impressive Palacio del la Aduana.

Museo Carmen Thyssen Malaga - This museum houses the private collection of Carmen Cervera and focuses predominantly on Andalusian artists, but also features a rotation of well-done temporary exhibits as well.

Revello de Toro Museum - This tiny museum displays the works of Malaguenian Felix Revello de Toro, a renowned portrait artist and figure painter. The works are intimate and make the viewer feel as though they are stealing moments with the subjects.

Museo Automovilístico de Málaga - This museum housed in a warehouse near the airport has something for everyone, combining fashion and automotive displays. Organized together chronologically to give a sense of how the two would have gone together there are also personal anecdotes and stories that add to the quirkiness of this museum’s collection.

If you visit in December, Malaga is known across Europe for it's holiday light show. The main street in the old town is fancifully lit and twice a night the lights twinkle in time to Christmas songs.

Places to eat & drink in Malaga, Spain

barrels of alcohol at a restaurant

El Pimpi - Imagine a winding maze of dining rooms, courtyards, hallways, and patio spaces packed with jovial diners and maybe you’ll be prepared for the experience of El Pimpi where ambiance is the first item on the menu. Traditional spanish dishes and tapas along with a fun cocktail list make El Pimpi a dining experience to remember.

Meson Antonio - If you have time for just one meal in Malaga, find your way to Meson Antonio tucked in a quiet alley in the historic district. The service is warm and instantly friendly. You must try the garlic soup, trust me!

Mercado Central de Atarazanas Malaga’s main market is a destination in itself for foodies. A plethora of food stalls have the freshest bites on offer. Named because it was once the Muslim shipyard, look for the enormous 18th century stained glass window with ships and the main landmarks of Malaga on it.

Meson Mariano - Tucked in an alley you might walk by and think they are closed, but don’t be fooled by the shut roll up door, the line of people waiting - locals and tourists alike - is an indication of the deliciousness to come. If you are an artichoke fan this is the place for you.

Vertical Wine Bar & Shop - You just might meet the owner of this wine bar/shop when you grab a seat and ask for a recommendation from their extensive wine list. Menu of small bites pairs well with the pours on offer.

La Martina Gastrotienda - No frills local spot with a small rotating menu of tapas favorites - check out the chalkboard for what’s on offer that day. I highly recommend the habas con jamon!

Casa Aranda While in Malaga do like the Malaguenos do and that means churros and hot chocolate for breakfast!

Antigua Casa de Guardia - In operation since 1840, this standing room only wine bar is a great place for a pre-dinner sip of local Malaga wines - the perfect way to get your appetite going!

El Meson de Cervantes - Traditional menu with an exceptional bar program. A conversation with the bartender will lead to a customized cocktail recommendation that is sure to delight.

Vinoteca Bouquet Wine Bar & Shop - The attentive staff will talk you through a wine selection to enjoy on site or to take away to your hotel. A small menu of tapas is also on offer.

Advisor - Kathryn Evans

Travel Advisor

Kathryn Evans

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Spain.