Aerial view of the beachside architectural municipality of Malaga, including some of the best things to do in Malaga

21 Best Things to Do in Malaga (in 2023)

The vibrant city of Malaga isn’t as well known as Spain’s biggest cities, but there are still plenty of enticing things to do in Malaga. Here you’ll find epic pieces of ancient history, art galleries, markets, and sensational outdoor activities. 

I spent time in Malaga while I was driving through Spain’s Costa del Sol on a road trip. While I was there, I discovered that there was a lot more to this southern Spain city than initially meets the eye. It’s a gem that definitely qualifies as one of the best places to visit in Spain

If you’re searching for the inside scoop on all the best things to do in Malaga, look no further. You’ve found the holy grail. Let’s get into it. 

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21 Best Things to Do in Malaga

Mercado Central de Atarazanas

Take in the local culture and eat at high-quality tapas bars in this traditional market with a signature stained-glass mural.

Exterior view of the colorful stained glass mural at the entrance of Mercado Central de Atarazanas
Colorful stained glass mural entrance of the market (photo: Ivo Antonie de Rooij / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (951)-926-010 | Website | Hours: 8 am – 3 pm daily, Closed Mondays | Entrance: Free | 👉 Browse Tours on Viator 

Like most travelers arriving in a new city, I was hungry when I arrived in Malaga after hours of driving around Costa del Sol. I started frantically Googling to find the best local tapas restaurants. Then, I accidentally stumbled across one of the coolest things to do in all of Malaga: Mercado Central de Atarazanas – one of the city’s most popular local markets.

From the moment you step up to this central market, you’re impressed. The front entrance is adjourned with an intricate and colorful stained glass piece that makes you stop and say, “what is that place?”. Inside, there is a maze of tapas restaurants and grocery vendors selling authentic Spanish fare.

Make sure you try some of the seafood stands. The fried squid and sangria, to be specific. You’ll definitely leave this market with a belly full of food and maybe even with a to-go bag.

👉 Need a Hotel? Check out my guide to the best places to stay in Malaga.


Stop by an 11th-century fortress that’s one of the most significant pieces of history in Malaga.

Scenic cityscape view from Alcazaba citadel
Interior of the Alcazaba citadel 

📍 Google Maps | Phone:(630)-932-987 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 6 pm daily, changes seasonally | Entrance: $3.82 | 👉 Browse Tours on Viator 

Every city has a tourist attraction that they’re known for more than anything else. For Malaga, that place is the Alcazaba fortress. It’s probably one of the most distinguished and visited historic monuments in all of Spain.

The thing I find so impressive about the Alcazaba is how impeccably well it’s been preserved. It was built thousands of years ago, and yet, it’s still almost perfectly intact. Whether you’re a history buff or an everyday traveler, you have to appreciate that and it’s fun to see a piece of history with your own eyes. 

Málaga Cathedral

Check out the Baroque-Renaissance architecture at this giant cathedral that’s one of the top landmarks in Spain.

Façade of the great Málaga Cathedral with people wandering around
The exterior of Malaga Cathedral (photo: Jan van der Wolf / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (952)-220-345 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 6 pm daily, 2 pm – 6 pm Sundays | Entrance: $8.72, adults, $3.27 under 12 | 👉 Browse Tours on Viator 

Spain is a country with a huge repertoire of gorgeous, expertly crafted buildings. One of those places in Malaga is the Malaga Cathedral. The Baroque-Renaissance architecture of this cathedral attracts tons of visitors every year. It’s considered a national landmark. 

It’s understandable why. This place is overwhelmingly exquisite and took over 250 years to build. If you’re a photographer trying to find a place in Malaga to capture some intense shots, you don’t want to miss the Málaga Cathedral. 

Plaza de la Merced

Take some time to relax at this peaceful plaza where Picasso’s childhood home is located.

View of the tall monument at Plaza de la Merced with a clear blue sky in the background
The plaza is in bloom during the spring (photo: trabantos / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Website | Hours: 24/7 daily | Entrance: Free

Plaza de la Merced is a warm, welcoming spot to hang out, but there is also a lot of history lurking around these streets. It’s one of the bigger public squares in the seaside city. However, Plaza de la Merced’s big claim to fame is that it’s the site of famous artist Pablo Picasso’s childhood home.

When the sun goes down, this area transforms into an easy-going yet lively place to enjoy a few glasses of wine with a world-class tapas dinner. Picasso Bar Tapas and Restaurante Cortijo de Pepe can provide you with one of the best-tasting and most affordable meals of your life. So, there is more to visiting this plaza than just appreciating a legendary artist’s roots. 

Centro de Arte Contemporáneo (CAC)

Explore thought-provoking contemporary pieces by budding Spanish and international artists.

A statue of a bending man outside the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo
Statue outside the CAC (photo: Yingna Cai / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (952)-208-500 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 9:30 pm daily, Closed Mondays | Entrance: Free

For a city that’s not very well-known outside the boundaries of Europe, Malaga has a lot of astounding art galleries. One of my favorites on the entire list is this one right here: Centro de Arte Contemporaneo (CAC). Or, the Contemporary Art Center for all my English speakers. 

Twenty years ago, Malaga really wanted to expand the public’s access to art in the city. They decided to fulfill that goal by creating the CAC in 2003 and it’s remained one of the top contemporary art museums in the region ever since. Here you can see art from the past century, but also catch a glimpse at more recent pieces by artists from Spain and around the world. 

Carmen Thyssen Museum

Get a taste for art from Andalucia and around the globe at this museum created by one of the world’s top art collectors.

View of the façade and front door of Carmen Thyssen Museum
The front door to the museum (photo: joan_bautista / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (952)-217-511 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 8 pm daily, Closed Mondays | Entrance: $10.90, adults, Free under 18 | 👉 Browse Tours on Viator 

Another one of Malaga’s art sanctuaries is the esteemed Carmen Thyssen Museum. This museum was developed from the collection of one of the world’s top art collectors and it’s nothing short of remarkable. 

The majority of the work inside the Carmen Thysse comes from the Andalusian region that Malaga calls home. However, there are also some exhibits by international artists, too. It’s definitely a must-see for art lovers in Malaga, but even if that’s not your thing, it’s an interesting look at southern Spain’s culture.  

Picasso Museum Malaga

Discover over 200 works by the famous Malaga local, Pablo Picasso, in a repurposed palace.

View of the beautiful indoor-outdoor patio at Picasso Museum Malaga
Interior of the Picasso Museum (photo: Adrian Copos / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (952)-127-600 | Website | Hours: Open every day, March–June: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., July–August: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., September–October: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., November–February: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. | Entrance: $9.81, adults, Free under 17 | 👉 Browse Tours on Viator 

If there is one artist’s name that rings with recognition, even for people who know absolutely nothing about the art world, it’s Pablo Picasso. As luck would have it, the famed artist was born and raised in Malaga, which definitely left its mark on the city. 

One of the places you can go to really appreciate Pablo’s expertise is the Museo Picasso Málaga. The Picasso Museum is a shrine dedicated to the master’s artistry. Museo Picasso holds over 200 pieces by the artist. The museum is actually located inside an old palace, adding an extra layer of intrigue to this Malaga attraction.

👉 Pro Tip: Last entry to the museum is 20 minutes before closing, while galleries are cleared 10 minutes before closing. Meanwhile, the shop and bookshops close 15 minutes before the museum closes. There are special opening hours on December 24 and 31, as well as January 5: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The museum is closed on December 25, January 1, and January 6.

Castillo de Gibralfaro

Stroll up the ruins of this Moorish castle on Mount Gibralfaro to be greeted with expansive views of the city.

People walking along the narrow bridge with a scenic cityscape view from Castillo de Gibralfaro
Tourists wandering the Moorish architecture of the castle (photo: Julian Maldonado / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (952)-227-230 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 6 pm daily | Entrance: $3.82

I always appreciate an attraction that can give you the two-for-one special. Castillo de Gibralfaro provides just that. These Moorish castle ruins are located all the way up on the top of Mount Gibralfaro overlooking the city. 

That means you get a riveting dose of Spanish history and architectural prowess. But, it also comes with some of the best views in the entire city. It’s a double win and one of the most popular things to do in Malaga. 

Teatro Romano de Málaga

Wander around the remains of an ancient Roman theater that was built way back in the 1st century BCE.

Panoramic view of the ruins of The Roman Theatre in Malaga
The Roman Theatre ruins

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (951)-501-115 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 6 pm Tues-Sat, 10 am – 4 pm Sunday, Closed Mondays | Entrance: Free | 👉 Browse Tours on Viator 

You wouldn’t necessarily expect to find the remains of an ancient Roman theater in a coastal Spanish city, but here we are. Located right next to the Alcazaba, Teatro Romano de Málaga is actually the oldest historic monument in the entire city. 

It includes a visitors center and museum with ancient artifacts to get a better feel for just how far back this place’s history goes. If you’re visiting Spain with kids, Teatro Romano de Málaga can be a super fun and educational activity to take them on. 

Museo del Vidrio

Get a glimpse into the history of glass at this unique museum housed in a former mansion.

View of the interior and glass and crystal displays at Museo del Vidrio
Displays inside the Museum of Glass (photo: Lux Blue / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (952) 220-271 | Website | Hours: 11 am – 7 pm daily, Closed Mondays | Entrance: $7.62, adults, Free under 6

Another one of Malaga’s more unique things to do is spending an afternoon perusing Museo del Vidrio, or The Glass Museum. 

It explores the history of decorative glass-making and features over 3,000 different pieces for your viewing pleasure. One thing I found especially alluring about this Malaga museum is that it’s located in the body of an old mansion from over 300 years ago. 

👉 Pro Tip: Museo del Vidrio is only a block away from one of the best traditional tapas bars in the city called La Tranca. Stop in and grab an empanada for the go while you’re exploring the city. 

Centre Pompidou Málaga

Experience a collection of pieces by Picasso and Frida Khalo inside a kaleidoscopic cube.

Façade of the colorful cultural center of Centre Pompidou Málaga
Centre Pompidou has to be one of the most colorful cultural centers ever (photo: ColorMaker / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Website | Hours: 9:30 am – 8 pm daily, Closed Tuesdays | Entrance: $7.96 | 👉 Browse Tours on Viator 

As a photographer, this cool, little Malaga attraction 100% had me jumping for joy. The Pompidou Centre is a vivid, rainbow-drenched cube structure that you can see from a mile away. Just that alone would get my trigger finger ready on my camera. However, the cube itself is just the icing on the cake. 

The tasty, funfetti-filled cake is the fact that it leads to a phenomenal permanent art collection of 80 pieces strong. This place has works from the greats of Spanish art, like Pablo Picasso, along with international art stars like Francis Bacon, Frida Kahlo, René Magritte, and more. 

If you have especially good karma, you’ll be in town for one of its incredible rotating exhibits that happens about twice a year. 

Hammam Al Ándalus Baños Árabes

Recharge your soul and relax at this Arab bathes with spas at five different temperatures.

View inside the traditional Arab bathhouse in Malaga
Traditional Arab bathhouses (photo: joserpizarro / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (952) 215-018 | Website | Hours: 9:30 am – 11:30 pm Sun-Thurs, 9:30 am – 1:30 pm Fri-Sat | Entrance: Depends On Experience | 👉 Browse Tours on Viator 

It can be taxing on your body when exploring a new city, and eventually you’ll need to do some self-care. Luckily, Malaga has you covered in that department as well. All you have to do is spend a few hours recharging your body at the beautiful Hammam Al Andalus Baños Árabes.

This bathhouse is special because it has five different spa baths that gradually increase in temperature. This practice is supposed to be part of a purification and cleansing ritual. The spa also offers massages and steam rooms. 

Flamenco Malaga – Tablao Alegría

Enjoy elevated Malaga-style food and watch a lively Flamenco show at this famous theater.

View of the colorful dresses of the Flamenco performers in the street of Malaga
Flamenco performers (photo: Maljalen / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: 951-474-493 | Website | Hours: 5:30 pm – 11:30 pm daily | Entrance: Depends On Show, Reservation Recommended | 👉 Browse Tours on Viator 

Experiencing the rush of a Flamenco show is one of the quintessential things to do in Spain. This travel requirement is valid in Malaga, too. There are a few options for Flamenco theaters in Malaga, but I would highly recommend going to Tablao Alegria. 

Tablao Alegria offers creatively-designed takes on Malaga-style food and delicious cocktails. Accompanied by a performance with some of the best Flamenco performers in the game. It’s the perfect place to go on a special date night in Malaga.  

Jardín Botánico Histórico – La Concepción

Walk through the 56 acres of this 168-year-old garden with over 2,000 species of flora and birds from around the world.

A bee statue in the middle of Malaga’s historical botanical garden
Statue of a bee in Malaga’s Historical Botanical Garden (photo: LAMBERTO JESUS / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: 951-926-180 | Website | Hours: 9:30 am – 5:30 pm daily, Closed Mondays | Entrance: $5.66

Let’s break up all the indoor museums and historic buildings with a little bit of fun in the sun, shall we? Moving on to the Jardín Botánico Histórico – La Concepción, a stunning botanical garden only 10 minutes outside of the city center. 

This garden is absolutely massive with more than 56 acres of different plant life to wander. While it’s not a building or museum, this garden is still very historic as it has been around for well over a century. Inside, you’ll discover over 2,000 different species of vegetation and birds. It’s actually one of the only gardens in all of Europe with subtropical plants. 

Jardin Botanico Historico is also an excellent activity option for budget travelers. It has free admission times on Sundays from 2 pm – 5:30 pm in the winter and 4:30 pm – 8:30 pm in the spring. 

Casa Lola

Get your hands on high-quality tapas for a super affordable price at this traditional bistro in heart of Malaga.

A platter of tapas, cheese, green olives and other foods served on a wooden board
Tapas platter

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (952)-223-814 | Website | Hours: 12:30  pm – 12 am daily | Entrance: Free

When you’re in Spain, you’ll want to treat yourself to as many delicious, authentic tapas creations as you can find. If you’re trying your hand at being a tapas connoisseur while you’re in Malaga, you don’t want to miss out on Casa Lola. 

This place has some of the most delectable, high-quality tapas in the city for a super affordable price that will fit any traveler’s Europe budget.

Caminito Del Rey

Test your nerves on this 328-foot cliffside trail along El Chorro Gorge known as one of the world’s scariest hikes.

Hikers enjoying the scenic views in Caminito Del Rey on a sunny day
The Camino Del Rey hike can be intense, but the views are worth it (photo: makasana photo / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Website | Hours: 9:30 am – 3 pm daily, changes seasonally Closed Mondays | Entrance: $10.90 for general admission, $19.60 for guided tour | 👉 Browse Tours on Viator 

Okay, fine. I’ve been holding out on my fellow dare-devil travelers up until this point, but I do have an activity in Malaga for you, too. It’s called Caminito Del Rey and it’s built up a reputation as one of the scariest hikes in the world. The trail follows an eerily narrow footbridge that’s elevated 328 feet in the air and built into the side of the mountain. 

For the people who haven’t skipped to the next list item out of sheer fear alone, here’s what you need to know. In the winter, you’re allowed to hike Caminito Del Rey from 9:30 am – 3:00 pm and in the summer, you can stay out until 5:00 pm. I recommend checking out our guide to when to visit Spain for more info. It’s also closed on Mondays. 

Visit at your own risk because this is definitely the most adrenaline-inducing thing to do in Malaga. 

Muelle Uno

Live your big spender fantasies at this open-air shopping center located right on Malaga Port.

View of the busy outdoor market of Muelle Uno in Malaga
People shopping at the outdoor market of Muelle Uno (photo: ColorMaker / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (952)-003-942 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 10 pm daily | Entrance: Free

If you just want to spend your time in Malaga relaxing and doing easy activities, you may be intrigued by a trip to Muelle Uno. 

Muelle Uno is an open-air shopping center that is packed with a bunch of different places to go shopping and eat. The shopping complex also has an ideal location right on Malaga Port. So if you happen to shop until the sun goes down, just go out and enjoy the view of the day disappearing on the water. 

👉 Pro Tip: Muelle Uno is located right next to Pompidou Centre. If you’re visiting the iconic cube museum, stop by the mall for a shopping spree afterward. 

Mirador de Gibralfaro

Get a bird’s eye view 425 feet over the Mediterranean Sea and the entire city of Malaga at this photo-worthy viewpoint.

Overlooking view of the Mediterranean Sea and Malaga cityscape from Mirador de Gibralfaro
Views from this expansive mirador in Malaga

📍 Google Maps | Website | Hours: 24/7 daily Entrance: Free

Every time I visit a new place, I always try to find a viewpoint where I can get an expansive, bird’s eye view over the entire area. It’s like a preview of the area I’m about to explore. In Malaga, the place I went to get my view was Mirador de Gibralfaro. 

The top of this mirador presents you with stunning scenery overlooking the ocean and Malaga city itself. For all the photographers out there, Mirador de Gibralfaro is the place to go for that jaw-dropping shot of the entire area. 

The best time to visit is about an hour before sunset right when the atmosphere starts to change colors. 

Cueva de Nerja

Take a day trip to the nearby city of Nerja to tour a 3-mile-long cave complex that occasionally throws music festivals.

Tourists enjoying the rock formations and stalactites inside the Cueva de Nerja
This extensive cave is perfect for day trips from Malaga 

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (952)-529-520 | Website | Hours: 9:30 am – 3:30 pm daily | Entrance: $14.17 | 👉 Browse Tours on Viator 

Even though there are a lot of things to do in Malaga, sometimes you just want a day trip. If you’re itching to do an activity that’s close to Malaga, but not directly in the city, you should make the journey to Cueva de Nerja. This otherworldly cave is located in the nearby city of Nerja about 45 minutes outside of Malaga’s city center. 

You can join a guided tour through these slightly spooky caverns and learn all about its background. However, the 3-mile-long complex also serves another purpose – as a music and dance festival venue. 

The biggest event of the year is the Cueva de Nerja International Festival of Music and Dance every summer. So, if you’re visiting during the high season you could actually go to a music festival inside the belly of a cave. Talk about a travel story. 

👉 Read Next: Top Things to Do in Barcelona

FAQs About What to Do in Malaga

What is Malaga best known for?

Malaga is best known for its extraordinary art culture and as the home city to the famous artist Pablo Picasso. Many of Spain’s best museums are located right in this coastal city of the south. Malaga’s art museums include the Picasso Museum, Museo Carmen Thyssen, CAC Malaga, the Malaga Museum, and Centre Pompidou

Is Malaga worth visiting?

Malaga is absolutely worth visiting. The city has a diverse art scene, a range of well-preserved historic sights, and unforgettable tapas restaurants. There are a lot of world-known natural sights around the Malaga area as well, such as Cueva de Nerja and Caminito Del Rey

How do I spend a day in Malaga?

With a single day to spend in Malaga, visitors should get a little taste of everything the city has to offer. Start the day off by grabbing a pastry from Atarazanas Central Market. Then, visit Alcazaba, the city’s most famous historic attraction. Followed by an afternoon at the Picasso Museum or Museo Carmen Thyssen. Finally, finish your day in Malaga with dinner at Casa Lola.  

Which is better, Malaga or Seville?

The Spanish cities of Malaga and Seville each offer something different to travelers. If you want to see the most famous tourist attractions in the Andalusian region, Seville is a better option. There is an abundance of things to do in Seville.  For people who prefer a more relaxing environment with fewer tourists around, Malaga might be a better choice.  


Thanks for checking out my guide to things to do in Malaga. Are you getting psyched to visit Malaga and see all these spots for yourself? Before you arrive, there is one thing you need – travel insurance. So, don’t miss our comprehensive guide to travel insurance in Spain

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