Malaga is capital of the province of Malaga in the region of Andalucia. It is on the hugely popular Costa del Sol, the Mediterranean coastline at the southern-most tip of Spain.
Malaga is not one of Spain's most beautiful cities however many visitors to Andalusia arrive at Malaga Airport and if you have some time to spare there are a few things worth seeing in the city. Perhaps surprisingly Malaga is the fifth largest city in Spain!
At the heart of Malaga is the old town which stretches from the harbour on the Costa del Sol to the Mountains of Malaga. Key attractions are Malaga's strange unfinished cathedral, the Bishop's Palace and the Picasso Museum all close together.
Malaga has spent a lot of money improving its city centre and the Calle Marques de Larios is now a pleasant marble-paved pedestrianized street which leads to the Plaza de la Constiucion which has also been improved. There are some excellent shopping streets in this part of town and if you are looking for culture, look no further - Malaga has been nominated for the 2016 European Capital of Culture.
Head uphill to the Moorish castle at the top of the rocky outcrop above Malaga for fabulous views over the town. Just below is the Alcazaba palace which is said to have been an inspiration for some parts of the nearby Alhambra palace.
As well as Picasso, Antonia Banderas was also born in Malga and apparently is a fairly frequent visitor to the town.
One of the good things about Malaga is that it has some of the warmest winters in Europe and summer stretches from April until November.
Attractions in Malaga
Set above the town is the excellent Alcazaba. This was built by the Moors in the 8-11th centuries. The palace was lived in by the emirs of Malaga and inside the palace is some lovely stuccowork and beautiful patios. In the grounds is the Museo Arqueologica which has lots of Roman and Moorish artifacts.
A long double wall connects the Alcazaba to the Gibralfaro castle which has bougainvillea filled gardens. The 14th century castle has been well restored and houses an interesting museum giving you an insight into its history. With sea on three sides and an elevated position you get excellent views of the coast and of Malaga when you walk around the castle battlements.
Just next to the entrance of the Alcazaba is a part-excavated Roman amphitheatre which is used for outdoor concerts.
Malaga's cathedral was started in Renaissance style but progress was slow due to a lack of funds and it was finished in Baroque style. To this day the cathedral remains unfinished with a completed north tower and an incomplete south tower.
One of the highlights is the Picasso Museum. Picasso was born in Malaga and a museum has been created which houses some of his works. The museum is housed in an attractive 16th century mansion once lived in by the Counts of Buenavista. The museum holds 204 of Picasso's works which were donated by his daughter in law and grandson. There is also a temporary collection loaned by other museums and Picasso's family. The walls of the basement of the museum date back to Phoenician times and are the oldest architectural remains in Malaga.
If you are looking for somewhere to relax then head to the Botanic garden - La Concepcion, a huge garden stocked with a large selection of tropical and sub-tropical plants.
As well as Picasso, Antonia Banderas was also born in Malga.
On a night time it is Malaga's Moorish part of town which is the most lively. There are lots of tapas bars and clubs and the atmosphere is vibrant even during the winter. The Bar El Pimpi on Calle Granada is particularly popular. It has lots of different rooms and often has music, including flamenco. Locals tend to go before hitting the club scene a bit later on in the night.
The city centre and the port are also good places to head for on a night.
If you are looking for flamenco the Vista Flamenco is a good place to head for on Avda de los Guindos.
Places to Visit near to Malaga
Aswell as the famous beaches of the Costa del Sol including Marbella - resort of the rich and famous and one of the most exclusive in Europe - there is the Parque Natural de los Montes de Malaga, which is a lovely park with lots of marked paths for walkers.
The nearby town of Osuna was used as one of the locations for the Game of Thrones series.
Map of Malaga and places to visit
Malaga places to visit
See more places nearby in the Andalucia guide