Perched along the southern Costa del Sol coast, this port city packs in over 3, 000 years of history, stylish reinventions and endless charm. More than just the home of Picasso, Málaga offers a taste into traditional Spanish life, alongside a growing gastronomic scene and diverse nightlife.
Plus, with miles of golden sand, this classic beach destination has long been a favourite with British holidaymakers. So, whether you want to soak up the Málaga of the past or dive head first into the present, you won’t run out of things to see and do. Here’s how you can spend 24 hours in Málaga.
MORNING: MÁLAGA CATHEDRAL AND ALCAZABA
Trip to Málaga is not complete without seeing the Roman Catholic Cathedral. Start your morning wandering through this majestic building, built between 1528 and 1782. Influenced by both Renaissance and Baroque design, the Cathedral is breathtaking and has an adjoining church, Iglesia del Sagrano. After you’ve admired the main buildings, explore the gardens surrounding them which contain monuments and a café, or climb the 200 steps that lead up to the rooftop.
Just a few minutes from here is Alcazaba. One of Málaga’s top sites, this military fortification has Arabic roots. According to Arab historians, it was built between 1057 and 1063 at the instructions of Badis, King of the Berber Taifa of Granada. You can explore the remnants of this important historical site and Roman ruins at the foot of the Gibralfaro Hill. The views and photo opportunities are well worth the trek.
AFTERNOON: MERCADO CENTRAL DE ATARAZANAS AND SOHO
As well as sampling some of Spain’s best tapas, Málaga has a hanfful of colourful local markets, fried fish shops and seafood restaurants to enjoy too. A must-visit for lunch is Atarazanas Market or ‘Mercado Central de Atarazanas’, just a 10 minute walk from the Cathedral. Here you’ll find all manner of seafood, meat, cheese, fruits and veg. Don’t miss this beautiful building with a horseshoe archway entrance and stained-glass windows, boasting 14th century Moorish architecture with typical 19th century industrial design.
Once you’ve filled up on Spanish delicacies, perhaps you’ll want to see some of Málaga’s thriving art scene. Did you know there’s an area called Soho, just like London and New York? Minutes from Atarazanas Market, the art district is a creative hub of graffiti street art close to Guadalmedina River. The area is full of cafes, galleries and event spaces hosting a range of cultural events. Soho is a great place to explore for a few hours.
EVENING: BEACH STROLLS AND LOCAL NIGHTLIFE
At night, the city is vibrant with crowds streaming in and out of sophisticated wine bars and disco clubs. The heart of the nightlife can be found around Plaza de la Merced, Plaza de la Constitucion, Calle Granada, Calle Alcazabilla, Calle La Malagueta and Calle Larios. Sala Wenge is a popular bar and club, while Liceo is set in a two-story house converted into a club.
But if you want to keep things low key, why not take a stroll along a city beach and catch the views at sunset? There are several beaches in Málaga, all situated along the Promenade of Pablo Ruiz Picasso. The most popular and accessible two are Playa de la Malagueta and Playa de la Caleta, just a short walk from the city centre bars, restaurants and shops.