Malaga is a city capable of conquering from the first moment. Cosmopolitan and modern, but still so attached to the traditions and glories of the past that this combination manages to confuse even the most experienced traveler: in fact, within a half-hour walk you will encounter Baroque cathedrals, remains of Roman theaters, arenas of bullfighting, marinas and a magnificent city beach.
Easy to get to Malaga, difficult to leave: it would be nice to stay there for a long time, thanks to the joviality of the inhabitants, their desire to have fun, the benevolent climate in summer and winter: but with a few days available you have to make choices, so here it is a three days itinerary in Malaga which manages to combine cultural visits and entertainment, without neglecting relaxing stops in the most characteristic corners of the city and the possibility of experiencing a city that makes the sea its strong point.
If you want to build your own itinerary and discover all the main attractions of the city, consult the page what to see in Malaga.
First day, historic center and Picasso Museum
Malaga - Costa del Sol airport is located south of the city, near Torremolinos. Once you have disembarked and found a way to get to the center, it is time to explore the city.
It starts from Old Town, a typical Spanish alternation of cobbled streets full of shops and large squares, overlooked by bars and restaurants. It is advisable to start the visit of Malaga from Constitution Plaza, for a lunch at the famous Central Coffee, and then take a nice long walk Marques de Larios Street, the good living room of the city, where you can find the shops of the major international chains and also several shops and souvenir shops.
There are always people here, at any time of day, but those who visit Malaga during Christmas will find a truly magnificent setting in Calle Larios, thanks to the fantastic decorations that illuminate the street, with wonderful arches of lights and colored bows.
Calle Larios ends outside the historic center, in Plaza de la Marina, which is actually little more than a tree-lined and heavily trafficked avenue. Better to return immediately to the center along the parallel of Calle Larios, that is Calle Molina Lario (be careful not to confuse the names!), which leads into Bishop's Square, which is none other than the square overlooked by the majestic city cathedral.
It is possible to enter to admire the sumptuous coatings and the splendid religious architecture of this church whose works began in 1528, and then continue for a visit to the Cathedral Museum and the adjacent church of the Sagrario.
A few steps from the church of the Sagrario, along Calle Cister, you arrive in the Piazza della Dogana, or Aduana's Place in Spanish, where you can admire the elegant facade of the Palazzo della Dogana and above all, a few steps away, the majestic remains of Roman Theater of Malaga, a real historical testimony of the past of the city.
Those who have time and strength and love art can spend a couple of hours inside the nearby museum dedicated to Pablo Picasso, one of the most illustrious inhabitants of the city, while continuing for a hundred meters northwards you will reach Merced Square, a classic Spanish square with a square plan, overlooked by numerous restaurants offering local cuisine. The ideal for a dinner to conclude the first day discovering Malaga in the best possible way, even if it must be said that the historic center is literally littered with clubs, restaurants and tapas bars: finding food is the least of the problems in Malaga, just let yourself be carried away by the people and see where the locals go to not be disappointed.
To round off your first day exploring Malaga, there is nothing better than an after dinner in a tea room, or teteria in Spanish. These are rather elegant and Middle Eastern-style places, where you can sip tea of all kinds and tastes accompanied by typical Arab sweets, also a distant memory of the Moorish domination of the city. There are several in the center, among these it is worth mentioning the Teteria El Harem, the Teteria Ararat, the Teteria La Tertulia or the Teteria Deja-vu.
Second day, seafront and Malagueta
After the cultural binge of the first day, the second day of the itinerary in Malaga is dedicated to the sea and relaxation. After a hearty breakfast in the center of churros con chocolate you arrive in Plaza de la Marina (remember? It was the one we saw yesterday for a moment at the end of the walk along Calle Larios), to walk the entire Paseo del Muelle Uno, a pedestrian promenade that winds in a semicircle along the marina of Malaga, passing under a futuristic iron and steel roof. Here, alongside yachts and moored boats, there is also a shopping center, stalls and shops, and above all a slew of excellent restaurants with outdoor seating. Choosing the right one will be difficult, as they are all inviting!
After a nice break for an alfresco lunch that satisfies the eyes and palate, we turn around the lighthouse and take the elegant Matias Prats Walk, an elegant walk that leads to the Malagueta, the city beach of Malaga.
Fine sand, clear and transparent water, services such as showers and changing rooms, beach umbrella and sun lounger rental, lifeguards, palm trees and numerous kiosks and bars: the best way to spend the afternoon in Malaga like a local.
Behind the Malagueta there is the homonymous district, modern and elegant and with numerous hotels, but devoid of tourist attractions, if not the La Malagueta bullring, which however is not open to tourists. There is a museum, which consists of three small rooms, where relics and artifacts from the history of bullfighting in Malaga are exhibited.
From here, along the elegant Park Walk, we return to the historic center, and even tonight we must face the challenge of choosing one of the many places to dine. We advise you to go for two or three tapas bar, to try the local specialties washed down with one beer cane or a glass of Red wine.
Third day, Gibralfaro and Alcazaba
For the last day in Malaga we have reserved a couple of more interesting things to see. The first is the Gibralfaro Castle, the visit of which can take a long time especially without a rental car, as to reach it you need to take a nice walk or use public transport. Anyway, once you get to the top you will have a wonderful view of Malaga and the coast, truly unforgettable. You can walk around the walls and explore the interior of this fortress built in the XNUMXth century to protect the Alcazaba, the ancient Moorish citadel.
Leaving the castle, we return to the center and precisely to the Roman Theater that we visited on the first day, to visit precisely the Alcazaba. This fortress, dating back to the period of Moorish domination, dates back to about a thousand years ago, and today it is possible to visit some palaces and splendid gardens, as well as numerous patios where Islamic architecture is predominant.
Back in the city center, you will have just enough time for a last coffee break in one of the many open-air places in the area, before returning to the airport and from here to home.
Don't want to do the itinerary by yourself? Discover Malaga and its monuments with a tour guide or on a bus tour.
Where to sleep in Malaga
At the end of the article, we would like to suggest three mid-level hotels that are located in the center, which can be an excellent base for the three-day itinerary in Malaga. If you are looking for all the information on the best neighborhoods to sleep in Malaga, read the complete article that we have dedicated to it.
- Hotel Ibis Malaga Centro: Located just across the Guadalmedina river, it is connected to the historic center of Malaga by a pedestrian bridge, beyond which you are in Calle Larios in 5 minutes on foot. Its strong point is the very quiet location, although very favorable for a visit to the city. The rooms are in full Ibis style, with comfortable beds and minimal but fully equipped furnishings.
- Hotel Guadalmedina: A hotel located approximately 500 meters from Malaga train station, offering air-conditioned rooms with free wi-fi and flat screen TV, wooden floor and bathroom with hairdryer. It is located near the Plaza de la Marina, therefore close to both Calle Larios and the city's marina.
- Hotel Sur Malaga: Very close to the Picasso Museum, the Hotel Sur Malaga is an elegant property offering rooms with classic design, satellite TV, air conditioning and private bathroom. It offers a 24-hour reception for booking excursions and rental cars.