Erin and I visited Málaga in January (incidentally, this is a great time of year to escape Germany), and found it to be one of the most pleasant places we’ve ever travelled. Between the abundant sunshine, beautiful architecture from many different eras, and excellent food and beverages, it’s high on my list of places to return to. Here are my 5 favorite things to do in Málaga:
Visit the Atarazanas Market
Málaga’s main market can be tricky to find – it’s inside a large building nestled in a part of town with heavy car traffic. If you do find it, though, you’ll be amazed by what you see and hear. The atmosphere inside, from the bright colors of the food and stained-glass windows to the sound of shoppers ordering items and merchants shouting between stalls, was as electric as can possibly be for a food market. Some of the most brightly-colored fruits and vegetables I’ve ever seen join meat, fish, nuts, candy, paella and many other things on offer. I’m pretty certain we went every day we were in Málaga.
Get there early though; the market closes at 2pm each day.
Enjoy the Beach
What’s a trip to the Mediterranean without visiting a beach? When the weather’s nice (which is often in southern Spain), Málaga offers a vast sandy beach to relax on. Besides laying in the sand, one can also climb across the rocks that create a bay for swimming, or enjoy a drink at one of the many beach-side bars.
Take a Day Trip to Gibraltar
If you have a spare day, you absolutely must take a trip to Gibraltar. Only a two-hour bus ride from Málaga, this tiny British territory is small enough to be seen in a single day – though you will want to make sure you’ve got the whole day to do some hiking.
There you’ll find stunning scenery, exciting hiking trails, people to speak English with, and wild monkeys, though I probably could have just said ‘monkeys’ and most of you’d add Gibraltar to your to-do list. Make sure to bring your passport and some British pounds, as you’ll be leaving Spain.
Have a drink at the top of the AC Hotel Málaga
We got to visit this hotel as part of a free walking tour we took (it’s not clear to me if this was normal or not). You don’t have to be a guest of the hotel to visit the restaurant on the roof, so feel free to just take the elevator to the top! Once there, you can enjoy a drink and/or some tapas, and of course, a view of the city. On one side is the port and the Mediterranean Sea, and on the other the old city center of Málaga with the hills of southern Spain forming the backdrop.
Walk the extended ruins of the Alcazaba of Málaga and Roman Theater
The Alcazaba, located adjacent to the city center, feels like an endless maze of staircases and walkways. Because it’s open-air, you can’t actually get lost, but it does feel like it could be home to some epic games of hide-and-seek. As a result, it took us quite a while to explore its entirety, but the view of Málaga’s port alone made the visit worthwhile. And if beautiful views of the sea aren’t your thing, the Alcazaba includes gardens, fountains, and exhibits of art and pottery from the 11th century.
Have you ever been to Málaga? What are your favorite things to do there?