I spent some time exploring the city of Malaga recently and enjoyed it so much that I regretted not spending time there sooner. I have taken trains and planes into Malaga many times but I always head straight down to the coast. I love visiting the Costa del Sol or Costa Tropical during the summer but now kick myself for overlooking Malaga as a city break in its own right.
Malaga is the gateway to explore Andalucía but I urge you to stop a while and see what the city has to offer. A lot of time, effort and money has been invested in Malaga and the city has a new focus on showcasing culture and food. I believe that Malaga will become a very popular city break over the next few years.
I wanted to share all the wonderful things we found in Malaga and show you how it can be a great location for a weekend break. This itinerary will be perfect for a short two day city break in Malaga.
Malaga two day city itinerary
This is an easy self-guided two-day walking tour of Malaga. Taking in all the main sights at a leisurely pace (as always, I like to chill out on my holidays). Follow our route which allows time on the beach, wandering through the city and recommendations of where to eat. But of course, if you really enjoy one spot, do stay there a little longer.
We have provided a rough map to help you head in the right direction during your two day break. Grab a more detailed city map when you arrive so that you don’t get lost. Each stop on the itinerary are marked below as red stars. Have fun on your weekend in Malaga, I hope you love it as much as we did!
*RELATED article: For all the practical city info read – What you need to know before visiting Malaga
Malaga day one itinerary:
The closest beach to the city is Malagueta. Take a short walk through the cool shade provided by the tropical trees in Parque de Malaga. Then take one of the right turns before you reach the bull ring. Soft sand beaches stretch before you dotted with beach bars that provide sun loungers and umbrellas. The clear blue water is perfect for a swim in between soaking up the sun. If it feels a little crowded walk 10-15 mins north to find a quieter spot.
Tip: If you want to explore further. Hire a bike and go for a ride along the beachside Paseo.
When on the Costa del Sol you have to stop in a chiringuito. They are the bars and restaurants set up on the sand facing the sea. They vary in size, decor and menu selection but they all have gorgeous views. Wander along the beach and pick the one you like the look of, then enjoy a delicious fresh seafood lunch.
Tip: Look for the chiringuitos that serve “espeto” seafood for lunch. This is the authentic local beach barbeque. Catch of the day will be grilled to perfection on a skewer in the roaring flames.
*RELATED article: To read more about all the things to do on the Costa del Sol read – My trip to the Costa del Sol
Drag yourself away from the beach and enjoy a little retail therapy. There some amazing fashion and souvenir shops in Malaga. Wander around and seek out the independent boutiques, high street chains and or craft stores. The main pedestrianised comercial shopping street is called Calle Marqués de Larios. It runs from the Plaza de Constitucion to the Plaza de la Marina.
Tip: For fresh food shopping or to pick up some local snacks, head to the wonderful Mercado Central de Atarazanas.
Before the sun sets take a walk through the old town and admire the architecture before you seek out some tapas. Make sure you see the Roman Ampitheatre and go inside the Picasso museum (he was born in Malaga). Then keep your eyes peeled for cute bars to pop into for a glass of local wine. There are great tapas bars dotted all over the city centre but for the best old authentic ones wander around the narrow streets surrounding the Cathedral.
Tip: The good bars will fill up fast so either be willing to eat standing, sit inside or aim to eat before or after the peak dinner rush 8-10pm.
*RELATED article: If you have time to spare in Andalucía read about nearby Granada – A weekend in Granada
Malaga day two itinerary:
Alcazaba & Castillo de Gibralfaro
Start the day with a look around the Alcazaba and work your way up the Gibralfaro hill to enjoy stunning views. The Alcazaba is a fortress built during Muslim rule, the name in Arabic means Citadel and its Malagas most important historic landmark. Walk up the steep hill to the Castillo or castle, where troops stayed to protect the Alcazaba. It has a high watch tower and two lines of thick walls.
Tip: Both buildings are stunning from the outside but if you want to get up close and walk the fortress walls, a ticket to go inside both buildings is only €3.55.
Walk down from the hilltop mirador to the port area and head for la Farola, the city lighthouse. Malaga port is one of the oldest in the Mediterranean but recent renovations has made this area a lovely spot to walk and enjoy lunch. The Paseo de Mulle Uno has everything from clothing shops, waterfront restaurants, ice cream stalls and lively cocktail bars.
Tip: Sightseeing boat trips are available from the port, click here for details of the hour long excursion
*RELATED article: For a great nearby day trip check out – Nerja, the jewel of the Costa del Sol
Before leaving the fantastic port area stop in the Centre Pompidou. It’s one of many museums and art galleries that Malaga has to offer. Inside you’ll find a collection of contemporary art exhibitions. The permanent exhibition is of impressionist art from the Paris Pompidou.
Tip: Entrance is free on Sundays after 4pm (or anytime for under 18’s, people with disabilities or anyone unemployed).
Plaza de la Merced
Head for dinner at one of the less touristy areas of Malaga to dine with locals. Plaza de la Merced, North of the city centre is a bustling square which comes to life as the sun sets. A children’s play area is surrounded by trees and benches plus a good selection of bars and restaurants with outdoor seating.
Tip: If it’s still open, take a wander through Mercado Merced, the food market located on the corner of the plaza.
RELATED article: For a lovely nearby day trip check out – Frigiliana, the prettiest town in Andalucía
I hope this two day itinerary for a weekend in Malaga has been useful. If you are visiting soon and have any questions please do get in touch.
If you have more time in Malaga why not check out the wine museum, here’s some info from Piccavey blog about discovering local wine in Malaga.
I’d also recommend a day trip exploring a nearby beach or village. Tops places include:
Have you been to Malaga? How was your experience? Tell us all about it in the comments box below.
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