Malaga is the capital of the Costa del Sol, and offers all the advantages of a capital at your fingertips: fun destinations, famous monuments, fabulous beaches, plus many other places that are worth a visit! At AIL Malaga we know we are lucky to have our school in such a vibrant city with so much to offer, but when you’re a tourist it can be hard to decide what to do first. Well, we’ve made it easy for you: here are the 6 things that you absolutely should not miss, even if you’re only with us for a day or two.
Whether you are coming to Malaga to work, to learn Spanish or just travelling for pleasure, make sure you don’t miss these Top 6 places!
1. Calle Marqués de Larios
The social hub of the city, Calle Larios is absolutely Malaga’s most famous street, where you will find all of the big-brand high-street stores, and the most exclusive hotels in Malaga.
Stretching down from the iconic Plaza de la Constitución down the Plaza de la Marina and the port, here you’ll also find cafes, souvenir shops, stalls, and local street artists and entertainers. It is a totally pedestrianised street and is Malaga’s equivalent to Gran Via in Madrid or to Barcelona’s Las Ramblas. (Oh and despite its name, it has nothing to do with the famous gin brand, Larios 🙂 )
Love to shop and plan on visiting Calle Larios? Check out our Malaga shopping guide for more helpful hints!
2. The Cathedral, “La Manquita”
The Cathedral of Malaga (real name ‘Basilica of our Lady of the Incarnation’ – more of a mouthful!) is located on the site of an ancient mosque built during the eight centuries of the Moorish occupation of the city. For many reasons, mainly to do with money, the construction of the cathedral was interrupted many times. In 1631 the Cathedral was finally inaugurated. Finally!
The local name for it is “La Manquita” – wondering why? It is because of its unique appearance given by the absence of one of its towers (due to lack of funds at the time). In fact the term “manquita” comes from “missing”, which indicates that it is not complete 🙂
Guess what? Since then, the Cathedral has had the chance to be ‘completed’, but Malaga’s citizens decided they prefer their iconic lopsided Manquita just as she is!
3. The Alcazaba
This palace-fortress (whose name in Arabic means “citadel”) is one of the most iconic historical monuments in Malaga and is a must-visit. The Alcazaba area is also popular with tourists because it combines a mish-mash of different histories with breathtaking scenery.
The Alcazaba, another legacy of the Moors in Malaga, is situated at the foot of Mount Gibralfaro, where there is a forbidding (non-Moorish) castle. If these sites weren’t contrast enough, the whole site is also just above the original Roman Theatre. As such, within the space of a few metres visitors can enjoy remnants of Roman and Arab cultures plus Renaissance architecture. This truly is a unique and special place. Unmissable!
4. The Roman Theatre
These two may be side-by-side but we still had to give the Roman Theatre its own mention! Just below the Alcazaba is the most well-preserved symbol of the Romans’ presence in Malaga. Just a few steps away, there is also a modern school of Art and Interpretation from where, through new technologies, it’s possible to discover more about the life and customs of the Roman era. It also occasionally is revived for its original use – performances! Pure magic!
5. The Gibralfaro Viewpoint (Mirador de Gibralfaro)
Starting from the Alcazaba and the Roman theatre, walking up to the castle on top of Mount Gibralfaro, there is a spacious viewpoint surrounded by trees. It is absolutely worth a visit up the hill just for the viewpoint alone. If you want to surprise your partner with a romantic moment, or just see the city lights sparkle, come to the viewpoint at sunset!
You can see all of the city spread out, plus all of the iconic sights we’ve mentioned and more: the Plaza de Toros, La Malagueta beach, the Fountain of the Three Graces in Plaza del General Torrijos, the Marina, the City Hall…
6. The Malaga Big Wheel (Noria de Malaga)
With 42 cabins lit up in different colours, 70 metres high and a prime location inbetween the sea and Calle Larios, on the Wheel you will see Malaga from a new perspective entirely. The experience offers a 15 minute journey that will allow you to enjoy a panoramic view up to 30km wide. It is located in the Port of Malaga and, because of its height, it will be difficult for you to miss it 😉
A relatively new addition to the city, the Wheel brings Malaga up to speed with other Big Wheel names such as London, Vienna, Liverpool, Las Vegas!
We hope that you have enjoyed finding out more about Malaga’s Top 6 attractions – we can’t wait for you to come and join us! Want more inspiration or staying for longer? You’ll love our original and detailed bucket list of 12 more unmissable things to do in Malaga!