10 Best Things to Do & See in Málaga During 2024

By | Food, Wine & Travel Journalist
Last Updated: December 16, 2023
The best things to do when visiting Malaga Spain

Discover Some of the Best Things to Do and Places to Go in Málaga Spain in 2024

There’s so much to do in Málaga that it can be hard to know where to start! A visit to Málaga can be part of a broader southern Spain itinerary but we highly recommend spending some time exploring this historic city. Here, we’ve chosen nine unique experiences that allow travelers to step back in time and experience living history.

Take a Sensory Journey Through Hammam Al Ándalus

Why you should indulge in this one-of-a-kind, baños Árabes experience is threefold. First, you’ll melt away jetlag and travel fatigue in the pools under the tiled dome of this renovated remarkable monument. Secondly, the candlelit spa experience is fashioned after the traditional baths enjoyed by royal Islamic courts that ruled here during 711-1487. The Director of Professorship of Human Well-being at Hammam Al Ándalus, Dr. Manuel Arroyo, is also the Chair of Human Well-Being at the University of Granada. His deep knowledge of the holistic experience of the Arab bath is brought to every corner of the Hammam Al Ándalus Málaga. Consequently, you’ll experience history in a soothing, relaxing way.

Traditional Arab baths of Málaga
Contemporary candlelit experience based on traditional Arab baths of Málaga. Image courtesy Hammam Al Ándalus Málaga.

Hammam Al Ándalus invigorates all five senses. Flickering candles and natural light emanating from the cupola’s narrow windows enhance the Moorish decor’s beauty. Sounds of trickling water weave into harmonious chords of subdued Arabic music. When you select a purifying massage, you’ll choose from scents of the hammam garden that include jasmine, rose, red amber made of hibiscus and lavender essential oils.

Next, the sense of touch is stirred as an attentive masseuse scrubs away tension with the midra or kessa, a loofah-like mitt. Afterward, water caresses your body in genuine Arab baths. Take turns floating in the warm bath-like waters of the octagonal pool and then plunging into the smaller cold pools. Between your watery dips, taste the experience by sipping hot tea in the Rincon de Te. Towels, toiletries and hair dryers are provided for a five-star experience. Hammam Al Ándalus is committed to the environment and sustainable development and makes financial contributions to offset CO2 emissions.

Jump off a catamaran and swim in Costa del Sol

Sailing in Malaga on a catamaran
Sail away for a dip in the ocean. Image courtesy Stacey Wittig.

Sail by La Farola de Málaga, the Málaga Lighthouse and the Málaga Port in a motorized catamaran and then take in views of the fabulous city from the sea. Málaga’s port is one of the largest in Spain, so you’ll observe fishing boats, cruise ships and other recreational watercraft while you’re underway. Fly Blue – Gran Catamaran offers sails with afternoon swims for adventurous visitors, while SailnPlay Luxury Catamaran Cruises are perfect for viewing colorful sunsets.

Explore ‘Bent Entrances’ at Alcazaba y Castillo de Gibralfaro

Gate of the Columns at Alcazaba
Puerta de las Columnas or the Gate of the Columns at Alcazaba is named because of the Roman-era columns reused in the Taifa period. Image courtesy Stacey Wittig.

The bent entrances at Alcazaba y Castillo de Gibralfaro are prime examples of defensible features in medieval fortifications. Bent entrances force intruders to turn 90 degrees or more within a fortress before penetrating the interior. Islamic builders designed the labyrinth-like layout to slow advancing armies, but today it makes for an unhurried, relaxed excursion, like a bridge into another time period. Walk among the curves and crannies of Alcazaba, built as a fortress and palace for royalty during the Taifa period of Muslim rule. From right inside Old Town, you’ll enter the double-walled stronghold and then casually walk-up passageways strung with gates, gardens, and fountains that take you up to the top of the hill—a perfect lookout and defensible position. You’ll gain extraordinary views of the cathedral, the bullring, and the harbor from the high post.

RELATED: Here’s Why You Should Visit Tarragona: Spain’s Ancient Port on the Mediterranean

Taste Typical Málaga Cuisine at ‘Chiringuitos’

Espetos roasting on the beach in Malaga
The daily catch roasts at a beachfront chiringuito in Málaga. Image courtesy Stacey Wittig.

Traditional Málaga comida you don’t want to miss is found at seaside chiringuitos or beach bars. Look for an outdoor woodfired grill with a cocinero busily grilling sardines for the locals who flock to these spots in the evenings. He roasts sardines in the traditional way: speared on long spikes stuck in the sand beside the open fire. Then, order espetos—the local dish gets its name from the skewers. Reservations are necessary at Pez Tomillo and El Cabra, which overflow with local families eating espetos with white Málaga wine.

Get a Different Perspective on Spanish Culture by Turning to Art

Art tells the story of different cultures, so art museums like Museo Carmen Thyssen Málaga are perfect places for better understanding the Spanish psyche. Much of the fantastic collection of paintings depicts the Spanish—specifically Andalusians—as they worked and played in the 19th century. The well-curated exhibition is housed in a converted 16th-century building with modern galleries.

RELATED: Top Authentic Things to Do in Seville, Spain

Drop by Pablo Picasso’s Baptismal Font

Font where Pablo Picasso was baptized in 1881 at the Church of Santiago
The font where Pablo Picasso was baptized in 1881 at the Church of Santiago. Image courtesy Stacey Wittig.

Stop into the Church of Santiago to see the baptismal font of Málaga-born artist Pablo Picasso. The Mudejar-style church built in 1490 on the ruins of a mosque is worth a visit alone, but when you add a trip to this little-known site, you’ll get a sense of how time marches onward. You are standing on the place where Islamic worshippers prayed during medieval times, where Renaissance Christians repurposed the old minaret into a bell tower, and where an infant baptized in 1881 became one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. The baptistery is near the front entrance. Later, peruse the Spanish artist’s work at Museo Picasso Málaga.

Sample Almendras Tostadas, Málaga’s Best Street Food

Street food vendor in Malaga Spain
Street vendor with an almond cart. Image courtesy Stacey Wittig.

Almendras Tostadas or toasted almonds are very popular in Málaga, and you’ll see sidewalk vendors in most tourist spots. The local salty treat introduced by the Arabs is perfect for retaining fluids in Málaga’s hot weather.

Step into the Elaborate Málaga Cathedral

View of Málaga Cathedral
View of Málaga Cathedral from the double-walled Alcazaba y Castillo de Gibralfaro. Image courtesy Stacey Wittig.

The oft-photographed Málaga Cathedral and its gardens are majestic from the outside but step inside to smell the spicy incense of a recent Mass or the waxy aroma of burning candles lit to lift prayers. The cool, quiet interior is a respite for the soul. No, this is not a museum but a living and active church. Visitors are welcome to the Baroque-style cathedral for a cultural audio-guided tour Monday-Friday 10 am-8 pm, Saturday 10 am-6 pm and Sunday 2 pm to 6 pm.

Explore Plaza de Toros de La Malagueta / La Malagueta Bullring

Plaza de Toros de La Malagueta
Plaza de Toros de La Malagueta from the heights of Alcazaba y Castillo de Gibralfaro. Image courtesy Stacey Wittig.

La Malagueta Bullring has been a symbol of the Spanish city since it opened in 1876. And although other parts of the world have frowned on bullfighting in recent years, it is still part of the Spanish culture. So, whether you want to see the 16-sided bullring up close or from afar, it remains a Site of Cultural Interest and a landmark on the Málaga cityscape.

Malaga Travel Logistics

How to Get to Málaga

Fly into Málaga (AGP) on American Airlines, British Airways, easyJet, Iberia, Jet2, Ryanair, TUI and Vueling Airlines. Direct flights from Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Istanbul, London and Montreal, among other European cities. You can check current flight deals into Málaga here on Kayak. High-speed trains also connect Málaga to the Madrid (MAD) airport.

Things to Know Before You Go

May and October are the best months to visit in regard to weather and crowds. Málaga is a walkable city with excellent and affordable public transportation. In the region, the word bodega could mean a winery, wine cellar and/or bar. And finally, be aware that most shops and small businesses close between 2 pm and 4 pm for siesta.

How To Get Around Málaga

Trains from the airport start at 06:44 am and run until 12:54 am. Depending on the time of day, they depart the airport every 20-35 minutes, and it takes approximately 12 minutes to get to Málaga Maria Zambrano station downtown. Buses also serve the airport and Málaga city. Or check here for some of the best rental car rates in Spain offered through Kayak. If you’re feeling adventurous, we highly recommend renting a motorcycle to get around the city with Triumph Rentals.

Where to Stay

You’ll find accommodations in every category, including country bed and breakfasts, beach resorts, hostels and high-end hotels. Inexpensive beds include TOC Hostel Málaga, while Hotel Castilla Guerrero is mid-priced, with Hotel Castillo De Santa Catalinas and Gran Hotel Miramar GL in the luxury category.

RELATED: Stay at These Luxury Wine Resorts Around the World

Frequently Asked Questions about the Best Experiences and Things to Do in Malaga

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