Malaga

Malaga essential Information

Why visit Malaga?

Panorama of the city of Malaga with the steeple of the Malaga Cathedral prominent, taken from Malaga Castle - Malaga, Spain (21), Why visit Malaga?

There are many reasons why to visit Malaga. Many are drawn to Malaga for the weather, the beaches and of course to visit the birthplace of Pablo Picasso but it is so much more than an oasis of calm in the storm of the Costa del Sol. What this charming city lacks in monuments it more than makes up for it in atmosphere and vibrancy. The city has a nice mix of things to do and see as well as streets that are packed with life around the clock. The well connected local transport system also makes moving around the city, and to its edges for hitchhiking, relatively simple.

Malaga, Spain rating, Why visit Malaga?

Malaga: the facts

Malaga is the second largest city in Andalusia, the sixth in Spain and is home to around 500,000 people. It lies on the much famed Costa del Sol, a beacon for tourists in search of sea, sun, sand and good times.

The history of Málaga is one of Europe’s longest, the area having been inhabited for nearly 3000 years, and was once part of the Carthaginian and Roman empires, before falling into Muslim hands in the 8th century. As part of the Emirate of Granada, Málaga was one of the last cities to fall to the Christian monarchs during the Reconquista (reconquest) providing an insurmountable object until, finally, in 1487, it was incorporated into Christian Spain.

During the 19th century the city underwent a period of rapid industrialisation, until the money was frittered away and the manufacturing moved elsewhere. In the Spanish Civil War, the city originally remained in Republican hands, but by 1937, after sustaining heavy bombardment from the sea, it was firmly in the Francoist camp.

Today, in the “Capital of the Costa del Sol” tourism plays an important role in the local economy but Málaga’s position as the economic and administrative capital of southern Spain also helps keep the city coffer’s ticking over.

Malaga Lighthouse and Malaga Port - Malaga, Spain (33), Why visit Malaga

Weather

The weather is also Málaga’s friend as it enjoys very mild winters (16°C – 20°C) and warm to hot summers (27°C -30 °C), it hardly ever rains and is incredibly sunny all the time.

Malaga climate graph, Why visit Malaga

Weather in Malaga now

Málaga now!

The two biggest festivals in Málaga are Semana Santa (Holy Week) which takes place in the seven days leading up to Easter and the Feria de Málaga held during the second week of August and lasting ten days. Semana Santa in Málaga is a noisy affair. With candle-lit streets playing host to unconstrained revelry, flamenco and cheer. The Feria de Málaga is another of those peculiarly Spanish kinds of festivals, full of recklessness, piety, alcohol soaked streets and bullfighting.

Despite not being seen as one of southern Spain’s cultural heavyweights, Málaga’s success at remaining largely unnoticed by the beach loving hordes, has allowed space for the city to breath. A new metro system is under construction and the city is currently on the short-list for the 2016 European Capital of Culture.

Archways and pillars inside Alcazaba de Málaga - Málaga, Spain (26), Why visit Malaga?

Orientation

Our Malaga Free Walking Tour is a quickie as Málaga is not exactly stuffed with tourist attractions. The smallish city centre is surrounded by, to the north, Plaza de la Merced, the principal square of the city. To the east sitting high on the hill is the Alcazaba de Málaga (Malaga Castle), further down the slope towards the centre is the Catedral de Málaga. To the south is the tree lined Alameda Principal and to the west the River Guadalmedina. The main shopping part of town, and also where you will find most banks, is clustered around Calle Marqués de Larios. The principle monuments are generally based around Calle San Augustín and Calle Alcazabilla.The city has two beaches, heading through the Tunel Alcazaba from Plaza de la Merced leads you to Playa de La Malagueta (Malagueta beach). The more family friendly Playa de Pedregalejo (Pedregalejo Beach) is a little quieter but requires taking the 34 bus from Alameda Principal.

Malagueta Bullring, taken from Malaga Castle - Malaga, Spain (24), Malaga Free Walking Tour

Malaga Free Walking Tour

Monument & Sights Guide

Castillo de Gibralfaro
(Gibralfaro Castle)

Monument Type: Castle
Address: Monte de Gibralfaro, s/n
Website: –
Opening Times: Apr 01 – Oct 31Mon: 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. Tues – Sun: 9 a.m. – 8.15 p.m. Nov 01 to Mar 30Mon: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tues – Sun: 8.30 a.m. – 7.30 p.m.
Price: Alcazaba & Gibralfaro: 3.55 € General Admission: 2.20 € Students, Pensioners, Families, Malagacard holders: 0.60 € Sun: 2 p.m. – close: Free

The walls of Alcazaba de Málaga, with the Castillo de Gibralfaro in the background - Malaga, Spain (23), Malaga Free Walking Tour

Information: The castle was constructed in 929 AD by Abd-al-Rahman III, the then Caliph of Cordoba, on the site of a former Phoenician enclosure and lighthouse, from which its name was derived – gebel-faro (Arabic and Greek, meaning rock of the lighthouse). It was enlarged at the beginning of the 14th century, and also saw the addition of the double wall down to the Alcazaba. Today the most visible remains are the solid ramparts which rising from the woods above Malaga; Whilst inside the fortress itself you will find some buildings and courtyards, reminiscent of those in the Alhambra. The ramparts have been well restored and you can walk all the way round them.

Alcazaba de Málaga
(Alcazaba of Malaga)

Monument Type: Palatial fortress
Address: Calle Alcazabilla, 2
Website: –
Opening Times: Apr 01 – Oct 31: Mon: 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. Tues – Sun: 9 a.m. – 8.15 p.m. Nov 01 to Mar 30: Mon: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tues – Sun: 8.30 a.m. – 7.30 p.m.
Price: Alcazaba & Gibralfaro: 3.55 € General Admission: 2.20 € Students, Pensioners, Families, Malagacard holders: 0.60 € Sun: 2 p.m. – close: Free

Reflective pool inside Malaga Castle - Malaga, Spain (19), Malaga Free Walking Tour

Information: Perching high above, on Mount Gibralfaro, is the Alcazaba, one of the best preserved Muslim citadels in Spain. It contains both an outer and inner citadel, is extremely quaint with beautifully ornate décor and water features, and offers great views over the city and port. The citadel was the scene of one of the longest sieges during the reconquista of Spain when Ferdinand and Isabella captured Mālaqa from the Moors after the Siege of Málaga (1487).

Teatro Romano
(Roman Theatre)

Monument Type: Remains of Roman theatre
Address: Calle Alcazabilla, s/n
Website: –
Opening Times: Apr 01 – Oct 31: Wed – Sat: 9 a.m. – 8.30 p.m. Tues: 12 p.m. – 8 p.m. Sun: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Nov 01 – Mar 31: Wed – Sat: 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. Tues: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sun: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Price: Free

Roman theatre with the Malaga Castle above on the hill - Malaga, Spain (5), Malaga Free Walking Tour

Information: Constructed in the 1st century BC during the reign of Emperor Augustus the amphitheatre was in use until the 3rd century when the Arabs appropriated parts of the theatre for their own building purposes, including the column shafts for their own Alcazaba fortress. The theatre has a radius of 31 metres and is 16 metres tall with an orchestra of 15 metres. . The remains of its ruins were not discovered until 1951, after being buried underground for many centuries.

Plaza de la Merced
(Merced Square)

What is it? Public square located in the Merced neighbourhood.
Where is it? Located to the north of the historic centre

Information: Plaza de la Merced is the principal square of the city and is the location of the neoclassical Torrijos Obelisk, the market of Merced, the Crópani Palace and the house which was the birthplace of Pablo Picassco which now houses the Fundación Picasso Museo Casa Natal. Today the square is a popular meeting place with the north side of the square dominated by pavement cafés. Open air events also take place here during the summer months.

Museo Picasso Málaga
(Malaga Picasso Museum)

Monument Type: Museum
Address: Palacio de Buenavista San Agustín, 8
Website: www.museopicassomalaga.org
Opening Times: Tue – Thu: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Fri & Sat: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Sun: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Price: General Admission: Permanent collection: 6 € Temporary exhibitions: 4.50 € Combined ticket (permanent collection + temporary exhibition): 9 € Student, Pensioners, Groups +20: half price Sun: 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.: Free

Information: Situated in the Palacio de Buenavista a 16th century Renaissance palace the museum is a direct result of the wishes of Picasso himself who desired his works be represented in his hometown. The space contains over 200 works by the Master, including painting, sketches, sculptures and ceramics. There are also temporary exhibitions, as well as educational and cultural activities, based on Picasso – related topics.

Iglesia de Los Santos Mártires
(Church of the Saintly Martyrs)

Monument Type: Church
Address: Calle Santa Lucía, s/n,
Website: www.santosmartires.es
Opening Times: Mon – Fri: 9.30 a.m. – 1.30 p.m. & 6 p.m. – 8.30 p.m. Sat: 9.30 a.m. – 1.30 p.m. & 7 p.m. – 8.30 p.m. Sun: 11 a.m. – 1.30 p.m. & 6 p.m. – 8.30 p.m.
Price: Free

Information: Erected in honour of the martyrs Ciriaco and Paula, the patron saints of the city. the church has undergone several reforms that have altered its original Gothic-Mudejar style. Today it is heavily influenced by an eighteenth century Rococo style, although a Mudejar tower remains on the outside.

Plaza de la Constitución
(Constitution Square)

What is it? Public square dating back to the 15th century
Where is it? In the heart of the old town, close to Malaga Cathedral

A covered Constitution square - Malaga, Spain (50), Malaga Free Walking Tour

Information: Originally known as the Plaza de las Cuatro Calles (Square of the four streets) and Plaza Pública (Public square), the ebbs and flows of history have seen the square constantly renamed until settling on Constitution square in the 1970s with the re-imposition of democracy. Today notable buildings surrounding the square include the Old Jesuit College and the House of the Consulate. In 2003 , the square and the adjoining Calle Marques de Larios were pedestrianised.

Palacio Episcopal de Málaga
(Bishop’s Palace of Malaga)

Monument Type: Palace / Museum
Address: Plaza del Obispo, 6
Website: –
Opening Times: Tues – Sun:10 a.m. – 2 p.m. & 5 p.m. – 7.30 p.m.
Price: Free

Information: Inspired by the late Baroque of the XVIII century, the Episcopal palace is probably the finest example of civic architecture in the city. The façade, which is designed to be in perfect union with the imposing cathedral entrance, is simply devine. With its most interesting features being the central body formed by three self-styled bays and a niche with a Virgin of the Anguishes, fdesgined by sculptor Fernando Ortíz. At present the area houses temporary exhibitions with a a changing visit schedule.

Catedral de Málaga
(Malaga Cathedral)

Monument Type: Cathedral
Address: Calle Molina Lario, 9
Website: www.malagaturismo.com
Opening Times: Mon – Sat: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sun: 10 a.m. – 4.45 p.m.
Price: General Admission: 5 € Groups: 3 € Students, Pensioners: 2 € Children -12: Free

Main façade of Malaga Cathedral, taken from Obispo square - Málaga, Spain (39), Malaga Free Walking Tour

Information: Built on the site of the city’s main mosque, this rectangular Renaissance church took over 200 years to build. The façade, unlike the rest of the building, is in the Baroque style and is divided into two levels; on the lower level are three arches, inside of which are portals separated by marble columns. Above the doors are medallions carved in stone; those of the lateral doors represent the patron saints of Malaga, Saint Cyriacus and Saint Paula, while that over the centre represents the Annunciation.

7 Things to do for free in Malaga

We here are HitchHikers Handbook love travelling for as long as possible so we appreciate the need to keep costs down when possible. Below are 5 Things to do for free in Malaga and have fun without spending a penny.

1. The normally pricey Museo Picasso (The Picasso Museum) is free on Sundays between 6pm to 8pm.

2. The Alcazaba and Castillo de Gibralfaro are free to enter on Sundays from 2pm until close.

3. Mercado de Atarazanas (Atarazanas Market), situated right in the heart of the old town, was originally a 14th century Moorish shipyard but is now a great place to soak up the sounds and smells of modern Málaga. It is open 8am to 2pmMonday to Saturday.

4. The CAC Málaga – Centro de Arte Contemporáneo (Málaga’s Centre for Contemporary Art) houses a wide selection of 20th and 21st century art including works from Damian Hirst, Louise Bourgeois and local. Andalusian artists. It is open Monday to Sunday and is free.

5. No list of free activities in Málaga would be complete without the beach. There are a number to choose from and can be reached either on foot or by public transport. So slip into those unenviable tight speedos and head on down.

6. Relax in the enchanting Plaza de la Merced (Merced Square) and enjoy a coffee at one of its many cafés.

7. If you’re a fan of Rococo architecture be sure to visit Iglesia de Los Santos Mártires (Church of the Saintly Martyrs) which was  erected in honour of the martyrs Ciriaco and Paula, the patron saints of the city.

Internal gateway in Alcazaba de Málaga - Málaga, Spain (10), 5 Things to do for free in Malaga

Accommodation

Staying in Malaga offers plenty of budget accommodation for reasonable prices, for those prepared to rough it a bit. Here is a selection of some of the cheapest places to lay your head in the city.

Deserted alleyway leading to the Church of Christ of the Health - Malaga, Spain (58), staying in Malaga

The Melting Pot Hostel (Av Pintor Joaquín Sorolla, 30) is a popular haunt for backpackers. Located on ‘La Malagueta’ beach, it is 10 minutes walk from the historical city centre. Prices and options vary with 10 bed dorms (8€) the cheapest option but there are also slightly smaller, but more expensive, dorms available. Also includes Wi-Fi.

Babia Hostel Centro (Plaza de los Martires, 6) is a slightly more central option, located in the heart of the old town. Options include 10 bed mixed dorms (10€) and private rooms from (15€). Wi-Fi is also available.

Patio 19 (Calle Mariblanca, 19) is a centrally located private house that offers cheap yet simple dorm bed (8€) and double bed private rooms (12€). There is Wi-Fi available and the included breakfast has good reviews.

Going Out

Like any self respecting Andalusian city, the night-life of Málaga starts late, with bars only getting going at around 12 p.m., and continues through the night and into the next morning. While staying in Malag most of the city’s nocturnal fun can be found in three areas.

Calle Santiago with the Alcazaba de Málaga in the background, Málaga, Spain (4), staying in Malaga

 Plaza Uncibay and its surrounding streets, just north of the cathedral, is where to find the nightclubs and a great variety of bars and pubs to suit all tastes. This area is also home to a number of gay bars and clubs. Just north of Plaza Uncibay on Plaza de la Merced, you can find many Spaniards participating in that great tradition of “botellon” (put simply, drinking alcohol on the streets with friends).

→The area around La Malagueta beach contains many bars and restaurants. It is slightly more upmarket, a little more expensive, and full of people dressed to impress.

 Pedregalejo, a suburb, east of the city centre, perhaps has the most cosmopolitan mix, and is popular with tourists and foreign students studying at the nearby Spanish language schools. There are many bars and restaurants with terraces that offer beautiful views over the water.

Things to buy and try in Malaga

The walls of Malaga Castle, taken from Maria Guerrero square - Malaga, Spain (1)

Malaga’s cuisine is dominated by the sea at its doorstep and is renowned for its fried fish. Some of the most typical dishes are espetos (grilled sardines skewered on a bamboo stick), coquinas (clams cooked in white wine) and cazon en adobo which is an Andalusian speciality and consists of dogfish marinated in garlic and vinegar. Malaga has many local wines such as Dulce or Moscatel, perfect for those who like their wines sweet.

Internet

Here a few places that offer WiFi connections:

Transport

Málaga Costa Del Sol Airport is the largest in Andalusia, situated just 8 km from the city and deals with 85% of traffic to the region. There are daily flights to over 20 locations in Spain as well as international destinations especially the UK, Central Europe and the Nordic countries. There are also flights to the major Eastern European cities, North Africa, the Middle East and the US.

Malaga’s newly constructed main train station Estación María Zambrano (Calle de la Explanada de la Estación), is about a kilometre west of the city centre and is served by AVE high-speed rail, offering direct journeys to Madrid (2.5 – 3hrs), Córdoba (1hr) and Sevilla (2hrs). There are also slower, but cheaper, services on offer. Two Cercanaís commuter rail lines also service the city. One heads west, along the coast, to the airport and the tourist towns of Torremolinos and Fuengirola. The other heads north to the suburbs inland.

Steeple and main façade of Malaga Cathedral, taken from Obispo square - Málaga, Spain (36), Malaga hitchhiking and transport tips

The Bus Station Estación de Autobuses de Málaga (Paseo de los Tilos) is located less than 50 m from the train station. The biggest service provider is ALSA but there are other companies such as Eurolines. Frequent buses travel along the coast to the beach resorts as well as to Sevilla (2.5hrs) Granada (1.5 – 2hrs) Córdoba (2.5hrs) and Madrid (6hrs).

Málaga’s bus network is run by EMT Málaga and runs all over town with normal tickets costing €1.20. There is a rather useful map showing the lines and stops here.

Málaga is served by two motorways, the A-45 Autovía de Málaga connects the city to Córdoba in the north. The A-7 Autovía del Mediterráneo runs all along the southern and eastern coasts of Spain and to the west connects Málaga to Marbella and beyond, Gibraltar. To the east the motorway runs to Almería and beyond that Murcia.

Hitch-hiking Out

Rubbish bin and discarded photo - Malaga, Spain (3), Malaga hitchhiking and transport tips

North towards Sevilla, Cordoba, Granada

Verified by HitchHikersHandbook.comGetting out of Malaga hitchhiking may seem like a daunting proposition but by using the well connected public transport a lot of time can be saved. Line 2 runs directly from the city centre, north , along the River Guadalhorce, past the football stadium and all the way to the entrance to the MA-431 which is the target road for heading north. The bus stop is called San José. Simply exit the bus walk back a little to the slip road and try there. It took us about 30 mins to get a ride.

South towards Marbella, Algeciras, Gibraltar, Tarifa

From the main train station take the Cercanías train to El Pinillo. Leave the train station and head north/east through the town for about 1km. Eventually you will meet the A-7 Autovía del Mediterráneo. At the end of Calle de Vicente Blanch Picot, a road that runs parallel to the motorway, you will find a tunnel that crosses the motorway and offers access Motorway Service Station Arroyo de la Miel, from where you can start hitchhiking.

written by: Jon

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