Among Spain’s most important ports, Malaga may disappoint visitors at first sight. This Andalucian city has a strong industrial profile that usually overpowers the charm of its picturesque historic centre and the glam of its dynamic newly-developed waterfront. However, once you start exploring its districts, you will be mesmerised by the atmospheric narrow lanes, modern lofts and lovely gardens.
Birth place of Pablo Picasso, Malaga hides some interesting art museums, including two spaces dedicated to the celebrated artist. By night the city vibes on the rhythm of Andalucian flamenco, while the many lively tapas bars are always a good choice.
Since most sights are located within the city centre, walking is always an option in Malaga. The city’s metro system is still under construction, but bus routes cover most points of interest. A sight-seeing hop-on/hop-off bus is also available for tourists. Taxis are plenty and easy to find.
Malaga’s Art Museums
Picasso Museum is Malaga’s most popular art museum. The museum’s basement hides a series of Phoenician and Roman relics discovered during the construction of the building. The upper floors host a fascinating collection of Pablo Picasso’s paintings, most of them donated by his family. A small amount of his artwork is also exhibited at Casa Natal de Picasso, the house where the famous painter was born and which now operates as a museum, housing some of his memorabilia and a replica of his studio.
Recently opened in 2011, Museo Carmen Thysse is housed in a beautifully restored 16th-century mansion at the heart of Malaga’s old quarter. Mostly focusing on art pieces from the 19th century, the museum boasts a remarkable collection of local and Spanish works.
Contemporary art enthusiasts should pay a visit to Centro de Arte Contemporario. Occupying a former covered market, this museum exhibits the artworks of well-known contemporary artists, including Tracey Emin.
Finally, pass by Moseo de Artes y Costumbres Populares to be introduced to Malaga’s folklore art. Local costumes and art crafts are on display in this former inn from 17th century, which now operates as an ethnographic museum.
Other attractions in Malaga
Less impressive than famous Alhambra in Granada, Alcazaba, Malaga’s Moorish fort, is still a must-see for every visitor. Located on a hilltop, this 11th-cetury fort is surrounded by lush greenery and features fascinating ornamented arches and a lovely courtyard. Adjacent to the palace, sits an ancient Roman theatre, while a museum within its grounds hosts an interesting collection of Moorish ceramics.
Walk up charming Paseo Don Juan de Temboury to reach the hilltop over Alcazaba, where you can see Castillo de Gibralfaro and enjoy some gorgeous views of Malaga. Dating back to 8th century, the castle has been heavily restored since then, now featuring a military museum. Built by the Arabs, it initially served as a lighthouse and later on as a military base.
If you are looking for a chance to mingle with the locals, visit Mercado Atarazanas. Malaga’s residents come to this lively market to shop for groceries in one of its many stalls, which sell anything from fruit to fresh fish and from candy to Spanish cold cuts. The market is roofed under a 19th-century metal structure, which features an interesting Moorish gate and large painted glass sides.
A bit outside the city, you will find the lovely gardens of La Concepcion. Elegant gazebos and stone statues are located among hundreds of tropical and subtropical plants, including some carnivorous species. If you are longing for a relaxing stroll among exotic flowers but don’t feel like covering the distance up to La Concepcion Gardens, head towards the port to visit nearby Paseo de Espana. This park is full of lush greenery, with its southern side being occupied by several species of tropical plants.