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  • Malaga-Province - The province of Málaga, the birthplace of Malaga sweet wine, straddles the southern Mediterranean coast of Spain, in Andalusia.
  • El-Tajo-Ronda-Spain - El Tajo, the historic bridge in Ronda in Spain's province of Málaga.
  • Costa-del-Sol-Malaga-Cathedral - Santa Iglesia Catedral Basílica de la Encarnación in Málaga, Spain.
  • Costa-del-Sol-Nerja - Nerja is a scenic beach near Málaga, Spain, on Costa del Sol.
  • Malaga-province-2 - The Málaga region along the southern Mediterranean coast of Spain, in Andalusia, is known for its sweet fortified wine.
  • Costa-del-Sol-Marbella-old-town - Casco Antiguo (Old Town) in Marbella, along Costa del Sol in Spain.

Málaga: Travel guide to Spain's Costa del Sol

our guide

The vibe

Health advisory: Fully vaccinated travelers can enter Spain for tourism purposes without any testing requirements.

Málaga, the capital of the Costa del Sol in southern Spain, is home to 550,000 residents and is a marvelous city for visiting and sightseeing. Its wide array of activities and interesting features will have you begging for more. The port area is comprised of ancient streets and gorgeous foliage, and at the center of the city is a mass of high-rises and government buildings.

The climate of Málaga is subtropical, and the region averages 324 days of sunshine every year. The Plaza de Merced, cathedrals and museums of Málaga make it a remarkable site for studying the history and culture of Spain. The coastline that borders the city is magnificent, and it creates a wonderful backdrop to the ancient land.

Cruise lines that call on Málaga

Here are the major cruise lines with ships that visit Malaga:

 

The Málaga region along the southern Mediterranean coast of Spain, in Andalusia, is known for its sweet fortified wine.
Courtesy of Tourist Office of SpainThe Málaga region along the Mediterranean coast of Spain, in Andalusia, is known for its sweet fortified wine.

Top reasons to go

  • The Plaza de la Marina's illuminated fountain and outdoor cafes create a wonderful ambiance and a romantic setting that is unique to the area.
  • The Fundación Picasso is an art history library and a tribute to the brilliant artist.

Top things to do & see in Malaga

The Plaza de la Marina is located in the center of the city and is a great place to experience the sights and wonders of Málaga. The illuminated fountain and outdoor cafes create a wonderful ambiance and a romantic setting that is unique to the area. The Málaga bullring, La Malagueta, was built in 1874 and stands only blocks from the Plaza. Peer inside and let your mind run wild, full of images of old-time matadors and bulls fighting it out, with a roaring crowd in the background. 

The Mercado de Atarazanas is probably the most colorful and vast market in Andalusía. You will no doubt want to bring your camera to the Mercado to record this culturally splendid meeting place.

The Cathedral of Málaga, located on the site where a mosque once stood, is a Renaissance-style edifice that has a tremendous story behind it. The south tower still remains unfinished, and there are rumors to why it remains in that state. Visit the fascinating cathedral located on Calle Molina Larios (952/215-917), and discover the mystery and adventure for yourself.

Art history library

The Fundación Picasso (952/600-215) is an art history library and a tribute to the brilliant artist. Several pieces of ceramics and sculpture can be found here as well, and exhibits of various art and memorabilia comprise the ground floor of this interesting structure.

Moorish Alcazaba

The Moorish Alcazaba is located on Alcazabilla (952/225-106), down the street from the Plaza de la Merced. What is believed to be the greatest monument in Málaga was built in the 11th century, at a time when Málaga was the main port in the Moorish kingdom. The inner palace, built in 1060, is beautifully crafted. After conquering Málaga in 1487, Ferdinand and Isabella lived in the Alcazaba for a short while. Orange trees and bougainvillea surround these enchanting ruins, and from the top of the building, you have a tremendous view of the port and nearby parks.

Museum of Popular Arts & Customs

The Museo de Artes y Costumbres Populares (Museum of Popular Arts & Customs) is located at Pasillo de Santa Isabel 10 (952/217-137) and is an outstanding arts and crafts museum. Horse-drawn carriages, ancient agricultural implements, a bakery, old grape presses, and Malagueno sculptures and ceramics are just some of the extraordinary sights inside the museum.

El Tajo, the historic bridge in Ronda in Spain's province of Málaga.
Courtesy of Tourist Office of SpainEl Tajo, the historic bridge in Ronda in Spain's province of Málaga.

Dining & nightlife

  • Café de Paris, located at Velez Málaga 8 (952-225-043), features sophisticated French and Belgian food in an elegant setting. Casa Pedro is located at Quitapenas 121 (952-290-013) and is the most popular restaurant in Málaga. The dining room overlooks the ocean and is the best place to enjoy a wide array of fresh fish dishes.
  • The Antigua Casa de la Guardia is located at Alameda Central 18 (952-214-680) and is right around the corner from the Mercado de Atarazanas. This ancient bar is one of the most unique in the entire world, featuring Andalusian wines that flow straight out of the barrel into your glass.
  • The Teatro Cervantes is the main theater in the region. Located on Ramos Marín (952-224-109), the Teatro Cervantes features wonderful programs including plays, flamenco and concerts.

Shopping

The Corte Ingles, located at Avenida de Andalucía 4-6 (952-076-800), is the best place for shopping in Málaga. This extensive department store offers interpreters, VAT refunds, shipping for all items that you may purchase, and even currency exchange.

When you arrive

Docking information

Cruise ships dock at the Port of Málaga (952-125-003), located at Muelle de Canovas. Taxis and buses will be waiting to take you to your destination.

Getting around

Málaga is served by a city bus system that can take you around the region affordably and efficiently. You can take taxis around Málaga, and if you can't hail one from the street, call Taxi Unión Sociedad Coóperativa Andaluza (952-040-804) and they'd be happy to pick you up. If you want to rent a car while in Málaga, contact J.J.A. Autopro (952-176-030) for an affordable and reliable automobile.

Need to know

Language: Spanish

Documents: U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport.

Tipping: In Spain, it’s common to tip around 10% in restaurants. This is in addition to any service charge that may appear on the bill. Tipping needs to be done in cash, not on a credit card. For taxi drivers, a 10% tip is also fine. Usually, you round up the charge.

Safety: About a decade ago, crime in Málaga reached an all-time high, as unemployment rates and drug use skyrocketed. Thanks to government programs and aid from nearby cities and countries, the area has improved greatly. The drug peddling that was occurring on the streets 10 years ago has been virtually eliminated. However, like anywhere, it is still wise to be conscious of your surroundings at all times, and do not leave valuables lying around. 

Currency: Euro 

Your take

Have you been to Málaga or Costa del Sol? Please share a story, tip or discovery. What was the highlight? We'd love to know!

See anything wrong? What did we overlook? Be a co-creator!

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