Every city has places that a tourist must visit. Otherwise, one can hardly say “I was there”, “I saw it.” When in Paris, can you miss the Eiffel Tower or the Notre-Dame Cathedral? Or, in Rome, St. Peter’s Basilica or the Colosseum?
It’s the same with Malaga. Everyone who visits it for the first time should go and see the Cathedral. Walking around it is not enough (although it looks impressive), you should go inside too. From there, the narrow streets of the old town will lead us to the Picasso Museum, which also is a must – Malaga is the hometown of one of the precursors of cubism. From the Museum we will walk along the ruins of the Roman Theatre and the Arabic Alcazaba Palace, straight to the Malaga Museum, which can be a great introduction to the exploration of the city. Opened in December 2016, it is located in the former Customs Office, near the port. The port itself is best viewed from the Gibralfaro Castle hill, from where you can enjoy a beautiful panorama of the city with a view of the Town Hall, the park or the increasingly dynamic district of Ensanche Heredia, also known as the Soho of Malaga.
Since Malaga is very tourist friendly and its cultural offer and proximity to the sea guarantee attractions for many days, let’s slow down and explore a few corners of the city, where on the one hand we will discover its character and on the other hand, we will learn many useful and interesting words in Spanish. After all, there is nothing like “lessons in the field” during which we can truly “immerse” ourselves in the reality of a given country and meet its inhabitants.
Below we present a subjective guide to seven interesting places in Malaga.
1. Chocolate con churros
In order to gain energy (a lot of energy) to explore the city, you should start your day with chocolate (or coffee) with churros, a deep-fried cake with a doughnut or pancake-like consistency. The long spiral churros are cut into shorter pieces, which are then dipped in chocolate (Spanish: chocolate con churros). You can eat them in many cafés in Malaga, but one of the most famous is Casa Aranda at Herrería del Rey 3. Waiters in white shirts running around with metal jugs of chocolate, coffee and milk can be seen from afar.
2. Mercado Central de Atarazanas
Strengthened by this “calorie bomb” (it will last for a long time), we can go shopping. The best way to find fresh food in any city is to shop for it at local markets or fairs. In larger cities these can be the main markets, and in Malaga it is Mercado Central de Atarazanas. It is a historic building, located on the site of a former Arab shipyard (Spanish: astillero or atarazana).
Here we can buy fresh fish, seafood, meat, cold meats, cheese, vegetables and fruit as well as olive oil and olives. Shopping here is a great opportunity to learn a lot of gastronomic vocabulary because all products are labelled.
When visiting the market of Atarazanas, it is important to try the green olive Aloreña, which is the only one in Spain with a Protected Designation of Origin (Denominación de Origen Protegida) and can only be grown by farmers from 19 villages around the town of Álora, in the Guadalhorce Valley in the province of Malaga. These olives are traditionally marinated in brine and then seasoned with thyme, fennel, garlic and pepper. It has a characteristic light green colour and a delicate taste.
3. Pier One in the tourist port of Malaga
While shopping, we saw a lot of delicacies, so from here it’s best to go to the beach to one of the local bars. Along the way we will pass through the harbour area, renovated a few years ago, and especially the Pier One (Muelle Uno), full of bars, restaurants and shops. Here, one can also admire the moored yachts and the big cruise ships that arrive in Malaga on the weekends.
Before noon the entire harbour is already lit by the morning sun, which also shines down on the whole historical part of the city. This picture is complemented by a view that can be admired from the castle hill.
4. Chiringuito – The beach bars
Chiringuito is a typical place for all Spanish seaside towns. It is usually a small bar, with limited facilities, but with delicious fresh fish and seafood on the menu. On Malagueta beach, there are also elegant restaurants, but it is better to go down to the sand and sit in the first chiringuito near Topete Street, which connects the harbour area with the beach. Nice staff will prepare delicious sardines (called espeto), octopus (pulpo) or squid (calamar), and everything will be grilled slowly in front of you. Don’t rush, such impressions (lunch on the beach) are long remembered.
5. Café Central de Málaga
If you haven’t had coffee earlier it’s worth going back to the centre to learn a few words that are useful in and around Malaga on this occasion. Ordering coffee may not be so easy here, because the malagueños have come up with many names depending on the ratio between coffee and milk. Luckily, in the beautiful Café Central at Plaza de la Constitución 11, you will find a “manual” permanently displayed outside and inside the building. Now it will be easier to ask for a “cloud” or “shade”, meaning a bit of coffee with lots of milk.
6. Museo Picasso
If we arrived in Malaga on a Sunday, after such a good dinner and delicious coffee, we should arrange something for the mind. Two hours before closing, the most important museums invite visitors free of charge. It would be a pity not to visit the Picasso Museum, which shows the beginnings of cubism and the artistic development of Pablo Picasso in a very accessible way.
7. Museo Carmen Thyssen
Similarly, the museum named after Baroness Carmen Thyssen constantly brings Andalusian painting closer to the tourists and inhabitants of Malaga and holds important temporary exhibitions. On Sundays, two hours before closing, there is a long queue in front of the museum, but it is worth waiting there patiently.
Municipal Tourism Bureau of the city of Malaga
Malaga Cathedral / La Catedral de Málaga
Museum of the City of Malaga / Museo de Málaga (admission free of charge)
Alcazaba Fortress in Malaga / La Alcazaba de Málaga
Picasso Museum in Malaga / Museo Picasso de Málaga (admission free on Sundays, 2 hours before closing)
Picasso’s House in Malaga / Museo Casa Natal de Pablo Picasso en Málaga
Carmen Thyssen Museum / Museo Carmen Thyssen (admission free on Sundays, 2 hours before closing)
Café Central de Málaga
SpanishInAndalusia.com is a non-commercial information website.
Our mission is to provide you with free information to plan your dream holiday with Spanish. Here you will find a selection of courses from 52 schools in the region of Andalusia, along with direct school contact details. Extenda, the Promotion Agency of Andalusia, was established by the Autonomous Government of the region. We are one of dozens of teams scattered around the world that combine their work with a real passion.
Through the SpanishInAndalusia.com website, we want to help everyone quickly discover the offer of individual language schools in Andalusia as well as the attractions of each location.