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Malaga in 1 Day: all you need to know

Planning a vacation to the Costa del Sol but only have 1 day to see Malaga? Although more time is always better, today I present you with the perfect itinerary to see the highlights in 24 hours.

Andressa García

Andressa García

9 min read

Malaga in 1 Day: all you need to know

Malaga at night | ©David Becker

As a travel destination, Malaga is an excellent place that I recommend visiting even if you have little time to do so. Sunny practically all year round, the beauty of southern Spain is astounding and although one day is enough to see the highlights. I'm sure you'll want to come back.

There is so much to see and do in Malaga; but since you are short on time, this itinerary includes the highlights of the paradisiacal destination, such as touring its beautiful historic center, appreciating the local art, getting to know its magnificent beaches or tasting its delicious seafood.

When you visit Malaga, boredom is not an option!

Take a tour of Malaga's Old Town

Plaza de la Merced, Malaga| ©Jorge Franganillo
Plaza de la Merced, Malaga| ©Jorge Franganillo

Since we only have 24 hours, and assuming there was no problem with your transfer from the Malaga airport, your day should start early in the morning with a visit to the Old Town of the city, where you can appreciate the historic architecture and old buildings that make up the city.

You can do this tour by joining a guided tour or on your own, to see the most outstanding monuments of Malaga' s Old Town such as: the Plaza de la Constitución, which is the main square of the city, the Calle Larios, the iconic Cathedral of Malaga, the Church of San Juan Bautista and more.

Knowing the Old Town is an experience that can not miss among the best tours of Malaga, and if you want to have more information about each place you visit, my recommendation for you is to be accompanied by an expert local guide who can help you with your questions and doubts.

More information

  • Duration: In order to get to know the city better, I recommend you to take a walking tour which usually lasts 1 hour and 30 minutes.
  • Schedule: The tours take place at different times. Sign up for the first group in the morning that the company has available.
  • Pricerange: Group tours usually cost 10€ on average.

Book a private tour of Malaga

Go to the Atarazanas Market to see the local market

Atarazanas Market| ©Hans Birger Nilsen
Atarazanas Market| ©Hans Birger Nilsen

Since you only have one day to explore Malaga, it's best that after your stroll through the Old Town you head immediately to the Atarazanas Market to see the space where locals go to buy fresh produce for their homes and businesses.

You will have the opportunity to mingle with the locals and discover ingredients and foods native to this part of Spain. A true and inexpensive cultural immersion!

The market is divided into several sections and one of the most popular is fish and seafood, as a consequence of Malaga's location on the very shores of the Mediterranean. This destination is a popular stop on gastronomic tours of Malaga, which often include tasting dishes at a stall.

Additional Information

  • Duration: A little less than 1 hour is usually enough.
  • Hours: Open to the public from Monday to Saturday from 08h to 15h.
  • Price range: Free for all public.

Try some churros with chocolate at Casa Aranda

Casa Aranda, Malaga| ©Jun
Casa Aranda, Malaga| ©Jun

I bet the previous tour whetted your appetite, at least for a dessert, so my recommendation is to stop by Casa Aranda. Located on Calle Herrería del Rey, just 2 minutes from the Atarazanas Market, this café is an institution among Malagueños, as it has been serving tourists and locals for about 80 years.

Casa Aranda's specialty is hot chocolate with churros, which are served fresh at all hours. The place has an outdoor seating area, ideal for enjoying the beauty of the city while having a snack and recharging energy for the rest of your day. If you go to Malaga in December for the Christmas vacations, it is ideal to sit outside and enjoy the afternoon sun.

Additional Information

  • Duration: 40 minutes to 1 hour is usually enough.
  • Hours: Open to the public from Monday to Sunday from 08h to 13h and from 17h to 21h.
  • Price range: Casa Aranda is an economically priced restaurant with unpretentious dishes.

Stop to visit the Alcazaba of Malaga and the Castle of Gibralfaro

Alcazaba| ©Herbert Frank
Alcazaba| ©Herbert Frank

To resume the day's activities, I recommend you head to the old Alcazaba Malagueña, to delve into one of the most important ancient monuments of the city, and, incidentally, to know the ancient Castle of Gibralfaro.

The Alcazaba

In the Alcazaba you will find an impressive collection of courtyards and fountains that serve to give you an idea of the luxury and opulence of the Moorish period in southern Spain.

The ancient architecture, excellently preserved, the beautiful gardens and the views of the old heart of Malaga make the visit totally worthwhile. So you can not miss this important monument of the city in one of its opening hours.

Gibralfaro Castle

In the Gibralfaro Castle you will find an ancient fortress with 2 lines of walls that once served as a protective wall of the city.

The interior construction consists of a castle with 8 towers and its interiors are preserved in excellent condition.

It is worth the tour to enjoy the ancient construction and also for the breathtaking views. If you want to take panoramic pictures of Malaga, this is the best time!

More information about the castle

  • Duration: Approximately 1.5 hours of your itinerary is usually enough.
  • Schedule: The schedule of La Alcazaba varies throughout the year, I recommend consulting days before the visit.
  • Price range: Reserve about 15€ in your budget.

Book a tour to the Alcazaba and Castle

Visit the Picasso Museum

Entrance to the Picasso Museum| ©Dr Bob Hall
Entrance to the Picasso Museum| ©Dr Bob Hall

Located on Calle San Agustin, just 2 minutes from the Alcazaba, is the Picasso Museum, a space dedicated to the life and work of one of the most important artists of Malaga and the world: Pablo Picasso.

In addition to enjoying the impressive work of Picasso, a visit to this space is totally worth it for the architecture of the place. The museum has been installed in the old Buenavista Palace, an impressive work of Renaissance architecture from the 16th century, where it is possible to appreciate details of the Moorish architecture so characteristic of this area of Spain.

The museum was inaugurated at the beginning of the 21st century and currently more than 200 works by the talented artist are on display, including paintings, sketches, sculptures, engravings and ceramics. A valuable collection that both fans and new explorers of Picasso's art will appreciate.

Depending on the time of year you visit Malaga, the opening hours of the Picasso Museum may vary and you can also find equally interesting temporary exhibitions. You can also find out the ticket prices and purchase them online from their website.

More information about the Picasso Museum

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  • Duration: You can spend 1 hour touring the museum facilities.
  • Hours: The museum hours may vary depending on the time of year. I recommend checking a few days before your trip.
  • Price range: Tickets cost around 11€ for an adult ticket and can be booked online in advance.

Buy your tickets to the Picasso Museum

Explore Malaga Park and take a picture of the Pompidou Center

Pompidou Center, Malaga| ©Johannes Schwanbeck
Pompidou Center, Malaga| ©Johannes Schwanbeck

Leaving the center of Malaga behind, heading towards the coast, take a moment to get to know two important landmarks of the city: the city park and the Pompidou Center.

Malaga Park

If you go to Malaga in summer you will want to take a moment in your afternoons to relax in the shade of the most beloved urban park for locals: Malaga Park. Inaugurated in 1897, during your walk you will find a green lung of impressive dimensions, full of botanical spaces, fountains and sculptures.

The park resembles a tropical paradise, as the exotic plants are kept in perfect condition thanks to the care of the authorities and the warm climate of Malaga.

Pompidou Center

Crossing Paseo de los Curas Avenue you will find Malaga's Pompidou Center. Since your trip is only for one day, you won't have time to walk around inside, but I do advise you to get close and take pictures of the building.

You will find yourself in front of the first international branch of the prestigious Paris art gallery. The Malaga version is the work of architect-designer Daniel Buren and is a giant colorful cube, different but similar to the high-tech architecture of Paris.

Stroll along Pier One

Pier One, Malaga| ©Hans Birger Nilsen
Pier One, Malaga| ©Hans Birger Nilsen

Continue your walk with a pleasant tour of the Muelle Uno. Located in the port of Malaga and just a few minutes from the Pompidou Center, the promenade and shopping center is one of the most emblematic places in the city.

On your visit you will find many stores, restaurants and bars to enjoy a nice view of the Mediterranean. If you want to buy some souvenirs of your trip, this is the best place to shop.

If you go to Malaga in winter you should also know that in this space takes place one of the best Christmas markets in the city and surroundings.

Additional Information

  • Duration: I recommend spending 1 hour 30 minutes to walk around the Muelle Uno.
  • Hours: Open to the public from Monday to Sunday from 10 am to 10 pm.
  • Price range: Admission is free for all public.

Go to the Malagueta beach at sunset

By La Malagueta| ©KAMO KAMOEIRAS
By La Malagueta| ©KAMO KAMOEIRAS

Just a short walk from Muelle Uno is the famous Malagueta beach, which is undoubtedly another iconic Malaga sight not to be missed. First, take a picture at the entrance sign, and then enjoy the beach bars, a cold drink and a quick dip.

After a swim, lie on the sand for a while to admire the sunset. Also, enjoy the views offered by the many boats full of tourists and locals that take boat trips along the coast of Malaga.

If you have the opportunity to visit the city for at least 3 days in Malaga, the boat tour is an experience you should not miss.

In the evening: take a tapas tour of Malaga

Tapas in Malaga| ©fairbrand
Tapas in Malaga| ©fairbrand

When the night starts to fall, it's time for the traditional tapas in the bars and restaurants of the city. On a short trip, the best way to experience this is by hiring an excursion led by an expert local guide.

In the city you will find tapas tours in different versions, so you can enjoy the best gastronomic tours in Malaga with other adventurous travelers. These experiences include in the price the tasting of various dishes, drinks and personalized recommendations.

Some local companies offer really interesting options combining the tapas tour with a flamenco show in a Malaga tablao.

More information

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  • Duration: Approximately 3 hours.
  • Schedule: Varies depending on the activity you do.
  • Price range: Around 80€ per participant.

If you have energy left: Visit the rooftop bars in Malaga

Malaga Pub Crawl| ©Andreas Mordhorst
Malaga Pub Crawl| ©Andreas Mordhorst

If there is one city in Spain where people know how to have fun, it is Malaga. If you have any energy left after all the sightseeing, finish your day by visiting the Malaga rooftop bars or dancing in some of its nightclubs.

You should take into account that the nightlife atmosphere in Malaga, especially in the nightclubs, gets lively after midnight.

Here are some terraces with the best views to end your night in Malaga:

  • Molina Lario Piscina Lounge Molina Lario Piscina Lounge Offers the best views of the old town, the port of Malaga and the Costa del Sol. The general opening hours are until 2:30 am in the early morning.

  • San Telmo Terrace A rooftop terrace with a young crowd popular for office afterwork parties. From Sunday to Wednesday the space is open to the public until 10 pm, from Thursday to Saturday the party goes on until 3:30 am.

And so you can conclude the 24 hours getting to know Malaga! I am sure that with this itinerary you will want to come back for a few more days.