If you only have a single day in Malaga, don’t worry! You can explore the city’s main historical landmarks and attractions in just one day, as most of them are located in the city center and close to each other.
I enjoy being a tourist in my own city and I want to show you how you can make the most of a day in Malaga.
Contrary to popular belief, Malaga has more to offer than just beaches. You can visit historic sites like the Alcazaba and the cathedral, explore a variety of museums and art galleries, and indulge in delicious food.
While spending more time in Malaga will allow you to uncover hidden gems and other points of interest, a single day is sufficient to see all the major attractions.
In this blog, I will guide you on how to maximize your day in Malaga. Whether you’re on a day trip or staying for the entire day, I will provide recommendations for your itinerary and insider tips.
One Day in Malaga Itinerary
Have churros for breakfast
Kickstart your day with a satisfying morning meal. If you’re in the mood for a classic Spanish breakfast, consider stopping by Casa Aranda. They serve up tasty options like hot chocolate with churros or the traditional “mollete” sandwich from Antequera, a charming town in the province of Malaga.
For a delightful breakfast in the heart of Malaga Old Town, look no further than this café. Whether you choose to sit indoors or enjoy the sunshine outside, you’ll have the chance to soak in the lively atmosphere while indulging in delicious food.
Another top choice, and a personal favorite of mine, is Tejeringos Coffee. Their churros are a real treat, especially when paired with indulgent sauces like dulce de leche and white chocolate.
Address: C. Herrería del Rey, 3, 29005 Málaga, Spain
If you find yourself with a day to explore Malaga, be sure to take a stroll down its main shopping street, Calle Larios.
This lengthy street is considered one of the most stunning commercial avenues in Andalusia, lined with popular stores such as Women’s Secret and Zara.
During the summer, don’t miss the chance to visit Heladeria Casa Mira, the oldest ice cream parlor in Malaga. Here, you can indulge in traditional flavors or try something unique like nougat or raisin-infused ice cream.
What makes Calle Larios so special is its hosting of various cultural events throughout the year. In April, you can witness Easter processions, while in August, the street comes alive with Malaga’s Fair, known as Feria De Agosto. And during the holiday season, from late November to early January, the street dazzles with Christmas lights.
Venture off the main street to explore the charming alleyways and discover local tapas bars, restaurants, and boutique shops.
Discover Malaga Cathedral
Not too far from the Alcazaba and Roman Theatre, lies Malaga Cathedral, known for its Renaissance style. It’s a must-see attraction if you only have a day in Malaga.
Locals refer to the cathedral as “La Manquita” because it has been incomplete since 1782. Only the north tower was finished, while the south tower was left unfinished. There are various stories surrounding the cathedral’s construction.
Some believe that construction halted due to lack of funds, while others think that public funds from Málaga were used to finance the War of Independence of the United States.
While general tickets can be purchased for entry, I strongly recommend getting tickets for the cathedral’s rooftop tour. This one-hour tour not only provides insights about the cathedral, but also offers stunning views for great photos of the city.
Learn about Picasso at Picasso Museum Málaga
Did you know that Pablo Picasso was born in the city of Malaga? Even though the renowned artist spent most of his life in France, he was actually born and raised in Malaga.
If you’re a fan of Picasso’s artwork, be sure to visit the Museo Picasso Málaga to see an impressive exhibition showcasing his art throughout his life.
When you go to the museum, make sure to check their calendar for any cultural events taking place at the Picasso Museum.
The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and ticket prices vary depending on the activities you choose to participate in during your visit. Alternatively, consider visiting on a Sunday when admission is free. Just be prepared for long lines!
Explore Alcazaba de Malaga
The Alcazaba of Malaga is considered one of the most magnificent fortresses in the city. Situated in the heart of the city, next to the Roman Theatre, this Moorish fort and palace, dating back to the early 11th century, is a must-visit.
I have visited the site numerous times over the years due to my fascination with its history and architectural beauty. Exploring the palace will transport you back to the Moorish period in the city.
Take time to stroll through the charming courtyards adorned with jasmine flowers, roses, and delightful trees, perfect for capturing memorable photos. Walk along the walls to take in the various vistas of Malaga, including stunning views of the port, coastline, and city center.
Lastly, immerse yourself in the art and architecture of the Nasrid dynasty, which originated in the Kingdom of Granada.
The Alcazaba is well-maintained and considered one of the top palaces in Spain. If you have limited time in Malaga, it is essential to visit this remarkable historical structure. To avoid a long walk to the top, there is a lift available for access. The entrance is situated on Calle Guillén Sotelo.
To explore this impressive fortress palace, there is a small entrance fee of €3.50, or you can visit for free on Sundays after 2 pm.
Check out the Roman Theatre
You can easily spot the Roman Theatre at the base of Alcazaba, making it a convenient stop before or after your visit to the fortress. What sets it apart is the fact that it is the oldest structure in Malaga City. It is the sole ancient relic in Malaga, despite the efforts of archaeologists to uncover more in the area.
For more information about this amphitheatre, you can visit the visitor center located nearby. Admission is free, and you can learn more about the Roman Theatre and view archaeological findings from the site, such as tools and pottery.
Have lunch at El Pimpi Bodega Bar
If you are seeking a distinctive dining spot in Malaga, El Pimpi Bodega Bar is the ideal option. It is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, offering delicious meals with a stunning view of the Alcazaba and Roman Theatre.
El Pimpi serves authentic dishes from Malaga and other Southern Spanish cities, including “fritura Malagueña” (mixed fried fish) and “gazpacho” (tomato cold soup), as well as traditional desserts like “natillas” (vanilla custard). And of course, you must try Malaga’s sweet wine!
The bar has gained popularity due to visits from celebrities, evident in the photos displayed on the wall. For an authentic taste of Malaga cuisine, El Pimpi is the place to be.
Personally, I recommend trying the mixed-fried fish platter and marinated clams at El Pimpi – they are truly delicious!
If El Pimpi is fully booked, another great dining option in Malaga’s old town is Casa Lola.
Address: C. Granada, 62, 29015 Málaga, Spain
Visit Gibralfaro Castle
Situated atop the city, Gibralfaro Castle offers the most stunning panoramic views. Constructed in the 14th century, the castle was originally intended to shelter troops and safeguard the Alcazaba. It was utilized by the Romans and later adapted into a fortress by the Nasrid King Yusuf I.
During a period of time, Gibralfaro Castle held significant national importance and was recognized as the most formidable fortress on the Iberian peninsula.
Visitors can explore both sections of the castle. The upper area is home to the main courtyard and the Interpretation Centre, which provides valuable insights into the castle’s history. The lower section, featuring the soldiers’ quarters and stables, is also worth a visit.
Go for a walk at Muelle Uno
The new port of Malaga, known as Muelle Uno, is surrounded by a variety of boutique shops, international restaurants, and the Centre Pompidou. Exploring Muelle Uno is one of the top free things to do in Malaga.
Whether you’re interested in dining with a view or simply strolling and browsing the shops, you’ll thoroughly enjoy a visit to Muelle Uno.
For a romantic and enchanting experience, consider visiting Muelle Uno at sunset. It’s one of my favorite spots to take in the sunset in my hometown.
Another option to consider is booking a sunset catamaran cruise for a unique experience.
Try Malaga’s cuisine at Atarazanas Market
The Atarazanas Market offers a fantastic opportunity to immerse yourself in Malaga’s culinary scene and delve into the market’s fascinating history.
This bustling market is renowned for its top-quality, fresh produce, making it a must-visit destination in the city. With a wide array of stalls offering traditional and exotic fruits and vegetables, there’s something for every palate.
While exploring the market at your own leisure is an option, the ultimate experience is to join a guided food tour led by a local expert, allowing you to sample the finest products.
Even if food isn’t your main focus, the Atarazanas Market is still well worth a visit to admire its remarkable entrance and stunning stained glass artwork.
Opening hours for the market are Monday to Saturday from 8 am to 3 pm.
Visit Centre Pompidou Malaga
Situated in a vibrant cube at Muelle Uno, Centre Pompidou Malaga became the inaugural outpost of the Parisian art museum outside of France.
This art center showcases 20th and 21st-century art, featuring a collection of modern and contemporary pieces. Visitors can explore both the semi-permanent and temporary exhibitions during their visit.
The admission fee ranges from 4 to 9 euros, depending on the specific exhibition. Reduced tickets are available for Eurocard youth holders and other eligible visitors (check to see if you qualify for the reduced rate).
Go to Museo de Malaga
If you find yourself with some extra time during your first day or an additional day in Malaga, and you have a passion for art, consider adding a visit to the Malaga Museum to your schedule.
Housed in the historic Palacio de la Aduana de Málaga, an 18th-century neoclassical building, the museum is split into two parts: the Museum of Fine Arts and the Provincial Archaeological Museum, making it one of the largest museums in Andalusia.
Within the art section, you’ll discover remarkable paintings by renowned Spanish artists such as Murillo and Velazquez, as well as works by local artists from the Málaga School of Painting.
Admission to the museum is free for all European Union citizens, and if you happen to be in Malaga on a Saturday, be sure to check the calendar for free guided tours, where you can delve into the history and artistry behind the museum’s collection.
Frequently asked questions about what to do in Malaga in one day
Is Malaga good for a short break?
Absolutely, Malaga is an amazing option for a city getaway. It boasts stunning historic architecture, an array of museums, sandy beaches, and delectable cuisine. Moreover, it is a highly pedestrian-friendly city, allowing for easy access to most attractions on foot.
hat should I not miss in Malaga?
If you go to Málaga, make sure to visit the Alcazaba de Malaga and the Gibralfaro viewpoint. They are among the most enchanting spots with stunning city views.
Is there a lot to do in Malaga
Málaga is frequently undervalued when compared to other Spanish cities. A lot of individuals believe that Málaga only offers beaches and Marbella. Nonetheless, Málaga offers a wide variety of cultural experiences – from exploring art museums and historic landmarks to savoring a traditional meal in the urban area.
Furthermore, when you are in the city, be sure to consult the cultural event schedule. There are noteworthy events that should not be overlooked, such as the Malaga Christmas Lights Show, and the Malaga’s Fair in August, among others.
Is Malaga a walkable city?
Certainly. It’s possible to conveniently explore all the primary points of interest in Málaga by walking. This also provides an opportunity to uncover hidden areas of the city that would be inaccessible when traveling by car or using public transportation.
What is the best time to visit Malaga Spain?
Malaga is stunning to explore throughout the year, but for milder temperatures (not as hot as July and August) and less people, consider visiting Málaga in mid-September and early October.
Opting to visit Malaga during the winter months is a great option if you appreciate being outdoors and trekking through nature.