Malaga is the capital city of the Costa del Sol and offers so much more than just an airport. This is an essential day trip from Marbella, as it’s easy to reach and is full of history, culture, art galleries and wonderful bars and restaurants.
We love Malaga! Over the last decade it has seen a lot of investment and been transformed into one of the must visit destinations on the Costa del Sol, yet sadly many of the tourists to Marbella miss out, so we hope you’ll take our advice and fit a day trip to Malaga into your next Marbella holiday.
If you do, here are our recommendations on what to do and where to go –
- Shop til you drop on Calle Larios – Calle Larios is Malaga’s central artery and is a paradise for shoppers, with international brands and independent boutiques. It is pedestrianised and has benches to rest weary feet, as well as great coffee shops and wine bars nearby. This is the perfect place for some retail therapy!
- Explore the Old Town and visit the Cathedral – Malaga Old Town is stunning, with winding streets, pretty plazas, historic buildings and a great atmosphere. The Cathedral dominates the skyline and is wonderful to visit, as well as making for some great photo opportunities.
- Walk the walls and explore the Alcazaba – The impressive Alcazaba fortress sits in the old part of Malaga and is a great way to understand the history of Malaga, as you can see Roman ruins and Moorish architecture dating back to 780AD. Walk the walls for great views of Malaga and enjoy the beautiful gardens, towers and palaces – it’s a fascinating place to visit.
- Get to know Picasso – Malaga is Picasso’s birthplace and you can understand him better by visiting the museum in the house where he was born and spent his early years. Go from there to the stunning Picasso Museum in the Old Town to enjoy his work. It has a great collection from some of his earliest works, to excellent pieces from throughout his life and it is housed in a beautiful old building tucked away in the Old Town.
- Admire the artworks at the amazing art galleries and museums – There’s something for everyone here, with highlights including the Carmen Thyssen for Spanish art through the ages, the CAC for contemporary art (and free admission) and the Malaga Pompidou Centre for modern art from the Pompidou collection.
- Visit the stunning port – Muelle Uno is the newly developed port area of Malaga, which must be visited. Strolling along the waterfront you will find sculptures, parks and playgrounds for the kids, museums, great bars, restaurants and shops. There’s always lots going on and it has a wonderful atmosphere, plus you get to ogle the amazing superyachts!
- Enjoy some wonderful food – Malaga is full of great restaurants and tapas bars which are buzzing from lunchtime, late into the night – the trouble is choosing where to go. The standard of the food is very high and service is normally good, so choose your favorite looking place, or if you can’t decide, do a tapas crawl to visit five or six different places and try a dish in each.
There is so much to love about the buzzing, beautiful town of Malaga. It is the perfect excursion from Marbella, so make sure you don’t miss it on your next trip to the Costa del Sol!
Getting to Malaga from Marbella
There are regular public buses which run from Marbella bus station to central Malaga and take around an hour. The buses cost from 5€ to 9€ depending on whether they are direct, express or stopping, check the Portillo Bus website for times and prices.
You can drive there in under an hour, but parking can be an issue and beware of trusting the sat nav too much, as the roadworks in the centre really throws it off! Many people choose to drive to the shopping centre Plaza Mayor on the outskirts of Malaga, park in the free parking and then take the train into the centre to avoid the traffic and roadworks.
Alternatively, choose a guided private tour which will pick you up from your holiday rental in Marbella and take you into Malaga, guiding you around all the best sites and bringing you back without any stress.