Hostelworld Guide for Malaga

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Ideally located beside the Mediterranean, Malaga is a sun seeker's paradise, and beautiful beaches stretch down along its coast. But this city has more to offer visitors than just sun, sea and sand. There are also numerous interesting attractions, such as the imposing Gibralfaro Castle which affords stunning views across the city. Add to that the local gastronomical flair and the huge number of lively bars and clubs, and you'll soon see why Malaga is the top city in Spain's Costa del Sol. Getting around couldn't be easier, with lots of places reachable on foot, and a strong public transport system. From tans to tapas, Malaga has something for everyone.



In this Guide...      

Useful Information
After Dark
Places to Eat
Top Attractions
Budget Tips
Where to Shop

 The Essentials


Getting There

By plane: Malaga International Airport is located 8km southwest of Malaga. Trains from the airport to the city run every 30 minutes, and bus #19 travels into the city every 20-25 minutes. You can also get taxis from just outside the arrivals hall.

By train: Malaga Maria Zambrano is the main railway station. The AVE high speed service now operates from here to destinations across Spain.

By bus: There are regular bus services from Malaga's main terminal at Paseo de los Tilos to various destinations all over Spain, as well as to other European cities.

Getting Around

On foot: A lot of the main tourist attractions are reachable on foot from the city centre. Given Malaga's location beside the Med, there are many different promenades to stroll along too.

By bus: Buses are the most popular form of public transport and run frequently on various lines across the city. Services are provided by Empresa Municipal de Transport (EMT).

By taxi: Taxis can be hailed down all over the city and are a relatively cheap and easy way to get around.

 Malaga facts

Location: Malaga is located in the province of Andalucía in southern Spain. The city is situated beside the Mediterranean Sea.

Population: Almost 570,000 people call Malaga home.

Area: The city covers an area of just under 400 square kilometres.

Foundation: Malaga is an incredible old city. It dates back to 770 BC when the Phoenicians founded a settlement here called 'Malaka'.

Malaga has a Mediterranean climate with hot summers and mild winters. Beside the sea and close to the Malaga Mountains, this city gets the best of both worlds. It can get very hot during the summer months, with temperatures reaching around 26ºC in August. Temperatures drop during the winter but stay mild, generally hovering around 12ºC. January and December tend to be the coldest months. Malaga doesn't see an awful lot of rain; however, from November to January is when you'll usually find the wettest weather. The city gets a lot of sunshine, peaking at about 12 hours each day in July.

climate chart

 Good to know...

Language: Spanish
Currency: Euro
Electricity: 220 Volts AC/50Hz, 2-pin plug
Area Code:+34 (Spain), 952 (Malaga)
Emergency Code: Ambulance 061, Fire 080, Police 092
Time Zone: Central European Time (GMT+1)
Central Post Office: Avenida de Andalucia 1
Main Tourist Office: Plaza de la Marina 11

Embassies and Consulates

USA: +34 91 587 22 00**
UK: +34 95 235 23 00*
Canada: +34 95 222 33 46*
Australia: +34 91 353 66 00**
South Africa: +34 91 436 37 80**
Ireland: +34 95 247 51 08*
Germany: +34 95 236 35 91*
Italy: +34 95 230 61 50*
New Zealand: + 34 91 523 02 26**
France: +34 95 222 65 90*

*Consulate in Malaga
**Embassy in Madrid

Hostelworld Guide for Malaga

 Cheap Eats

 After Dark

Anglada, Puerta del Mar 3-5, City Centre If you're looking for breakfast, Anglada is a good choice as it offers a selection of great value specials. On the menu here you'll find coffees, juices, teas, baguettes, sandwiches, croissants and salads, as well as a selection of lunch and dinner dishes too. Open Mon-Sat 8.30am-10pm, Sun 9.30am-10pm.

 Snacks by the square

Café Calle de Bruselas, Plaza de la Merced 16, La Merced Beside Picasso's birthplace, this restaurant offers great breakfast and lunch specials, while each day a varied tapas menu is served. The menu also includes salads, sandwiches, soups, coffees and teas. Open Sun-Thurs 9am-2am, Fri & Sat 9am-3am.

Lo Gueno, Calle Marin Garcia 9, City Centre Lo Gueno serves many different traditional Andalusian dishes, including 'gazpacho', a cold tomato-based soup. There's also a tapas plate with a selection of six varieties. The decoration is rustic, with strings of garlic hanging from the ceiling and winding across the top of the bar. Open daily from 12.30pm-12am.

Restaurante Vegetariano de la Alcazabilla, Calle Pozo del Rey 5, Centro Histórico This cosy, good vaule restaurant serves tasty vegetarian and vegan dishes that will even tempt die-hard carnivores. Portions are big and prices are low. Inside, the bright yellow walls are covered in messages scrawled in many different languages. Open Mon-Sat 1pm-11pm, Sun 8pm-11pm.

Café Central, Plaza de la Constitucion 11, City Centre One of Malaga's oldest coffee shops, Café Central is a cosy place to eat. The café's signature coffees are named in a unique way depending on how much coffee or milk is added. Soups, salads, pasta dishes, cakes and daily specials are also served here. Open Mon-Sat 8am-12am, closed Sun; WiFi available.

Weekend Café Bar, Plaza de la Merced 14, La Merced Elvis himself waits outside Weekend to welcome you in. This well-liked cocktail bar offers a great variety of cheap cocktails from Cosmopolitans to Margaritas. There's also a good selection of beers and coffees. The bar is long with cocktail glasses of all shapes and sizes lined up along the wall behind. Open daily from 9am-2am.

Sala Gold, Calle Luis de Velazquez 5, City Centre The plush interior here at Sala Gold radiates an air of elegance. A DJ plays loud music here each night and there's plenty of room to dance. This classy bar also boasts reasonable prices and very, very generous measures. Open daily 10pm-6am.

Teatro Romano, Calle Alcazabilla 7, Centro Histórico In this inexpensive and lively bar, there are lots of tables with wicker chairs scattered around. A big TV just inside the door tends to show VH1 quite loudly. The drinks menu is extremely wide, including everything from cheap cocktails, to spirits, to beer, to milkshakes. It's generally quite a busy bar, with seats outside too. Open 7 days, 10am-2am.

 Gay/Lesbian Malaga

Malaga's gay scene has been growing in recent years to include even more clubs and bars. Some of the city's most notable venues include Queen (Paseo Maritimo 29) which caters mostly to men, El Convento (Calle Madre de Dios 21) which caters to women, and La Gata Loca (Pasaje de Campos 3), a dance club open until the wee hours of the morning.

La Bodega Malaguena, Calle Luis de Velazquez 2, City Centre A lively bodega bar popular with locals, La Bodega Malaguena boasts a large v-shaped bar that cradles a number of tables. It's a busy place, teeming with people chatting and sampling the bar's large selection of wines, beers and other drinks. Open Mon-Sat 12pm-4pm & 8pm-12am, closed Sundays.

Sala Wengé, C/ Santa Lucia 11, City Centre Loud and bright, this club is a really popular spot. The aim of the game here is dancing. There's lots of space to move about in, with a few tall tables scattered around too. The bar serves a wide selection of drinks, and the interior can quite happily be described as shiny. Open Fri-Sun 11pm-7am, Wed 10pm-4am, closed Mon, Tues and Thurs.

 Don't Miss

 Mark Your Calendar

Picasso Museum, Palacio de Buenavista, Calle San Agustin 8 The work of Pablo Picasso, one of Malaga's most prominent citizens, is celebrated throughout this large museum. Around 155 paintings, drawings, sculptures and lithographs from all the different periods of his career are on show here. Open Tues-Thurs & Sun 10am-8pm, Fri & Sat 10am-9pm, closed Mon; admission €6.

Alcazaba, Calle Alcazabilla 2 The Alcazaba is a Moorish fortress that dates back to the 11th century. Here you can climb the walls for amazing views of the city, while attractive water features and gardens also make it well worth a visit. Malaga's Archaeological Museum is now housed here. Open Tues-Sun 9.30am-8pm, closed Mon; admission €2.

Catedral de Malaga, Calle Molina Lario 9 Construction on Malaga's most important church began around 1528. From the high domed ceiling to the various alters, the cathedral is very ornate. There's a museum upstairs too, showcasing crosses, chalices and much more. Open Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat 10am-5pm, closed Sun; admission €3.50.

Picasso's Birthplace Museum, Plaza de la Merced 15 The house where Picasso was born is now home to a museum, displaying a replica of a studio room, family photos, ceramic works, and even some of his baby clothes. It provides an interesting look at the famous artist's work and family life. Open Mon-Sun 9.30am-8pm; admission €1.00.

 On guard

Gibralfaro Castle, Camino de Gibralfaro s/n Built by Yusef the 1st in the 14th century, the views from the ramparts looking down at Malaga are absolutely stunning. There's also an interpretative centre here, displaying weapons, armour and more. Open daily from 9.30am-8pm (summer), 9.30am-6pm (winter); admission €2.

January - Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos This festival takes place every year on January 5th and sees a parade travel through the city centre, where sweets and small toys are thrown out at children.

February - Carnival de Malaga Carnaval de Malaga is this city's version of Mardi Gras. Events include masquerades and performances by 'murgas' or street bands. Taking centre stage is the main parade held on Carnival Sunday.

March/April - Holy Week Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is held in Malaga during Easter and has been celebrated since the late 1400s. The large floats and winding processions are just part of what makes this religious festival quite unique.

April - Malaga Film Festival In existence since 1998, Malaga's Film Festival is important for Spanish cinema. Screenings of everything from features to shorts to documentaries take place.

June - Night of San Juan At the height of this festival, held on June 23rd, 'juas', or huge stuffed, cloth figures are set on fire. Bonfires burn all night along the beach and people leap over the flames once they get low enough.

July - Virgen del Carmen During this celebration, Malaga's fishermen honour their patron saint, the Virgen del Carmen. Processions take place on land and out in the water too. Fireworks and traditional song and dance are also part of the festivities.

August - Feria de Malaga Lively and colourful, this fiesta opens with a huge fireworks display. From the city centre to the fairground, this non-stop party is Malaga's most popular festival.

October - Octubre Picassiano The Picasso Foundation organises events throughout the city during this month to commemorate the life of Pablo Picasso. Art exhibits and musical celebrations are just part of what this festival has to offer.

November - International Jazz Festival During Malaga's International Jazz Festival, visitors to the Teatro Cervantes are treated to a selection of quality performances. Both world-renowned and up-and-coming acts take part.

December - Verdiales Festival On December 28th, the Day of the Innocents, the Verdiales festival celebrates a style of flamenco that was created in Malaga. Colourful troupes of dancers take part in various contests during the day.

Hostelworld Guide for Malaga

 Neighbourhood Watch

 Retail Therapy

Centro Histórico Here is where you'll find some of the most important monuments and places of interest in the city, including Gibralfaro Castle, the Alcazaba, the Roman Theatre and the Cathedral. Malaga's historical city centre is also home to Calle Alcazabilla, a street packed with cafés, bars and small shops.

 Seashells by the seashore

La Malagueta In La Malagueta you'll find one of Malaga's most popular beach areas. Filled with visitors, it offers sun loungers, playground areas and some beachside bars and restaurants. Not just for beach bunnies, this area is also home to one of Spain's oldest lighthouses 'La Farola', which is just a short walk way. Built in 1817, it is still operational today.

Pedregalejo To experience even more of Malaga's stunning beaches, Pedregalejo is the place to go. Less than 10 minutes from the city centre and extremely popular in summer time, it's a haven for those looking for sun, sand and sea. There are lots of restaurants lined up along the beach too.

La Merced The epicentre of La Merced is without a doubt the Plaza de la Merced. On and around this square, you'll not only see attractions such as Picasso's birthplace and the nearby Teatro Cervantes, but there's also a great selection of bars and restaurants to choose from. The square itself is popular with both locals and visitors as a place to hang out, and various events are often held here during the year.

Torremolinos Just down the coast from Malaga is the city of Torremolinos. It's a hugely popular spot with visitors to the Costa del Sol region of Spain, and is only 20 minutes by bus from Malaga city centre. The beach is flanked by shops and restaurants, with lots more in the town centre.

Galerias Goya, Plaza Uncibay 3, City Centre Check out the Galerias Goya shopping mall if you're looking for alternative shops in Malaga. Its two floors are filled with weird and wonderful stores, like the gallery's costume shop. Alternative clothing and handmade jewellery are just some of the items you'll also find on sale here. Open daily from 10am-10pm.

El Corte Inglés, Avenida de Andalucia 4-6, Perchel Taking up six floors, El Corte Inglés is a chain of department stores found all over Spain. Here you'll find everything from CDs to earrings, watches to children's toys, and men's footwear to women's underwear. It's a great place to lighten your wallet of some of those hard-earned Euros. Open Mon-Sat from 10am-10pm.

 From cover to cover

Libreria, along Paseo del Parque The libreria are sturdy stalls lining one section of Malaga's Park Avenue. They sell all different kinds of books at low prices, including comics, fiction, reference books and much more besides. A lot of them are in Spanish but there's also a choice of English language offerings. Open daily from 10.30am-2pm & 5.30pm-9.30pm.

Calle Marqués de Larios, City Centre Calle Marqués de Larios is Malaga's main shopping street, and the main pedestrian thoroughfare. Shops here range from internationally renowned designers to the top local brand names. Here you can window shop to your heart's content or buy something from the huge selection of goods on offer.

Centre Commercial Larios Centre, Avenida de la Aurora 25, Perchel Sur The Larios shopping centre is visited by a whopping 14 million people every year. On two floors, this popular centre boasts around 153 different shops and eateries. Some of the stores include Swatch, Vero Moda, Disney, New Yorker and Game. Open Mon-Sat from 10am-10pm.

 Malaga for Free

 A Day in Malaga...

Visit the Museum del Patrimonio Municipal From the ancient to the contemporary, Malaga's municipal heritage museum displays a selection of artefacts, paintings, books and statues. Visitors will leave with a greater insight into the workings of this city, both past and present. Open Tues-Sun from 10am-8pm, closed Mon; admission free.

Go to the beach One of the things Malaga is best known for is its long beaches. The beach at La Malagueta is within walking distance of the city centre and here you can sunbathe, swim, or make good use of the play areas dotted around. It can get pretty crowded here during the summer, with tourists flocking beach-ward to work on their tans.

Wander around the Santuario de la Virgen de la Victoria This church not far from Plaza de la Merced was built in 1487 and is one of the city's most impressive religious buildings. Notable features include the huge alter, large paintings and angels holding the light fixtures. Open Tues-Sun from 8am-1pm & 4pm-8pm; admission free.

Take a look around the CAC Malaga Malaga's Centre for Contemporary Art is well worth a visit. Here the works of art are displayed in the large, open-plan exhibition hall in the ground floor. Exhibits change regularly and showcase some of the top names in modern art, both nationally and internationally. Open Tues-Sun from 10am-2pm & 5pm-9pm, closed Mon; admission free.

 A walk in the park

Walk through the Parque de Malaga Created towards the end of the 19th century, this park runs along Malaga's own Park Avenue, 'Paseo del Parque'. Filled with palm trees and exotic plants, some of which were brought here from as far away as Cuba, this city park also has lots of winding paths you can stroll along. Open 24 hours daily; admission free.

Start the day by checking out one of the many cafeterias off of Calle Marqués de Larios, where you can enjoy breakfast. From here head to Malaga's 'Centro Historico'.

In the historical centre you'll find the Cathedral, Teatro Romano, Alcazaba (below) and more. Spend the morning exploring these interesting attractions.


Walking along Alcazabilla, you'll come across a lot of different cafés and restaurants where you can get some lunch. Stop for a quick sandwich or some tapas.

After lunch, walk down to La Malagueta where you can laze on the beach for a while and enjoy the sun.

From there, make your way back towards the city centre and wander up along Calle Marqués de Larios to sample some of Malaga's fabulous shopping.

When you're finished shopping, why not visit the Picasso Museum on Calle San Agustin to see some of this world-renowned artist's incredible work.

There are a lot of restaurants in and around this area. If you're in the mood for some traditional Andalusian cuisine try Lo Gueno on Calle Marin Garcia.

Check out one of the city's bodega bars, like La Bodega Malaguena on Calle Luis de Velazquez, which serves local wines in a lively atmosphere.

Then head to one of the city's clubs such as Sala Wengé on Calle Santa Lucia. Here you can party the night away in the company of loud dance beats and a young crowd.

Hostelworld Guide for Malaga