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What should be on your Malaga bucket list

Or better described as the top 10 things to do in Malaga. We recently read a post about the 10 things that should be on your bucket list for Spain. Malaga wasn’t in there – unsurprisingly because it’s difficult to compete with the biggest attractions in Spain. But it did get us thinking about what we’d put on a Malaga bucket list.

This city packs in the attractions and things to do, so there’s certainly a lot of choose from. But, we’ve been through the list with a fine toothcomb and come up with our top 10 things to do in Malaga.

Read on to discover, those sights, events and foodie experiences that you simply shouldn’t miss when you visit the city. And yes, they’re all in our Guide to Malaga.

Malaga Bucket List 1 – Walk in the steps of Malaga’s past

Combine a visit to two of the best historic monuments in Malaga and walk in the footsteps of the Romans and the Moors.

Take in the Roman Theatre and then move on to the Alcazaba Fortress, one of the few Moorish fortresses at sea level in the world.

Top tip: get a combo ticket for the Alcazaba Fortress and Gibralfaro Castle further up the hill.

Roman theatre and Alcazaba in Malaga in the sunshine
Roman Theatre and Moorish Fortress

Discover more things to do in Malaga

Malaga Bucket List 2 – Take in some amazing art

Few cities in Europe can boast as many (or as good) art museums as Malaga. Whatever your taste there’s world-class art waiting for you to admire it. Over the last year we’ve seen works by Man Ray, Louise Bourgeois, Imon Boy, Paula Rego, Sheila Hicks, Julio González … not to mention Picasso.

Top tip: most the art museums in Malaga offer guided tours in English. Check the timetables on the museum websites.

Art at the Carmen Thyssen Museum in Malaga

See a guide to all the art museums in Malaga

Malaga Bucket List 3 – Marvel at the murals

Street art in Malaga is exceptional and like the art in the museums, world class. The murals are concentrated in 2 main areas – the Soho district and Lagunillas. Both are great to wander round and check out the amazing street art.

Some in Soho is by big names (Obey and D*Face for example) and other by local artists, but it’s all good and all interesting.

Top tip: in Soho, look up as well as down – some of the street art is way up high.

Look up high for Soho street art
Look up high for Soho street art

Need a hotel in Malaga?

If you’re working through your bucket list, you’ll probably want a hotel to make the occasion. The trio we’ve cherrypicked below are among the very best places to stay in Malaga, but there are more. See our splurge hotels for some inspo.

Splurge hotels

Gran Hotel Miramar

Malaga’s only 5-star GL hotel, the Gran Hotel Miramar really takes splurge to the next level. Housed in a turn of the 20th century hotel …

Splurge hotels

Hotel Castillo de Santa Catalina

Treat yourself to room 7 or 8 with lovely views of Malaga below. The hotel serves no meals other than breakfast (€10, not included in pr …

Best places to stay in malaga

Palacio Solecio

If you’re looking for some historic luxury in the city centre, you can’t go wrong with Palacio Solecio. This 18th-century palace was once h …

And if you’re wondering which city location is the best, read our comprehensive guide to where to stay in Malaga.

Malaga Bucket List 4 – Watch an event

Like the rest of Spain, Malaga does big events really well and there’s a year-round calendar so the chances are that whenever you’re on holiday in Malaga you’ll be able to watch one of them.

Annual highlights include Holy Week processions during Easter, Malaga Fair (mid-August) and Christmas celebrations.

Easter procession leaving Malaga Cathedral

Top tip: book your accommodation in Malaga well in advance if you’re planning to take in one of the events during your holiday.

Malaga Bucket List 5 – Stroll along the seafront promenade

Both the eastern and western seafront promenades in Malaga are lovely and both give you a great excuse to go to the beach. While Malaga might not boast the best beaches on the Costa del Sol the two main city beaches offer safe bathing and great amenities. If you’re not here to visit the beach walk along the promenade and enjoy the sea views.

Read about a walking tour along the western seafront.

Top tip: the seafront promenades have something for everyone – lots of great play parks and keep-fit stations.

La Misericordia beaches in Malaga
View of La Misericordia beach from the western seafront

Malaga Bucket List 6 – Walk under the pergola

This is our favourite bit of Malaga – there’s something about the flowing lines of the giant pergola that stretches all the way along Muelle Dos from Plaza de la Marina to the Pompidou Cube and Muelle Uno.

Top tip: make your way to Muelle Uno in the early evening to catch the sunset over the Malaga skyline. Best views are from the lighthouse.

Underneath the Pergola in Malaga
View of the Pergola from below

Malaga Bucket List 7 – Mooch round a market

Top of the foodie list of things to do in Malaga is visit one of the city markets. The biggest and brightest is Atarazanas in the city centre (open Mon-Sat 9am to 3pm) and this busy market is a feast for all the senses. You can try before you buy at lots of stalls (and be sure to buy a few things when you’re visiting markets in Malaga – this keeps the stall holders happy!).

Our tips for top purchases would be olives and dried fruit and nuts to take home, and fresh food to take on a picnic to the beach or one of the parks.

Top tip: try the seafood tapas from any of the bars in the market. We love the langoustine and tuna bites from Bar Mercado Atarazanas, on the left of the main entrance

Did someone say olives?

Malaga Bucket List 8 – Escape to a green space

Despite being a built-up industrial city Malaga has lots of green spaces that are great to escape to when you’ve had enough of the crowds. Our favourite is La Concepción botanical gardens but there are several lovely parks. Read our round up of parks in Malaga for suggestions.

Top tip: spring is the best time to see the parks in Malaga in bloom. Don’t miss the roses in Jardines de Pedro Luis Alonso next to City Hall.

parks on the Malaga bucket list
Wisteria at the Concepción botanical gardens

Malaga Bucket List 9 – Feast on fried fish

Probably the most famous food in Malaga is fried fish. While you’re in the city try the freshly caught (small) fish fried to perfection in batter. There’s a great choice (anchovies, whitebait, baby sole, squid…) and it’s almost always reasonably priced. And don’t forget to try an espeto of sardines grilled on an open fire preferably on the beach.

Top tip: eat fried fish like a local – no knife and fork. Watch our video to see how it’s done!

food on Malaga bucket list
Sardines grilled to perfection

Malaga Bucket List 10 – Take in a view (and a cocktail)

Lots of places in Malaga give you great views of the city. We like the vistas from the Alcazaba Fortress and Gibralfaro Castle, and those from the roof terraces at some of the hotels in Malaga.

All the roof terraces have lovely views, but we think those from AC Palacio are the best. If you fancy a view with a cocktail, then make a beeline for a roof terrace or the terrace at the Parador next to the Gibralfaro Castle.

cocktail with Muelle Uno skyline. one of the most romantic things to do in Malaga

Top tip: head for the heights at sundown for lovely views of the sunset – the romantic touch to this Malaga bucket list!

Enjoy all this in Malaga and more

This Malaga bucket list is, of course, just a taster of what this wonderful city has to offer. You’ll find all the information on this website, but if you’d like a condensed version, download a copy of our best-selling Malaga on a Short Break.

All you need to make the absolute most out of Malaga, whether you’re visiting for two, three, four or five days. It includes all the info (and the inspo), with detailed itineraries, lots of tips and a good dash of insider info. Best of all? It costs just €4.95. Download your copy now.

Malaga on a short break - GuideToMalaga.com ebook

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All you need for a short break in Malaga!

Get Malaga at your fingertips quickly and easily with our handy ebook. Full and guided itineraries for a short break in the city whether you’re visiting for 2, 3, 4 or 5 days. All you need to make the absolute most of your stay.