In 40 years, Malaga has gone from a rather disheveled city with a little more than a big airport to a modern and happening destination and one of southern Europe’s favourites for short break. A radical transformation by anyone’s measure. But even in somewhere that has had a complete facelift, there’s still room for change and plenty of it. Read on to discover what’s new in Malaga in 2019 (and what won’t be!).
Pedestrian Alameda Principal
Anyone who has been on holiday to Malaga over the last 2 or 3 years will have noticed the mess in the Alameda. What with the metro works and now the pedestrianisation, the whole boulevard is one big building site. But the good news is that in 2019 this is set to change.
The central and southern sections of the road will be finished by April or May this year (local elections are in May so the Council will be in a hurry). The northern part will take slightly longer – not least because the metro tunnel roof needs filling in. Expect completion for this in late summer or early autumn.
All the dust, noise and inconvenience should be well worth it. New in Malaga in 2019 will be 23,000 square metres of pedestrian space along the Alameda. The boulevard will have wide open spaces along both sides for pedestrians, bike lanes and hardly any traffic.
Originally designed in the early 19th century as a promenade for locals to stroll along (to see and be seen), the Alameda will be once more be a lovely spot for pedestrians. Don’t know about you, but we can’t wait!
Marquis of Larios Statue
Currently under major restoration, this emblematic statue used to preside over a small roundabout in the Alameda Principal and look down the avenue towards the river. Once his bronze and stone have been repaired and polished, he will take up a new position at the entrance to Calle Larios. And appropriately be looking down the street named after him. Expect to see him back in pride of place in the spring.
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This too is one of the city’s eyesores, but new in Malaga in 2019 should be a radical transformation. The old cinema building in Plaza de la Merced is due for demolition soon and will be replaced with something that looks better.
Quite what the “something” will be is still up for debate. A cultural centre is a popular option, although we read in the local press that some sectors are mooting for a Picasso sculpture. Apparently, one of the artist’s desires was to have a giant work of art in pride of place in the city. Either way, the replacement will be very welcome.
Antonio Banderas Theatre
Local actor is currently immersed in his pet project in the city – the Soho Caixabank Theatre in Calle Córdoba. Extensive restoration is taking place in the old Alameda Theatre and is expected to be finished in September this year.
Banderas said the first performance would be Zorba the Greek, in English with Spanish subtitles. He has also promised ballet and opera with 4 main shows a year. The space will also offer acting classes and workshops, possibly given by Banderas’ pals from Hollywood and Broadway.
Easter is one of the biggest events in Malaga of the year and 2019 rings in some changes. Many of the famous processions will start earlier than usual (2-3pm) and end earlier. The route has changed too with the floats and parading penitents walking down Calle Larios rather than up.
If you’re on holiday in Malaga at Easter to see the processions, read our dedicated guide for all the information you need.
New start to Malaga Fair
Also new in Malaga in 2019 is the starting date of the Fair. The 10-day event has always started its festivities on a Friday, but the 2019 edition starts on Thursday 15 August. The opening speech and firework show take place this year on Wednesday 14 August at midnight. Fun continues until Saturday 24 August.
Hard Rock Café in Malaga
The iconic restaurant opens its doors in Malaga in April in time for Easter. It will have a prime position – on the corner of Muelle Uno, opposite the Pompidou Centre – and is apparently taking over De Viu rooftop bar on the terrace above.
What’s not new in Malaga in 2019
Not everything will be happening this year. We’re going to have to wait until 2020 (or beyond) for:
Malaga Metro completion
It looks like we’ll be waiting almost 2 full years for Malaga Metro to reach the centre. Work on both stretches (El Perchel to Guadalmedina and Guadalmedina to Atarazanas) is around 70% complete but there’s still a lot of work to do.
But on the bright side, perhaps the works in all the roads from the Alameda to El Corte Inglés will be finished and tidied up…
As Spain’s sixth largest city and host to a Philharmonic Orchestra, Malaga should really have an auditorium. With local elections on the horizon, the project for one in Malaga Port has been brought of its dusty archives and bandied around a bit. The result? General political bickering about who should build it and no auditorium. We can’t see this one happening in 2020 either.
The project for the skyscraper hotel in Malaga Port continues its long road to approval and licences. Despite opposition from some local associations, central and regional governments have given their approval. But the hotel won’t be up and running until 2023.
Bigger big wheel
The project is ready, but 2019 doesn’t look like the year when the Malaga ferris wheel moves to a better location and grows by 30 metres to reach a total diameter of 100m. But at least you can still go on the big wheel and admire the city from above – definitely one of the best things to do in Malaga if you like a view.