A weekend in Málaga
A short, weekend break in Málaga offers you the opportunity to enjoy the city’s pace of life and to visit some of the museums that have set a standard for the rest of the country. If, in addition to culture, we take into account the relaxed lifestyle and superb, flagship cuisine, Málaga becomes an appealing prospect at any time of the year.
Enjoy discovering the city’s historical heritage and visiting architectural highlights such as the Alcazaba [Arab fortress], Gibralfaro Castle, Roman Theatre, and the Bullring. Don’t forget to have a wander through Málaga’s streets and squares, stopping off at a few of its taverns to try traditional tapas, or to take a stroll along the seafront at sunset. This city, which has inspired artists of international renown, awaits to become your personal muse.
Itinerary day 1
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
This fortress is the result of several reconstructions and extensions undertaken by Abd al-Rahman III and the Nasrid King Yusuf I. In the interpretation centre, located in the former gunpowder store, you can trace its history. Don’t forget to allow some time to enjoy the panoramic views of the bay of Málaga.
8:00 PM - 9:00 PM
The remodelled port of Málaga has two very attractive areas where you can go for a stroll, have something to eat and drink, and go shopping. Quay 1 and Quay 2, with the so-called Palmeral de las Sorpresas [Palm Grove of Surprises] are two areas where you can relax by the sea.
9:30 PM - 11:00 PM
This prestigious restaurant with a Michelin star is run by José Carlos García. This chef offers original dishes based on seasonal ingredients. Demand is high, so you will need to book in advance.
Itinerary day 2
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Calle Larios is Málaga’s most emblematic street, and it’s a good place to start familiarising yourself with the city. In this historic shopping thoroughfare (which opened in 1891) can be found all the big national and international brands. The street provided a link between the city and the port.
11:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Málaga’s Cathedral, known as ‘La Manquita’ [the One-armed Lady] stands on the site of a Moorish mosque. Its construction began in the sixteenth century at the request of the Catholic Monarchs. Funding ran out in 1782 and as a result, certain elements (including the South Tower) were never built. So that is how the Cathedral got its peculiar nickname.
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
The Buenavista palace, a sixteenth-century edifice, houses Málaga’s Picasso Museum.
Notice its exquisite lookout tower and its Mudéjar-style coffered ceilings before you begin to admire the collection of over 200 works by this city’s favourite son. In addition to the permanent collection comprising sculptures, prints, paintings, etc., the museum also hosts temporary exhibitions.
2:30 PM - 4:00 PM
This tapas bar is a classic and essential feature of any trip to Málaga. It was established in 1971 and is located in an eighteenth-century building. Step into this traditional bodega to enjoy some fried fish among the wooden casks. Browse through the inscriptions chalked on the casks.
4:30 PM - 5:30 PM
Located in the Palacio de Villalón, this museum has a permanent collection of over 200 works, and is considered the country’s most complete collection of nineteenth-century Andalusian paintings. Julio Romero de Torres and Eugenio Lucas Velázquez are just two of the artists whose works are exhibited here. Other museums of interest include the Picasso Museum, the Centro Pompidou Málaga, the Málaga Centre of Contemporary Art (CAC), and the Russian Museum.
6:00 PM - 6:30 PM
If your stroll happens to take you past the Bullring, pause for a moment to gaze at this monumental arena built in 1876. It is Neo-Mudéjar in style, and has an unusual, sixteen-sided shape. In August, the Bullring holds its most important event, the Feria Taurina (bullfighting festival). Inside the Bullring is the Museo Taurino [Museum of Bullfighting], which is open to the public.
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Thanks to its proximity to both the city and the port, this is one of the most popular beaches with the residents of Málaga. It is over a kilometre long and 45 metres wide. It provides every facility required by bathers: showers, hammock hire, floating platforms, beach bars—and, in summer, it even has a cinema.
9:30 PM - 11:00 PM
This restaurant, one of the city’s classic establishments, enjoys a central location. Its traditional décor is in perfect harmony with its menu, which gives prominence to Andalusian dishes and the finest market cuisine. You cannot go wrong if you order the salted fish, fried anchovies, oxtail, or Antoñita’s famous rice pudding.
11:30 PM - 1:30 AM
This establishment, midway between theatre and disco, is an essential stop-off on a Málaga night out, whether you’re seeing a show or having a few drinks.
Itinerary day 3
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
This fortified palace, built between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries on the hill of Gibralfaro, was where the Moorish rulers lived. Three rings of walls are discernible, together with the keep and three palaces. Take the time to wander through the archaeological exhibition hall and the gardens.
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
This theatre, along with the Alcazaba and the Gibralfaro Castle, is the finest archaeological complex in Málaga. Built during the time of Augustus I (first century BC), it remained in use until the third century AD. Consult the cultural programme to check whether your visit coincides with a performance here.
1:30 PM - 3:00 PM
The best thing to do in Málaga at lunchtime is to go for tapas, and it doesn’t require too much effort to seek them out. At the KGB Gastrobar, run by Kisko García, you can enjoy modern and “mysterious” tapas. The restaurant’s atmosphere and the names of the dishes are as appealing as the quality of the tapas.
3:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Housed in a former wholesale market, Málaga’s Centro de Arte Contemporáneo (CAC) has a superb collection of modern works by both Spanish and international artists. Canvases on display include those by Juan Muñoz, Tony Cragg and Signar Polke. Make sure to allow enough time to take in the temporary exhibitions.
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Although no-one is sure of how it got its name, this beach—which is just over a kilometre in length—is perfect for sunbathing, going for a dip or accessing the seafront promenade. It retains its traditional charm, with boats and fishermen still working from the beach.
7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
This square, also known as Plaza del Mercado [Market Square] or Plaza de Riego, is one of the most beautiful in Málaga. This is where Picasso would have played as a child, as it is very near the house where he was born. It has also been a meeting place for residents since the fifteenth century. In the centre of the square stands the eye-catching obelisk erected in honour of General Torrijos.
9:30 PM - 11:00 PM
The soul of this restaurant is Dani Carnero, a chef trained in the kitchens of a number of eminent chefs. Here at La Cosmopolita, he offers traditional Málaga dishes. In his kitchen he works with seasonal products, so you could dine here several times a year to try out his new menus.