From Tutus and Toronto to Tapas

Mouthwatering Morsels from Málaga, Andalucia, Spain

10 Reasons to visit Málaga

Calle Larios

1. Much of the historical centre of Málaga is pedestrianised and it is one of the easiest city centres in Spain in which to wander around. A maze of interesting streets and alleyways with all the interesting historical monuments within easy walking distance of each other. The majestic Calle Larios (shown above) is the real hub of the centre connecting two of Malaga’s emblematic Plazas – Plaza de la Marina (leading to the port) and Plaza de la Consitución.

2. Picasso Museum

Málaga is the birthplace of this extraordinary artist and it is only fitting that the city should possess a Museum that houses many of his works. As well as the permanent collection there are several temporary exhibitions throughout the year.

Opening Hours : Closed Mondays (except in July and August)

Tuesdays to Thursdays : to 8.00pm

Fridays and Saturdays : 10.00am to 9.00pm

Sundays and Public Holidays : 10.00am to 8.00 pm

Palacio de Benavista, Calle San Agustín, 8  29015 Málaga, Spain
Tel: (+34) 952 12 76 00

Museum Website :

3. Carmen Thyssen Museum

Named after the Baroness Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Málaga is indeed fortunate to have become the home to her personal collection housed outside the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid. Every city in Spain vied to become her second home and Málaga won!! There is a permanent collection of almost 230 works mainly of Spanish artists from the 19th Century and there is a deeply Andaluz feel to many of them.  Zurbaran and Sorolla are amongst the most well-known.

There are temporary exhibitions throughout the year and since the Museum’s inauguration we have seen Matisse, Monet, Breughel, Gauguin etc.

Opening Hours : Tuesdays to Sundays : 10am to 8pm. Closed on Mondays (except those falling on public holidays).

The Museum is closed on 25 December and 1 January.

Ticket desks open until an hour before closing time.

Plaza Carmen Thyssen (C/Compañía 10), 29008 Málaga

Museum Website :

You can buy tickets in advance online at

4. Port area and Muelle Uno

The latest addition to Málaga’s plethora of attractions. The Port area has undergone a complete reconstruction and is now a wonderful Promenade and delightful place to sit and take a drink overlooking the sea. Shops, bars and restaurants abound (although sadly the only real restaurant worth eating in is the highly priced José Carlos Garcia with its recently awarded Michelin Star). The Promenade in front of the Port is known as the “Palmeral de las Sopresas” and has an interesting architectural wave design. The part with the restaurants, bars and shops is called “Muelle Uno” and on sunny days and especially at weekends it is buzzing with locals and tourists alike. On Sundays there is a real “vibe” with market stalls and local bands playing for free.

5. The Cathedral

A unique and beautiful building that is visible from most of the city. What makes it unique is that it is unfinished and only one of its two towers was ever completed giving it the local name of “La Manquita” – “The One-Armed Lady”. Even though it is incomplete (and actually for us and the locals that is one of the attractions) it is an extraordinarily lovely building. Dating from the mid-16th Century (Diego de Sligoe was the original architect) when construction was started on the site of the old Málaga Mosque. It is a mix of styles and incorporates Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque influences from its lengthy period of construction. Magnificent inside too – highlights are the sculpture by Pedro de Mena, delightful hand-carved wooden choir stalls, a couple of organs and various works of religious art.

Opening Hours : Monday to Friday : 10am to 6pm.

Saturday : 10am to 5pm

Closed on Sundays (although one can of course go inside during Mass

The entry fee is currently 5,00 Euros

Calle Molino Lario 9. 29008 Málaga

6. The Roman Amphitheatre, Alcazaba and Gibralfaro

Málaga´s incredibly large Alcazaba was built between the 8th and 11th centuries on the site of a Roman town. It is one of the few places in the world (that we know of !) where you can see the two forms of Roman and Moorish architecture juxtaposed, with the Roman amphitheatre discovered in 1951 (but dating back to the 2nd Century B.C.), just outside the entrance to the Alcazaba below the rising walls. The remains of the roman walls can be seen, but the real attraction is the small Museo Arqueológico within the Alcazaba, housing collections of Phoenician Roman and Moorish artifacts including some very unique ceramics – hopefully it is a collection that will grow and grow as they continually find more artefacts as they dig up any street in the city! The palace was built in the 14th century by Muslims.  At the edge of the fortress is a castle, named “Castillo Gibralfaro”, connected to the Alzacaba by a passageway, which is now part of the Parador Chain of Hotels (sadly we don’t recommend staying there although perhaps a quick drink on the terrace at dusk is worth it for the views). There is an exhibition area with explaining the historical facts about the Castle (Open daily from 9am to 6pm for most of the year, but until 8pm in the Summer).

There are spectacular views over the old town, the port and the Málaga bullring from both the Alcazaba and the Castle.

The Roman Amphitheatre is becoming increasingly used for theatre and music performances on balmy summer nights which is fun.

The price for a combined ticket for the Alcazaba and Castle of the Gibralfaro is currently 3,45 Euros.

Opening Hours for the Alcazaba :  Summer times from 9.30 to 20.00 hours.
Winter times from  8:30 to 19:00 hours.
Closed: Mondays, 1 January, 28 February and 25 December.
(The change from Summer to Winter times and vice versa coincides with the official change of the summer and winter times.)

Calle Alcazabilla,  29015 Málaga

Opening times for the Roman Amphitheatre : Wednesday to Sunday from 10am to 2pm

Entrance to the amphitheatre is currently free of charge.

7. Plaza de Merced and Birthplace of Picasso

This is a “fun” part of the city on the northern edge of the historic pedestrianised centre (just follow Calle Granada from calle Larios and Plaza de la Constitución and you will get there). Home of the “Casa Natal” or birthplace of the great artist himself (with a lovely bronze of him seated in the square. You can visit the house and also the Picasso Foundation on the west side of the square – both small, but dedicated to Picasso and his works. The Northern edge of the square is a bustling place with bars and cafés, all of which have outside terraces and are popular with language students at night. In the centre of the square stands an obelisk as a memorial to lives lost in the War of Independence in 1831.

8. Mercado de Atarazanas (a fabulous indoor Food Market)

If you are a real foodie then this is an absolute “must visit”! Stuffed to the gunnels with all sorts of seasonal mouth-watering delights and packed with locals buying their daily food. Divided into three sections, vegetables, fish and seafood, and meat and delicatessens we feel sure you will find something to tempt you.

Housed in a wonderful old building that was renovated and re-opened in 2010. The old ship repair warehouse is now one of the leading food markets of Spain. Of special note (besides the food of course) is the wonderful stained glass window on the northern end of the building depicting most of Málaga’s historic monuments and historical figures.

Opening Hours from about 8am to about 2pm Mondays to Saturdays (No fresh fish on Mondays).

Calle San Vincente de Sevilla

Museum of Crystal and Glass_3833196_n

9. Museum of Crystal and Glass

An absolute gem in our opinion although a little off the beaten track on the northern side of the historic centre of Málaga (but still easily walkable from the Plaza de la Merced). It really is an incredible collection of glass and crystal from many ages, each age featured in a different room with corresponding period furniture and decoration. It ia veritable walk into the past. The stained glass, such as the example by William Morris (newly acquired by the Museum) are wonderful.

Tours are guided and last about 2 hours. We have always been fortunate enough to be guided around by one of the owners (it is privately owned and receives no public grants) and his passion and love for the house and museum is what makes the visit so unique. It is a place that one could visit time and time again as they have a permanent collection of 1000 pieces of glass and crystal but augment it with an ever revolving number of pieces that number 3000 in total.

The Museum website is

Opening Hours : Tuesday to Saturday from 11am to 7pm (for guided Tours only)

Plazuela Santisimo Christo de Sangre Nº 2

(Formerly called the Calle Gaeona Nº 20)

Tel: 952 221 949

Price currently 5,00 Euros per person with discounts for pensioners, children  under 12 or larger groups of 10 or more.

Tapas photos

10. Tapas

It would be a shame to not “Tapear” your way around Málaga whilst on a visit. Things have changed so much in recent years and the culinary delights of the city are perhaps the most rapidly changing thing of all. Not to say that we dismiss the old style “pescaito frito” or boquerones” (fried fish or marinated anchovies – in fact we love both!) but it has been a total pleasure to discover new and exciting Chefs setting up shop in the city and trying some stunning creative cuisine on the locals.

Our advice – try something you normally would not think of ordering – pig’s cheeks (carillada); blood sausage (morcilla); octopus (pulpo) – you may indeed be very pleasantly surprised. Order a bull’s tail mini-burger, a tortilla cooked in whisky, a truffle scented poached egg with grilled foie and wild mushroom sauce or a spring roll filled with prawns and crab served with sea urchin sauce – all fabulous we can promise. We have even had wild mushroom ice-cream (yes, you read that right!).

We are tapas fanatics of course and we are delighted to offer the best of Málaga Tapas on our Gourmet Tapas Tours in the City. These can be combined with flamenco, shopping, art and Picasso etc – we can even tailor make a tour specifically for your needs. Come and eat your way around Málaga with us!

Tapas Bars tend to be open from about 1.30pm to 4.30pm and then again from about 8.30pm until midnight.

12 comments on “10 Reasons to visit Málaga

  1. Matthew Hirtes
    January 4, 2013

    What a fantastic idea. Thanks for sharing. I just love Málaga. As you can see:

    • tapasinmalaga
      January 8, 2013

      Thank you Matthew – it is difficult not to love such a beautiful and interesting city! (24 hours does not do it justice!!)

  2. tapasinmalaga
    January 5, 2013

    It is an incredible city Matthew and we are immensely proud to call it our home. What is more amazing is that it gets better and better on a yearly basis – that is rare in the current economic climate!

  3. tamaraessex
    January 7, 2013

    Excellent blog Michael – you are the fount of all knowledge relating to Malaga! For that reason I’ve nominated you for the One Lovely Blog award 🙂 See for details.

    • tapasinmalaga
      January 8, 2013

      Blush Tamara! It is fantastic that Laura and I are becoming known as THE Málaga exoperts!!

  4. Emma McVittie
    January 8, 2013

    Excellent blog Michael! Useful information including opening times which is REALLY helpful!!!

    • tapasinmalaga
      January 8, 2013

      Thank you Emma – we will do our best to keep the updated as time goes on!!

  5. Rob
    January 8, 2013

    Great stuff thank you Michael, we have only really discovered Malaga over the past two years but love it and shout it from the rooftops whenever we can, a really great underestimated city

  6. Rod Younger
    January 10, 2013

    Great article – will be in Malaga next week to see Codex Calixtinus exhibition so will try some tapas too!

    Of course Books4Spain has a great selection of books about Malaga, Picasso, Tapas etc. including Footprints Malaga Focus Guide for only £3.49 plus free shipping:

    • tapasinmalaga
      January 10, 2013

      Am looking forward to the Codex Exhibition too Rod. Good to see you have books about Málaga (most are about Málaga Province and not the City which normally only gets a few pages and merits more!)

      • Rod Younger
        January 10, 2013

        Hi Michael, if you know of any books on Malaga in English we should be listing let me know – must be available via UK wholesaler/distributor.

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