A city that I didn’t think I would visit anytime soon, Malaga still managed to surprise me. My friend and I met up in Faro, continued on to Sevilla and Cordoba before finally arriving in Malaga. We were flying back home to Croatia together and that was the only reason why we ended up there. We spent two days in Malaga and I have to admit that it pleasantly surprised me!

woman enjoying a view of malaga from gibralfaro castle
gorgeous art nouveau building in malaga

Now, I am someone who never goes on vacation by the seaside. And I guess that was partially why I never gave Malaga a second thought. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t have much of an opinion on it. So I went into it with an open heart. And the old town delighted me with its distinctive architecture!

If the forecast had been better, we might have gone to the beach. Playa de la Malagueta is the closest city beach and a popular destination. As it was, we decided to skip out on it. And the overcast weather was perfect for endless strolls through the city. That’s your best bet when in Malaga, aimlessly wandering down its streets, marveling at the architecture.

Gorgeous examples of Art Nouveau buildings interspersed with Moorish-influenced architecture. In short, my favorite new architectural combination! There were times when it felt like I wasn’t in Spain anymore. I must admit, I didn’t expect to find any Art Nouveau in Malaga of all places. Some of these edifices still linger in my mind months after the trip.

Gibralfaro Castle & Alcazaba of Malaga

There are a few places you must visit when in Malaga and one of them is the Gibralfaro castle. These beautiful ruins of a Moorish castle rise over the city on a hilltop. The best views of the city are right here. Definitely the best location to witness a beautiful sunset in Malaga! You can get the €5,50 ticket which grants you access to both the castle and the Alcazaba of Malaga.

woman looking at malaga from a viewpoint
view of malaga from gibralfaro castle

The two are connected by a walled corridor which makes for a lovely walk. The Alcazaba is a fortification with an upper and lower citadel. It dates back to the 11th century when the Moors built it to defend the city. We made sure to explore the many courtyards, fountains, and gardens of this enchanting citadel!

Another famous landmark that you have to visit is the Malaga cathedral. An architectural marvel, its Baroque facade is as impressive as its Renaissance interior. The ornate decorations reminiscent of filigree meant I couldn’t stop looking up. I grabbed an audio guide in French and meandered under the vaulted ceiling of the cathedral. The entrance ticket is €8 and it includes the guide. You can also climb up to the cathedral roof for another stunning view of Malaga!

cathedral of malaga

Where to eat, Madeinterranea

On our first evening in Malaga, we had dinner at Madeinterranea. Unintentionally, that outing turned into an absolute feast of seafood tapas. Situated on a bustling street with live music, we sat there for almost 4 hours. Re-ordering our favorite dishes and prolonging our time on the terrace just to soak up the atmosphere. It was one of those long warm summer evenings spent with great friends eating delicious food, evenings you’ll always fondly remember.

malaga at night

Aside from that restaurant, I would recommend Brunchit and the bakery 25 Degrés. We had lunch at Brunchit upon arriving in Malaga and we both loved this busy brunch place. If we’re talking smoothie bowls, this was the best one I had tried in Spain! The bakery 25 Degrés was where we had a late breakfast on our last morning in Malaga. The hardest thing was limiting myself to only two pastries!

Another interesting place we visited was Museo de Malaga, a museum of fine arts and archeology. The entrance is free if you’re a citizen of any EU country, whereas it’s €1,50 for everyone else. They have wonderful pieces and the museum’s inner courtyard is a stunner of its own!

On our last day in Malaga, I woke up before the sun and explored every inch of the old town. I didn’t want to miss a single interesting street. I’ll never forget that 10km walk, watching the sun rise over the city. I revisited some places I saw the previous day and discovered many new ones. That solitary walk made me see the city in a different light, and not just literally. I wandered through a labyrinth of colorful buildings and narrow streets.

All in all, Malaga was a lovely ending to our trip. I went in with low expectations and was rewarded with so much beauty. Some of my favorite Art Nouveau buildings in Spain are actually in Malaga! On the whole, I would recommend visiting it, even if we disregard the beaches which usually attract people. Whether it’s quiet at sunrise or buzzing with joyful crowds in the evening, there’s something in Malaga for everyone.

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