Cultural Sites of Malaga City

Malaga Cathedral
Malaga Cathedral

The map and key to facilities below are a guide to just some of the myriads of Malaga Citys cultural sites. This magnificent city is easy to explore on foot. For those living and holidaying on the Costa del Sol, who have yet to explore the ancient and modern magic of Malaga City, our hot tip is to drive to the port area and park in the underground car park opposite. From here it’s just a short stroll to the pedestrian shopping centre, Roman Theatre, Arab fortresses, Picasso’s birthplace and museums, the Cathedral, port Muello Uno leisure area, beaches, numerous wonderful bars and restaurants with multi-national cuisines, theatres, parks, bull ring and lots more. Once in town, to venture a little further, or uphill to the fortress of Gibralfaro, take a taxi (very cheap), bus or horse-drawn carriage.

Ancient Malaga

Malaga is an ancient city of Phoenician origin around 1100 BC. Malaga later acquired great importance in the Greek and Roman eras as a commercial and fishing city. Later still, the Arab occupation left an attractive and interesting urban structure with a historical city centre containing a labyrinth of narrow streets enclosed by a city wall.

  • 1) The Arab Fortress of Gibralfaro with its spectacular panoramic views over Malaga City. From here you can walk down a good quality path to the city below – there are excellent views over the city and sea and keen photographers shouldn;t miss the opportunity to visit at night to capture the city lit up.
  • 2) The entrance to the Alcazaba Palace is at the bottom of the path leading from the Gibralfaro which is also right in the centre of the city.
  • 3) Leave the Alcazaba and turn right to view the Roman Amphitheater. There is a large public space opposite and there is often music or something else of interest going on here. It is also lined with lots of bars and restaurants including the iconic Pimipi’s so you grab a seat and a drink and take int eh spectacular view of the amphitheatre and Palace walls.

Picasso’s Malaga

Malaga City was the birthplace of one of the great geniuses of the 20th century. The influence of Pablo Ruiz Picasso pervades the city which you can visit.

  • 1) The house Picasso was born in in Plaza de la Merced, home to the Picasso Foundation.
  • 2) The Picasso Museum, known as the Family Museum since the efforts of two of his heirs were crucial to its creation. 155 of the exhibits were donated by these two family members (including oil paintings, sculptures, engravings, sketches and ceramics). This museum covers all of Picasso´s styles and periods and boasts an area of more than 8,000m2 located in the heart of Malaga´s Jewish quarter, centred around the main 16th century building of Buenavista Palace.
  • 3) The Santiago Church in Calle Granada where Picasso was christened. His parents and paternal grandparents were married here and his two sisters, Dolores and Concepcion, were also christened here.
  • 4) The Colegio de San Rafael, the private school where Picasso attended from 6 years old.
  • 5) La Malagueta Bullring which provided the young artist with one of the most common subjects of his early sketches and oil paintings and played a role in Picasso´s subsequent fascination with the world of bullfighting. Works such as The Yellow Picador (1889) and drawings of bullfighting scenes were inspired by this period in his life.

Malaga´s Art Galleries & Museums

Across the length and breadth of Malaga Province, a wealth of Art and Cultural Centres are available to supplement and complement the traditional 4S´s holidays. Most shut on Mondays and they are often free on Sunday afternoon/evenings. Below we have listed the most significant museums individually with map points. However, walk around Malaga and it seems like every third building houses a Museum of some kind or another. We haven’t mentioned the museums housed in the Cathedral, Fort or Moorish Palace for example. In addition, there are some special interest museums like the one devoted to Doll’s Houses, the wine museum and the flamenco museum to name a few.

  • 1) The Museum of Contemporary Arts. More than 400 permanent exhibitions of contemporary, avant-garde works including paintings, sculptures and photographs from the 19th century. Some of the most important figures in the world of contemporary art have and do display their work here. One of the most visited museums in Europe!
  • 2) Museum of Popular Arts, Traditions and Costumes. Opened in 1976 in the heart of Malaga City, this museum houses a collection of ethnographical exhibits that depict the evolution of civilisation in Malaga Province.
  • 3) Malaga Interactive Music Museum (MIMMA). One of the finest exhibitions of this type anywhere in Europe. With more than 300 musical instruments spanning all eras, cultures and civilisations. What makes this centre VERY special is the ability to interact with most of the exhibits on show. It’s fantastic for kids.
  • National Airport and Air Transport Museum. Housed inside and out of Malaga´s 1948 airport terminal, this venue has more than 3,000m2 home to items from all of Spain´s airports, centred on air travel, its history and evolution. An unusual, eye-catching exhibition which features full-scale aircraft and a retrospective look at the history of aeronautics.
  • Science Centre, Avenida Luis Bunuel 6, Malaga City (Tel +3 952 070 481). Science and technology are the absolute stars of this show! Vistors can carry out experiments in laboratories and take an in-depth look at the Solar System in the Planetarium.
  • 4) The Museum of Malaga. This is a museum of archaeology and fine arts which are homed in the beautiful Palacio de la Aduana.
  • 5) Carmen Thyssen Museum. The main focus of the museum is 19th-century Spanish painting, predominantly Andalusian, based on the collection of Carmen Cervera, third wife of Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza.
  • 6) The automobile and fashion Museum. This place always gets great reviews from all ages.
  • 7) The Pompidou Centre. Malaga houses this Paris Institutions only other centre int eh world. The museum is located in the redeveloped city port and houses permanent and temporary contemporary art exhibitions. Check out their website as they often host a range of interactive and educational events.
  • 8) Glass and Crystal Museum. I almost hear you grown – a museum of glass, boring!! However, this is one of the consistently highest rated museums in Malaga so don’t discount it. It is a private collection of more than 3.000 pieces of glass of different epochs, accompanied by pictures, furniture, and decorative objects in a setting that corresponds to each historical period represented, immersing us in an environment close to the domestic context of the era. The interesting hosts also help make this a fun visit.
  • 9) Maritime and Sea Life Museum (Museo Alborania).

Malaga´s Churches and Cathedral

The City of Malaga has an ecclesiastical heritage spanning centuries of architectural styles as many are built from or on Arabic predecessors. We note just some that you will spot when wandering around the back streets and shopping centre.

  • 1) The Cathedral. Located in the historical and artistic centre within the confines of the Arabic wall that once stood here. It also has its own gardens, orangery and museum. Malaga´s cathedral is known locally as La Manquita (old one-armed) alluding to the fact that one of its towers is missing. There are plans to try to raise the funding to complete the second tower and it has also been suggested that the AC hotel between teh cathedral and sea front should be demolished to open up space around this beautiful building.
  • 2) Iglesia de los Martires (1500-1800), next to a square with the same name. The church owes its name to the wishes of the Catholic Monarchs, recognising the worship of two local martyrs, St Ciriaco and St Paula. The building is a fine example of Andalucian Baroque.
  • 3) Iglesia San Felipe Neri (1700), Calle Cabello 20. This church was erected on the same site as a former chapel built by the Count of Buenvista.
  • 4) Iglesia de San Pablo, Calle Trinidad 35.
  • 5) Iglesia de Santiago (1500-1700), Calle Granada. One of Malaga´s oldest churches, with a Mudejar tower and built on the site of a former mosque. The font in which Pablo Picasso was christened is preserved.
  • 6) Iglesia de San Juan, Calle San Juan 3. This is a beautiful and recently cleaned church with an ornate lacework frontage.
  • 7) Iglesia del Sagrario, Calle Santa Maria 22.
  • 8) Iglesia San Agustin (1600), Calle San Agustin 7. Part of the former San Agustin Convent. The highlights of the interior are its alternating arches and fluted Corinthian pilasters.
  • 9) Iglesia Santo Domingo, Calle Cerrojo 1.
  • 10) Iglesia del Santo Cristo de la Salud (1600), Calle Compania 4. A fine example of Spanish Mannerist architecture and Malaga Baroque.
  • 11) Santuario de la Victoria (1500-1700), Calle Plaza del Santuario (tel +34 952 252 647). Inside there is an exquisite crypt which houses the tomb of the Count and Countess of Buenavista. It’s a bit off the beaten track but it is a stunning building with a highly ornate dome, interesting crypt and museum.
  • 12) Abadia de Santa Ana (1600), Calle Cister / Pasaje de Santa Ana (tel +34 952 216 971). The Santa Ana Abbey houses a religious art museum.
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