Park at the underground marina car park under the port both marked on the map. Cross the road and enter the port through the gateway (1). In front is the Port Authority Building built in the early 1930s. Turn left and walk parallel to the Paseo de los Curas with the inner basin of the port on the right. You will see the dry dock and car ferry terminal, serving the Spanish enclave of Melilla in Morocco from where, on the 17th July 1936, an army uprising led by General Franco was the starting point of the Spanish Civil War. As you walk along the broad pedestrian path that rings the port you will pass various gardens and children’s play areas on your left as well a few nice bars. The Sea Aquarium Museum is also located in here (2).
At the end of the inner port, you will find the Pompidou art gallery (3) and the Muello Uno shopping centre (4) starts. On the corner of the marina, there are several boat trips and bike or Segway hire points. Turn right along the Paseo de la Farola past lots of shops and restaurants on one side and moored boats on the other. At the end of the road is the to the Lighthouse (5) and the cruise ship dock (6).
Look back inland and spot some of Malaga´s cultural landmarks:
- Noria Malaga (Feris Wheel) – Just by the port entrance there is a large white Ferris wheel which gives you wonderful views of the city.
- La Equitativa Building – a tall building with a spike on top that stands at the bottom of Malaga´s main shopping street, the elegant Calle Marques de Larios. The building occupies the site of the former Casa Larios whose owner was an important patron of the city.
- The Cathedral de la Encarnacion – Malaga´s cathedral, famous for its single tower.
- The Alcazaba – a fortified Moorish palace on the lower slopes of the Monte de Malaga, the hill which rises steeply above the eastern edge of the city.
- The Castillo del Gibralfaro – a fortified Moorish stronghold on top of the Monte de Malaga.
Walk back along the top of the Paseo de la Farola above the shops. There is another large pedestrian area with gardens and some great play activities for kids. On the way, you pass a couple of attractive 19th-century buildings, the College of Advocates and the Office of the Naval Commander. At the end you arrive at a large roundabout dominated by a magnificent rubber tree. On the left of this are three linked pedestrian crossings which take you to the Paseo del Parque that runs parallel to the port.
The park that the paseo takes us along was conceived as a botanical garden, and created in 1897, from land that had recently been reclaimed from the sea. There is an option of routes through the park but the one to the right affords better views of several interesting buildings. In sequence, you pass on the right the Three Graces Fountain (7) the work of French sculptor Alphonse Durenne, the formal Gardens of Pedro Luis Alonso (8), Malaga Town Hall (9) which is an elaborately decorated vanilla and grey neo-baroque building from 1919 and the Banco de Espana – a neo-classical building with a columned portico resembling a Greco-Roman temple, built from 1933 to 1936.
After passing the Banco de Espana, take the pedestrian crossing to the right and cross to the building with a blue tiled roof. Known as the Rector´s House this building houses the administrative offices of Malaga University. Built in 1923 it was originally a post office and has letter box motifs displayed on some of its walls. Walk up the steps and go inside, turn immediately to the right and down a flight of stairs. At the bottom of the stairs, preserved in situ, is a part of the city wall maintained from pre-Moorish times through to the end of the 15th century. Return to the ground floor and on your right in the centre of the entrance hall, again preserved in situ, are remains of a Roman fish-salting factory.
Exit the Rector´s House, cross back over one pedestrian crossing, and turn right. Walking along you will see to the right, nestling in the shade of another giant rubber tree, the Casita del Jardinero. Built in 1908, this was formerly the home of the park´s head gardener.
The next building is the Aduana (10), completed in 1829 the old customs building is now the Municipal Museum of Malaga. Until the land was reclaimed in the late 19th century, the quayside ran alongside this building. Just after the Aduana take the pedestrian crossing on the left, cross back to the Paseo del Parque and walk to the right. Shortly afterwards on the left is a children´s playground with a bronze statue of a donkey. Just before the end of the Paseo del Parque, take the pedestrian crossing to the right (towards the Malaga Palacio Hotel) and then the crossing to the left, arriving at the Plaza de la Marina (the carpark is housed below) and the main tourist information office of the city (11). There is a seated bronze statue of Hans Christian Andersen by Jose Maria Cordoba which was a gift from the Danish royal family in 2005 to commemorate Andersen´s visit to Malaga in 1862. If you enter the underground car park afew metres to the left or right reveals some remnants of the old city wall, part of the facade of an old Moorish tower and part of the old port quayside from the 17th century. These were all revealed when the carpark was built in 1988.
Return to the plaza and take the pedestrian crossing towards the city. Look to the left and you will see a roundabout with a statue depicting Manuel Domingo Larios, 2nd Marques de Larios. The Larios family originally came from the Rioja region of Spain where they bred cattle. After arriving in Malaga in the early 19th century, they developed successful businesses processing sugar cane, and in the tobacco and textile industries. The product with which their name is now most closely associated is Larios Gin, dating from the 1930s.
The statue of Manuel Domingo Larios, made from bronze on a marble pedestal, dates from 1899. Larios was instrumental in securing the development of the Calle Marques de Larios, Malaga´s finest shopping street, which runs immediately north from the statue. Larios is depicted on a grand pedestal flanked by a man with a pickaxe and shovel, representing labour, and a half-naked woman offering a child, representing the gratitude of the city.
You are now at the junction between the Alameda Principal, an avenue of mature shady Plane and Rubber trees, and the Calle Marques de Larios, a wide pedestrian avenue of shops. Resisting retail temptation, take the Alameda and walk along its right-hand side noting the ornate street lamps. At the end of the first block, there is a narrow alleyway to the right which is home to a row of simple but popular fish restaurants. The Alameda was developed by Lopez Mercader following reclamation from the sea in 1783. In the 19th century, it was known as the Salon de Bilbao. There was a central pedestrian walkway containing many sculptures and fountains and carriageways either side. It was bounded at the eastern end by Casa Larios and there was no bridge across the river at the far western end. The central walkway was opened to traffic in 1925.
Continuing along the Alameda, at the next junction is a view of an elaborate doorway to the Edificio Edipsa. Carry on to an alley on the right, the Calle Pastora and on the corner ahead are some old wooden doors to the Casa del Guardia, the former police gaol. Serving wine from barrels since 1840, the Casa de Guardia is said to be the oldest bar in the city. Order drinks by pointing to any of the barrels and a record of what you drink will be chalked on the wooden counter in front of you.
After popping in for a drink or a browse, continue along the Alameda noting the colourful flower stalls on the central reservation to the left. Carry on to a bridge spanning the Rio Guadalmedina which is more of a storm overflow at this point. Just beyond the far end of the bridge is El Corte Ingles (12), Spain´s leading department store.
Instead of crossing the river, take the pedestrian crossing across the road towards the interesting BBVA building with its unusual shutters. Following the line of the river, heading seawards, after a couple of hundred metres is a white-walled building declaring itself the CAC Malaga (13) which is a Contemporary Art Centre. Formerly a market, the Mercado Mayor, it now houses both permanent and temporary, thought-provoking and fun. Exit the CAC and turn left towards the “river” and at the river, turn left again. Following the line of the river with the CAC to the left, note the former market loading bays. Pass under a row of shady trees and watch birds skim the water. Just before the next river bridge, take the pedestrian crossing to the left and then the crossing across the main road ahead. After a few metres cross the road and continue right along the Avenida de Manuel Agustin Heredia – another of Malaga´s principal industrial benefactors. Ahead, in the middle of the avenue, is a bronze statue of Manuel Agustin Heredia.
Continuing on, you pass a modern 18-storey apartment block with ornametal concrete balconies, then a row of shady cafes. Shortly after these, on the left, is a small but charming formal public garden. On leaving the garden, take the pedestrian crossing ahead and then take a left turn towards a Barclays Bank. Walk along, under a row of trees and, at the end of the block, turn left along the south side of the Alameda.
Pass the numerous bus stops and notice the attractive wrought-iron ornamenting the lottery sellers´ kiosks. Watch out on the left for the doorway of the Archivo Municipal (14). Take a glimpse inside this building which dates from 1792 and usually houses public exhibitions of paintings. On exiting, turn to the left and take the first pedestrian crossing (actually three linked crossings) back across to the north side of the Alameda.
At the end of the crossings follow signs straight ahead for the Mercado de Atarazanas (15). The arched stone doorway to the Atarazanas Market dates back to the 14th century and was built during Moorish rule. Except for the archway, the building was demolished in 1868 and the current iron structure was built in 1879 (and renovated from 2008 to 2010). In previous eras, the building has been used as a military arsenal and as a workshop for boat building and rope making. In the late 1700s, it housed an Artillery Barracks and a College of Surgeons and was used as a hospital during epidemics. From 1879 it was Malaga´s main fruit, vegetable, meat and fish market. Cross over to the market and walk around it to the right. Turn right onto Calle Sagasta and note the decorative and unusual Angules de Aquinada building. On the left, as you walk down Calle Sagasta, is the Baroque-style former Felix Saenz department store now converted to apartments. Pass this building and arrive at the Plaza de Felix Saenz (16). Both the store and the plaza were named after the founder Felix Saenz Calvo who, like Heredia and Larios, made his fortune in Malaga after moving here from La Rioja.
Turn left in the direction of the distant white brick towered church, the Iglesia de San Juan (17). En-route to the church, pass by a very old-fronted farmacia on the left, the Farmacia Bonficio Gomez. Pass the Iglesia de San Juan on the right, follow the narrow alley, and turn left at the next junction along Calle Cisneros which houses several shops selling flamenco dresses and costumes.
At the end of Calle Cisneros there is another bridge over the river. Stand on the bridge and look downstream. Despite a misleading local sign, the next bridge down is the Puente de Los Alemanas. The Puente de los Alemanas is an iron bridge that replaced an earlier one washed away by floods in 1907. The new bridge was financed by the German government in gratitude for the heroism of the people of Malaga in saving German lives when the frigate Gneisenau became shipwrecked at the mouth of Malaga harbour in 1900.
Instead of crossing the bridge, turn left before it and look out for an exquisite small, old building the Museo Artes y Costumbres Populares (18), housed in the Meson de la Victoria built by monks in 1632. Exit the museum and turn left. After just a few metres, turn left again down Plaza Ariola. At the end of this street is the rear of the Atarazanas Market with a magnificent stained glass window depicting Malaga as viewed by ships arriving in the port. As you walk towards the market, don´t miss the extravagant balconies on the left. When you reach the market, turn left. After a few metres take Calle Herrera de Rey and walk alongside the Cafe Casa Aranda, a city institution where Malaguenos go for churros con chocolate.
At the end of Calle Herreria de Rey, walk across the small square and join Calle Alercon Lujan. Follow this until it connects with Calle Marques de Larios. Turn left and continue to the Plaza de la Constitucion (19). Walk diagonally across the square to the Genoa Fountain, a fine example of Italian Renaissance design decorated with aquatic motifs, nymphs, children and dolphins. Continue diagonally across the square into the narrow Calle Compania. The building at the junction between Calle Compania and the Plaza de la Constitucion is the Sociedad Economica de Amigos del Pais. Built in 1785 it was once the office of the maritime consul and later a Jesuit school.
Proceeding along Calle Compania, on the right after a few metres, is the Museo Carmen Thyssen Museo (20). If you turn down the little alley on teh right of the museum onto Calle Martires you pass a number of interesting shops and the new plush Hammam Baths (21). Return to the Plaza de la Constitucion to ‘Cafe Central’ directly opposite. On the walls inside are a large number of old photographs of the square. On exiting back into the square, turn left and after a couple of metres turn left again to leave the Plaza through an arched entrance to a former convent, into the Pasaje Chinitas. Turn down the first narrow alley on the left and go straight over the next intersection of alleys.
Continue to an intersection, the Plaza del Carbon (22). Take the pedestrianised road to the right, Calle Granada, and follow this road which is one of the oldest in Malaga and formed part of the route that Ferdinand and Isabela entered the city at reconquest. There are lots of interesting shops and bars along this stretch including the back entrance to the ever expanding Pimpi’s. Along the road you come across the Iglesia Santiago (23) which is built on the site of a former mosque. This is one of Malaga´s oldest churches and it is also where Pablo Picasso was christened on 10th November 1881. If you take the road on the right here, Calle Tomas de Cozar, you reach the Banos Arabes (24). If you continue along Calle Granada just ahead you will see Plaza Merced (25).
From excavations on the Plaza Merced, it appears to once have been the site of a huge Roman amphitheatre. In 1489 Plaza Merced was just outside of the city walls and, by Royal Decree, was declared a tax free market. Three convents were built around the square, two of which were short-sightedly demolished in 1899 and the early 1900s to make way for more modern buildings. The side of the square you have just joined follows the northern edge of the walls around the old Muslim city. For much of the 19th century, it was known as Plaza Riego after a liberal revolutionary who led a military uprising in Cadiz in 1820. Plaza Merced was landscaped to its present form in the 1700s and most of the current-day buildings emerged in the mid to late 1800s. In the centre of the square is an obelisk known as Torrijos Obelisk. Along with fifty of his supporters, General Torrijos was shot on 11th December 1831 on San Andres beach to the western side of the port, following an unsuccessful uprising against the despotic King Ferdinand VII.
On entering Plaza Merced, turn left along the south side of the square and continue into Calle Alamos. A few metres along, on the left at number 32, is the Doll´s House Museum (26, Museo de Munecas), housed in a restored 18th-century Baroque building with over 50 items dating back to 1850. Further along Calle Alamos, on the right at number 7, is the Museo de Reales Oficios housed in the 18th century Palacio de los Marques de Cropani. This is worth a visit if only to enjoy the beautifully restored interior. From here, retrace your steps along Calle Alamos for a few metres before turning left into Calle Carcer which takes you to the Teatro Cervantes (27), dating from 1870. Pass the Teatro on your left and visit the Mercado La Merced. After exploring the market continue along Calle Carcer away from the theatre back to Plaza Merced. Immediately ahead is the Picasso Birthplace Museum (28), where Picasso was born on 25th October 1881, currently housing art galleries. On exiting the Picasso Birthplace Museum, walk diagonally across the Plaza Merced. Looking to your right, above number 14, you will see a tiled mural depicting the former Convent de la Merced. At number 14 there is free entrance to a small art gallery run by the Picasso Foundation. It is also worth noting the fine upper window casings at number 12 and the undulating roof and guttering of numbers 9 and 10.
Passing the Torrijos Obelisk, continue diagonally across Plaza Merced towards the old Pharmacia, Bustamente Farmacia, established in 1739. At the end of the crossing, turn left and walk in the direction of the tunnel under Monte de Malaga. Before reaching the tunnel, turn first right along Calle Alcazabilla. In front, on the left, note the ornate built in 1945. Just before reaching the cinema, turn right into Calle Santiago and turn left at the end. After another few metres turn left again into Calle San Agustin, and on your left is the Picasso Museum, housed in the Palacio de Buenavista (29) which is a magnificent 16th-century Renaissance-style building.
There is an additional Archaeological Museum in the basement of the Palacio de Buenavista where some of the earliest Phoenician city foundations can be seen in situ. On exiting the museum, turn left and you´ll see the Iglesia San Agustin. Continue on and you´ll see the Iglesia del Sagrario in Calle Santa Maria and Malaga´s magnificent Cathedral de la Encarnacion (30), built over Malaga City´s main Aljama Mosque which itself was built on the site of a former Christian basilica. If visiting the cathedral, allow some time for inside plus the gardens.
Opposite the cathedral´s western side, you can enter the Plaza del Obispo, with an ornate fountain from 1785, and the Palacio Episcopal which are great vantage points to admire and photograph the cathedral´s massive western frontage. The Palacio Episcopal dates from 1800 and is interesting to look inside.
Continue to walk around the cathedral noting the southern and eastern sides are less ornate until, on the far side, beside some formal gardens you see the Cafe Restaurant El Jardin with an elegant interior. After passing the cafe, turn to the right along Calle Cister, passing the Abadia de Santa Ana (31), circa 1600, housing a small drawings and portraits museum. Continue to the end of Calle Cister, then bear slightly to the the left and walk up a short stone-stepped slope to where the Roman Theatre (32) can be viewed and the entrance to the Moorish Palace The Alcazaba.
On leaving the Alcazaba, turn sharp left up a one-way street, the Paseo de Juan Temboury. This soon bends to the left where you then take a fork to the left and walk uphill along the foot of the Alcazaba walls. At the end of the wall you see a flight of steps. Take these steps which lead to a sloping path that zigs left then zags right before crossing to another six steps and a further sloping path. This leads you to the Castillo del Gibralfaro (33) up a steep path rewarded by spectacular views of the city, the port and the sea. Near the top the path forks. You can take either route as both end at the Gibralfaro carpark. Turn left within the carpark and visit the Castillo de Gibralfaro.
On leaving the Gibralfaro, turn to the left and walk down the tree-lined road. After a couple of hundred metres a driveway on the right leads to the Parador de Malaga Gibralfaro built in 1928. Take a look at the Parador or continue to walk downhill where soon you will see a turn to the left marked Al Tunnel and Puerto Oscura. Take this quiet and shady road through pine and eucalyptus trees and follow for about fifteen minutes to the rear of the Gibralfaro and Alcazaba.
At the bottom of this road go through the tunnel ahead and take the flight of steps immediately ahead leading to the Jardines del Puerto Oscura (34). Take one of the varied routes, and take a crossing, leading down to the formal Gardens of Pedro Luis Alonso (6) to the left of the Town Hall. Walk left through these gardens and across the road at the far end you will see a glass and metal building which is the Museo del Patrimonio Municipal (35) which contains Paintings, sculptures and graphic works.
With you back to the Museo del Patrimonio Municipal turn left down Paseo Reding and cross over to the tree lined side. After a hundred meters you will see the Bullring (36) to your right which you can visit. Continue along Paseo Reding for a couple of hundred meters and you come across the English Cemetery on the left which is also a botanic garden and can be visited.
At the cemetery entrance cross the road and onto Calle Sta’ Cristina. You will walk along the newly restored Gran Miramar hotel (37). At the end of the road cross over to the beach and admire the front of the hotel. Walk with the sea to your left back towards the city centre along the wide path. The sandy Malaga beach is to your left and you stop at a beach side chiringuito or play on the sand. The path ends at the port lighthouse (5) from where you can make your way back to your starting point.