If you’re a history buff, there is no shortage of things to do in the 3,000-year-old city of Màlaga. Check out these nine awesome excursions to add to your must-do list.
1. Explore the Highlights of Màlaga
Derived from the Arabic word “al-qasbah,” meaning “the citadel,” Alcazaba was originally built in the eighth century as a fortress. It was later refurbished in the 11th century as a palace for a string of Moorish rulers. A visit to Alcazaba includes a tour that features numerous buildings and outdoor spaces.
Along this fascinating, fact-filled tour, you’ll see massive Roman columns holding up Moorish-inspired arches and an armory tower with a carved, wooden ceiling and slits built into the stone for shooting intruders with arrows. You’ll also see peaceful, outdoor spaces featuring private courtyards, lush gardens and waterfront views.
Just down the hill from Alcazaba stands Màlaga’s Roman Theater. Considered to have been built in the 1st century, this is the oldest landmark in Alcazaba and one of the only Roman ruins remaining in Andalucía region.
Today, the theater is open to the public and offers a stunning backdrop for summer concerts and other performances. Next door, at the small interpretive center, you can learn about the theater’s interesting history and even see a few artifacts.
2. Fill up on Tapas and History
Just a short bus ride from the port is the Historical District of Màlaga – where architecture from the 17th and 18th centuries intersect. Churches, convents and palaces represent a lasting legacy to the area and provide insight into the history of Màlaga.
You’ll walk down Larios Street, the bustling heart of the city, and end at Plaza de la Constitución. From here, visit the Museum of Popular Arts and Customs, where 19th century culture and artifacts are preserved on display.
From here, a brisk 15-minute walk will lead you to your first restaurant, El Pimpi, for light tapas and a beer or wine of your choice. Expand your flavor palate at Taberna Beatas, the next stop for local cuisine such as tortilla de patatas (Spanish omelette) or brocheta con tomate (tomato bruschetta).
3. Enjoy the View from the Castillo de Gibralfaro
If you want to take in stunning, panoramic views of the city, head up the hill from Alcazaba and discover the Castillo de Gibralfaro. This fortress was built in the 10th century on the foundation of a Phoenician lighthouse. You can walk all the way around the well-restored ramparts of the castle and stop in to visit the military museum located onsite if desired.
If you need to refuel, a small café on the property sells pizza and beverages.
4. See Pablo Picasso’s Birthplace
If you’re an art lover, you might enjoy a visit to the birthplace of Pablo Picasso. This important 20th-century painter was born in Màlaga at number 15 Plaza de la Merced in 1881. Additionally, you can go on the Màlaga Sights & Picasso excursion that takes you on a tour of Picasso’s life.
You’ll hear fascinating stories about Picasso’s life as a child, see family mementos, many of Picasso’s works as well as 3,500 works from other contemporary artists. You’ll also see the research library with an archive of material dedicated to Picasso.
These excursions just begin to scratch the surface of Picasso’s influence in Màlaga. You can also explore Màlaga at your own pace, immersing yourself in the rich culture of the city, which pays tribute to the famous painter.
5. Make a Trip to the Hill-Top Town of Mijas
Roughly a 40-minute drive southwest of Màlaga, along the magnificent Costa del Sol, the hilltop village of Mijas offers hours of fun and entertainment. While exploring the narrow cobblestone streets in this charming, whitewashed village, you can enjoy spectacular views of the Mediterranean below. While you’re in Mijas, stop for a bite to eat at a sidewalk café and shop for colorful, locally-made pottery.
6. Visit an Olive Oil Farm
To have a truly authentic European experience, you can take a shore excursion to visit an olive oil farm and mill. While touring, you’ll see olives are collected and processed to create olive oil and even sample chunks of toasted homemade bread dipped in the “liquid gold.”
7. Watch a Flamenco Show
If you’re looking for a shore excursion that exemplifies Spanish culture, attend a flamenco show. Flamenco is a dance that features drum-like footwork, hand-clapping, flamboyant gestures and body movements. It is a dance that always offers a passion-filled and exciting performance. In fact, Flamenco is so steeped in Spanish culture that UNESCO decided to include it on its list of world heritages worth preserving.
8. Kayak through the Maro-Cerro Gordo Cliffs
Wonderous caves and cliff sides await just an hour from port. Your guide will help you navigate the Maro-Cerro Gordo Cliffs, where you’ll pass waterfalls and caves as you paddle through the beautiful blue water. As you pass through the cliffs, keep your eyes peeled for seabirds nesting cliffside.
Need to cool off? Snorkeling gear is available for you to explore the water beneath you. Or, you can stay on shore and enjoy the Mediterranean sun.
9. Explore the Countryside
In an off-road vehicle, you’ll travel through the winding roads of the Andalusian countryside. You’ll stop in Competa, where you can enjoy a glass of sweet wine, tapas and more. One you make your way to Acebuchal, you’ll stop for coffee and have a chance to admire the beautiful Mountain View. You’ll continue on and you drive through Almijara. Take time to notice the white limestone rocks lining the mountainside. You’ll know you’ve made it to Axaguria when your surrounded by quaint village homes. This picturesque countryside is just an hour and a half from port.
Whether you’re into touring ancient ruins, admiring works of art or exploring the countryside of Màlaga, all these excursions listed above are worthy of your vacation bucket list. A cruise to Màlaga, Spain offers, a special blend of history, culture, excitement and natural beauty. With so much to see and do, it’s no wonder so many people flock to Màlaga for vacation every year. To pack many exciting destinations into one amazing trip, consider a Carnival cruise around Europe.