Not into the tourist thing? How to live like a local in Malaga

This blog post was originally posted on August 7th, 2015 and was updated on March 9th, 2017

Want to experience life like a local in Malaga? It’s easy!

Whenever we visit a new city, our first question is always “Where do the locals go?” We want to eat where the people from that city love to go, shop where they shop and enjoy daily life.

There is nothing better than being the only outsider in the bar or getting that secret recommendation for the little-known coffee shop or side street where you get a real authentic and memorable experience. With that in mind, here is our advice for how to experience life like a local in Malaga.

Malaga like a local

Photo Credit: Antonio Lopez Martinez

Breakfast like a local in Malaga

Like any Spanish city, there are lots of restaurants and bars in Malaga. This does not mean that they are all good! For breakfast, we suggest you try the tejeringos (a special kind of churro unique to Malaga) at Cafeteria Los Valle (Calle Cuarteles, 54).

Another popular breakfast is the pitufo with tomato, olive oil and ham. You can find these at most local bars, but one of our favorites in the center is Framil (Calle Cisneros, 1).

If you are in the mood for a smoothie, try El Ultimo Mono (Calle Santa Maria, 9) just off the Plaza de la Constitución. With an eclectic mix of clientele and a vintage look you are sure to enjoy a fresh made juice or smoothie.

If you want to live like a local in Malaga, you really should try some tejeringos for breakfast!
Tejeringos are kind of like churros, but they are unique to Malaga

Enjoy the art scene like a local in Malaga

While Malaga is famous for its museums, you might feel a bit touristy heading into the Picasso Museum or the Pompidou. Of course, we don’t want to discourage you from seeing these fantastic museums, if you want to enjoy the art scene like a local, you’ll have to head off the beaten path.

Check out the Center for Contemporary Art (CAC) (Calle Alemania, S/N), or La Térmica (Avenida de los Guindos, 48), with its rotating exhibits.

There are also some smaller galleries like the Jorge Rando (Calle Cruz del Molinillo, 12). Or if you prefer to enjoy the nice weather, simply take a walk through the neighborhood of SoHo where you can enjoy the street art thanks to the initiative of MAUS Malaga.

There are many beautiful museums in our city, but if you want to live like a local in Malaga, get off the tourist track and head to one of these art spaces instead!
Shepard Fairy exhibit at the CAC in Malaga

Shop like a local in Malaga

If you are a foodie, like us, one of the first stops on your list will be Atarazanas Market. This historic market is worth a visit, but another option that is a visit to the Mercado del Carmen (Calle Cerrojo, 15), which is near the train station.

While you’re there you can enjoy a shrimp skewer and a cold drink at the bar off to the side, or try a tapa at the new gastronomic stands set up in the center of the market.

Or perhaps you are looking for a special souvenir? Why not try a vintage shop? Malaga has a surprising number of wonderful little vintage shops where you can find the perfect treasure to take home.

If you want to shop like a local in Malaga, check out the neighborhood markets and vintage stores! No magnets or keychains in sight!
Hunting for Vintage Treasures in Malaga

Have an aperitif like a local in Malaga

In Malaga we like to enjoy a little aperitif before lunch whenever possible. Our drink of choice? Malaga sweet wine! You’ve probably heard of the Antigua Casa de Guardia, but we suggest you head to a place a bit less touristy.

Try the wines at La Odisea Vinos de Malaga (Subida Coracha, 1). Here you can try all the different kinds of wine from Malaga with a bit of cheese to nibble on. If you call ahead, the grandmother of the family that owns the place will even make a tortilla for you to share!

One of the best ways to live like a local in Malaga is to partake in the aperitif! Try some local sweet wine paired with a bit of cheese!
Enjoying a Pajarete (a sweet wine from Malaga)

Lunch like a local in Malaga

If you want to have lunch like a local in Malaga, the best option is to head to the beach. Our favorite place for a sardine espeto is the Playa del Dedo in the neighborhood of El Palo.

Miguelito El Cariñoso (Paseo Marítimo del Pedregal, 77) has delicious fried fish of all kinds, and El Tintero II (Playa del Dedo, s/n) is another Malaga classic.

If you are crunched for time and still want to try some delicious fried fish, stick around the center and try Bar La Comba (Calle Compás de la Victoria, 17) just by the Church of La Victoria.

If you want to learn more about eating like a local, make sure to join us on our Tastes, Tapas & Traditions of Malaga Food Tour!

Enjoying lunch on the beach is one of our favorite ways to live like a local in Malaga. Try this sardine espeto!
This delicious sardine espeto being cooked over the coals

Go to the beach like a local in Malaga

You may have noticed that the beaches of the city of Malaga are filled with a mix of tourists and locals. The majority of the people from Malaga like to hop in their car or get on their motorcycle to enjoy one of the less touristy beaches. Our favorites? Los Alamos, Sacaba Beach and Guadalmar.

If you want to go to the beach like a local in Malaga, you should try one of the beaches a bit farther from the city center.
Relaxing on Los Alamos Beach

Coffee shops where the locals go in Malaga

There are plenty of places to stop for coffee in Malaga, but not all of them are as welcoming and delicious as Julia Bakery (Calle Carretería, 44). The owners are quick to strike up a conversation and they have the most delicious homemade cupcakes in town (along with great coffee and tea!). The decoration is minimal and if you close your eyes, you might even think you’re in Brooklyn.

We can't think of a better way to live like a local in Malaga than trying one of these delicious cupcakes from Julia Bakery
Delicious Cupcake from Julia Bakery

Dinner like a local in Malaga

Dinner in Malaga is often tapas shared with friends at a local bar. We suggest you try a unique little bar in the center called Taberna Las Merchanas (Calle Mosquera, 5). The decoration is all Holy Week themed, but they make the most delicious little sandwiches “montaditos” and homemade croquetas.

Another favorite for dinner in Malaga is a campero sandwich. This is basically a round panini made with a special bread. The original is made with ham, but you can get a campero with shrimp, chicken, and pretty much any other combination depending on the shop. Our favorite local spot? El Mendivil (Calle Mendivil, 18) located right near the train and bus station in El Perchel.

If you ask anyone, they will tell you that a great way to live like a local in Malaga is to have a campero sandwich for dinner! Quick, delicious and very malagueño!
The Campero Sandwich is a Malaga Classic

Night life like a local in Malaga

Time for a drink? Head to the rooftop terrace at Alcazaba Premium Hostal (Calle Alcazabilla, 12) on calle Alcazabilla or enjoy a drink by the water at the Baños del Carmen (Calle Boliva, 40). There are also numerous dance clubs for almost any taste, as well as jazz clubs like Clarence Jazz Club (Calle Cañón 5)

After dinner head to a rooftop. If you want to live like a local in Malaga, this is the best plan to have a drink and a view.
Having a mojito on the rooftop

We hope that you enjoy living like a local in Malaga!

While you are here don’t forget to join us on our Malaga food tour, and we will show you the city through the eyes of a local in the most delicious way possible, visiting locally-owned establishments and meeting the wonderful people behind.

4 Comment

  1. […] second reason is that it is off the beaten path, without straying very far from said beaten path. It’s literally steps from the Plaza de la […]

  2. Steve H says: Reply

    Thanks for the tips. I will definitely try some of these.

  3. […] you can order an ice cold beer and a tapa or two, nothing fancy, and certainly nothing touristy. This is your best pick if you want to get yourself off the beaten path, but it’s located only 10 minutes walk from the city center, making a visit here perfectly […]

  4. […] Not into the tourist thing? How to live like a local in Malaga […]

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