This blog post was originally posted on April 4th, 2016 and was updated on July 7th, 2017
Only have 24 hours in Malaga? The good news is that it’s still possible to see the best that the city has to offer in a short period of time.
Malaga welcomes dozens of cruise ships each week, so we know that many of you stopping here have only one day in Malaga to enjoy the sights. However, you are in luck, because our city center is very close to the port, and it is quite compact, making it perfect for exploring for a few hours – we’ve even included a map! So get ready, because here’s how to make the most out of your 24 hours in Malaga!
Finding your way from the port to the center of town
As you step off your cruise ship, you will already be enjoying one of our favorite places in the center of Malaga: Muelle Uno. The port area was given a complete overhall and reopened as a shopping and dining destination in late 2011. Enjoy the views as you stroll through the Plaza de la Marina, and make sure to pick up a map of the city at the tourism office on your way! From there, cross the busy street of the Alameda Principal. You will be standing at the foot of Calle Marques de Larios and officially in the historic center of Malaga, ready to explore even more!
A walk through the historic center
Wander up the Calle Larios to the Plaza de la Constitución. If you are in the mood for something sweet, make sure to stop into Casa Mira (Calle Larios, 5) for some turrón or ice cream. After all, if you only have one day in Malaga, you have to make the most of it! The Plaza de la Constitución is home to one of the most famous cafés in Malaga, Café Central (Plaza de la Constitución, 11) – it’s such a Malaga institution that we simply had to include it on our Tastes, Tapas & Traditions of Malaga Food Tour. At this point, you should veer to the right down Calle Santa Maria to visit the Cathedral. It is aptly called “La Manquita” (the one armed lady) because it only has one tower.
After visiting the Cathedral, make your way down Calle Cister until you arrive at the Alcazaba (the Moorish fortress). Even though you only have 24 hours in Malaga, if you have time, go inside and have a look around. There are beautiful views of the port, and it is one of the best preserved moorish fortress/palaces in Spain. After your visit, walk up Calle Alcazabilla, passing by the Roman Theater.
If you are feeling peckish, or would like to try some Malaga sweet wine, stop in El Pimpi (Calle Granada, 62). Make sure to stop in the back room where famous malagueños have signed the different wine barrels. From here, walk up Calle Granada to the Plaza de la Merced. You will pass the church where Picasso was baptized, and in the Plaza, you will find the home where Picasso’s family lived until he was 10 years old. The home is now a museum that you can visit, located in the corner of the plaza just behind the statue of Pablo. He’s clearly posing for a photo, and many visitors to Malaga pose with him to have their photo taken too!
From the Plaza de la Merced, walk down Calle Álamos until you get to Calle Cárcer. Turn left and walk towards the Plaza Uncibay. If you feel like you are making a huge loop, you are. Malaga’s historic center isn’t that big! Now, here’s the bit where we take you off the beaten path, so pay attention to your map!
At the Plaza Uncibay, turn right down Calle Méndez Núñez. Then make a left onto Calle Comedias. There is a great tea shop on the corner. Tetería Palacio Nazarí (Calle Méndez Núñez, 9), and if you have time, it’s a great place to pop in for a cup of sweet tea. Otherwise, continue on to the Plaza de los Mártires (it is right at the end of Calle Comedias.)
You can stop into the church which houses several of the figures of Mary and Jesus that are used in the Holy Week processions of Málaga, but there are also several foodie options – our favorite! You can either have something sweet at the pastry shop on the corner or try some tapas at a Holy Week themed bar. Did we get your attention? It’s called Las Merchanas (Calle Mosquera, 5), and the tapas are delicious!
The most typical ones are the croquettes and the little montadito sandwiches made with pringá (the mix of meat and sausage left over after making the typical stew in Malaga). Of course, there are other tapas options, as well. Everything we’ve tried is delicious, and you won’t be eating at a “tourist trap.” You might even see us there with our Spanish family!
After your foodie side has been sorted, walk down Calle Martires. This will take you past the Hammam Arab baths (which is a great place to relax in Malaga), and will bring you out at the Carmen Thyssen Museum. If you have time, this is a lovely museum to visit, but since you only have one day in Malaga, you can also choose to save it for another time. Walk down Calle Santos which turns into Calle San Juan. You will pass the historic Church before coming to Plaza Félix Saenz. Here you should turn right down Calle Sagasta to see the Atarazanas Market (open from 8am-3pm).
Near the market are the famous Churros from Casa Aranda (Herrería del Rey, 3), as well as Casa Antigua de Guardia (Alameda Principal, 18,), a typical place to drink Malaga’s sweet wine. If you walk out to the Alameda Principal, you will have almost made a complete loop. Wander back up the street toward the port having seen the main sites in Malaga.
If you have more time
Of course, make sure to explore the city’s museums, tours, markets, beaches and bites to eat! Hope you have a wonderful cruise, and whether you are spending only one day in Malaga or several, we’re sure you will enjoy the capital of the Costa del Sol.
With just 24 hours, or even just the day in Malaga, why don’t you join us on a food tour? It’s a wonderful way to get an overview of Malaga’s historic center in a short period of time, with delicious food, unique local wines, and the story of Malaga all thrown into the mix.