Built in the 10th century by the Caliph of Cordoba, this formidable hilltop castle was enlarged in the 14th century by the Sultan of Granada. Walking along the length of its turrets, you can survey the ocean and the surrounding landscape for miles and miles; no wonder, then, that the Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella needed three months to take the castle from the Moors in the famous Siege of Málaga in 1487 – and even then, they won only because their besieged foes ran out of food and water. Like the Alcazaba, to which it was connected in the 14th century, the Gibralfaro is exceptionally well preserved, and has been expertly restored where necessary, enabling you to understand why it was once considered the most impregnable fortress in mainland Spain.
Castillo de Gibralfaro, Camino Gibralfaro, S/N, Málaga, Spain +34 952 22 72 30
Málaga’s Roman theatre is the oldest monument in the city and one of the few remaining Roman structures in Andalusia. Its location at the foot of the Alcazaba makes this part of Málaga’s centre one of the most historically significant sites in southern Spain. Built during the 1st century AD, the theatre was in use until the 3rd century AD, after which it fell into misuse until the Moors settled in Málaga in the 8th century. They showed little respect for this once-magnificent place of entertainment, and plundered it for material with which to build the Alcazaba. Only in 1951 was it rediscovered, during the construction of an arts centre, and it opened to the public only in 2011 after a complicated and lengthy restoration. Now it once again stages concerts and plays and features an informative visitors’ centre.
Teatro Romano, Calle Alcazabilla, S/N, Málaga, Spain +34 951 50 11 15
The best views of Málaga’s attractive 19th-century bullring are from the turrets of the Gibralfaro castle, from where you can see it tucked in amongst high-rise apartment blocks just a stone’s throw from the sea. Work on this understated, elegant plaza began in 1874 and it staged its first bullfight two years later; nowadays, it is one of the the most important bullrings in Andalusia and holds prestigious bullfights during Easter and throughout Málaga’s riotous August fiesta. Tours of the ring are available, and it also houses a museum exploring the history of the controversial spectacle that takes place within.