The Most Impressive Buildings in Málaga, Spain

Malagas Roman theatre
Malaga's Roman theatre | © Andrew Nash/Flickr
Mark Nayler

The beautiful port city of Málaga is not short on ancient and impressive structures with which to vow visitors. From its stunning Moorish fortress – the best-preserved of its kind in Spain – to its Roman amphitheater, this vibrant and exciting city is full of architectural masterpieces to explore and admire.

1. Cathedral

Cathedral, Church, Mosque

Málagas cathedral is known as the One Armed Woman due to its uncompleted second tower
© Andrew Wilkinson/Flickr

Málaga’s great cathedral, one of the city’s most impressive monuments, is known locally as ‘La Manquita’, or ‘The One-Armed Woman’, due to its uncompleted second tower. Built between 1528 and 1782 near to the site of an early Almohad mosque, original plans for this huge Renaissance and Baroque-style cathedral had included two towers, but the second was never built because of a lack of funds. Construction dragged on for over two hundred years before the Mayor of Málaga commissioned Aragonese architect José Martín de Aldehuela (1729–1802) to finish the cathedral off in the late 18th century. Aldehuela’s other iconic contributions to the province include Ronda’s stunning ‘New Bridge’ and bullring.

2. Alcazaba

Archaeological site, Building, Museum

56-3699880-15827976175-3df7f7d134-k
Alcazaba | © Ronny Siegel/Flickr

The Moorish rulers of southern Spain built the Alcazaba fortress on the remains of a Roman fortification around the middle of the 8th century. Though it doesn’t have the grand interiors of its more famous counterpart in Granada, this amazingly preserved fortress is every bit as beguiling as the Alhambra and is well worth setting aside a good couple of hours for: indeed, it is the best-preserved Moorish citadel in Spain. The fort was extensively rebuilt by the Sultan of Granada in the 11th century and connected up to the nearby Gibralfaro Castle by a Nasrid King in the 14th century. One of the most notable features of the Alcazaba is how effortlessly it fits into the hillside above Málaga, while inside it is a maze of secret courtyards, open-air corridors and battlements that command incredible views out to sea and over the city’s rooftops.

3. Gibralfaro Castle

3. Gibralfaro Castle

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

The turrets of Málaga’s Gibralfaro castle | © Paul Barker Hemings/Flickr

5. Roman Theatre

5. Roman Theatre
© Andrew Nash/Flickr

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

Málaga’s Roman theatre sits at the bootom of the Alcazaba fort | © Andrew Nash/Flickr

Málaga Bullring

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.

Plaza de Toros de Málaga, 8 Paseo Reding, Málaga +34 952 06 98 23

Málaga’s bullring, as seen from the Gibralfaro castle
landscape with balloons floating in the air

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

X
Edit article