The cruises arrive to Muelle Uno and you can start exploring from there, really.
You can walk around Muelle Uno and you can go to the Museo Pompidou, which is right there. At Museo Pompidou admire their take on modern art in the city of Picasso. Then there is the Ferris wheel, which is also located very close to Muelle Uno.
From Muelle Uno, you can cross over to Plaza de la Marina and then to Calle Larios, which is the main street in Málaga. From there, you can pretty much reach any place in Malaga.
Calle Larios is a happy mix of the old and the new. Great for shopping and strolling. Have an ice cream at Casa Mira, one of the oldest shops in Malaga. Try their turrón, Belgian chocolate, or pistachio flavor and most certainly you will not stop with one scoop. Then move on to have a bite at Lepanto, an old classic cafe in town. Though it has seen better days, it deserves a visit for its coffee and pastries.
There are many museums to see in Málaga like Thyssen, Picasso, Museo de Málaga, el CAC. Given limited time, choose any one of them. My vote is to Picasso Museum. Given that Malaga is the birth town of Picasso, the collection looks underwhelming but the museum is still a definite must-see. The museum is in the pleasant part of the old town, making it all the more attractive.
Just behind the Picasso Museum, on Calle Alcazabilla, is an old well-preserved Roman amphitheater. The complex has an entry fee of 2.20€ and includes an entry to the Roman museum. From the amphitheater, walk up the hill to the Moorish castle of Alcazaba (which you can go inside if you like).
In the evening, I would recommend a drink at the roof of Málaga Palacio. Málaga Palacio is a hotel, but sometimes they’ll allow people to go up to the roof for free and the views from up there are phenomenal. If you can fit in your itinerary, go up to Gibralfaro, which also has great views, but you’d need to take a taxi for that, I’m afraid. Oh! And if you like “nerdy” movies and TV shows like the Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, Batman… make sure you go inside Sala Premier.
Even if you only have 8 hours, there is still so much you can do in Malaga. The cruise terminal is perfectly located just south of city center. You can hop off your ship and walk there within 20 minutes! There’s also a bicycle and car rental station at the terminal as well, if you’re feeling up for that. And, of course, there are always taxis available.
If you’re looking for some history and culture, head to Alcazaba first. Dating back to the 11th century, Alcazaba is a pristine Moorish fortress.
Being a fortress, it is pretty high up. If you’d rather not walk, a taxi can take you up most of the way. Just the view alone at the top makes it worth it! Malaga Cathedral also makes the shortlist. It’s simply breathtaking. After you’re done with those, make your way over to the Alcazaba Roman Theater. Constructed in the first century AD, it’s quite a sight to behold.
If you’re more into cuisine and shopping, head to the Mercado Central de Atarazanas. This huge, vibrant market is both a pleasure to see and to taste. It’s best to come hungry because you’ll pass barrels of fresh veggies, cheeses, pastries, meats, seafood, and more.
I definitely wouldn’t miss La Calle Larios! The street is gorgeous and pristine, full of restaurants, cafes, shops, and ice cream parlors.
If you have time for one more spot, I’d hit up Castillo de Gibralfaro. It’s a walk to get there, but the panoramic views and the museum definitely make it worth the trip.
With everywhere you turn being something to check out, you really can’t go wrong. Don’t overthink it and just enjoy your day exploring Malaga!
The best of Malaga is the life in the street. A good full day plan can be to do a free tour through the center, climb to the Gibralfaro viewpoint. Tapear at noon and a cafe in some characteristic place.
Free Walking Tour
Many operators offer a free walking tour of Malaga. Well, the tour in itself is free but you are expected to offer tips at the end of the tour. I have no hesitation in recommending Pancho Tours. It is led by local Malagenos who are in love with their city. The 2.5-hour tour will give you enough insights about the wonderful city.
Ride to Gibralfaro viewpoint
Ride up the well-laid cycling path on the back side of the mountain to the castle and the popular Gibralfaro viewpoint. Entrance to the castle is only 2 Euros. At the viewpoint, you are rewarded with a 360-view of Malaga city, the port, and the mountains. You can also order a taxi to the Gibralfaro viewpoint.
Malaga is a foodie's paradise. You must go to one of its acclaimed bars and taperias. My recommendation is Tapería de Sybaris, run by a passionate local. Choose any item from their tapas menu.
If you are looking for an hour by hour plan, probably you can look at these resources
Those looking to experience Malaga in a day can consider the city sightseeing bus (Hop On Hop Off). It comes bundled with entry tickets to museums. There are two bundled options:
- Málaga Experience Card (€29.00)
- Málaga VIP Experience Card (€59.00)
Alternately, you can also buy the standalone sightseeing bus tour for €18.00
If you are in a hurry, it makes sense to sign up for the Hop on hop off tour so that you can get an overview of the entire city and then focus on areas you want to explore.