Looking for culture in Malaga? You won´t have to look far, but as a visitor to the city, there are certain landmarks that you really want to see. That is why we´ve compiled this list which includes some of the best culture in Malaga.
Skip back thirty years and Malaga was not thought of as much more than an airport town that acted as a gateway to the Costa del Sol, but the present-day situation could not be more different. Malaga City is now considered to be the cultural hub of Andalucia. The city streets are lined with cosmopolitan cafés and modern museums with a quirky as a mix of traditional and quirky street performers prancing through the cobbled lanes.
Malaga´s Alcazaba is a valued monument from the Islamic era, that can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. Its impressive walls, stunning gardens and collection of fountains have been standing since the 8th century. The Moorish influence is more evident here than anywhere else in the city, making it an essential stop on your tour. The Alcazaba is open to visitors all year round, so you can either wander through the fortress and explore the intricacies, or simply enjoy the view with a drink-in-hand, from one of the many restaurants and bars surrounding the landmark.
Renowned as being the best ancient monument in the city, the Roman Theatre, can be found just beyond the walls of the Alcazaba. In its prime, the theatre was an integral part of the city and its culture for over three hundred years, however, when the region was conquered by the Moorish, the theatre was forgotten in history. The structure was only discovered again in 1951 when the restoration process began, so it´s quite remarkable that despite being cast aside for several hundred years, the theatre has survived. Several tiers of seating remain and the recently-opened visitor centre shows off many of the archaeological finds from the site.
Malaga´s Cathedral took more than 150 years to build. Its architectural style is a fusion of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles, which results in a decorative and visually-impressive structure. The Cathedrals central location and the large north tower that rises to 84 meters means it can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. The interior is just as ornate as the decorative exterior, as the cathedral is filled sculptures and carvings by local artists. The choir stalls by Pedro de Mena are definitely worth taking a look at.
Castillo de Gibralfaro
Perched high on a hill above Malaga city and its port, you will find the majestic Castillo de Gibralfaro. Dating back to the 10th century, this well-known landmark is so ingrained in the culture of the city that it features on the design for both the seal and the flag of Malaga city. The hill where the Gibralfaro is situated forms part of the Montes de Malaga, an area of protected land that holds national park status. The castle is most famed for the three-month siege by Catholic monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, and also for being the location of the first conflict in which gunpowder was used by both sides.
Museo del Vidrio
Malaga’s glass and crystal museum opened in 2009 and currently displays around 700 pieces. Situated within an 18th century Casa Palacio in the centre of the city, it is home to creations that date from Phoenician times through to more modern designs of the 20th century. The museum is furnished like a restored private home, so as well as enjoying the intricate glass designs, you can also browse the antique sofas, rugs, mirrors and paintings.
You can´t fully enjoy Malaga city, without sampling the culinary delights on offer, and there is no better place to do this than at Malaga’s Atarazanas market. Full of fresh, tasty and locally sourced produce, you will literally be spoilt for choice. The market building has recently undergone a full refurbishment, which meant it was closed for several years, however, the results are truly spectacular and we can guarantee you won´t be able to enter the market without being blown away by the fabulous stain glass window that greets you.
Parque de Malaga
The city of Malaga has undergone a substantial rejuvenation over the past few decades and now you will find fantastic parks dotted throughout the city. The most notable of these is the Jardines de la Concepcion, a botanical garden that is situated about five kilometres from the city centre. This is easily accessible by car or bus, however, if you a looking to spend your time somewhere more central, then the Malaguenos is recommended.
Automobile and Fashion Museum
Located inside the popular La Tabacalera building, you will find an exquisite private collection of automobiles and cutting-edge fashion. Displayed over 6,000 square meters, are one hundred exclusive vehicles, two hundred items of Haute Couture fashion and several other contemporary art pieces. The exhibits have been restored to the highest possible level, allowing you to enjoy the lavish extravagance of a mink-fur car interior, mother-of-pearl dashboard, custom engines, vintage hats and cutting-edge design. This museum ranks within the top ten museums in the whole of Spain, and holds the top spot on Tripadvisor for “Things to do in Malaga”, so it really shouldn´t be missed.
As the birth-place of Pablo Picasso, it would be a crime to explore Malaga without paying tribute to the artistic icon. You can make a visit to his birth-place, Casa Natal, which is located on the Plaza de la Merced in Malaga city. Here you will find a small collection of his early artwork and artefacts from his youth on display. This small museum provides a unique and intimate insight into the life of this artistic genius, but if you still want to know more, your next stop should be the Picasso Museum, which can be found just a few minutes away.
The Picasso Museum
Since its opening in 2003, the Picasso Museum has quickly became the most visited museum in Andalucia. The people of Malaga are very proud that was Picasso was born in their city, which is why the Palacio de Buenavista has been painstakingly restored to house the prized artwork inside. You will find a wide variety of Picasso´s work available to view, and several classics such as ´Mother and Child´, ´Portrait of Paulo with White Hat´, and ´Olga Kokhlova with Mantilla´.
Malaga city is privileged to be the first home of this Parisian institution outside of France. The permanent collection housed here includes more than eighty famous works from the 20th and 21st centuries, by major artists such as Picasso, Miro, Magritte, Frida Khalo and Giacometti. Located in the heart of the city, and overlooking the bay; this modern building reflects the revolutionary art that is housed inside. It is even topped with a large colourful cube, so amongst the cities predominantly gothic and renaissance architecture it certainly stands out.
Museo de Malaga
Malaga has followed suit with Almeria, Cadiz and Huelva by having a “provincial museum” in their respective cities. Malaga´s museum has eight rooms in total; three of which are allocated to fine arts and five which are dedicated to the archaeology of the region. They include a fine art collection of over two thousand pieces and over fifteen thousand items of archaeological interest.
Modern-day Malaga has developed into a vibrant, artsy and cosmopolitan hub, which is a must-see for anyone visiting the Costa del Sol.
Bask in the sun, discover the history and soak up the culture that this city has to offer.
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