Guess what, you want to visit Malaga but you only have a limited time?
It’s easy to compile a list of all the things to do in a city, but it can be a struggle to figure out which activities are actually worth it if you only have 24 hours.
And Malaga has a lot to offer as a city!
So what to do in Malaga for a day?
For you, I evaluated all the activities that I’ve done in Malaga when I visited and only selected the few highlights that will make a perfect one-day itinerary.
At the end, I also provide some other activities that could be equally nice additions to your itinerary in case you don’t like some of the others or have a bit more time to spend in the city!
Malaga itinerary map
Spending one day in Malaga
Central Market of Atarazanas
I would recommend you to start your day at the central market of Atarazanas in the heart of Malaga.
Spain (and Malaga) is full of these lovely ‘mercados’ where you can get the freshest food and snacks possible!
It’s the perfect place to get your breakfast in the morning, your afternoon lunch, dinner ingredients, and snacks for a busy day.
Plus, it’s just really nice to stroll through and take a look at the local delicacies.
And well, the historical look of this building is a plus as well!
Catedral de la Encarnación de Málaga
Once you grabbed your snack it’s time to dive into the cultural heritage of this city!
One of the most wonderful buildings is, without doubt, the cathedral of Malaga, whether you’re looking at the outside or the inside.
The cathedral dates back to the 15th century and was originally a mosque that was converted into a cathedral once the city was conquered by Castilian troupes.
It’s rich history and the religious art pieces make it the perfect first stop for your 24 hours in Malaga!
This Roman Theater is a small historical site with an equally small museum. It’s a perfect place to visit if you’d like to get to know a bit more about the ancient history of Malaga and perfect if you only have 24 hours in Malaga!
Schedule your visit to the Roman Theater together with a visit to the Gibralfaro Castle or Alcazaba (see below). The ancient theater is located next to the entrance to Alcazaba and Gibralfaro Castle and you can buy a combo ticket!
I recommend taking a look at the Teatro Romano first before you climb up the Gibralfaro castle, as on the top of the castle you then will be able to relax with a refreshing drink!
A visit to the Teatro Romano doesn’t take too long as it’s a small site so you’ll likely be finished with this after half an hour.
If there’s one place you can get an amazing view over the city of Malaga, it’s here at the Gibralfaro Castle!
This castle should definitely be included in your itinerary as the view is mesmerizing, however, I do NOT recommend climbing this castle in the afternoon sun in full summer.
It can get quite hot in Malaga and to be climbing a hill when it’s so hot is literally killing yourself ;).
So I recommend either visiting in spring or fall, or climbing this historical castle in the morning when the sun is at its lowest point!
Luckily, if you’re thirsty, there’s a bar on top of the castle where you can have a light snack and refreshing drinks.
Alternative: if you don’t like climbing that much, I recommend visiting Alcazaba which is a smaller and lower located castle right beside the Roman Theater and Gibralfaro. It’s an equally wonderful place to visit, however, the view is less spectacular as Gibralfaro is higher located up the hill!
If you’re an art-lover this place will be perfect for you!
I bet you know the bigger brother of this Centre Pompidou in Paris. Well, this is a smaller version located underground at the harbor of Malaga.
Just like its brother in Paris, you’ll recognize the Centre Pompidou at it’s bright colours when you encounter it.
You’ll be able to find here collections of contemporary art as well as temporary exhibitions of several renowned artists.
Take a look at their website to find out which exhibitions are currently running!
End the day at a local restaurant or rooftop bar
After a full day of discovering Malaga, you’ll likely be pretty tired so sitting down and enjoying some food and drinks might be welcome!
One of the places I loved for a healthy meal was Restaurante Lechuga!
Plenty of other bars and restaurants can be found all over Malaga, so wherever you end up after your long day, you’ll find something!
Other things to do in Malaga
It’s perfectly possible that some of the above activities are not really your thing or that you have more than one day to spend in Malaga!
Especially for this situation, I listed some more activities that are definitely worth a visit but didn’t fit into the one-day itinerary above.
This ancient citadel is located next to the Roman Theater and just below the castle of Gibralfaro. It’s an ancient fortification build by the Moors when they still reigned the region.
This palace is one of the top attractions in the city and definitely worth a visit if you have a bit more time.
From this citadel, you’ll have a nice view over Malaga, although the best views are to be observed at the higher-located castle of Gibralfaro.
You can stroll around this fairytale palace and learn more through the historical objects that are displayed in some of the buildings!
Visit the beach
You can’t say you’ve visited the Costa del Sol without going to the beach right?!
Malaga has its own sand beach where you’ll be able to enjoy the warm temperatures and refreshing water during the day.
And if you encounter any troubles during your beach afternoon (a.k.a. you get stung by a bee just like me), there is a first aid point available!
Botanical Gardens Malaga
If you have the time to take a short trip a bit outside of Malaga, the botanical gardens are a great option!
In contrast to the busy city, you can enjoy a rich collection of different kind of plants, and some archaeological findings from Roman times!
Because not only can you take a wonderful walk through this park, you can also take a look at some historical objects that were collected here by the founders of this garden.
Be aware to schedule enough time for this mini-trip and don’t worry too much about lunch, because you can get some snacks here!
How many days can you spend in Malaga?
It’s sometimes difficult to estimate how much time you need to fully see a certain city. In this case, without doubt you can spend more than 1 day in Malaga.
If you want to take it easy I would recommend going at least 3 days to discover all the beauty that this city has to offer. After all, it might be nice not to rush through activities on your vacation.
However, if you only have a day in Malaga, I suggest the itinerary above!
Have fun on your trip to Malaga!
I hope this post answered all your questions regarding Malaga and provided you with a useful itinerary for your stay!
If you have any other questions about Malaga, don’t hesitate to put them in the comments below!
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