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10 hidden gems in Malaga

10 hidden gems in Malaga

For all the amazing attractions that draw countless travelers to Malaga every year, it’s the city’s unique energy that ensures people keep coming back.

Rain or shine (and it’s almost always the latter), you’ll find Malaga’s lively streets packed with friendly locals, a fun atmosphere, and an optimistic buzz. There’s also a choice of 16 scenic beaches overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

Below you’ll find ten hidden gems worth checking out while you learn Spanish in Malaga and settle into the colorful culture of the Costa del Sol.

1. La Feria de Malaga

Malaga’s vibrancy and energy come together in the third week of August when the city hosts its annual Feria de Malaga (Malaga Carnival). The week-long street festival involves free live local music, with plenty of castanet-clicking and day-long dancing in a spirited celebration of all things Andalusian. It’s the perfect embodiment of the city, condensed into one exuberant week enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

2. Picasso’s Birthplace Museum

Malaga is famously the hometown of one of the most celebrated artists of all time — Pablo Picasso. While the comprehensive Picasso Museum is a must-see, the city is littered with lesser-known places relevant to the artist’s upbringing. We recommend a visit to the Picasso Birthplace Museum. This smaller exhibition takes a more intimate look at the prolific painter’s early works and family life within the beautiful building he grew up in.

3. Guadalhorce Nature Reserve 

Strolling among the storks, flamingos, and chameleons at this nature reserve makes you feel like a young David Attenborough. The park is one of the most important migratory stops for flights of birds coming to and from Northern Africa every year, meaning the eagle-eyed observer can spot hundreds of species every visit — so don’t forget to pack your binoculars.

4. Flamenco at the Peña Juan Breva Museum

Seeing flamenco in its native Andalusia is a bucket list moment. The passionate and highly energetic art form is hypnotically beautiful to witness, with both the music and striking variations of dance representing a big part of southern Spain’s identity. The Peña Juan Breva is a great place to acquaint yourself with this piece of the culture. It’s a flamenco museum by day, and the venue hosts affordable performances every Thursday and Saturday evening, complete with a free drink and tapa.

5. Mount Gibralfaro

For a hike that won’t make you too red-faced, head up Mount Gibralfaro. Although the large hill in the middle of the city is not exactly hidden, the north climb starting at Plaza de la Merced winds through the surrounding forest area and is still largely undiscovered by tourists. The hilltop view is the best in Malaga for watching the sun rising and setting over the sea, with the mountains of Morocco visible over the horizon on a clear day.

6. El Tintero

Shouting at waiters for your food is (hopefully) not a part of your typical restaurant experience — until you spend an evening at this superb seafood spot. Forget menus here — waiters fly out of the kitchen door with multiple plates in hand, expecting you to wave them down and shout “aqui!” (“here!”) in their direction so they know to deliver to your table. It can get slightly chaotic, but the exquisite food and unique energy of the place truly make it an unmissable experience.

7. Soho art district

Malaga’s designated creative quarter is packed with independent galleries, underground art studios, and vintage markets down almost every street. But the signature of this cool neighborhood is most definitely its epic street art. It ranges from small side-street portraits to magnificent ten-story murals that make the area both a joy to discover and a treasure trove for keen photographers.

8. Hammam al Andalus

Finely decorated with intricate patterns and arabesque architecture, this candle-lit spa reflects Malaga’s history. It’s a fantastically atmospheric place to rest and recharge in a thermal bath, sauna, or massage room. It’s especially restorative during the winter period when the sea gets a little too chilly for a morning dip.

9. Tejeringos

Unlike the other gems on this list, these are a food, not a place, but they are equally unmissable. Tejeringos are Malaga’s local version of the fluffy, doughy, and generally delicious churros pastry native to Spain. Tejeringos taste lighter than churros (meaning you can have more, of course). While there are many options around Malaga worth a try, city center specialist Churreria La Malagueña is the best place to start your tejeringos journey — preferably with a variety of chocolate dips.

10. Paragliding across Andalusia

Here’s one for the seasoned adventure junkies. Picture it: feeling the wind blow across your face as you glide through the air at 2000 meters above the pine forest parks below. Malaga’s city center becomes a tiny speck in the distance on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea. With plenty of year-round places to jump off from (find some options here), paragliding with an expert pilot is one of the most liberating ways to take in the breathtaking scenery of Andalusia. 

With these hidden gems in Malaga, we know you’ll fall in love with the Costa del Sol.

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