Things to Do in Malaga - page 2
Picasso’s life in Spain spanned nearly all of the country’s corners, from the northwestern region of Galicia to big-city Barcelona, and, of course, Andalucia, where he was born in 1881. Indeed, it is in Malaga at the now-titled Pablo Picasso Birthplace Museum (Museo Casa Natal de Picasso) — Picasso’s former family home, located in the heart of Malaga’s old town — where he spent his first, and perhaps most formative years.
Today, you can visit the artist’s childhood house, which is now the headquarters for the Fundación Picasso, a foundation that studies and promotes the artist’s work. The museum features more than 4,000 pieces by some 200 artists, including Picasso, as well as other contemporary artists. It also houses a variety of objects related to Picasso’s childhood, family, and his connection to Spain and the south.
Discover the Costa del Sol’s largest seahorse collection, stroke a starfish or a sea anemone, catch a glimpse of Yellow, the giant green turtle, and more at SEA LIFE Benalmádena. Explore the underwater world first-hand—whatever the weather—in the aquariums several exhibits, and get up close and personal with marine animals.
The Plaza de la Marina (Marina Square) is one of the main squares in Málaga’s historic city center. Located between two of the city’s most important avenues, Alameda Principal and Paseo del Parque, the square was constructed at the end of the 19th century with reclaimed land drained from the sea. It is a lively square, and is the first sight that visitors from cruise ships see when they arrive at the Port of Málaga.
The Tourist Information Office of the City of Málaga is located in this square, and provides information on things to do in the city during your stay. The Plaza de la Marina also has a large underground parking area, making it a frequent departure point for city tours. Several notable mid-20th century buildings, designed with modern lines, are located around the square. In the center of the square is a dancing fountain with jets of water, and at the back is a sculpture of El Cenachero (“the fish vendor”), a symbol of the city of Málaga.
Designed by Málaga’s civic architect Gerónimo Cuervo in the late 19th century, the Cervantes Theatre (Teatro Cervantes) was built in imposing Neo-classical style to replace an earlier theater destroyed by fire. Its exotic interior was created by local artists Antonio Muñoz and Bernardo Ferrándiz and the theater opened in 1870 with a performance of Rossini’s opera William Tell. However, by the 1950s, the building was largely decaying and it remained in a poor state until 1984, when it was bought by the city council and restoration began.
Reopened in 1987, the interior of the Cervantes is still true to its original design, with an ornate painted ceiling and gilded detailing on the horseshoe-shaped boxes and stalls. It has a seating capacity of 1,104 and is the city’s cultural heartbeat for opera, ballet, rock and orchestral concerts, big names in jazz and flamenco performances. Subtitles in English accompany some productions. The Málaga Spanish Film Festival is held here every March.
The Cervantes Theatre is included on walking tours of Picasso’s Málaga, along with his birthplace and the fabled Picasso Museum.
Lined with palm trees and with Malaga’s port as its backdrop, the Palmeral de las Sorpresas is a traditional Spanish public square with an especially modern design. Its fountains, chairs, and a playground create a recreational feel, and there’s a promenade along the waterfront that’s great for leisurely walks.
Its covered walkways have some of the most unique architecture in Spain (and that’s saying something!) They were designed to play with light and shadows in a way that changes depending on the time of day it’s visited. The Paseo de Pergolas leads down to the ships docked at the port (one of the oldest in the world,) shading from the often bright sun above.
Benches and quiet corners are intermingled with activity and play. You’ll find historical and modern design side-by-side. Surrounded by gardens with a tropical feel, it’s a beautiful public space that’s meant to be shared and enjoyed in peace.
Located just outside Málaga’s historic quarter, the Basílica de Santa Mara de la Victoria has a relatively plain exterior. Don’t be fooled by its modest façade — it conceals an interior that’s considered to be one of the most beautiful Baroque churches in Andalusia. Inside, the church is filled with plaster decoration painted with gold accents, and laid out in the shape of a Latin cross. Two chapels come off the central aisle and a cupola tops it all off.
The exhibition hall houses the treasure of the Virgen de la Victoria in a space adjoining one of the chapels. Here, the patroness of Málaga's trousseau is displayed. Among the paintings and sculptures is a noteworthy Virgin of the Sorrows, the ‘Dolorosa’, by Pedro de Mena. At the basement of the church’s tower, a small museum houses the Pantheon of the Counts of Buenavista. This pantheon is considered one of the most unique in Spain because of its macabre decoration, intended to provoke thoughts of mortality (one of the frequent themes of the Counter Reformation).
Situated in a renovated 1920s tobacco factory, Málaga’s State Russian Museum (Colección del Museo Ruso) is home to over one hundred pieces of Russian art dating from the 15th century onward. As the first and only European branch of the Russian museum of the same name, this gallery a must for Russophiles.
With its history, culture, and sun-drenched beaches, Málaga ranks among the most popular destinations on Spain’s Costa del Sol. Situated close to Málaga proper, the Málaga Cruise Port also serves as a gateway to wider Andalucia with its wineries and whitewashed villages, as well as Granada, the region's capital.
Sprawled across a mountain slope some 1,475 feet (450 meters) above the Mediterranean Sea, the whitewashed village of Mijas Pueblo still looks much the same as it would have centuries ago. While the historic center retains its old-fashioned air, the Mijas Costa coastal area is dotted with golf courses and modern hotels.
There’s something for everyone at Torremolinos, the action-packed gay capital of Spain’s Costa del Sol. On this 4-mile (7-kilometer) stretch of sand—Spain’s biggest beach resort—you’ll enjoy trendy nightclubs and sangria bars, bargain shopping on Calle San Miguel, and the sun-kissed beaches of El Bajondillo and La Carihuela.
More Things to Do in Malaga
As one of Spain’s most revered contemporary artists, Fèlix Revello de Toro (born 1926 in Málaga) was awarded his own museum in 2010; it is located in the historic workshop and home of Pedro de Mena, a 17th-century artist known for his religious paintings. Arranged in typically Moorish style around an inner courtyard, the building is worthy of note for its architectural highlights, including the original wooden stairways and balcony overhanging the courtyard. A short video showcasing the life of Pedro de Mena is shown in the museum’s Memorial Room, and his work can be seen in Málaga Cathedral.
However, the real star of this museum is the permanent display of more than 100 of Revello de Toro’s sketches, figurative work and powerful portraits. Known for his precocious talent, the young artist first exhibited at the tender age of 12 and he went on to study in Madrid, Rome and Barcelona. Best known for his delicate depiction of the female form, highlights of the collection include portraits of his family and his most famous work, Sumida en el sueño (Deep Slumber), which was painted in 1989 and hangs in isolated glory in the final room of the exhibition.
Quite the new boy on Málaga’s art scene, the Museum Jorge Rando (Museo Jorge Rando) opened in 2015 in the former cloister of the Monasterio de las Mercedarias, which itself dates from the 1870s. Conversion from cloister to clever art space took five years and today the gallery doubles as a studio for local artists, a cultural center and a research facility as well as housing a permanent exhibition of the bold, fluid works of Expressionist painter Jorge Rando.
Born in Málaga in 1941, Rando’s vast canvasses are impressively displayed in four dazzling white galleries lit from above through skylights. Alongside his paintings, temporary exhibitions of work by other Expressionists, including sculpture by Ernst Barlach, change roughly every six months.
The museum’s small central courtyard offers sculpture displays and is dominated by an ancient orange tree, planted by the monastery’s founder in 1878, and a shocking-pink life-size figure of a pregnant woman. Along with free guided tours, the museum offers arty movies, lectures, and the chance to peek into the ateliers of artists working there. Saturday visitors should not miss the weekly concerts held at noon.
Tucked away down a tiny side street in the cramped alleyways of Málaga’s historic center, the Sacred Heart Church Málaga (Sagrado Corazón Málaga) was funded and built in Neo-Gothic style in 1920 by an order of Jesuits monks. Designed by revered local architect Fernando Guerrero Strachan — he was known as ‘the Gaudí of Málaga’ and the monumental city hall is also his work — the basilica has an eye-catching façade in soft biscuit stone, topped with two spires and covered in Gothic-style tracery. An ornate rose window sits above the spiky arches of the main doors.
The interior of the church is relatively plain, with three aisles lined with tiny chapels and all topped with soaring vaulted roofs. On either side of the massive Neo-Gothic main altar are paintings of the martyrs St Ignacio de Loyola and St Francisco de Borja, and the narrow stained-glass windows are by the renowned firm Mauméjean from Pau in France; they feature scenes from the lives of the saints.
The protected Guadalhorce River Estuary Natural Area (Paraje Natural Desembocadura del Guadalhorce) covers 165 acres (67 hectares) of prime wetland and is a magnet for migrating birds, as well as the permanent home of many others. Comprising five man-made lagoons backed by woodland, this is a popular spot for hiking, bird-watching, and even cycling close to Málaga.
On a hillside overlooking the city, Málaga’s English Cemetery is the largest non-Roman Catholic Christian cemetery on mainland Spain. Until the 19th century, and with Spain as a highly religious Catholic society, Protestants who passed away in Málaga were thrown into the sea. An English diplomat established the cemetery as an alternative to this practice.
There’s a small Anglican chapel with Doric columns on the grounds, as well as a gatehouse and well-maintained botanical gardens. Visitors can view more than 1,000 historic tombstones in both Gothic and modernist styles, many of which belong to expatriates who lived in Andalusia. Most famous tombstones belong to non-Spanish poets and writers, though there are a few non-Catholic Spanish graves as well. Originally on an isolated plot of land, today it surrounded by the city but remains a peaceful place of rest and a beautiful escape from urban life.
Whether you’re a fan of airports, airplanes, travel, or engineering, there’s lots to see and experience at Malaga’s Aeronautical Museum. Restored airplanes and historic aircraft are on display, along with extensive aviation information and history. More than 4,000 exhibits showcase the finer details of flying, from runways and mechanics to communications and safety. There’s also in depth information about the various people behind the planes, from pilots and engineers to air traffic controllers. A showroom interactively demonstrates the principles of physics and aerodynamics as they apply to flying.
The best part of the museum, however, is the opportunity to climb inside the cockpit of a plane — something not many travelers have the chance to do. A DC-9 aircraft is available for visitors to enter, as is the observatory in the historic air control tower. An enthusiasm for flying is present in each exhibit, and it’s a worthwhile addition to any visit to Malaga.
In the heart of Andalusia’s historic and contemporary flamenco scene, the Peña Juan Breva Flamenco Art Museum (Museo de Arte Flamenco de la Peña Juan Breva) is dedicated to the art of the dance form. More than 5,000 objects on display — from costumes, instruments, and posters to one of the largest record collections in Spain, immerse the visitor into the world of flamenco. Artwork and photography capturing the spirit of flamenco further present the energetic dance.
The museum is named for the famous performer Juan Breva, and performers continue to passionately carry on his legacy and Andalusian music style for audiences. A highlight for many is its exhibit of more than twenty flamenco guitars, many of which date back to as early as the 19th century. Beautiful manila shawls are another of its colorful displays.
Aside from the museum’s collection, the building hosts some of the most traditional flamenco performances to be found in the city. There’s also a traditional bar and restaurant on the museum’s first floor that allows for even further immersion in local culture while there.
A modern exterior with a historic art collection tucked inside, the Municipal Heritage Museum Málaga (Museo del Patrimonio Municipal Málaga), or MUPAM, houses works of art spanning the 15th to the 20th century. Its exhibits present centuries of the city’s history, from the Reconquista to the present day. Over 4,000 pieces in every medium from painting and sculpture to books and graphic art tell the region’s heritage and the city’s story. Famous artists on display include Picasso and Carlos Haes, among others.
Visiting the museum allows for a greater context as to how the city developed as well as insight into present day. Of particular interest is the collection from the 15th to the 18th centuries, during which Malaga transformed from a Moorish to a Spanish city. Local and contemporary art is also well represented, if it’s preferable to see works that are a bit more current. The building’s exterior architecture is also renowned and worth a look. The museum is included in many city walking and art-focused tours.
- Things to do in Andalucia
- Things to do in Marbella
- Things to do in Benahavis
- Things to do in Granada
- Things to do in Tarifa
- Things to do in Cordoba
- Things to do in Tetouan
- Things to do in Seville
- Things to do in Tangier
- Things to do in Fez
- Things to do in Portimao
- Things to do in Alicante
- Things to do in Madrid
- Things to do in Costa del Sol
- Things to do in Northern Morocco