Planning to spend 2 days in Malaga? With more than 300 days of sunshine every year, Malaga is a popular destination for visitors looking for that perfect mix of sea and sangria.
It has a stunning coastline and many beautiful sandy beaches, making it ideal for relaxing and sunbathing in summer – and for much of the winter too!
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But there is more to this eclectic port city than its beach scene.
Malaga has an interesting history, with some captivating ancient buildings and a magnificent cathedral. Its cultural heritage is rich, and you’ll find plenty of museums and art galleries to explore.
Furthermore, Malaga has its own international airport, making it easily accessible from most major European cities. So are 2 days in Malaga enough to see the best of its attractions?
They certainly are! In fact, all of Malaga’s main highlights are within walking distance of each other, so it’s an ideal destination for a brief visit.
To help you plan your trip, we’ve put together this detailed guide for a weekend in Malaga. It contains our suggestions for the best things to see and do and recommendations for some great places to eat and stay.
For the first of your two days in Malaga, you will be visiting some of the city’s historic sites, then exploring its arts and cultural scene.
Begin your morning with a tasty breakfast at Astrid Tapería Orgánica (Calle Calderón de La Barca 6). The emphasis here is on organic food prepared using only healthy methods.
There are many simple local specialties to try, including Spanish cheeses, Serrano ham, and freshly baked bread and pastries.
It’s now time to head to the majestic Gibralfaro Castle (Castillo de Gibralfaro). This 10th-century castle – later expanded to protect the Alcazaba – is the chief landmark of the city.
It was constructed on top of an old Phoenician lighthouse by Abd-al-Rahman III, the Caliph of Cordoba. First thing in the morning is definitely the best time to visit before all the tour groups arrive, and the heat of the day makes things uncomfortable!
You can reach the castle by bus (plus it’s on the route of the hop-on-hop-off tour bus). But the more rewarding way to get there is on foot, taking the steep and challenging path that zigzags its way around the side of the Alcazaba.
While there is very little of the original castle left, the magnificent views that await you are more than a reward for your efforts! You can see right across the city, port, and the Mediterranean – indeed, this is where you’ll take some of the most memorable photos of your entire trip!
A free audio guide is available (just scan the QR code at the entrance). Opening times vary depending on the season and a ticket costs 3.5 euros, although admission is free after 2 pm on Sundays.
If you are following this itinerary, we recommend buying a combined ticket for the castle and the Alcazaba, the next stop of the day. This costs 5.5 euros.
To get to the Alcazaba, just head back down the hill. This 11th-century Moorish fortress overlooks the city and stretches over several hills, so it takes a while to explore.
The architecture is interesting – with balconies and marble columns still intact – and the beautifully landscaped courtyards are filled with fountains, bougainvillea, and orange trees.
The Alcazaba is open daily, although times vary according to the season.
Next, head down the hill a little further to the Roman Theater. Built in the first century BC, this site was only recently rediscovered during archaeological excavations in 1951. It has been
so beautifully preserved that open-air performances are still held here in the summer months.
There is a small visitor center with several archaeological discoveries to see, but the nicest thing to do is simply sit for a while and watch the world go by! The Roman Theater is free to enter.
For lunch, head to the Atarazanas Food Market, just a short walk away. Here you can enjoy some local delicacies at one of the bars in the meat section.
These include berenjenas con miel (crispy eggplant with treacle) and boquerones en vinagre (anchovies marinated in vinegar and garlic, with fresh herbs).
Your first stop after lunch is at the Cathedral of Malaga, Andalucia’s second tallest building. It was originally designed to have two towers, but the second was never finished, earning the cathedral the nickname ‘La Manquita’ (the One-Armed Lady).
You’ll find an impressive collection of artworks inside and a particularly spectacular wooden choir dating back to the 17th century. But one of its chief attractions is the escorted rooftop walk, for some beautiful city views.
This is a very popular site, and we recommend booking ahead. Opening hours vary according to the season, and entry is 6 euros (or 10 euros if you’d like to include the rooftop tour).
Next, take the 3-minute walk to the Picasso Museum. Malaga is proud of its association with this famous artist – he was born here and spent most of his childhood in the city.
The museum houses many works by the artist, spanning his career. Although it doesn’t contain any of his major pieces, it is interesting to see how his style developed throughout his lifetime.
For an extra fee, you can also visit Museo Casa Natal de Picasso, Picasso’s birthplace and now an official heritage site. It gives you a very interesting glimpse into the artist’s personal life and the culture that surrounded him.
Opening times vary at both museums according to the season. Admission to the Picasso Museum is 12 euros, while the Casa Natal is 4 euros.
To end the afternoon, head to the Centre Pompidou on the Paseo del Muelle Uno. Inside the unique and modern building, you’ll find fascinating collections of modern art and a variety of temporary art exhibitions.
Take a quick walk around Pier One as you leave – there are lots of shops and eateries here, plus frequent concerts and markets to enjoy.
Popular with locals – so you know it’s good – Las Merchanas is the place to go for tapas!
The portions of the authentic local specialties are large, the atmosphere is vibrant and friendly, and the prices are very affordable.
On the second of your two days in Malaga, you’ll be exploring its Old Town before spending some time enjoying its natural attractions.
Malaga’s Old Town is extensive, charming, and well worth exploring properly.
It is made up of a series of small streets lined with independent shops and boutiques, opening out onto lively squares filled with bars and restaurants. You can note the mix of architectural styles as you wander through the town and spot some lovely old churches in its back streets.
Stop for breakfast at Casa Aranda. This cafe is something of a Malagan institution, serving excellent coffee and delicious homemade churros.
It also has some of the thickest, richest hot chocolate you’ll ever taste!
For shopping, head to the pedestrianized Calle Larios, then spend some time hanging out and people-watching at the Plaza de la Constitucion, a beautiful, bustling square lined with palm trees.
Now it’s time to head out of town and enjoy some of Malaga’s natural beauty at La Concepción Botanical Garden. You can take a number 2 bus or travel by taxi, which will take around 15 minutes.
Originally built in 1855 by one of Malaga’s wealthiest families, the gardens were extended in 1911 by new owners and then bought by Malaga council in 1990. Since 1994 they have been open for the public to enjoy.
You can easily while away a few hours here, exploring the palm gardens, cactus garden, and more. If you’re feeling energetic, you can try tackling the high forest path from which you get beautiful views of the entire gardens and city.
Standard tickets for entry cost 5.20 euros per person.
Your two days in Malaga would not be complete without a visit to the beach. Malagueta is the most popular, and you can walk to it from the Old Town in around 20 minutes.
Offering you more than 1,200 meters of dark sand, the beach is 45 meters wide and considered safe for families, with warm water and only gentle waves. A lifeguard is on duty during the peak season, and there are all the facilities you’ll need, including toilets, showers, sun loungers, and umbrellas.
Stop to enjoy lunch at one of the Chiringuitos – the beach bars right on the sand. They mostly serve fish dishes, with one of the most popular being espetos – a skewer of 6 fresh sardines cooked over coals. Delicious!
Enjoy Flamenco along with an excellent meal at Vino Mio, an elegant restaurant on Pl. de Jerónimo Cuervo, 2.
The food is an eclectic mix of culinary styles, and the dance performance is awesome, taking place all around the tables as you dine and giving you a real chance to appreciate its beauty up close.
Are 2 Days In Malaga Enough?
As you can see, it’s possible to see the best of Malaga in 2 days and really get a taste of its history, culture, and beauty.
But do remember that this itinerary for a weekend in Malaga is based on two full days. If you arrive in the city quite late in the day – or leave early on the second day – you might want to consider adding an extra night to your stay.
Where To Stay In Malaga
Here are our recommendations for the best places to stay in Malaga, no matter what your budget!
Best Budget Accommodation
Exceptionally clean and located in the heart of Malaga, Dulces Dreams Hostel offers spacious rooms with both shared and private bathrooms. It has a unique, vintage style, comfortable beds, and its own cafe serving excellent breakfasts, snacks, and drinks.
Best Mid-Range Accommodation
Just a stone’s throw from the Roman Theater, Hotel Boutique Teatro Romano has clean, spacious double rooms, some with views of the Alcazaba and the Theater itself. It also offers a junior suite.
Its central location means you have all of the city’s restaurants and bars close at hand, while the beach is just 15 minutes away.
Best Luxury Accommodation
Madeinterranea Suites in an 18th-century building is the perfect choice if you want to feel pampered during your two days in Malaga! It has a great location just 10 minutes from the beach and is close to the city’s historic sites.
A delicious breakfast is included in the room rate.
Final Thoughts On This Itinerary For Two Days In Malaga
If you’ve been trying to work out what to do in Malaga in 2 days, we hope this itinerary has been helpful.
We also hope you enjoy every moment of your stay in this welcoming and sunny city.
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