15 Unusual things to do in Malaga | Discover Malaga off the beaten track

After living in this city for more than 6 months we have been able to discover all the unusual things to do in Malaga. It is easy to say that such experiences make you catch a different angle of a city. This itinerary of Malaga off the beaten path will help you to avoid crowds and enjoy your time in the city better.

Be ready to see an alternative Malaga, in a different way which you don’t see in all the guides.

Are you ready to explore Malaga? Vamos!

First time in Malaga? Get confidence with the city and book a free walking tour of Malaga.

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NON TOURISTY THINGS TO DO IN MALAGA 


  • See the city from the top of the Gibralfaro
  • Walkthrough Picasso’s footsteps
  • Experience la Semana Santa
  • Discover the beautiful street art around Malaga
  • Visit Nerja Caves
  • Experience la Feria de Málaga
  • Shop like a local at Atarazanas market 
  • Experience the surrounding of Malaga 
  • Feel the emotions of Flamenco Music
  • Get tanned on the Costa Tropical 
  • Lay on Misericordia Beach 
  • Midnight ice-cream 
  • Caminito del Rey
  • Party hard in Malaga
  • Relax in an Arab bath

Let’s explore Malaga off the beaten track


See the city from the top of the Gibralfaro

One of the best views you can have in Malaga is from the top of the Gibralfaro. Dated back to the 10th century, Gibralfaro castle is the right place to enjoy the beautiful landscape over Malaga. Named after a lighthouse at its peak in 1340, King Nasrid Yusef I transformed this castle into an impenetrable fortress. 

This Moorish Fortress looking at the sea, protecting the city is today a must-see in Malaga

PRICE | €3.50

Walkthrough Picasso’s footsteps

The beautiful city of Malaga is often associated with the famous painter Pablo Picasso

In fact, you will see many things about Picasso in the city. There is the museum, the house, a hallway and the statue located in one of the main squares, Plaza de la Merced.

The city is devoted to its most illustre citizen, Pablo Picasso was deeply linked to its native Malaga. Today the name of the famous painter is associated with the city of Malaga indissolubly.

TICKETS | Get your pass for the Museo Picasso in advance to avoid crowds. Check availability and prices. 

Experience la Semana Santa

La “Semana Santa” it’s a very important week in Malaga and in Spain in general. It’s the annual commemoration of the Passion of Jesus Christ which takes place the week before Easter. Declared in 1965 Fiesta of International Tourist Interest of Spain, during the Holy week 45 procession will take place through the streets of Malaga representing and showing realistic wooden sculptures narrating events of the Passion of Christ.

It’s an unusual thing to do in Malaga and not many know about it so make sure you put it in your itinerary.

READ ALSO | Spanish bucket list, all the experiences you need to have in Spain at least once in your life.

Discover the beautiful street art around Malaga

While strolling around Malaga remember to pay attention to the details. Usually, we don’t realize what’s surrounding us and sometimes we miss the opportunity to see something incredible. 

Around Malaga, you will find so many beautiful graffiti worth seeing. In the city centre, around the Roman Theatre area, there are so many colourful ones.

Checking out in the Soho area, artists have adorned the crumbling facades with amazing designs. This is the ideal place if you are looking for some nice street art in Malaga.

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La cueva de Nerja es una cueva situada en Maro, pedanía del municipio español de Nerja (Málaga) y descubierta el 12 de enero de 1959. En ella han sido datadas unas pinturas de focas que podrían ser la primera obra de arte conocida de la historia de la humanidad, con 42 000 años de antigüedad. ✅ Entrada gratuita el turno de las 10:00 de la mañana. Las entradas gratuitas se puede conseguir 48 horas antes por internet. The Nerja cave is a cave located in Maro, a hamlet in the Spanish municipality of Nerja (Malaga) and discovered on January 12, 1959. Some seal paintings have been dated that could be the first known work of art in history of humanity, 42,000 years old. ✅ Free entrance at 10:00 am. Free tickets can be obtained 48 hours before online.

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Visit Nerja Caves

Located close to Malaga, Nerja caves are the perfect place to know a bit more about Nerja’s past. The history of this part of Costa del Sol is really interesting. Considered as a “Good of Cultural Interest” these naturally formed caves are worth inserting in your Malaga off the beaten path itinerary. Experience something different while in Malaga and plan your day trip to Nerja Caves.

The cave is made of 3 main areas where, at the same time, are divided into different galleries. The new areas, the upper arcades and the touristic galleries. Only the last one is open to the public as the others have a complicated path and it’s very difficult to reach.

How to reach Nerja from Malaga

BY CAR | By car, the journey will take around one hour

BY BUS | There are so many buses departing from Malaga to Nerja and the ticket cost around 5 euros. The journey will be a bit longer, around 1hr and 30 minutes but at least you don’t need to think about parking and how to arrive at your destination.

OPENING HOURS | Usually from 9 AM until 3.30 PM | During the months of July and August and Thursday, Friday and Saturday during Easter Week, it is open from 9 AM until 6 PM

TOURS | You can book an organized tour to Nerja from Malaga here.

Experience la Feria de Málaga

The annual “Feria de Malaga” is an enthusiastic week-long street party with plenty of locals having a great time. Our first Feria in Malaga was early as we moved into the city, as we arrived there in May.

This is the celebration of the re-conquest of the city by Isabella and Ferdinando in 1487 and by tradition runs for a week from Saturday to Sunday during the third week in August.

The vibes and the atmosphere around this time of the year is incredible. It’s really one of the best experiences you can have while in Malaga.

Things to know about La Feria de Malaga 

BUSES | There are so many bases running around the city till late to bring you to “Real de la Feria”.  Expect long queue at the bus stops.

MONEY | Try to have some cash with you before reaching la Feria otherwise you need to queue for the ATM machine. 

GO WITH LOCALS | If you know someone from Malaga, go with them as they know more about this time of the year. 

ASK | People in Malaga and in Spain, in general, are always friendly and ready to help. If you don’t know where to go or how to reach your destination, ask someone. There are so many info points and people ready to help once you reach the exit. 

USE PUBLIC TRANSPORTS | Don’t think to use the car as it will be impossible to find a parking space

TWO FERIAS | The real feria de Malaga is in “Real de la Feria” but there are celebrations in the city centre as well, with music and dancers, starting from the entrance of Calle Lario.


Unusual things to do in Malaga


Malaga off the beaten track | SHop like a local in Malaga

Shop like a local at Atarazanas market

There is nothing better than experiencing Malaga like a local and shop in Atarazanas market. One of the best food markets we have ever been, similar to the one in Valencia, the good environment will make you feel like home.

We loved shopping in the Atarazanas market as everything was fresh and super delicious. This is not just a market and a favourite local spot for daily grocery.

At the very end, close to the fish area you will find many people standing while enjoying a beer with tapas. Especially during summer, with the tables outside, you can enjoy a quick but delicious pre-lunch with fresh and local food. The prices are really cheap despite the central location.

HOURS |  From 8 AM until 3 PM | Sunday Closed 

Unusual things to do in Malaga

Experience the surrounding of Malaga 

The beautiful coastal town of Malaga will allow you to explore many places unique in the world. Take a couple of days off and plan your next destination while still in Malaga.

By train you can reach all the coastal side of Andalusia, visiting some of the best beaches in Europe. Sea Towns like Torremolinos, Marbella, Benalmadena, Fuengirola and many other more, are within a reasonable distance from the main train station “Estación de Málaga María Zambrano”. From the same station are also departing the fast trains to Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia.

Just at the back of the main train complex, there is the bus station, which is the ideal for bus trips to Granada, Cordoba, Alicante, Almeria, Murcia and many more. Will be great if you can consider an experience to Gibraltar or visit the little white towns on the hills surrounding Malaga, the famous “Pueblos Blancos de Andalucía”.

Discover Malaga off the beaten track | Plan a day trip from Malaga

LET’S TALK OF SOME GREAT TRIPS FROM MALAGA

TAKE A BOAT TO MOROCCO | Did you know that you can reach Morocco from Malaga? You can plan in advance your trip to Malaga including Tangier as well.

EXPLORE WHITE VILLAGES | You can’t leave Malaga without visiting the beautiful “Pueblos Blancos” of Mijas, Frigiliana and Ronda. With its Andalusia’s touch, those gorgeous villages are today one of the top places to visit near Malaga.

RENT A CAR AND GO VISIT GRANADA | Considered one of the most visited cities in Spain for the beautiful Alhambra Palace, Granada is easy to reach from Malaga. Wander around Granada in one day.

TAKE A TRAIN TO MADRID | From Malaga, you can take a train from the main station and reach Madrid in less than 3 hours. If you are planning a short trip to Madrid you can easily visit the city in one day. Read more about Madrid here.

MORE DAY TRIPS FROM MALAGA | Read our itinerary of the best day trips from Malaga.

Flameco Dance Museum in Seville Spain - Seville 2 days itinerary

Feel the emotions of Flamenco Music

Flamenco is the traditional dance in Andalucia with its mix between Spanish and Gypsy culture. If you really want to experience a real Flamenco show, you are in the right place.

The passion of Flamenco dance is recognised in the entire world and it’s one of the best experiences you can have while in Malaga. It will create deep empathy with the local culture and traditions.

Book here your alternative Andalusian horses and Flamenco show tickets.

Get tanned on the Costa Tropical 

Are you still on vacation? Of course, you are. After a long day exploring and strolling around Malaga, you deserve a bit of relaxing. 

Grab your sunglasses, beach bag and biking and enjoy the beautiful coastline of Costa Tropical. Less crowded than Costa del Sol, Costa Tropical is an alternative place where you can enjoy the sun. For that reason, we have included Malaga among the best destinations to visit to chase the sun in winter in Europe.

READ ALSO | Best beaches in Malaga

malagueta spain spagna malaga summer trip

Lay on Misericordia Beach 

Less-know compared to Malagueta beach, the Misericordia sand is another lovely place where you can get tanned. Located not far away from the city centre, Misericordia beach is the ideal place if you are visiting Malaga with kids. 

During the week you won’t find many people as the majority are still working and having only one day off on Sunday. During the weekend there are people around but less than Malagueta beach. This area is located in the far end of the city, in direction to the airport. It is easy to understand why it is mainly occupied by locals and families.

Midnight ice-cream 

Have you ever experienced a midnight ice-cream? When we used to live in Malaga we had an ice-cream shop around the corner which during the weekend was closing at 3 AM. For our happiness and theirs we were having our midnight ice-cream almost every day. The best 5 euros ever spent. 

If you are in the city centre after dinner you will still find many ice-cream shops open. The one that we suggest is “Casa Mira” as after the shop close to our apartment, it’s the second-best ice-cream shop in Malaga.

Caminito del Rey

Known as the King’s Pathway, the Caminito del Rey is part of the spectacular natural hills and rocks of the coastal side of Andalusia. The path is more than just a walk in the hills. This is the right place for adventure seekers, just a few steps away from the sunny beaches of Malaga.

The view from the top, the narrow passages, the suspended bridge and many other natural attractions will take your breath away all along the path. The Caminito del Rey is an extended trail of 55 Kilometers. The closest village in El Chorro. Often disclosed as the most dangerous walkaway of Spain, is something you should put in your Spain Bucket List.

TOURS | Caminito del Rey Guided Tour or Walkway excursions plus transport

Party hard in Malaga

If you don’t know, Malaga is a crazy city. During the day the city centre is full of tourists going up and down the alleys visiting the most important sights. From late afternoon the city changes its face. The streets of Malaga start to be crowded with young passing from a bar to another.

A party city that is even more chaotic during summer, that is going from May to late September. You will never be bored in Malaga, a city that can change your perspective of a holiday, completely. But don’t associate the parties of Ibiza with the actual way to enjoy the parties of Malaga.

Relax in an Arab bath

This is maybe the most relaxing thing to do in Malaga after lying on a beach. It is an unusual thing to do in Malaga, but in general in a city within the seaside a reasonable distance from the city centre. The Arab Baths of Malaga are unique, powered by the energy of the thermal water through relaxing paths.

Hammam al Andalus is a company that has renovated these old spaces, once a bath used by the Arabs who insisted in the country leaving many other important structures and traditions. We have tried the Hammam al Andalus baths in the morning, going later on for a great breakfast and enjoying the beach in the afternoon. Does it sound good?

Things to know about Malaga

Malaga is among the most populated cities in Spain, it is not at all a little village, instead, you will find a great extended metropolitan reticulate. The Airport of Malaga is amazing, serving almost all the European Capital and really well linked to the city centre. Not only that, if you are visiting the Costa del Sol, and in particular cities like Torremolinos, Marbella, Puerto Banus and others, you will see how it is easy to reach those villages by public transport from Malaga.

Among the hills of Malaga, there are some cute villages, called Pueblos Blancos, White Villages. It is worth planning a few days trips from Malaga, visiting Ronda, Mijas al Pueblo or Nerja and Frigiliana.

Thanks to the 300 days of sun during the year, this spot of Europe is ideal even in Winter. Many British, American and Germans find Costa del Sol the best place to spend the whole summer. Because of that, it is also true that August is really hot with temperatures going over 35 degrees.

Best time to visit Malaga 

If you want to make the most of your trip we suggest you to consider planning your trip around May or September. During high season Malaga welcomes many tourists and the price of the accommodation and flights tend to go up. Before moving to Malaga we visited twice the city, in discrete months like March and  May.

We found lovely weather and the city was not so crowded. At the end of March, you can already enjoy the beach, despite the sea being still a bit cold. In May and September, it is the start and the end of the high season, which will conclude in mid-october.

In that time frame  you can still enjoy the beach and feel the summer vibes but with fewer people around. 

Beautiful cities in Spain

Experience all the unusual things to do in Malaga 

This collection of things to do in Malaga off the beaten path will take you to amazing holiday time in Costa del Sol. Malaga is a crazy city at night with all the clubs partying all night long.

If you want to experience all the unusual things to do in Malaga, you should think outside of the box, setting aside a tourist mentality. Like we said we have been living here for 6 months, while in summer and been visiting the city quite a lot before moving in. 

Things like having an artisanal ice-cream at midnight or even later, make us feel nostalgic while we can’t have it here in the UK. Talking about unusual things that you can’t have somewhere else, we have to include the Arab baths.

You can enjoy this way of relaxing just in Andalusia, in cities like Granada, Siviglia, Madrid or Malaga. If you have any suggestion on other quirky things to do in Malaga, just comment below.

Q&A for Malaga Off the beaten track

What are some must-do activities in Malaga?

Visit a Museum (Pompidou and Picasso highly recommended)
Flamenco Show at the Cervantes
Mercado de Atarazanas
Tapas tour
Hammam Al Andalus (Arab Baths)
Eat Churros

Best time to visit Malaga

The best time to visit Malaga is obviously in Summer, which is too crowded for our standards. Instead, evaluate to visit the city during Spring, or late May, to enjoy the traditional parties and a bit of sunshine on the beach.

Do I have to rent a car in Malaga?

Not really. The public transport in the city is efficient and cheap. There is a Subway that is taking you to the city centre for 1,30 euro. If you are planning a few day trips, and maybe a hike on the hills of Malaga you can rent a car. Cheap rates are available at the airport or just look online here.

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12 thoughts on “15 Unusual things to do in Malaga | Discover Malaga off the beaten track

  1. Val says:

    I’ve always wanted to experience the Semana Santa in Spain and the celebrations in Malaga sound amazing with 45 processions!! Great list, will save it for a future trip 🙂

  2. Lyne says:

    I love this post! I was supposed to visit Malaga this summer but can’t unfortunately, definitely saving this for later! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Lena says:

    Absolutely love your post. Thanks for keeping everything so clear and also giving pricing examples. I haven’t been to Malaga yet, but am pinning this post for later for sure!

  4. Patri says:

    I am hoping to explore Malaga later on after summer if Covid cases have decreased by then. I have family in Alhaurin el Grande so I have done a few things like “el caminito del rey”.

  5. Maja's little dream says:

    A lot of useful information! I’ve never visited Malaga before, but now I know what to do there 🙂

  6. Maria says:

    I absolutely love your off the beaten track guide for Malaga! Especially the Atarazanas market sounds like a great local experience. I always seek to discover the hidden gems of a destination so I’ll definitely keep your guide handy for a future visit.

  7. Paula Martinelli says:

    Great guide! I love off the beaten path and I saved this guide for when I finally get to visit Malaga, there are several things here that I want to do and explore.

  8. Ophelie says:

    I love to get local tips when I visit a city! Thanks for sharing all your recommendations! Midight ice-creams sounds like a great plan 😀

  9. Linn says:

    So many cool things to do in Malaga, I live outside the city and can’t wait for the temperatures to get cold enough to go hang out in Malaga again. Not sure, but I think maybe the Feria next month will be canceled because of covid.

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