15 Of The Best Free Things To Do In Malaga

Malaga, the sun kissed capital of Costa del Sol, is a wonderful place to visit if you are on a budget. There are so many free things to do in Malaga, so even if your budget is not very high you can still enjoy everything that the city has to offer.

These Are My Favourite Free Things to Do in Malaga:

Enjoy The View From Gibralfaro Hill

Directions

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One of the best free things to do in Malaga is to climb the hill up to Castillo Gibralfaro. The view from here is magnificent, overlooking the entire city and the surroundings. On a sunny clear day you might even spot the Atlas Mountains from Morocco.

The climb up is quite steep and slippery. In summer, when it gets very hot, it’s very difficult to go up, so be prepared to cover your head and also bring plenty of water with you. There are no shops from where you can buy water on the way up. If it’s too hot and you feel that you can’t do the climb, take bus 35 from Paseo del Parque near Plaza de la Marina. For 1.2 euros, in 15 minutes you will be up the hill.

Go To The Beach

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Malaga is blessed with wonderful long sandy beaches that you can enjoy for free. The most famous beach in Malaga is the Malagueta, which has warm clear water which is safe to swim in. From place to place there are palm trees full of parrots.

Along the beach there are plenty of traditional chiringuitos where you can have espetos (sardines on a skewer, grilled over an open fire) and a cold pint of San Miguel beer for lunch. As a reference, the price for espetos should be between 5 and 7 euros per portion.

Enjoy a Stroll On Paseo Maritimo

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A stroll on Paseo Maritimo is a lovely way to explore different views of Malaga. Following the touristic harbour, in summer, Paseo Maritimo is covered, to protect from the scorching sun. Also, there are water ventilators that cool down the air.

Walking along the Paseo Maritimo in Malaga you can admire different cruise liners that are docked in the harbour. You can even embark on one of the smaller boats that go around the bay searching for dolphins.

There are plenty of restaurants and bars along Paseo Maritimo, for all budgets. Towards the lighthouse you will find the Surena brewery, which serves tapas for one euro and buckets of beer for 5 euros.

Explore The Old Town Of Malaga

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Malaga is a small city and its historical centre is best explored by foot. There are plenty of alleys and small streets where you will find authentic tapas bars and local restaurants. Two of my recommendations are El Tapeo de Cervantes and KGB, both do tapas with a twist and are worth discovering. For both it is better to book a table, as they are small and the chances of finding a table without a reservation are slim.

The main attractions to see in the old town of Malaga are the Picasso Museum, the Cathedral and the San Juan Bautista Church. There are no cars allowed in the old centre of Malaga, so you can walk along enjoying the views without worrying about traffic.

Go To The Local Market

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Atarazanas Market is one of those places where you can feel the buzz of the city and get to know the local community. Located in an old 14th century building, the market is not a touristic attraction but a place where locals actually come and buy fresh food from.

You can find here many Andalucian delicacies that will cost you much more if you were to buy them in the specialised souvenir shops, such as olive oil or sweet Malaga wine.

You can also get lunch here, as there are a few stalls that prepare fresh fish and local tapas.

Visit Museo De Malaga

Entrance: Free | Directions 

One of the free things to do in Malaga is visiting the Museo de Malaga, which hosts a vast collection of fine arts and archaeological artefacts. The museum is inside the beautiful Palacio de la Aduana, next to the Paseo del Parque.

Malaga Museum is one of the first in Andalucia to merge the Museum of Fine Arts and the Archaeological Museum. The first five rooms of the impressive 18,000 square metre building are dedicated to the over 15,000 pieces archaeology collection, whilst the last three host a 2,000 pieces fine arts exhibition.

Enjoy The Scents From The Rose Garden

Entrance: Free | Directions

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You would be surprised how this beautiful rose garden hides in plain sight, in the middle of the city, between the Alcazaba and the Paseo Maritimo. The rose garden is a wonderful place to catch your breath or just relax under the shade, when the sun is too hot.

The gardens are beautifully landscaped in a Moorish style, with small fountains with running water in the middle, and have over 10,500 plants from 70 different rose species.

In the middle of the gardens you can admire a symbol of Malaga, the statue of a young men selling jasmine flowers – The Biznaguero.

Visit The Centre Of Contemporary Art

Entrance: Free | Directions 

The Museum of Contemporary Art is located inside a historical building used in the past as a wholesale market, on the banks of the Guadalmedia river. It hosts a private collection of art but also temporary exhibitions of Spanish artists.

The Centre of Contemporary Arts focuses on works by artists from the 1950s until today, with an accent on local talent. Some of the famous names whose work you will see here are Damian Hirst, Olafur Eliasson and Thomas Ruff.

Explore The Roman Theatre

Entrance: Free | Directions 

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The Roman Theatre is the oldest monument in the city of Malaga and it is free to visit. Located just below the Alcazaba, the Roman Theatre was built in the first century BC. In the visitor’s centre you can find out about the history of the theatre and see objects that have been found during the excavations of the site, when it was first discovered, in 1951.

Sometimes there are open air performances that take place here. Visiting the Roman Theatre is a must, especially that there is no charge, being one of the best free things in Malaga to experience.

Visit The Museo Del Patrimonio Municipal

Entrance: Free | Directions 

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Malaga’s Municipal Heritage Museum focuses on art between the 15th and the 21st century. Each of the three rooms of the museum are dedicated to one time period, starting with the Evolution of the City from the 15th century, when it was still under the Moorish occupation.

There are more than 4,000 exhibits in the collection.

Explore The Churches Of Malaga

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There are quite a few churches in Malaga and, besides the Cathedral which has an entrance fee of 6 euros (10 euros if you include the rooftop), the rest are free to visit. The Cathedral of Malaga is free to visit from Monday until Thursday between 9AM-10AM.

The San Juan Bautista Church is a beautiful gothic church with an opulent interior and a baroque style tower. Iglesia de Santiago is my favourite church in Malaga, with a beautiful interior and different architectural styles. This church has been built in the 15th century on a mosque, and you can still observe today elements of Islamic, baroque and gothic architecture. Basilica Santa Maria de la Victoria is one of Malaga’s most beautiful churches, with a stunning interior which includes a museum and a crypt as well.

Join The Free Walking Tour Of Malaga

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As every other major city in the world, there is a free walking tour in Malaga as well. I always recommend going to the free walking tour in the first day of your arrival to a new city, so that you get to know its layout and decide which corners you want to explore more in depth afterwards. Plus, if you are a solo traveller, the free walking tour is a great place to make new friends among the other people who travel on their own.

Technically the tour is not free, as at the end you pay in tips as much as you think it was worth.

You can check out and book your free space online for the free city tour of Malaga here.

Free On Sundays:

There are plenty of free things to do in Malaga, but even so, the city is so tourist friendly that on Sunday it opens the doors to other attractions for which you usually would have to pay.

Museo Picasso

Entrance: 12 euros; free on the last 2 admission hours on Sundays | Directions 

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The memorial house of Pablo Picasso hosts an impressive collection of his work, on two different floors and it’s a must when you are visiting Malaga. There are paintings, drawings, sculptures and also temporary exhibitions in which you can observe how Picasso’s style evolved during the years of his life.

Usually a ticket for the Museo Picasso costs 12 euros but on Sundays, the last two hours of the day have free access. As the museum has different opening times depending on the time of the year, you can consult the schedule here to know when to go. My advice is to be there half an hour before, as the queues can be long, especially in summer.

Pompidou Centre

Entrance: 9 euros; free on Sundays after 4PM | Directions 

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A smaller sibling of the Pompidou Centre in Paris, the museum in Malaga is the only international branch of the gallery outside France. The museum focuses on modern art, with the current exhibition focusing on “Modern Utopias”. When I visited the temporary collection was centred around Matisse’s work and the way he revolutionized the art of the 20th century.

If you love the Tate Modern in London, then you will love the Centre Pompidou in Malaga.

Alcazaba And Castillo De Gibralfaro

Entrance: 5,50 euros; Free guided tour every Sunday at 2PM | Directions 

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If Granada has the Alhambra and Sevilla has the Alcazar, Malaga has Alcazaba and Castillo de Gibralfaro, a fortress that stands up high on the hill surrounding the city. Built in the 6th century on the ruins of an old Roman bastion, the Alcazaba spreads over the hill with its 110 towers. Inside there are beautiful gardens and patios, all reminding of the Nasrid Moorish architectural style.

Have you visited Malaga before? Have you experienced any free things to do in Malaga? Let me know in the comments below!

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