Malaga is one of Andalucía’s greatest treasures; the city is home to some world class beaches and top hotels, as well as two world-renowned historic sites. What makes a trip to Malaga really special, however, is the amazing range of sites you can visit within a couple of hours’ drive of the city. To ensure that you make the best of your holiday, we’ve compiled a list of the best day trips around Malaga, as well as the must-visit locations within the city itself. So let’s get started!
Despite being known as ‘the heart of Andalucia’, the white town of Antequera has managed to remain largely undiscovered by tourists, meaning the fascinating, quintessentially Spanish spot is all the more worthy of a visit. Like much of Spain, Antequera has been influenced by Roman, Moorish and Spanish settlements through time, each of which have left their own distinct mark on the town. The Spanish Baroque style architecture of many churches and convents are especially treasured and preserved in Antequera. The white town is also home to over 30 churches, each with wonderfully ornate craftsmanship inside and out, whilst there are also Roman baths, the famous Arch of the Giants and a 13th century Moorish castle for visitors to discover. As if the wealth of history within the town wasn’t enough, just to the west of Antequera you can also visit some of the world’s oldest dolmens (or mass burial chambers), of which the undoubted highlight is the massive Cueva de La Menga. Many hundreds of full skeletons have been discovered at this site, which is around 5,000 years old.
Caminito Del Rey
Originally built in 1921 by Spain’s King Alfonso XIII, this was – up until recently – considered the most dangerous pathway in the world. This year, however, after a comprehensive restoration project, the path has officially re-opened to the public. This means that the astonishing views of Malaga’s mountains and the beautiful Guadalhorce River below can be experienced safely by anyone, just as long as they’re not afraid of heights! The path is a linear route of 7.7km, of which around 2.9km is made up of wooden walkways. These walkways flank the mountainsides through the spectacular Desfiladero de los Gaitanes gorge, eventually crossing the river at a height of around 100 metres.
Around an hour and a half’s drive from Malaga, you’ll find Granada, home to flamenco dancing, wonderful tapas and - most notably - the magnificent Alhambra. This palace and fortress complex is set in a stunning forest and is made up of various ornately decorated buildings, gardens and military fortifications. Built firstly as a fortress in the year 889 and then renovated by Spain’s Moorish rulers in the mid-11th century, the Alhambra is one of Europe’s most noteworthy sites, acting as one of the best remaining relics from the time of Islamic rule over Spain. The site is made what it is with religious inscriptions coating the walls, serene irrigated gardens and magnificent architecture over a large area. Even from afar the Alhambra is a magnificent sight to behold, climbing high out of a forest of cypress and elm trees, and there are few more worthwhile visits in the whole of Andalucía.
Alcazaba of Malaga
Whilst the Alhambra is a magnificent site, if you don’t fancy the hour and a half’s drive, you’ll find that Malaga itself is home to its own great fortress, the Alcazaba. Reached from a lush, green and windy path from the Roman amphitheatre, the Alcazaba is Malaga’s most important and impressive landmark. You’ll find well restored Roman, Arabic and Renaissance relics, as well as beautiful gardens, fountains and courtyards at this remarkable castle. As an added bonus, the Alcazaba is perched upon a hilltop, meaning it offers great views over the city and across the sea towards Africa.
The phrase ‘one of a kind’ is truly justified when talking about Ronda, the town is the birthplace of modern bullfighting and is situated at a magnificent location, perched precariously on the edge of a cliff. Ronda is built on both sides of the mighty El Tajo Gorge and the town offers staggering views over the Serrania de Ronda Mountains, which completely surround it. Perhaps the highlight of the town is the incredible feat of engineering which is the Puente Nuevo or ‘new’ bridge, which was created by some of Andalucía’s most treasured architects and crosses the 100 metre gorge magnificently. Ronda is one of Spain’s oldest towns, and is also home to various museums, as well as some epitomic Spanish cobbled streets, churches and buildings.
Castillo de Gibralfaro
Castillo de Gibralfaro is one of Malaga’s most famous landmarks, with testimony to this being that it’s depicted in both the city and province’s flags. The castle is located atop a hill just out of Malaga, stood overlooking the city as it has for over a millennium. The remnants of the castle include solid ramparts on the outside, as well as buildings and courtyards within the complex. The best way to see Gibralfaro is on an uphill hike from the Alcazaba, with the castle as the reward for the challenging - but spectacular - walk. The walls of the care very well preserved and there is a small museum at the site. However, what makes a visit to this spot really worthwhile is the view from the top. There is nowhere better to see the beauty of Malaga and the sea spread out beneath you than from the top viewing position at Castillo de Gibralfaro, meaning it is a must-see for hikers and scenery-lovers alike.
So there you have it, just a few of the incredible places available to you on a day trip from Malaga! Whether you’re looking for amazing scenery, wonderful history or some quintessentially Spanish culture, there’s a perfect location for you within just a couple of hours of Malaga, so why not visit the unique Andalusian city on your next adventure abroad? You certainly won’t run out of things to do!