when i went: april 2022

Málaga is a city on Spain’s Costa del Sol (aka “Sun Coast”), that attracts a lot of tourists and is a big travel hub for several other destinations in southern Spain. I flew in and out of here to get to Granada, which is about 85 miles north (and a place I highly recommend visiting for its quaint Spanish charm, tapas culture, and the Alhambra). 

At the end of my week in Granada, I decided to give myself just a couple of days in Málaga to see what there is to see. I had heard mixed reviews—that it’s a gorgeous city on the coast with lots of good food and history, but that it also gets overrun by cruise ships and drunk British vacationers—so I decided a couple days was all I needed to see for myself.

Overall, I really loved Málaga, and I think in part because I went in with my expectations set. I didn’t need more than 48 hours, but if you’re also passing through on a flight through AGP, I do recommend you stop by for a visit! 

where to stay

I stayed in a super cute & cozy Airbnb right across from the main cathedral in the Old Town. This made it really easy to walk around and basically always be close to home, and the nearest beach was only a 15 minute walk away. Most of Málaga’s bad rap comes from the resort culture, so the Old Town is definitely the way to go. 

what to do

Try the food!

Basically a given no matter where I go—but I really loved the tapas I tried in Málaga, especially the seafood ones since it’s on the coast. On my first night there, I did this Airbnb Experience that, in my opinion, was the perfect curation of food & wine (and we did not leave hungry!). 

Here are some places I recommend trying:

Casa Lola → Great well known tapas place. They have lots of inexpensive small plates so it’s good for trying lots of things, even if you’re solo. It gets crowded, but since I was on my own I sat at the bar and ended up striking up a convo with another solo traveler, who I spent the rest of the night hanging out with! 

Pez Lola → The sister restaurant to Casa Lola with a focus on seafood. We came here on the food tour and it was SO good (it’s also incredibly well branded). We tried the Russian salad (basically a tuna salad), cod croquettes, and fried anchovies. 

Mesón Ibérico → Tapas spot that came recommended from a friend. It was packed at lunchtime and I snagged a seat at the bar to try a few things. Can’t remember what I tried but it was yummy! 

Tasca La Salita → This was our final stop on the food tour and we all absolutely loved it. Traditional Spanish tapas in a no frills spot. We tried a bunch of stuff that I don’t remember and didn’t right down (ugh) but I do remember the salmorejo was incredible, we got a bean-salad-type-thing, and something involving tuna.

El Pimpi → A famous place with a beautiful interior. We walked through but I never got a chance to sit down and eat there, although I was told to try their tortilla and verdejo (a type of Spanish wine).

Antigua Casa de Guardia → If you book any type of food or walking tour, your tourguide will probably take you here. I came on both of the tours I did, haha. This is the oldest bar in the city and famous for its local sweet wines. I’m not a sweet wine gal myself, but it was really cool and was packed with good energy!

BYOKO → Cute & yummy breakfast spot. I got the mushroom & bacon egg bread bowl thing & it was deeeelish. 

Brunchit España → If you read my Granada post you know I went on a mini-rant about how I need eggs for breakfast. Was this place traditionally Spanish? Def not. Did it provide me with oversized eggs benedict to start my day? Indeed it did. 

Casa Mira → Good ice cream spot 

See some flamenco

Flamenco, or Spanish dancing, is a cool cultural activity to experience. I went with that Airbnb Experience but you can also look into booking tickets on your own. 

Walk to the beach 

If you know me, you know there’s nothing I love more than cities-with-beaches. In Málaga, the nearest beach, Playa la Malagueta, was only a 15 minute walk from my Airbnb. It was the first place I went when I got there, and the last place I went to read my book for a little bit before heading to the airport. Full disclosure: this isn’t a super beautiful, serene beach. It’s a crowded public beach in a touristy city. If you’re looking for a proper beach day, there are definitely better beaches along the Costa del Sol. But for me, and since I was only there for 48 hours, being able to walk there, put my feet in the sand, journal, and read my book was perfection. 

Learn the history 

The history of Málaga was fascinating, and I always recommend a walking tour! I booked this one with Isabel, who was so engaging, fun, and knowledgable about her native city. We had a good amount of people in our group, but nothing compared to the other monstrous cruise ship tour groups around us (cringe), and Isabel said she always makes sure to keep her group sizes manageable.

Enjoy the sunset

On my last night, I met a fellow solo traveler and we walked down to the port to check out the vibe and enjoy the sunset. I was also recommended a few rooftop bars for a sunset drink (although I didn’t get around to going): at Room Mate Valeria Hotel, AC Hotel by Marriott, Hotel Molina Lario, and Alcazaba Premium Hotel Málaga. 

Overall, I enjoyed my 48 hours in Málaga—the weather was perfection (I was there at the end of April, but it’s called Costa del Sol for a reason!), the food was delicious, and I was grateful to have my feet in the sand between walking tours.

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