SIGHT SEEING TOUR
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.2 Km or 3.2 Miles
1. Puerto de Malaga (Port of Málaga)
Phoenicians from Tyre were familiar with Malaga. They had founded the port in the year 1,000 BC or thereabouts, and they had named it for the Semetic word for Salt, "Malaka." Fish were salted on the first dock, a single quay running along the shoreline. During the Roman era the port was famous for minerals, almonds, wine and oil.
As Malaga was named the capital of Islamic Granada, trade and business expanded. When Ferdinand and Isabella entered the city in 1487 the port also became strategically important to the new regime. It served to embark troops for the Spanish conquest of the Rif area of North Africa and Oran.
The port experienced rapid expansion in the 16th and 17th centuries. It became Spain's the major place of export. King Philip V commissioned French engineer Bartolome Thurns to expand the port to meet military and business needs. The result was the construction of the East Dock and the New Quay. The first lighthouse appeared in 1814.
The port today is less important for marine trade but thriving in tourism. It is full of bars and restaurants with lively nightlife entertainments. During the day it is a great place to have a walk and enjoy the sea view.
2. Calle Larios (Larios Street)
Someone in Malaga really liked Chicago buildings in the 1880s. Chief suspect might be Jose Maria Sancha, architect and designer of Calle Larios. Or, the Chicago architecture fan might also be Sancha's colleague, Manuel Rivera. But no. Building design was by Chicago enthusiast and Spanish Architect, Eduardo Strachan Viana-Cardenas.
The street is pedestrianized to encourage strolling and shopping, especially shopping. It extends from the Constitution Square in the north to Alameda Principal in the south. It is reputed to be the most expensive street to live on in Malaga, and one of the most expensive to live on throughout Spain.
In 1880 a corporation formed by the city to fund creation of the street raised over one million pesetas. Shares were 25,000 pesetas each. Most were purchased by the Larios family. It was to no-one's surprise that the street was named for Manuel Larios. A statue of him by Mariano Benlliure is at the south end of the street.
During the time of the Second Republic the street was briefly renamed "Calle 14 de Abril" for the date of the introduction of democracy. In the Spanish civil war the street was bombed but spared much architectural damage.
Larios Street is very popular. It is lined with banks, cafes and businesses. Besides the statue of Manuel Larios there is the sculpture of the Quiromantic Dove, by Jose Sigal.
3. Catedral de Málaga
Malaga Cathedral has the nickname, "La Manquita" or "the One-armed Lady." The "arms" of the Cathedral are its towers. The north tower of the cathedral is 276 feet high. The south tower is unfinished. A plaque at the stunted south tower explains why. The funds earmarked for the tower were given to the American revolutionaries instead.
This windfall for the Americans occurred through the good offices of Luis de Unzaga, who was governor of what is now Louisiana, with connections to King Carlos III of Spain. So, the cathedral has been short-armed since at least 1776. Groundbreaking for the cathedral took place in 1528. It was considered finished in 1782.
The cathedral is designed by Diego de Siloe in the Renaissance tradition, inside and out. De Siloe learned the Italian Renaissance styles in Naples in 1517. He combined these elements with Spanish Gothic and Arab architectural motifs. The cathedral has a nave and two aisles. The stalls of the choir are the work of Pedro de Mena.
The facade of the cathedral differs from the rest of the building in that it is in Baroque style. It is in two levels. There are three arches on the lower level with portals flanked by marble columns. Medallions above the doors represent the patron saints of Malaga, Cyriacus and Paula and the Annunciation of the Virgin.
Why You Should Visit:
Richly decorated and architecturally interesting. Very interesting chapels all around inside and the views from the bell tower over the city and beyond should definitely not be missed if you are fit.
Mon-Fri: 10am-9pm; Sat: 10am-6:30pm; Sundays & holidays: 2pm-6:30pm (1 Apr - 15 Oct);
Mon-Sat: 10am-6:30pm; Sundays & holidays: 2pm-6:30pm (16 Oct - 31 Mar)
4. Teatro Romano (Roman Theatre)
The Teatro Romano (or Roman Theater) was discovered while laying the gardens of the Palace archive and Libraries of Malaga. The theater is still in the process of restoration and preservation by archaeologists.
The theater dates back to the 1st century and was constructed during the reign of the Roman Emperor Augustus. At the time, Spain formed the Roman province of Hispania. The theater was used till the 3rd century. The remains were found in 1951 and the building in the location was demolished to facilitate excavation.
The radius of the semicircular space to seat spectators is 31 meters and the theatre is 16 meters high. It is divided by aisles. There is also a 15-meter semicircular space where the orchestra performed. Excavation is still in progress and signs of a larger Roman site are slowly visible. The present theater is a reproduction, although some of the old walls are preserved. The Moors used the stones from the original structure to build the Alcazaba Fortress.
There is a modern interpretation center inaugurated in 2010 where an audio-visual presentation of Roman history and details of the objects found during the excavation are related for the benefit of visitors. The Teatro Romano is located just below the Alcazaba. Visitors can get a full view of the Roman Theater from the top of the fortress.
The best views are from the normal public pedestrianized walkways that pass by this the Roman amphitheater.
Tue-Sat: 10am-6pm; Sun: 10am-4pm
5. Alcazaba of Malaga (Malaga Fortress)
The Malaga Fortress is built on a hill near the center of Malaga. As a military installation, it is ideally situated. It overlooks both the city below and the sea. It is enclosed by two massive walls of stone. It was also attached to the city ramparts and it has strategically located defensive towers.
The outer fortress is accessed by the Vault Gate. The gate was designed to double back on itself, making it difficult for intruders to enter. These days, however, visitors may use the elevator.
A pathway leads up past gardens and ornate fountains through the Gate of Columns or Tower of Christ and then turns abruptly once again with intruders in mind. The inner fortress can be reached by the Gate of the Granada Quarters, which defends the western edge of the palace. The Tower of Tribute takes care of the eastern edge.
Inside this second defensive wall is the palace itself and houses which were built on three patios in the 11th, 13th and 14th centuries. Among them are the Quarters of Granada. The Quarters would serve as residences of governors and as Royal Apartments.
The Malaga Fortress is located at the foot the Gibralfaro hill. It is connected to the Arab defenses by a walled-in passageway called Coracha. The Roman Theatre and the customs building share a space. Here is the opportunity to compare Roman, Renaissance and Arab construction together.
Arab historians claim the palace was built by 1063 by order of King Badis of the Berber Taifa of Granada. Building materials were transported to the site for general construction and the columns while the old Roman theatre supplied materials for capitals and other like uses.
Ferdinand and Isabella seized Malaga in 1487 by one of the longest sieges of the Reconquest. They entered the fortress and raised their royal standard at the Tower of Tribute. That was the day Spain became Spain.
Daily: 9am-8pm (Apr-Oct); 9am-6pm (Nov-Mar); Free Sundays from 2pm
6. Parque de Malaga (Park of Malaga)
Designed as a flourishing Mediterranean garden, replete with tropical and subtropical species, Park of Malaga is one of the most outstanding parks in Europe. It has botanical contributions from five continents. The park was established in the late 19th century on land reclaimed from the sea.
There is a promenade running through the park lined with Baroque and Renaissance gardens on each side. Benches are covered with Sevillian tiles. Busts and obelisks are dedicated to people of Malaga. There are fountains like Muneca Fountain and Fountain of the Nymph. The Fountain of the Three Graces is in the General Torrijos Square.
The park reaches from the General Torrijos Square to the Marina Square. It lies between the Alameda Principal and the Paseo de Espana alongside Guadiaro Quay. There are three walkways. One on the north side of the Alameda Principal Extension and two on the south side.
The park covers 97,500 square feet, including the rose garden and trees by the City Council and the gardens of the Dark Gate. It is intended to be a place of serenity, marked with gardens, benches, a small open-air theatre, fountains and children's parks. It is also a refuge for the footsore tourist.
7. Ayuntamiento de Málaga (Malaga City Hall)
This baroque style structure is one of the most beautiful government buildings in Spain. The façade and interiors have many beautifully preserved works of art by well known local artists. It is located in an elegantly landscaped garden near the Alcazaba fortress.
Two local architects, Fernando Guerrero Strachan and Manuel Rivera Vera, designed the Ayuntamiento de Málaga. Intended for housing the offices of the local government, this Neo-Baroque structure was completed in 1919. The building has three floors and a clock tower. The façade is covered with sculptures of men, garlands of fruits and vegetables created by artist Diego Garcia Carreras. The interior is full of artistic and architectural treasures including the sculpture of a woman who represents the city surrounded by figures representing architecture, commerce, fishing and the sea.
The first floor has stained glass windows that represent the history of Málaga. The second floor has the offices of the mayor, the council meeting room and the famous Hall of Mirrors with Neo-Rococo designed mirror frames and a ceiling with paintings by well-known artists. The Hall of Mirrors is the best-known part of the building. The corridors of the second floor have portraits of all the 20th-century Mayors of Málaga painted by prominent artists.
Visitors require special permission enter the building to view its magnificent interior art and architecture.
8. Castillo de Gibralfaro (Gibralfaro Castle)
This castle is an ancient fortress resting on top of the Gibralfaro Hill. The peak is 131 meters high and offers spectacular views of the city of Malaga and the Mediterranean Sea. The image of the structure is depicted on the seal and flag of Malaga City.
The Moors erected the fortress near an old lighthouse constructed by the Phoenicians. The name Gibralfaro comes from 'gabel' which means rock in Arabic and 'faro' meaning lighthouse in Greek. Abd-al-Rahman III, the Caliph of Cordoba commissioned the construction of a castle at the site. Yusef I, the Sultan of Grenada, built additional structures including a walled passage that connects the castle with the Alcazaba, in the 14th century.
The Christian monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, laid siege to the castle for three months. The siege ended only when hunger forced the Moorish armies to surrender. This was the first time that both armies used gunpowder. After victory, Ferdinand stayed at the castle while Isabella remained in the city.
Today visitors can reach the castle by bus, taxi or by climbing the steps to the summit. They can only see the ruins of the castle and the mosque that once stood at the location. There are several bread ovens and wells within the property. The old gunpowder room now houses an information center and there is a small one-room museum with exhibits that tell the once glorious tale of the castle.
Why You Should Visit:
Excellent attraction not just for history buffs but for anyone wanting to get the best views of this beautiful city and the sea.
Another advantage of starting any historic endeavor at this castle is that you are then able to work your way down the hill (public footpath) to the next phase of historic attractions.
The site is perhaps best experienced by walking around the walls which can sometimes be high and often unprotected, as well as narrow – so do be patient and do take care. Taking young children onto the walls is not a very good idea, or if you do, make sure to permanently hold on to them... and tightly.
Daily: 9am-8pm (Summer); 9am-6pm (Winter)
9. Plaza de Toros de La Malagueta
(La Malagueta Bullring)
La Malagueta, the bullring of Malaga, can be found in the center of the city, near the Paseo de Reding. The structure of the arena is in the style of neomudejar in the shape of a hexadecagon (16 sides). The ring measures 169 feet in diameter. It has holding pens, stables, dressing rooms, and most importantly, a first aid post.
La Malagueta hosts events during the fighting season, including two fights in Holy Week. One of the fights is named Corrida Picassiana for Pablo Picasso. When Picasso was a child, his father often brought him here to watch bullfights. It was here Picasso developed a lifelong passion for bullfighting.
The contest between man and bull appears often in Picasso's sketches and paintings. In a 1925 painting of his son Paul, the child was dressed in the traditional costume of a bullfighter with the red cape in one hand. In the background, one can see the subtle outline of a bullring arena.
The bullring has a season from April to September. It is a short walk from Malagueta beach in the eastern part of the old town. The best view of the ring is from the Castle of Gibralfaro, above the Malaga Fortress.
10. Fuente de las Tres Gracias
The Fuente de las Tres Gracias or de Las Tres Ninfas, built in cast iron, was designed by engineer José María Sánchez and was installed in the 19th century in the Alameda Principal, then in the Plaza de la Marina, and then relocated to the roundabout of the Plaza del General Torrijos. The fountain consists of three parts and two cups in which stand three female figures, classically inspired, carved in marble and clad in robes and with agricultural tools, a paddle and the cornucopia as an allegory of fertility and of the protective nymphs of freshwater. Several children sitting on swans and garlands are carved into the triangular - shaped pedestal.
11. La Farola
The La Farola is a 21.64 meter high lighthouse in Malaga that towers above the harbor. The name is unique because lighthouses are generally called El Faro in Spain using the masculine gender rather than La Farola, the feminine gender as used in the name of the Malaga lighthouse.
The La Farola was designed by army engineer, Joaquin. M Pery y Guzman and built in 1817. It replaced an earlier lighthouse built at the location in 1724. A four meter extension was added at the top of the lighthouse in 1885 and a new lighting device was installed. The structure was damaged during the earthquake of 1898. It was repaired again between 1909 and 1913 with the help of engineer, Mauro Serret and an additional structure to accommodate the family of the lighthouse keeper was added. The lighthouse was damaged during the Spanish Civil War and restored again in 1939. Today, it is being remodeled to accommodate a museum dedicated to the port of Malaga.
Today, La Farola serves the port and air traffic. The light gives 3+1 flashes every 20 seconds. Visitors can reach the lighthouse by bus and by taxi and enjoy spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea and the port of Malaga from the building.