The old town of Málaga invites you to stroll through pedestrian zones with numerous shops and restaurants. But it is also worthwhile to stroll a little through the smaller side streets.
Walking past palaces, churches and monasteries, you will still recognise the Moors’ handwriting in the layout of the streets. Of course, some of the sights in the old town of Málaga are not to be missed.
The old town covers an area of about 48 hectares with around 1,319 buildings. It is completely listed.
Plaza de la Constitución
The car-free Plaza de la Constitution (Constitution Square) is located in the middle of the old town.
Already in the 15th century, this was the centre of the city. Beautiful town houses enclose the square and an old Jesuit college is located there. There is a beautiful fountain in the middle of the square.
From the square, numerous paths criss-cross the old town of Málaga. It is the ideal starting point for experiencing the city. If you’re looking for a café or a restaurant, you’re sure to find one in the surrounding alleys. We had not only delicious cake here, but also a good paella.
Iglesia de San Juan Bautista
In one of the small alleys, for example, we discovered the parish church of San Juan Bautista (John the Baptist). It attracted us because of the striking colour scheme of its façade.
The origin of the church dates back to the conquest of the city by the Catholic Monarchs in 1487. At that time, the city was divided into 4 parishes, one of which was San Juan.
In 1680 there was a great earthquake in the area of Málaga. This damaged the structure of the church and it could only be entered from the side aisle. This is still the case today. In the 18th century the building was restored and in the 19th century a main chapel was added in the neo-baroque style. There you can see a beautiful vaulted ceiling by Miguel García Navas.
Walking along the winding streets of the old town, you are sure to reach Málaga Cathedral.
It’s worth planning some time here and taking a tour of the nave. We even climbed to the roof of the cathedral and wrote an article about it.
Mercado Central de las Atarazanas
In the middle of the old town of Málaga is the Mercado Central de las Atarazanas. It is said to be the oldest and largest market in the city and we were drawn there because of its beautiful architecture.
In 1876, construction began on the first building for a central market on the site of a former shipyard. The aim of a central market hall was to enable the many small and often very unhygienic sales outlets in the city area to offer their goods centrally. The steel construction of the hall, which was covered with glass domes and decorated with rich interior decorations, was particularly striking.
After some renovation work and remodelling, the roof has been given a new transparent covering in recent years. The beautiful 108 lead crystal windows with motifs from the city now adorn the hall again.
Strolling through the market hall, you will not only meet tourists, but also many locals buy their groceries here. There is a wide range of daily fresh fish, meat, fruit and vegetables. The tourists tend to look around or take a seat at the small restaurant stalls and enjoy the Spanish cuisine.
Mercado Central de las Atarazanas
Calle Atarazanas, 10
Monday – Saturday: 8 – 15 h
The city’s bullring is located on the edge of the old town below the Alcazaba and the Gibralfaro. It was built in 1874.
The building has a 16-cornered outer wall, with doors leading from each side to the corresponding stands inside. Up to 9000 spectators can fit into the arena. There are different categories of seats:
“sombra” seats are in the shade,
“sol” seats are in the sun
“sol y sombra” seats are only gradually shaded during the fight
In August, during the Feria de Málaga, numerous bullfights with famous toreros take place here. Bullfighting is part of the culture of the Spaniards and especially in Andalusia this often very bloody spectacle is still carried out today. When there are no bullfights, the grounds are used as a riding arena. Horses belonging to the royal cavalry are trained here.
In the bullring of Málaga there is the museum “Museo Tarino Antonio Ordoñes”. It is named after a famous bullfighter from Ronda who celebrated numerous victories in Málaga. Visitors to the museum will learn a lot about the history and background of bullfighting.
Monday – Friday: 10 – 13 h
Adults: € 1.80
Alcazaba and Gibralfaro
From the bullring, it is very easy to get to the two most important sights in the old town of Málaga. High above the city are the ruins of the former Gibralfaro fortress, which offers a wonderful viewpoint over the city. A visit to the Alcazaba, also known as the little Alhambra, is not to be missed. The gardens between the walls and the architecture of the complex are impressive.
If you would like to know more about the Alcazaba and the Gibralfaro Fortress, you can read more about them on this website in other reports about Málaga.
The Alameda Parc or Park of Málaga is located below the Alcazaba, very close to the bullring.
After the area was reclaimed from the sea, a beautiful public park was created here from 1899. Over the years, it has become more and more attractive and today you can walk under beautiful subtropical trees. Everywhere you will discover sculptures, fountains or monuments and you can enjoy the shade under the trees on beautiful benches and delight in the many small parrots.
A tip: If you want to learn something about botany, you will find signs with information on many of the plants. It’s almost like walking through a small botanical garden.
Tip on the edge of the old town of Málaga
The river Guadalmedina divides the city into two areas. At least that’s how it looked on the map when I looked at the cityscape before the trip. When we were in the city in March, there was just no river … where the water usually splashes, there was only a concrete basin with some plants at the edge. People were walking there, but there was not a drop of water.
Nevertheless, you have to get from one side of the river to the other, of course, and there is a very special bridge. The Puente de Santo Domingo connects the old town with the church of Santo Domingo de Guzmán.
In the vernacular, this bridge is only called Puente de los Alemanes (Bridge of the Germans). The name goes back to the accident of the German corvette SMS Gneisenau of the Imperial Navy. In December 1900, the ship sank when it was driven onto the harbour breakwater during a storm. In addition to Captain Kretschmann, another 39 crew members and 12 citizens of Malaga died in this accident.
When a flood of the Guadalmedina destroyed almost all bridges in 1907, Kaiser Wilhelm II donated a new bridge. In 1909, the 4.30 metre wide steel bridge was inaugurated. On the bridge hangs a plaque with the inscription „Alemania donó a Málaga este puente agradecida al heroico auxilio que la ciudad prestó a los náufragos de la fragata de guerra “Gneisenau” MCM -MCMIX“ (Germany donates this bridge to Malaga in gratitude for the heroic help the city gave to the shipwrecked men of the frigate Gneisenau. 1900-1909).