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Costa Del Sol Locations-Guide

Information about Màlaga

(550.000 inhabitants) Capital of the province


Estrabòn told, more than 2.000 years ago, that the city had been founded by the Phoenicians, who built a village by the hill where nowadays it is located the alcazaba, to which they gave the name of  Malaka. During roman dominion, Màlaga had the privilege of confederated city of Rome, situation reached by only a few cities of Hispania. But it was under the Arab control when the city lived one of its most progressive ages. The Muslims raised the wall fencing approximately the space between the paseo de España, avenida Agustìn Heredia, the left bank of the Guadalmedina river to Carreterìa and later, creating a large arch, the streets Àlamos and Mundo Nuevo. They built the castle of Gibralfaro and, above all, the alcazaba. Out of the city, on the right bank of the river, the land occupied today by the neighbourhoods of the Perchel and the Triana, they installed a Jewish cemetery and some suburbs inhabited by Moorish countrymen. Màlaga, mainly from XI century, under the kingdom zirì of Granada influence, turned to be a mercantile emporium that, through its port, exported a large diversity of products, from grapes “muscatel” to the golden ceramic, to all the areas of the Mediterraneo.
In 1487 the Catholic Kings conquered the city and, immediately, it started a frenzy distribution of its houses and lands amongst the conquerors. The religious orders occupied the major part of the space out of the city walls. The interior is divided between 4 parishes, the simple Arab houses are knocked down to build the new palaces and the Calle Nueva is opened to communicate the puerta del Mar of the walls with the current plaza de la Constituciòn, where it was installed the council. All these reforms, however, do not mean the progress they expected. Earthquakes, epidemics bad crops and an abominable administration made the city get in an age on unstop decay. In 1588, under the kingdom of Felipe II, it was built a new port and the city started to get out slowly from its prostration, this circumstance will crystallised from XVII century.
By the end of XVIII century and beginning of XIX, under the protection of the industrial revolution, comes up in Màlaga a high middle class around 2 important families, the one of Larios and the one of Heredia, which turned it into the second industrial centre of Spain. It was born then a manufacturing industrial area towards the west side, surrounded by humble workers houses and a noble area that located their small palaces in the zone of la Caleta and Pedregalejo. On these years there were demolished the city walls and, with the excuse of the disentailment, proceeded to the renovation of the historic centre and it was raised new buildings and new streets as the one of Marquès de Larios. This renovation frenzy is suddenly cut by the crisis of the end of XIX century. The city gets in a process of prostration from which does not recover until mid 50’s on the XX century, with the tourism.
The tourism phenomenon exceeded all forecasts. Following the idea of a progress mainly mercantilist a good part of the city is knocked down and it is replaced by huge concrete blocks which darken the sea a blinded the sight of the mountains. It comes up, without order or control, new enormous neighbourhoods and the coast line ended up practically disappearing. Notwithstanding, the essential of the city lasted and, in the middle of the chaos, there were very interesting urbanistic acts. Màlaga started again to grow and thought some few years its population triplicate, employed mainly in services jobs.


Fish of the Mediterranean sea in all its varieties is the fundamental nutrient on the Màlaga cooking.
Some dishes are an original contribution of Màlaga to the andalucian gastronomy. There are the pescaìto frito, fried in olive oil from a variety of fish, and the ajoblanco, gazpacho made with muscatel grapes which is one of the best of the andalucian community. There are too in Màlaga and in the entire coast a large amount of good restaurants where we can taste regional, national and international food. The city contributes too with the vino dulce de Màlaga and as desserts, apart from the tropical fruits, the excellent confectionery still prepared in the closure convents.

Festivities and traditions

In February, the Carnival takes the streets of the city. It is celebrated along the month but mainly during the weekends. At the end, a monumental parade goes through the main streets of the city. The Semana Santa in Màlaga has been declared of Interès Turìstico Internacional, it is very important and has some specialities. It is particularly solemn and monumental. The pasos are magnificent and heavy as 6 tons. One of the most moving moments is the rising of the thrones. The costaleros (bearers) raise the paso (throne) extending arms and then rocking the images during long moments. Some of the most interesting brotherhoods are the one of the Cristo de los Gitanos, procession on Holy Monday, on Holy Wednesday, the Jesùs el Rico who has the privilege of pardon a prisoner. On Holy Thursday procession the Cristo de la Buena Muerte, the Virgen de la Amargura or “Zamarrilla”, and the Virgen de la Esperanza, which throne is the heaviest of all.
In August is celebrate the feria, one of the most visited and colourful of Andalucìa, with 2 scenarios, one daytime, in the centre, in Calle Larios and surroundings, and the nighttimes, in the ferial area.

Urban life

The cosmopolitan Màlaga, which comes from the Phoenician ages, and it has made of it a way of being, with an easy going treatment and intimate to the foreigner, and a strong defence of its own, always threaten by the outsider. The whole city, shiny in light, is a party, not only in august, during the feria, but all year round. In the historic centre is concentrated the main part of the commerce and traditional bars, especially around the cathedral. Nevertheless, en the last years, other neighbourhoods have been a competence to the centre, specially the Malagueta, with an enormous amount of shops, bars, inns and restaurants. This area extends to the east, along the se, to Pedregalejo, with a great number of pubs and discos and to El Palo, along whose modern promenade has come up a lot of terraces where to taste excellent fish and sea foods.


Màlaga is some decades ago a fundamentally touristy city to which the visitor comes attracted by the reputation of its beaches and entertainment places which extend along the coast. However, it keeps places and monuments of incalculable beauty that it is worth knowing.

The Muslim memories

On spite of the growth and the changes along the last forty years, the calle del Marquès de Larios still is the geographic and sentimental centre of Màlaga. Nevertheless, the ideal point to start a visit of the city is in the alcazaba, defensive citadel which construction, on top of an old roman fortress, was started by Abderramàn de Còrdoba and was finished in 1063 by Badis, zirì king of Granada, on a hill to the east not far from calle Larios. Endowed with beautiful gardens, it keeps  2 canvas of wall, out of the 3 it possessed, with numerous defensive towers and doors like the one of las Columnas,  the arco del Cristo and the arco de Granada. On the top part is the residential area, with 3 palaces which construction strongly reminds of the Alhambra of Granada. The torre del homenaje looks over a small neighbourhood entirely muslin, which houses had, in those days, with water conductions.
Behind the alcazaba is situated the Castillo de Gribralfaro, which is raised on the mount the Moorish called Jabal Faruk or “castillo del faro”(castle of the lighthouse), from where its name comes from, what infers, firstly, that there existed a lighthouse and, secondly, that the initial construction should be prior even to the arrival of the Romans. Abderramàn II turned it into a fortress, although what nowadays remains of it comes from the modifications made by Yusuf I towards 1340. It was joined to the alcazaba by a path protected by walls. Under the alcazaba on its west side, it was discover in 1951 the tiers of a roman theatre, built in the age of Augusto, on the I century. Following studies checked that it had been lost its use in the III century, and that part of its elements were made use by the Arabs for the construction of the alcazaba ( columns, ashlars etc). Later it was buried and, when the Casa de la Cultura was built, the tiers appeared. Waiting for next excavations to reveal the scene of the theatre, the demolition of la Casa de la Cultura has helped a nice view of the tiers and the canvas of the walls of the alcazaba.

The Christian city

Not too much is left of the roman and Arab city, belonging the rest kept to a later period of the Christian conquer. From the roman theatre we  can reach the plaza de la Merced, and from here the walking street Granada, decorated by the iglesia de Santiago, building of late XV century, of which primitive construction  it keeps the tower, gothic mudèjar style and the old main door, today closed. In this temple is kept the image of Jesùs el Rico and in its baptism font it was baptised Pablo Picasso, whose home is situated very close to here, in the corner with the square de la Merced, today is the seat of the Fundaciòn Pablo Ruiz Picasso.
In the street of San Agustìn is situated the Museo Picasso. The tenacity of the Junta de Andalucia, together with the generosity of Christinne and Bernard Ruiz-Picasso, painter’s daughter in law and grandson, have allowed that the 27th October 2003, the Museo Picasso was opened in Màlaga. It has accomplished the desire of the painter who, in 1953 had arranged for the removal to his place of birth of 2 lorries full of paintings, this operation was frustrated by the authorities of these days because of the communist afilliation of the painter.
The museum is distributed in 2 floors with 12 rooms plus other 2 large rooms for temporary expositions. It gathers more than two hundred works of Picasso: paintings, drawings, sculptures and ceramics. After the Paris one, it is the second more important museum in the world dedicated to the painter of Màlaga in number of works, the unique that offers a full representation of the different ages of the artist.
All the collection is impressive. It thrills, mainly, to find so many works only reproduced in art books, magazines and as lithographs. The exposition goes in chronological order-from the youth paintings, as Casagemas muerto, an oil of 1901, until the Bañista, of 1971- but it is heterogeneous too, as the trajectory of the painter was.
It is impossible to stand out one work or ensemble of works, because all are unique. Here is the initiation stage of the painter, for instance with La Niña y su muñeca, a portrait of his sister painted by Picasso at fifteen years old. It is the blue stage, with Los Pobres or La Celestina, of 1906. There are the portraits of several women- wives and lovers- of the artist, like Olga Kokhlova con mantilla, of 1917; of those women who belong to the cubism as well as to the surrealism, with beret, with a background of stars…; and also those naked women, rounded, with members as tentacles, as the  Mujer desnuda tumbada, of 1932. There are examples of the series of the Meninas and of those canvases, with massive figures, like sculptured in stone, more than painted, like Madre y niño, of 1921-22, and some portrait of his sons, as that Paulo con gorro blanco, of 1923.
Pablo Picasso was born in the plaza de la Merced. Between this and the cathedral is located the palacio de los Condes de Buenavista. In this house of the XVI century we find the renaissance and the mudèjar styles together, where the museum has been installed. The building forms an ensemble of 8.300 m² very intelligently restored and adapted, it can be used as the museum without losing its historic and artistic characteristics.
The ground floor of the palace is arranged around a patio and in its top floor there is a gallery with arcs. Beside the exposition rooms, the building has a projection room, a reading room, a magnificent library with a variety of books on Picasso and coffee shop with a nice garden. In the basement it has been discovered archaeological remains: part of the Phoenician walls and roman, Arabs and renaissance elements; all of them have been incorporated to the building and can be visited.
In the close square of the Obispo it is the most important monument in Màlaga: the cathedral. The majestic of the temple has a contrast with the bustle of the square, the horsed carriages and the street shops on the pavement. The building was built along the XVI, XVII and XVIII centuries on top of the old mosque of the Muslims. That duration in time explains the diversity of styles in it: Gothic plant, head and elevation renaissance and baroque covers, main façade and tower. After many vicissitudes, the works were suspended in 1782, being not built the south tower. The church, dedicated to Santa Marìa de la Encarnaciòn, is of colossal sizes. It has a huge central nave and 2 laterals with the girola that surrounds the main chapel. In the central nave is situated the coro (choir) with its magnificent ashlar, and 2 organs. Semicircular arcs and vaults, very decorated with vegetation elements, rest in gross semicircular pilasters. In between the numerous lateral chapels, almost all in baroque style, is the one of Nuestra Señora de los Reyes, with statues of the Catholic King and Queen, of Pedro de Mena; the one of Rosario and the one of Cristo del Amparo. Next to the cathedral is located the Palacio Episcopal, from XVIII century and baroque style with a splendid portada (doorway) in pink, grey and white marble with Corinthians columns. Between the cathedral and the palacio Episcopal is situated the iglesia del Sagrario, temple from XV century which keeps is original and beautiful portada (doorway) on gothic Elizabethan style.
Coming down the street Marquès de Larios, open in 1886 to join the square of Constituciòn with the port, we get to the square of La Marina. Here it raises the statue of the marquès and starts, parallel to the port, on the right, the paseo del Parque, a splendid garden of botanic interest because of the variety of native and exotic flora that keeps. In the avenida Cervantes, parallel to the park, is situated the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall), large building of neobaroque style form the beginning of the XX century, it is to point up the portada principal (main doorway), the top part with jonick columns which support a triangular frieze crowned by a tower with a clock.
The park ends in the plaza del General Torrijos. To the right opens the paseo de la Farola which closes the port on the east side and limits with the La Malagueta neighbourhood, where the bull ring is situated and the beaches start.