Málaga, on the south coast of Spain, is one of the most exciting cities to visit if you’re looking for culture, cuisine, history and beaches. It’s also one of the best and most popular destinations to learn Spanish in Spain.

Best Things To See in Málaga

The best place to start your discovery of Málaga is the Alcazaba, a palatial fortress perched high above the city. If you know the Alhambra in Granada, this place will feel familiar - it was, after all, built partly by the same ‘builders’ (the Nasrids). Not only do you get the stunning architecture and fascinating history, but you will also be treated to spectacular views of the port and the city itself.

Málaga cathedral is a real jewel of the Spanish Renaissance. Work started on it around 1530 but it was slow going and work didn’t finish until around 1780. It’s a stunning piece of architecture and well worth the €8 fee to enter the cool interior. For just €12 you will also get access to the roof of the cathedral, offering fantastic panoramic views of Málaga.

Did you know that Picasso was born in Málaga? If you're a fan, two places worth a visit are the place of his birth in the Plaza de la Merced, where the Picasso Foundation is also housed, and the much larger Picasso Museum right in the centre of town. When digging took place to build the museum, artefacts, city walls and even a Roman factory were discovered. These can all be seen while you're there.

The Roman Theatre can be combined with a visit to the Alcazaba. It’s actually free to visit and is a stunning reminder of Málaga's long, rich, fascinating and varied history. 

The Port of Málaga is a place to stroll, eat and drink and people/boat watch. Massive investment was put into this area of the city and the results are spectacular. The Pompidou Centre can also be found here, offering 3-4 temporary exhibitions per year. Originally only a temporary collaboration between the French modern art and cultural centre and the city of Málaga, its stay has now been extended to 2025.

Where To Eat And Drink In Málaga

The first place we have to mention is Málaga’s Atarazanas market. Not only will its stained-glass windows take your breath away, but so too will the sights of the fresh fish, meat, fruit and vegetables on sale every day. You can also enjoy these super-fresh delights cooked up and on a plate, either standing at the small selection of bars inside, or seated at tables outside the front entrance of the market. There is a real authenticity about eating at a functioning market like this one, and knowing that your seafood probably came out of the sea that morning just a few hundred metres away.

We’re planning an in depth look at tapas bars in Málaga in a future blog but just to get you on your way, here’s a few of our favourites. Hopefully you can go and try them out before we do the blog post :) 

Number 1: Cortijo de Pepe is frequented by lots of Spanish locals and the tapas are high-quality. 

Number 2: La Tranca. La Tranca is not really a place to come to find long lists of tapas, but you can eat really well here and the place is lively and extremely friendly. You’ll be speaking to locals here in no time. 

Number 3: Las Marchanas. Again, if you want authentic, not many tourists and friendly staff, this place is great. Lots of good quality and nicely-priced tapas. I almost forgot the quirk here. Las Marchanas is a Semana Santa-themed bar, so there’s plenty of holy statues and religious paraphernalia decorating the walls. 

Number 4: Mesón Antonio. Brilliant food and the staff are amazing. I’ve sat here for hours before just watching the bar staff doing their jobs so professionally it’s unbelievable. 

Number 5: Antigua Casa de Guardia. So, maybe the onus here is slightly more on the drinking. Sweet wines, vermuths, sherry and other local specialities are served from barrels lining the wall behind the bar. Complement the often sweet tastes with some pickles, hams and cheese.

If you are looking to really get into the food, drinks and tapas culture of Málaga, our friends at The Food Experience Málaga offer amazing and unforgettable tours. They’ll take you to places you would probably never have gone to. And it’s not only the food and drink. You’ll also get an insight into some of the traditions behind the food, and get to hear from staff about how the food is cooked - particularly important for those wanting to replicate the delightful food when you’re back home again. Visit their website and book a tapas tour.

Where To Learn Spanish In Málaga

As mentioned above, Málaga is a very popular destination for Spanish learners. There is a large selection of Málaga language schools throughout the city, some bigger than others, some centrally located and others more close to the beach. 

Cervantes School Málaga is in the stylish Pedregalejo district, just east of the city. Its location in the quieter suburb, with beaches, bars and restaurants in abundance, make it a great place to study Spanish in Málaga. The language school is set in a beautiful villa. Still just 10 minutes away from the city centre by bus. Excellent extra-curricular programme of activities.

Enforex Málaga is part of the large chain of Spanish language schools. The historic building is located in the city centre and there are 14 classrooms. High-quality facilities, which is sometimes reflected in the price. It’s a young and international clientele.

AIL Málaga has two school locations in Málaga. People of all ages learn Spanish here from all over the world, and the experienced staff will have you speaking Spanish before you know it. The school has a fantastic range of free activities to take part in after the Spanish courses.

Debla Málaga is another excellent, smaller-sized language school and a very popular place to study Spanish in Málaga. Small groups and excellent location near the La Malagueta beach. Most people who do a Spanish course at Debla come back again.

Learn Spanish in Málaga at Expanish, a brand new language school in the city centre of Málaga. Small, but excellently equipped classrooms. Learn Spanish in the mornings and spend the rest of the day exploring or head to the beach just 5 minutes walk away.

Alhambra Instituto has just rebranded to Maestro Mio and is located right in the city centre, just a few metres away from all the sights, the cathedral and the main shopping streets. Small, friendly school with over 30 years experience of teaching Spanish to foreigners.

Day Trips From Málaga

As you can see, a trip to Málaga is going to be packed with food, culture and history. Or if you study Spanish in Málaga, you may want to spend plenty of time relaxing at the beach. However, if you fancy getting out of the city for a day (and/or a night), there are several options.

The Caminito del Rey is an aerial walkway which clings to the walls of a huge gorge. It’s a spectacular photo opportunity for the adventurous. Sometimes marketed as “Once the world’s most dangerous footpath, it’s definitely NOT for the fainthearted. 50 minutes from Málaga by car, or you can also get there by train. Check out the official website for more details.

If you want to get a dose of Spanish small town beach life and culture, a short drive up the coast are the whitewashed towns of Nerja, Salobreña and Almuñécar. Each is very different but offering nice beaches, great bars and restaurants and their own very different histories. Buses go from Málaga to all three towns. I actually did Nerja on a moped I hired, but maybe that was a little too adventurous.

Marbella is well-known as being a playground for the rich and famous and its port area is a fascinating place to take a stroll and see how the other half lives. However, there’s more to Marbella than a few yachts and expensive shops. The old town is a gem as is the King Abd El Aziz mosque. Marbella has become popular with Spanish tourists too and their influence helps keep Marbella very Spanish, with plenty of authentic bars, restaurants and entertainment.

Book a Spanish Course In Málaga

If you want to combine all or some of the activities above with a Spanish course in Spain, Estudia-España has a huge selection of Spanish language courses at schools in Málaga. For example, intensive Spanish courses, exam courses, Spanish + cooking and much more. All at discounted prices. Pay less when you book with Estudia-España!