There’s nothing wrong with wanting to pinch the pennies here and there, you are in the Costa del Sol after all, this isn’t the cheapest part of the world in which to travel. Málaga has a few interesting things to do without spending a single euro, although the natural beauty of the place offers plenty on its own. These are our favourite free things to check out in the capital of the Costa del Sol.
Not hungry? It doesn’t matter, a visit to Atarazanas Food Market is an absolute must in Málaga. The first thing that gets you is the building itself, an imposing structure that feels important even before you wander through the massive arch, a building that spent time as a hospital and a barracks before its current incarnaton. The hustle and bustle of the market is hard to beat and impossible to match, one of the finest atmospheres in all of Andalusia, as locals and visitors alike shuffle from stall to stall in search of fresh fish, succulent meat and some seriously vibrant fruit and veg.
The oldest continuously-operated port in Spain? Why not! The Port of Málaga takes that title, a bustling area of land, sea and trade since way back when. Despite its history (or maybe because of it), the port was looking a little worse for wear as the 20th century became the 21st, but a massive influx of investment in 2013 saw it given a whole new lease of life. The trade remains, but it has now been embellished with long walkways and lines of cafes, bars and restaurants, bring the port into the everyday lives of Malagueños citywide.
Found on the hill of the same name and sat proudly above the Alcazaba, the history of the Gibralfaro Castle is intricately linked to the Islamic citadel that it clings to. The soldiers of the Islamic rulers were housed here, and the castle provided an extra layer of security for the hugely-important fortress. The views from here are marvellous, and an interpretation centre will help you get to grips with the long and storied history of Málaga.
It might sit in front of the great icon of Málaga’s eight centuries of Islamic rule but the Roman Theatre remains the oldest attraction in the city (not including the whole ‘Mediterranean Sea’ thing). The setting of Roman Spain directly next to its Islamic equivalent is an architectural thrill to say the least. The amphitheatre lay hidden for centuries until its discovery in 1951, and now it is open for all to see.
The resident museum of this fine city, the Museo de Málaga is the romantic amalgamation of the Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Archeology, so call this the Museum of Fine Arteology is you desire (chortle, chortle). The museum is still theoretically divided between the two, which makes plenty of sense, but lie in the same majestic seaside building. The fine arts section is full of works by many recognisable names such as de Goya and (of course) Picasso, while the archeology section is a massive love letter to all things Málaga.
Málaga truly is a mecca for lovers of contemporary art, and there is no better central point than the city’s Contemporary Art Museum. Housed in an old market, CAC Málaga was unleashed on the public in 2003 and has gone from strength to strength ever since, with a plethora of exhibitions celebrating many of the finest artists to come from this part of the world. This is one of the most enchanting contemporary art museums in a region full of the things.
A vibrant cultural centre just outside the very centre of Málaga, La Térmica is awash with exhibitions, workshops, live performances and anything else that comes under the creativity banner. Entry is generally free but it is wise to double check depending on the event. This is place to embrace art but also to engage with it, exchanging ideas, techniques and more. The stunning building it is housed in is worth checking out all on its own.