view of building when Spending one day in Malaga touring the beautiful city

Fun Things to do for One Day in Malaga Spain

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Last Updated on June 4, 2023

Many Options for one day in Malaga

Beautiful Night Scenery View of Port of Malaga Spain
Lots of options for spending one day in Malaga Spain

Are you wondering what to see in Malaga for one day?

In order to make the most of Malaga’s wide variety of restaurants and shops, well-known historical architecture, and long stretches of sandy beaches in just ONE day – keep reading! 

There are 2 different itineraries you can choose from to make the most of your 1 day in Malaga. It IS possible to do it all in one day because most of the activities mentioned in this article are located close to the city center, which conveniently is also the port for cruise ships. 

LEARN FROM A LOCAL: I stayed with one of my friends from college who lives only about a 10-minute drive from Malaga’s city center. I have taken some extended trips to Malaga, so she gave me all the local recommendations on what to do in Malaga for a day.

Mix and match to make the perfect one day itinerary in Malaga for you and your group using these activities and recommendations from a local who lives right in Malaga! We have been there and want to guide you in the right direction!

La Malagueta Beach Boardwalk Night Malaga Spain
Getting a tour of Malaga from our local Spanish friend!

Table of Contents – Click to jump to any section you want to read more about!
Malaga: 1 Day Itinerary Options

OPTION 1: For Beach, shopping, & relaxing tourists

Free drink from restaurant in Port of Malaga City Centre

This specific itinerary is for 1 day in Malaga for a tourist that wants to grab a quick breakfast of Churros and head to the shops to zoom around on the Lime electric scooters in the city center of Malaga. Can’t miss out on the opportunity to stop at the wide variety of gelato shops around the city center.

This itinerary is for the type of person that wants to relax on their vacation on the Malaga beach in the hot weather and enjoy the picnic you picked out from the Atarazanas Market. Finishing the day with a dinner on the water with a tasty glass of wine and a walk on the boardwalk while watching the sunset. What more could you ask for?

MORNING – Things to do in Malaga in one day

Try some Churros

What to do in Malaga for one day?

Step one! You can’t go to Spain without trying some churros! For breakfast, make your way to Tejeringos, one of the best-known cafes in Malaga. Tejeringos is actually a variation of the delicious churros, but still equally as crispy, and of course, the best part is dipping your churros into the hot sweet chocolate. They also have coffee and breakfast sandwiches available here if you are craving more delicious food.

Enjoying Churros from Local Cafe in Malaga Spain

Scooter through town using LIME 

How to spend a day in Malaga without becoming exhausted from walking!

Whether you took your time eating the churros at Tejeringos or you gobbled it up quickly because they are THAT good; now is the time to walk off the calories from the number of churros you ate.

However, if you are not worried about that, all throughout Malaga they have Lime scooters available to rent, and all you need is the Lime app on your phone! These scooters are a great way to zoom around the city center, sightsee all of the historical and cultural architecture and really experience the coast of Malaga and all it has to offer. They are always available 24 hours in Malaga.

Eat Gelato

Delicious Gelato on a one day tour in Malaga Spain

At many points, while walking or zooming around the city center, you will pass gelato shops that I advise you not to pass up! You will also notice that there is a park located in the middle of the city center which is a great place to walk around and sightsee.

Make sure to include a stop for gelato on your Malaga one day itinerary!

Shop at the Market

If you aren’t a typical walk-around and sightsee person – head straight for our next destination: The Atarazanas Market. Markets are an exciting way to learn the culture of the city through shopping and food. Here you can find tasty local snacks and pack a little picnic to take with you to the beach to enjoy later. I would advise trying some of the Atarazanas Market’s unique cheese options and picking up some crackers to go with it.

Other activities if you have more time to vacation in Malaga: 

AFTERNOON – Sightseeing in Malaga Itinerary

Choose one of Malaga’s beautiful beaches to relax on

Malagueta text on the sandy beach
Image by Elfeffe from Wiki Commons

Once you are done roaming around the market and you find the best lunch options for your picnic, it is time to head to Malagueta Beach. This is a fan favorite because it is located right next to the city center – within walking distance of all those shops and restaurants. It is a huge beach with plenty of room for beach towels, beach chairs, and umbrellas available for rent, beach volleyball courts, playgrounds, and even sailing equipment to rent. Find the perfect spot for you and your group and relax in the hot sun.

Don’t forget to try out the food you just picked out from Atarazanas Market for your lunch on the beach when you get hungry.

Use my handy Malaga Beaches guide to choose which Malaga beach is best for you! 

EVENING – Things to do in Malaga at Night

Spanish Tapas are a MUST

Local Tapas from Restaraunt in Malaga Spain
End your 1 day in Malaga with some Spanish Tapas!

How to end your one day itinerary in Malaga Spain

When the sun starts going down, it is a good idea to start heading out to find a good place for dinner. A great idea for a dinner option in Malaga, Spain is always TAPAS!! Tapas are basically appetizers, small plates of food, or shareable so your whole group can try out the Spanish cuisine.

There are multiple places along the port so you can eat your dinner with a view of the coast and the sunset. When I visited Malaga, we went to 3 different restaurants in the city center along the water and we absolutely loved them all. One of them even gave an entire bottle of their signature alcoholic beverage for free! It doesn’t get much better than that.

Fun fact: it is normal in Spain culture to eat dinner around 11pm so you will see local families at restaurants ordering tapas by the time you are getting ready to call it a night!

Where to stay in Malaga

Whether you are staying one day in Malaga or even a week in Malaga, you will need a nice place to stay that is close to the city center. Try some of these choices by clicking on the icon.

or find a list of great hotel suggestions by entering your dates in the box below!


OPTION 2: For the history-loving tourist

Sightseeing & History Buffs visit Malaga in one day

This second option is jam-packed with sightseeing and visiting all of Malaga’s wonderful architecture by using what is known as the “Malaga Pass.” This includes a wide variety of Malaga’s most historical museums and attractions. There are more than 25 museums on the Malaga Pass and it comes with discounts on hotels if you plan on staying for more than one day.

PRO TIP: Most museums in Malaga are free on Sundays. 

View of Port of Malaga in Spain
Spending a Day in Malaga to enjoy its many sights!

This whole day will be consumed by visiting the top attractions in the Malaga Pass. You will want a full day in order to get the entire experience, and get your money’s worth! If you don’t have a car for transportation, the city bus accepts cash and can get you from museum to museum. Almost all of the below attractions are included on the Malaga Pass.

For the History Lover: What to do in Malaga for one day


The Cathedral is not on the Malaga Pass, but is worth the time to see the architecture of the building and the views of the city from the top. The Cathedral in Malaga is a beautiful Roman Catholic Church located in the city center that was supposed to have 2 tall towers, but due to the lack of funds, only has one finished tower. Because of this, the Cathedral has a common nickname “La Manquita,” or “the one-armed woman.” The Cathedral also has a rooftop that you have to climb over 200 steps to get to the top and hosts stunning views of the city. 

Stunning Ceiling of Malaga Cathedral in Malaga Spain
View of Malaga Cathedral in Malaga Spain

The hours are 10 am-6 pm. The price to see the Cathedral and the rooftop is 12 Euros, and the price for just the Cathedral is 8 Euros. 

Roman Theater

The Roman Theater is at the top of my list, located in the middle of the city right on Alcazabilla Street.

Fun fact – it is the oldest attraction in Malaga! 

You will be able to view the interior and exterior areas in the theater including the orchestra pit, stage, and seating areas. The Roman Theater is occasionally used for theatrical performances where some spectators sit in the historical stands while others watch from Calle Alcazabilla because you can see almost the whole theater from the street. 

The hours of operation from Tuesday-Saturday are 10 am-6 pm. They are closed on Mondays. Sunday hours are 10 am-4 pm.

Picasso Museum

One of the best museums to see is the Picasso Museum. The Picasso Museum is located in Malaga where the artist himself, Pablo Picasso, was born. He was considered one of the most important and influential artists in the 20th century. A good amount of artwork was donated to this museum by the Picasso family members. It has an incredible 11 rooms where you can view 80 years of Pablo Picasso’s artwork. We really enjoyed walking around this museum to enjoy the famous artwork. 

The avg. entry cost is around $10, but free with the Malaga Pass. The hours for this museum depend on the time of year; in summer months the museum is open until 8 pm but general hours are 10 am-6 pm. 

Malaga Museum

Another don’t-miss museum in Malaga is the Malaga Museum.  It is composed of two different museums, the  Museo Provincial de Bellas Artes and Museo Arqueológico Provincial, which were brought together in 2016. It has an impressive 8 rooms and we spent over 2 hours at this museum. It is the 5th biggest museum in Spain. 

The Malaga Museum was our favorite attraction because of how different all the artwork and rooms were. One room was this BEAUTIFUL gold-tiled roof that we were mesmerized by. It also had a garden outside where we spent a lot of time looking at all of the flowers and plants.

The hours of operation are 9 am-9 pm and it is closed on Sunday. Admission to the Malaga Museum is only 1.50 Euros. 

Gilbralfaro Castle

Malaga City Hike up to Gilbralfaro Castle
Gibralfaro Castle is one of the best things to do in Malaga Spain

Make time before sunset to take the hike up to Gibralfaro Castle. It is located on a hill overlooking Malaga’s port. You can take a bus to get to the top, but it is most convenient to climb up the rocky steps and follow the path up that leads to Gibralfaro Castle. Make sure to take pictures of the beautiful sunset and vibrant flowers surrounding you on your hike up. Gibralfaro Castle is at a high point in Malaga so once you reach the top you can see the entire city in the background – which will make a great photo, especially during the sunset. 

The Malaga Pass includes entry to the Gibralfaro Castle Interpretation Centre which has a model of the entire city where you can see the attractions such as the Cathedral, the Castle itself, and Alcabeza.

If you are a morning person, you could make this your first stop to see the model of the city before you tour around it and the stunning views of the city from the lookout area which used to be considered the watchtower. 

Gibralfaro Castle View Malaga Spain
Have a great time visiting Malaga in one day

The hours of Gilbralfaro Castle in the summer are 9 am-8 pm and in the winter months 9 am-6 pm. The price is 3.5 Euros (5.50 Euros for a group entry) and Sundays after 2 pm it is free. 

Above I listed my favorite attractions on the Malaga Pass, but if you still have extra time to visit a few more museums or if you have more than one day in Malaga, I would recommend La Concepcion Historical-Botanical Gardens, the Wine Museum,  the Interactive Music Museum in Malaga, and the Centre Pompidou Malaga. There is so much history and culture in Malaga it is hard to see it all in one day!  I don’t even think that two or three days in Malaga is enough to see it all!

THE PERFECT ITINERARY: One Day in Malaga Spain

If you want to try a mix of both itineraries with some relaxation on some of Malaga’s beautiful beaches and stunning views of the city from the Gilbralfaro Castle then by all means – use these options to make the perfect one-day in Malaga! 

My suggestion is to start out the day by hiking up to the Gilbralfaro Castle and soaking in the views from the top, while also looking at the model of the city to decide what you truly want to experience throughout your day in Malaga. 

After that, I would grab some coffee and Churros for breakfast and then head to the city center to check out the Cathedral, Malaga Museum, and Picasso Museum. By the time you are done exploring the wonderful Malaga city attractions, I would head to the Atarazanas Market to pick out unique tasting snacks to take with you to have a picnic on La Malagueta Beach. 

La Malagueta is one of the best beaches in Malaga.  I am a total beach person so my afternoon would be spent soaking in the hot sun here. If you don’t have time to stop at the market, La Malagueta Beach has plenty of beachfront restaurants and bars with sunbeds and umbrellas also available for rent. La Malagueta Beach also has volleyball courts, a boardwalk, and water equipment available for rent.

La Malagueta Beach One Day in Malaga
bowl of ice cream on a table with a spoon being enjoyed in Malaga

Before you get ready to head to dinner, I would go to the Roman Theater to check it out – maybe there will be a play the day you are in Malaga! Then I would stop at ANY local restaurant and order a bunch of Tapas to try out the Spanish cuisine. After dinner, you can’t forget about walking or zooming around Malaga’s port on the Lime electric scooters to check out all of the shops and restaurants. Don’t pass up the ice cream shop – get some Spanish gelato to end the night. 

If you have more time to spend in Malaga, consider a day trip to Caminito del Rey, one of the top hiking destinations in Spain.

Use my Malaga tips to make plans! Whichever Malaga Itinerary you choose, you will be sure to have a great time during your one day in Malaga! There are so many different options that any traveler will find something fun to do in for 1 day in Malaga.

Like this post? PIN it to plan your trip to Malaga!

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I have been to malaga a few years ago and by reading this post I convince myself that I absolutely have to go back! It is a wonderful city to explore!

so much more to explore with more time in the city. This just scratches the surface! Hope you are able to return to Malaga for a vacation!

I think the TAPAS alone is a good enough reason to go! I absolutely love Spanish tapas 🙂

Sounds like a fun itinerary! I definitely need to add Malaga to my list!

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