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20 Unusual things to do in Malaga

Malaga is an incredible destination to visit in Spain because of its sunny weather and the great variety of things to do in the city and its surroundings – from laying on one of its beautiful beaches and exploring the cultural buildings to tasting the traditional food.

The city lives from tourism, and as a result of this, there are plenty of activities for tourists. This is good to know when you’re planning to visit Malaga.

However, if you’re looking for non-touristy things to do wherever you go, then I’ve got you covered!

As a local, I can tell you all the unusual things to do in Malaga, and by unusual I mean things that locals would do rather than tourists.

So if you’re ready to discover Malaga like a local, keep reading this travel guide.

20 Unusual things to do in Malaga 20 Unusual things to do in Malaga

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The best unusual things to do in Malaga

Discover Malaga’s street art at Soho

soho neighbourhood in malaga spain

Soho is home to incredible urban art, there are many beautiful and colourful murals painted by local artists across this neighbourhood.

This is the place to go to uncover the artistic side of Malaga. It’s here where you’ll also find the Contemporary Art Centre of Malaga (CAC Malaga).

Apart from the great pieces of art, you can see in Soho, it’s also worth visiting this neighbourhood for bohemian and laid-back cafes and restaurants.

Experience Feria de Malaga

Like every Andalusian city, Málaga has its own fair that is held in mid-August every year. 

The fair takes place in two different locations, in Málaga city centre (known as feria de día) and near Palacio de Congresos (this is referred to as feria de noche).

Both “ferias” are different in some ways. Feria de Día is very focused on drinking while Feria de Noche is for everyone because there are attractions for kids, concerts and places to eat and drink.

Tip: have a look at the event calendar to check ferias in towns across Costa Del Sol. They aren’t as big as the Málaga fair but they’ll give you a taste of the local culture. One of the most popular town fairs is Feria de Fuengirola.

Watch a flamenco show

If you want a taste of the culture, you cannot leave Malaga without watching a flamenco show. 

Flamenco has originated in Andalucia about 500 years ago, and if you don’t know much about it, it consists of a traditional type of dance and music.

It’s danced at parties and fairs across Andalucía, and although Sevilla is the heart of flamenco, you can experience it in Malaga.

20 Unusual things to do in Malaga 20 Unusual things to do in Malaga

Are you ready to discover the best places to watch a flamenco show in Malaga? Here they are:

Spend the day in a less-known beach

Carihuela beach in torremolinos

La Malagueta beach is the closest to the city centre, and this means that most tourists and locals from the area visit this beach.

If you prefer a less busy beach in Malaga, visit La Misericordia. This dark sand and calm water beach is popular among the locals, but not many tourists know about it. 

The beach is home to a lovely promenade where you can go on a walk, skate or have food at one of its chiringuitos (beach bars) or restaurants.

If you’re staying in Malaga city centre,  you can easily access La Misericordia beach by bus.

TIP: Don’t go to the beach on Sundays. Most locals don’t work on Sundays, and as temperatures are high in the summer, the best thing to do is go to the beach. As you can imagine, it gets very busy. Also, they tend to go to the beach early and put umbrellas and chairs to get a spot on the beach. 

📌 Related blog post: 19 Beautiful and Secret Beaches in Malaga and Costa del Sol

Have a night out in Malaga city centre

Partying in Malaga, and in Spain, is completely different from other countries, and there are a few things you need to know. 

The first thing you must know is that locals don’t go out until 12 am, and if you go earlier than that, you won’t find anyone in the clubs. Some of these clubs don’t even open until 11 pm, so my biggest advice is to have dinner late and then go out.

Another thing you need to know is that alcohol isn’t measured like it is in the UK or other countries, so don’t be surprised if your cocktail is stronger than you usually have. You can see the bartender pouring the alcohol straight from the bottle.

The most popular disco in Malaga is Sala Gold, in Luis de Velázquez street. Expect great cocktails, champagne, themed nights and a good variety of music. 

Other well-known clubs are Discoteca Andén and Velvet club.

Relax at the Arab baths

An unusual thing to do in Malaga is going to the Arab baths which are in the heart of the city centre. Whether you love starting your morning slow or you want to relax after a few intensive days exploring Malaga, Hammam Malaga is the perfect option for you.

I need to admit that it wasn’t until this year that I visited these Arab baths. I wish I visited them before because not only can you disconnect from the world but the architecture inside is stunning.

The Arab baths include hot and cold baths, a sauna and some spaces to relax while sipping some Moroccan tea. However, you can also enjoy treatments and massages at an extra cost during your visit.

I booked my ticket with Get Your Guide, and not only did it include access to the baths but a relaxing 15 minutes massage which was the perfect way to end my Arab bath experience.

It’s a great activity to do in winter in Malaga as it isn’t warm enough to dive in the sea.

Go to Museo del Vidrio y Cristal

Museo del Vidrio y Cristal (Glass and Crystal Museum) is a lesser-known museum very close to Malaga city centre.

The museum is in a restored 70s mansion where you can contemplate over 1000 unique glass decorations, paintings, furniture and other items.

The glass collection is the most significant in the museum, and you can find anything from Roman, Greek and Byzantine cultures.

Try Malaga ice cream

Malaga is home to numerous ice cream shops and these offer a good variety of flavours – from traditional flavours like strawberry and vanilla to uncommon flavours like avocado.

But, did you know Malaga has its own ice cream? It’s made with sweet wine (vino de Malaga), cream, eggs and raisins from the region. 

Helados y Turrones Casa Mira is the most popular ice cream shop in Malaga city centre. It has been a favourite for the locals for many years.

I also love Kalua and Heladería Inma where you can enjoy flavours like Nutella, Kinder, nougat, oreo, pistachio and watermelon among others. 

In most ice cream shops you can order a tarrina, a big, medium or small ice cream tub, or a cono, a cone mixing a few flavours.

Enjoy the sunset at Gibralfaro viewpoint

Gibralfaro view

Who doesn’t love a panoramic view? 

Between Alcazaba de Malaga and Gibralfaro Castle, you’ll find Gibralfaro’s viewpoint.

The view you get from this viewpoint is breathtaking – Malaga’s port, known as Muelle Uno, Malaga park, the bullring and the sea, makes this view special.

It can get busy at times, but if you want to have this place for yourself or take photos, go at sunrise.

Visit Mapas y Compañía shop

Located on Compañía street, you’ll find Mapas y Compañía bookstore, however, it isn’t like any normal bookstore.

The shop is very small but it’s packed with travel and geography books, unique maps, 3D puzzles, and small gifts.

It’s a very unique shop, and if you’re looking to buy something a bit different, you’ll find it there.

Eat the Malaga version of churros

Churros aren’t originally from Malaga, but can you find delicious churros in Malaga? Of course. 

One of the most popular places in Malaga to enjoy churros is Casa Aranda in the heart of the city. This place has been making churros since 1932, so it’s here where you can enjoy traditional and delicious churros con chocolate.

However, recipes and dishes always evolve and many cafes in Malaga serve churros with different sweet sauces instead of hot chocolate.

You can have churros with white chocolate, dulce de leche (similar to caramel sauce), kinder, Nutella and vanilla sauces. 

Shop in Atarazanas Market

20 Unusual things to do in Malaga 20 Unusual things to do in Malaga

Atarazanas Market is the place to go for high-quality local produce and tapas. 

Whether you want to taste some delicious fried fish or buy local ingredients such as goat cheese, Malaga sweet wine, raisins from the Axarquia region, fig bread, and molletes (a soft rounded bread produced in Antequera).

Not only is it worth visiting for shopping or having a quick bite but for its beautiful architecture and a colourful stained glass window that you can see as you enter the market. 

It’s very easy to wander around the market on your own, but there are also great guided tours in which the local guides will take you to the best food spots in the market and nearby.

Experience Semana Santa (Malaga’s Holy Week)

Semana Santa, Holy Week, is an important religious event for many locals. The holy week lasts seven days in which families go to Malaga city centre to see the processions that represent different scenes of the life of Jesus until its death.

Even if you don’t believe in the Christian religion, it’s impressive to watch how many men carry these heavy processions across the city centre for hours.

The processions happen all day long – from the early morning to the late evening, and those who don’t take part in the procession are part of the atmosphere.

Attend the Three Kings Parade

Christmas in Spain

Christmas in Malaga is magical and different from any other country. 

The mild temperatures, unique Christmas light decorations and events make it special. And when it comes to events, you’ll want to attend the Three Kings Parade.

The parade takes place in the city centre including Larios street. Here you can see the magic three kings (Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar) throwing sweets, and sometimes small gifts like teddy bears or footballs, from their thrones.

But not only will you see them, but popular animated cartoons that kids love too.

Although the event may seem more for children than adults, it’s great to watch. 

📌 Related blog post: 12 Reasons Why You Will Love Visiting Malaga in Winter

Birdwatch at Guadalhorce river

The mouth of the Guadalhorce Nature Reserve is situated between Malaga and Torremolinos, and it’s an excellent spot to watch the birds.

The reserve has easy walks in which you’ll find several bird hides and posters to learn information about the place and animals.

Depending on the season you birdwatch at Guadalhorce river, you’ll see different types of birds. Some of the most popular birds are the booted eagle, the white-headed duck, the wigeons and the red-rumped swallow.

However, the best seasons to go birdwatch at the mouth of the Guadalhorce Nature Reserve are winter and spring. 

TIP: If you don’t have time to go to this nature reserve, you can also birdwatch in Malaga. There are many lovely green parakeets flying over Malaga Park and other areas of the city.

Shop at Plaza Mayor Shopping Centre

If you love spending an afternoon shopping, you need to go to Plaza Mayor Shopping Centre, one of the biggest shopping centres in Costa del Sol.

In this shopping centre between Malaga and Torremolinos, you can find Spanish brands like Zara and Stradivarius as well as international brands like Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and other luxurious high-street brands in the outlet that is part of Plaza Mayor.

You can spend hours shopping here as there are over 70 stores! But one of the main reasons I love visiting Plaza Mayor is the variety of restaurants, you can find local cuisine as well as Italian, Mexican, American and much more.

Due to its proximity to Malaga airport, don’t be surprised to see many planes flying over the shopping centre.

Explore Nerja Caves

One of the best day trips from Malaga is Nerja, a whitewashed town on the east side of Malaga province. 

The town has lovely things to see and do, and one of them is visiting Nerja Caves where you’ll see the largest stalactite in the world.

Walking in the caves takes you back to 1959 when these caves were discovered by some locals who went on a night walk looking for bats.

Nowadays, you can enjoy contemplating beautiful rock formations while listening to an audio guide to discover all the secrets and stories behind this place.

Uncover the beauty of Caminito del Rey

If you love a good hiking adventure, you must visit Caminito del Rey which is located 50 minutes from Malaga. 

This almost 8 kilometres path was initially considered one of the most dangerous hiking trails in the world. But you don’t need to worry now as it has been restored so you can visit it safely.

20 Unusual things to do in Malaga 20 Unusual things to do in Malaga

Despite its restoration, the trail is full of adrenaline and scenic views – from breathtaking cliffs and canyons to a large valley. 

During your walk, you may also encounter some animals like vultures, eagles and wild boars! It’s a great experience and there is no doubt that El Caminito del Rey path is one of the most adventurous things to do in Malaga province.

There’s an entrance fee for Caminito del Rey, and I also recommend booking in advance as tickets sell out very early all year round.

The path can be accessed by car and public transport, or alternatively, book a tour guide to Caminito del Rey from Malaga.

Visit Castillo de Colomares

colomares castle in benalmadena

A 25 minute drive from Malaga, it’s Benalmadena where you can find the impressive Castillo de Colomares, a hidden gem in Costa del Sol.

Despite its rich and beautiful architecture, the castle isn’t as well known as you think. Most travellers visit Benalmadena beach and tourist attractions in the town, but they don’t know about Castillo de Colomares unless they come across it on the Internet or social media.

The truth is that it isn’t located in a popular and visible area, but is very close to the old town of Benalmadena, also known as Benalmadena Pueblo.

Castillo de Colomares isn’t actually a castle, but a monument in the shape of a castle that was built between 1987 and 1994 to celebrate the life and adventures of Christopher Columbus.

It isn’t very big, but it’s absolutely worth visiting because of the mixture of architecture (Gothic, Romanesque, Byzantine and Moorish Revival) and the scenic views of the town and coast.

📌 Related blog post: Incredible Things to do in Benalmadena

Explore Juzcar (the Smurf Village)

20 Unusual things to do in Malaga 20 Unusual things to do in Malaga

Do you know there is a Smurf Village in Malaga?

A 1 hour and 40 minute drive from Malaga, Juzcar is a small village that was painted in blue in 2011 to embrace the premiere of The Smurfs 3D.

However, the locals decided to keep the colour after the promotion passed.

Although Juzcar used to be visited by local hikers due to its excellent trails, the village’s tourism exploded after the Smurfs promotion.

Walking in Juzcar makes you feel in a different world!

As you’ve seen above, there are many unusual attractions in Malaga as well as less popular things to do, but they’re worth doing.

Do you know any other unusual things to do in Malaga? Let me know below!

If you have any questions about travelling to Malaga, email me or send me a DM on Instagram. I’d be very happy to help you plan your trip.

Safe adventures!

Cristina xx

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Top things to do before visiting Malaga

Frequently asked questions about unusual attractions and things to do in Malaga

What are the most unusual museums in Malaga?

Malaga has many museums – from the famous Museo Picasso Malaga and Centre Pompidou Malaga to less common but unique museums such as the Glass and Crystal Museum and the Automobile and Fashion Museum.

What’s the most unique place to stay in Malaga?

Gran Hotel Miramar is the most unique hotel in Malaga. This 5-star luxury hotel offers incredible rooms with views of the sea, a wonderful gastronomy experience at its Príncipe de Asturias restaurant and it’s in an excellent location.

What can you do for free in Malaga?

There are plenty of things to do for free in Malaga. Some of these activities include:

– Visiting the Alcazaba de Málaga on a Sunday
– Going to Museo de Málaga
– Exploring the Soho neighbourhood
– Spending the day at La Malagueta Beach
– Going on a day trip to Montes de Málaga Nature Park
– Watching the sunset at Gibralfaro viewpoint

Other travel guides about Malaga you will find useful

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  1. So many beautiful and cool things to do in Malaga. Would love to explore this destination!

  2. Malaga looks like an awesome place to visit. I’d love to hang out on the beach eating a churro after exploring the city! Thanks for sharing this list of unique things to do. I’ll definitely keep them in mind for when I visit Malaga!

  3. This is such an awesome guide, thank you! I’m hoping to visit Spain later in the year so this will come in very helpful

    1. Cristina Reina says:

      I am glad you have found it useful!

  4. Great list of unusual things to do in Málaga! I think I’ve done most of these, but haven’t watched a Flamenco show here yet. Love that you included Juzcar as a day trip idea – it’s such a fun village.

    1. Cristina Reina says:

      Thank you, Krista 🙂 It’s great to hear you’ve done many of these activities.

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