I had never heard of Málaga before moving to Spain, but it’s one of Europe’s most popular summer destinations due to its sandy beaches and endlessly sunny weather. Weirdly enough, despite being a top beach destination, I’ve only visited this city in the winter! There’s much more to do than just the beach, so Málaga is the perfect destination no matter the season. Here are my reasons why Málaga is more than just a summer paradise!

Carrie walking through the waves at the beach while smiling.

1. An insane amount of history

By now, you’ve probably figured out that I’m a huge history nerd. One of my favorite parts about living in Europe is the history all around, and Málaga is certainly no exception. Spain has a robust history with different groups controlling the peninsula at various points in time, and Málaga has experienced a lot of them. What’s special about Málaga is that you can still see sites that were once occupied by these different groups!

One of these sites dates back to the 1st century AD when the Roman Empire dominated Spain: the Roman amphitheater. Seriously: 1st CENTURY AD. And it’s located right in the city center of Málaga! Without even paying admission, so can marvel at this ancient wonder. Of course if you go inside you’ll learn more about its history, but there are some plaques outside that explain a bit if you don’t want to pay to go inside. For me, it doesn’t get much better than walking medieval cobblestone streets and then seeing an amphitheatre from the times of the Roman Empire.

Another ancient wonder in Málaga is the Gibralfaro castle and fortress on the hill. This is the thing that intrigued me most when I spent a few hours in Málaga on my way to Morocco. (I had spent the night on a night bus, so the few hours I was in Málaga I was completely delirious). But seeing the castle situated majestically on a hill made me want to go back! Finally on my third trip to Málaga I actually got to visit it, and even if you’re not into history, the views alone are worth it! From the towers you can see the ocean, and all the city of Málaga. For those who want to learn the history, there is a small museum about the castle through the years, but it’s only in Spanish. Closer to the city center and above the Roman amphitheatre is the Alcazaba, another castle. I actually haven’t been, but it would be worth checking out if you have the time!

While a bit newer than the castle or amphitheater, the cathedral is also a wonder worth seeing! One unique aspect of this cathedral is that it’s missing a tower! To save money, they decided to skip the building of the second tower and it’s still unfinished today. The inside of the cathedral is massive and beautiful so it’s definitely worth stopping in. If you are there around Christmas, you’ll need to see the intricately decorated Nativity Scene located in the Cathedral. It’s really impressive! 

The one tower of the Malaga Cathedral during sunset.2. Perpetually perfect weather for outdoor activites 

With sunny, mild weather year round, Málaga is a perfect destination during every season. In the Spring and Summer, you can enjoy the plethora of beaches along the coast. For adventure seekers, you can hike the Camino del Rey, which used to be one of the most dangerous footpaths in the world. Now it’s very safe, and you’re given protective gear, so don’t worry about that.

Winter has a ton to offer as well! If you enjoy skiing, Málaga is only about 2 hours to the Sierra Nevada mountains and a great ski resort. You can ski with the sun shining and views of the sea! It’s definitely a unique place to go! Also, if you’re in the city between late november and early January, Málaga has the best Christmas lights in all of Spain (in my humble opinion). The entirety of Calle Larios is covered by lights, making a sort of tunnel with cupolas. It’s really unique and so beautiful!  There’s even a light show timed to music in the evenings. It’s a really magical feeling walking under the lights! I haven’t seen anything like it. 

















In the spring, not only does Málaga have excellent weather, but it is also a really popular destination to watch the processions of Semana Santa. While for non-Spaniards, seeing people carry around giant thrones with the Virgin Mary and Jesus on them is a bit odd, it’s a unique Spanish tradition that is an experience to see. 

Semana Santa in Malaga with members of a brotherhood wearing white pointy hats walking down the street.And of course, there’s never a bad time of year to take walks on the beach!

3. Food that will give you lifelong cravings

But actually. Just say, “boquerones a limon,” and my mouth starts to water. If you love amazing seafood and reasonable prices, Málaga is the place to go! You can seriously eat seafood for DAYS. Málaga is famous for chiringuitos, small restaurants directly on the beach that serve all types of seafood. Be sure to try the espetos, anchovies cooked on skewers over an open flame. Other recommendations include: boquerones al limon (anchovies soaked in lemon for 24 hours and then fried), coquinas (what I refer to as baby clams, these are small clams cooked and served in a delicious sauce),  calamari (fried squid), and gambas (shrimp). Yes, a lot of them are fried, but you still need to try everything!

My favorite area to eat seafood is Pedregalejo! It’s a kinda hidden beach that used to be where fisherman lived and would go with their catches of the day. Now it’s a beachside promenade filled with amazing restaurants with gorgeous seaside views. I’ve eaten at both Pez Tomillo and Restaurante Hermanos Muñoz,and enjoyed them both! If you’re looking for a more modern restaurant with a diverse menu and lovely views of the sea, you should head to Pez Tomillo! If you’re looking for more of a casual and traditional seafood eating experience, I’d recommend Hermanos Muñoz I highly recommend checking out this area, whether you just want to stroll along the beach or grab a bite to eat.

You can’t choose a wrong time to visit Málaga. With amazing weather, smiley people, great beaches, lovely holiday traditions, centuries of history, and incredible food, you’ll love this city no matter when you visit.