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Sitting on the Costa del Sol of the Mediterranean in Spain, Malaga is best known for as a beacon of tourism due to its beach, hot weather, and endless amounts of sun. But what if you can only visit Malaga in winter? Is it even worth visiting, and what is there to do in winter in Malaga?
Well, we decided to travel to Malaga in winter to escape chilly Madrid and to find out what to do when you can’t go to the beach in winter in Malaga!
So without further ado, here are 10 things to do in Malaga in winter:
1. La Malgueta Beach
It just makes sense to get this one out of the way right away. La Malagueta Beach is right in the city of Malaga, is easily accessible and stretches for quite a ways. However, it’s typically too cold to really go to the beach in winter in Malaga.
Malaga’s average winter temperatures in December through February range from an average high of 64°F (17°C) to lows of 47°F (8°C).
While these winter temperatures can vary quite a bit, it’s pretty clear that they don’t exactly make Malaga a beach destination for winter.
However, you can, and should, visit La Malagueta Beach when in Malaga in winter. It can still be relaxing to sit in the sun in the salty air. Plus, there is a long promenade where there are plenty of things happening. It is a wonderful place to take a stroll or go for a run in the sun near the Mediterranean.
There are also lots of bars and restaurants near La Malagueta Beach, which are perfect for grabbing some food or a drink and soaking up the sun.
So even though winter in Malaga doesn’t make for great swimming or sunbathing weather due to the temps, it’s still worth a visit to the beach.
2. Views of Malaga
One of the most iconic things about Malaga, aside from the beach obviously, is the incredible views from above the city and out onto the Mediterranean. Any article you read about things to do in Malaga is going to have the iconic photo from Gibralfaro overlooking the city and sea.
Like this one…
This area is easy to find if you don’t mind a little climb, and free, which is perfect if you’re traveling to Malaga in winter on a budget!
If you’re a sucker for views, like us, it’s 100% worth the short hike up. There aren’t many cities in Spain where you can get views like the ones you get from the Gibralfaro.
Remember that sometimes in Malaga in winter there can be sudden fog that rolls in, so if you get a clear sunny morning or afternoon, hike up to the Mirador de Gibralfaro to see the views without it being too cloudy.
3. Castillo de Gibralfaro
Once you’re up to the iconic viewpoint in Malaga on the Gibralfaro hill, you can continue walking up to the very top and pay to enter the Castillo de Gibralfaro.
The Castilla de Gibralfaro has even better views than the free viewpoint below. Plus, you get to climb around and explore a 14th century castle!
It costs €3.50 to enter the Castillo de Gibralfaro, or you can pay €5.50 for entrances to both the Castillo de Gibralfaro and the Alcazaba, which is next up on our list of things to do in Malaga in winter!
If you are in Spain on a student visa with the Auxiliar de Conversación Program, you can show them your TIE and get in at a 50% discount!
Located on the same hill, but just a little below the castillo, is the Alcazba, which is a Moorish citadel built in the 11th century when the Moors ruled much of Spain.
In our opinion, it’s worth it to buy the entrances to both places, since it isn’t that much more and both are worth visiting, especially in winter since you won’t be at the beach too long.
The Alcazaba in Malaga doesn’t offer the same type of views as the Castillo, but it’s much older and historic. It has fantastic features and is one of the best preserved alcazaba’s in Spain.
One of the best parts is spotting the ancient Roman columns that were built into the Alcazaba when it was constructed that date all the way back to the 1st century BC!
The Roman columns are part of the Alcazaba’s construction because located just below it is an ancient Roman theater…
5. Teatro Romano
At the foot of the Alcazaba sits the Teatro Romano, or Roman Theater, which was built around the 1st century AD when Augustus ruled the Roman empire!
It’s quite remarkable to see because of how old it is and to simply see the 3 levels of history in Malaga all in the same place. You can gaze up and see a Roman theater, Moorish citadel, and a Christian castle all together and see the layers over history that have occurred over time in Spain and created the Spain we know today!
6. Cafe Central
After all that exploring, you are most likely going to be looking for something to eat—or you could get food before all the exploring as the order doesn’t really matter.
One classic place to eat in Malaga is Cafe Central, and it’s right in the center in Plaza de la Constitución.
Cafe Central has been around for over 100 years and is a place all malagueños know about. They serve up a few different things, including their famous coffee, ordered a particular way in Malaga of course.
Since you’re visiting Malaga in winter, we recommend warming up with some churros con chocolate. You can always order their desayuno malagueña (Malaga breakfast) if you’re there earlier, which comes with a pitufo (small sandwich), coffee, churros, and a loca malagueña. It’s the perfect way to start the day in Malaga.
7. Christmas Lights on Calle Marques de Larios
If your winter escape to Malaga takes you to the city before or during the holidays, you have to walk down Calle Marques de Larios to see the famous Christmas lights.
This is one of the most impressive displays of Christmas light we have seen and most likely one of the best in Spain! It even goes to music sometimes!
Calle Marques de Larios is also the main shopping street, so if you miss the lights after the holidays, you can still catch the famous rebajas in Spain, when everything goes on sale after the Christmas holidays end of January 6th.
8. Sunset Boat Ride
Just because it’s winter in Malaga and you can’t relax on the beach as much as you might like to, you can still get out onto the Mediterranean via a sunset boat ride.
Yes, it will be cooler than in summer, but it’s a fun way to see the city from a different angle, catch a sunset, and hopefully see a bunch of dolphins that swim next to the boat!
9. Authentic Food in Malaga
If you’ve been following MY Travel BF for a while, you know we love authentic travel experiences and one of the best ways to do that is to find fantastic local food in a non-tourist restaurant.
And quite frankly, this can be challenging in Malaga, even in winter…
Malaga is known as travel destination for northern Europeans, and in particular the British, so there are tons of tourist traps when looking for a place to eat in the center of Malaga. Usually you can spot them by the English names, crazy prices, or just seeing a bunch of drunk people speaking English outside of them.
However, some places might seem authentic but are actually overpriced and not very good. This is why it’s important to find quality, local places that serve up authentic food in Malaga. One of these is Las Merchanas.
It’s hidden on a small street, so most people wouldn’t even walk passed it, and if you did, it doesn’t really jump out as anything too special. But if you head inside, you will notice that it’s precisely where you want to be for a truly authentic food experience in Malaga, assuming you’re not scared or intimidated by all the religious art and artifacts.
We’ll leave the rest for you to discover for yourself when you visit Malaga in winter.
10. La Tranca for Vermut
Lastly, if you’re looking for a drink or two or three to end your night, head to La Tranca. It’s a bustling bar that hasn’t been modernized to appeal to a hip new crowd.
La Tranca looks like it hasn’t changed for years, which is why we loved it. Of course, aside from the cheap vermuts that somehow kept coming our way…
If you want the true feel of a Spanish bar with locals, head to La Tranca in Malaga for a local experience where you can rub shoulders and exchange stories with locals.
Bonus: Visit Cueva del Tesoro
As a bonus, you can also get outside of Malaga and head to nearby Rincón de la Victoria and visit the Cueva del Tesoro, one of only a handful of submarine caves in the world!
You can drive, Uber, or take a bus there and is a fun, short trip that will only take up part of your day.
After visiting the Cueva del Tesoro, head down the the coast and walk along the much less touristy promenade here.
In winter, there is almost no one except locals, and you will find fisherman coming in with their daily catch. They sell and cook it right there on the beach, making for a very different experience than the promenade along La Malagueta Beach in Malaga.
While the temperatures are lower and the beach is kind of a no-go, there are still plenty of things to do in Malaga in winter, and it’s still a city you should consider visiting, especially if you are looking for an escape from the cold winter days of other parts of Spain.