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The best things to do in the province of Malaga, Spain

If you’re heading to the province of Malaga in Spain, this is the travel guide for you! In this blog post, I’m going to highlight the best things to do in Malaga, Spain (focussing on the best things to do in Malaga province, rather than the city), the best places to visit in Malaga and the best adventures to go on.

The province of Malaga is located on the southern mediterranean coast of Spain, in Andalusia. It is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the south and by the provinces of Cádiz, Seville, Córdoba, and Granada on land. The capital of the province of Malaga is the city of Malaga, which can be confusing! 

The city of Malaga is obviously one of the most visited and popular places in the whole province of Malaga, but it would be a waste for you as a tourist to restrict yourself to only the capital. I’m not saying you should avoid it, but don’t forget that this region is full of spectacular mountainous views, traditional whitewashed villages and other towns with amazing beaches, which might be less ‘touristy’ than Malaga. Exploring Malaga is one of the best things to do in Spain and somewhere that should definitely be on your Europe bucket list!

If you’re looking to visit Malaga, which is one of the best places to visit in Europe, renting a car is a must and it’s probably the cheapest way to do all the best things to do in Malaga. Just make sure you drive slowly! The region of Málaga is full of curvy, narrow roads, and lots of cyclists which you must take into account whilst driving. 

See more top tips for travelling on a budget here.

So here we are! Below are some must-go places that will help you to get the full experience of your visit to the province of Malaga, and some of my favourite things to do in Malaga that you cannot miss!

Other travel guides you might find useful…

The best things to do in Malaga, Spain...

1. Get some Vitamin D and soak up the sun at the best beaches in Malaga.

The south of Spain is definitely a region for those who love scorching hot sun and sunbathing. There are so many beautiful beaches on which to sunbathe and unwind. Some of the most beautiful beaches in Malaga are in: 

  • Fuengirola (also famous for a Moorish castle)
  • Marbella (famous for a harbour with exclusive yachts and shops and the historic Old Town)
  • Nerja (famous for a viewpoint called Balcon de Europa)
  • Estepona (famous for its promenade with palms, watersports at Puerto Deportivo)
The best things to do in Malaga, Spain: Malaga province travel guide

2. Visit the traditional whitewashed village Mijas in the mountains in Malaga.

Mijas is one of the best places to visit in Malaga for many reasons: its narrow, cobbled streets, artisan hand-made pottery, omnipresent whitewashed houses, and spectacular views over the Fuengirola coastline. Another thing that Mijas is famous for is a donkey taxi, which is extremely popular among tourists…but wouldn’t it be healthier for you to stroll around the village and strengthen your muscles, rather than to use those cute donkeys to carry you? Think twice before booking that trip! 

3. Visit Marbella, a mix of luxury and modernity juxtaposed with old history.

Marbella is a seaside resort where history meets modernity, and one of the best things to do in Malaga province is to explore the best of both worlds! If you want to experience a bit of luxury shopping in expensive boutiques, or look at the posh yachts of multimillionaires, visit Marbella’s harbour Puerto Banus. The beach is just a stone’s throw away from the harbour, so you can relax there after shopping. If you suddenly change your mind and want to see something a bit more historical, go to Marbella’s Old Town to see its narrow, colourful streets and eat in one of the tapas bars among the orange trees of Plaza de los Naranjos.

4. Explore Ronda - a city divided by a deep ravine with spectacular views and influences of Arabic reign.

Hopefully you’re not scared of heights, because Ronda is built over a ravine. One of the best things to do in Malaga is to explore this beautiful town.

The heart of the city is a bridge called Puente Nuevo, which overlooks a 100m deep rocky ravine. The bridge also symbolises the cultural division of the city. Ronda, originally of Roman origin, was conquered by Muslims and Islamic reign remained until 1485, influencing the village’s architecture and life.

In order to see these Arabic influences, visit the gardens of Casa del Rey Moro, the Water Mine, where beautiful mosaics can be seen everywhere. Casa del Rey was the only source of water in medieval times and it was where the native inhabitants of Ronda regained power over the Muslims again. Also, it’s where you can get to the bottom of the ravine..if you’re fit! You’ll have to go down 231 slippery steps, but be careful – the tunnel is dark!

Don’t forget to stroll around Ronda’s cobbled streets and admire the panoramic views. Another big attraction is one of the oldest bullfighting rings in Spain, called Plaza de Toros de Ronda. We’re obviously against bullfighting, so we’ll only advise you to take photos with the statues of bulls and bullfighters which you can see around the building.

See all the best things to do in Spain here.

The best things to do in Malaga, Spain: Malaga province travel guide

5. Take a photo with Gargamel in the Smurf village Juzcar.

On your way to or from Ronda, visit Juzcar with its houses painted in blue, reminiscent of the houses of the famous little Smurfs. It used to be a traditional whitewashed village, but it was painted blue in 2011 to promote the premiere of the film Smurfs. The fact the village was painted blue attracted so many tourists that the residents of the village voted not to revert the colour to the traditional white. The village looks cute, and grabbing a few snaps for your Instagram here is one of the top things to do in Malaga. 

Check out how to improve your travel photography in this blog post. 

6. Hike El Camino del Rey if you're not scared of heights!

This is one of the best things to do in Malaga for those who would be thrilled to walk along the walls of a gorge on a wooden plank which is attached to the rocks by wires. If you are not scared of seeing a deep precipice underneath your legs, go for it! The walk is not physically demanding; it’s only 7.7 km. Before its restoration, El Camino Del Rey was known as the most dangerous path in the world, attracting a lot of adrenaline addicts and resulting in many deaths. Now the path is perfectly safe. It costs 10 euros to enter or 18 euros for guided visits.

See my top tips for hiking for beginners here. 

7. Visit El Torcal to feel like you're walking on another planet...

El Torcal is a natural reserve of limestone rocks formed in an original layered way that you can visit for free, making it one of the best free things to do in Magala. While walking around, you have this surreal feeling of walking on the moon. It’s a must-see and it’s on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Remember to take walking shoes with you and some water. It’s absolutely free, but it’s a bit of a longer drive from the city of Málaga and also on a route with lots of curvy corners, so make sure you are a talented driver!

Iceland is another place that feels like you’re on another planet – check out this Iceland road trip itinerary.

8. Visit Antequera, the heart of Andalusia.

Located in the centre of Málaga, Granada, Sevilla and Córdoba, Antequera is one of the best places to visit in Malaga for those who want to see the remains of the Bronze Age, visit Roman baths or see Arabic influences. This city is close to El Torqual so make sure you visit both on the same day, saving on some petrol.

The best things to do in Malaga, Spain: Malaga province travel guide

9. Try mouth-watering Spanish food!

Traditional food at local restaurants is definitely one of the best things to do in Malaga for foodies! Don’t leave the province of Málaga without trying:

  • Tapas – traditional little portions of snacks such as manchego cheese, jamon (cold meat cuts), chorizo (traditional Spanish sausage), toast with anchovies, and marinated fish.
  • refreshingly cold cerveza (beer) or vino (wine). 
  • Chorizo sausage baked in cider and white beans in tomato sauce.
  • Tortilla – Spanish omelette made of eggs.
  • En salada rusa – a Russian salad made of root vegetables, tuna and mayo.
  • Paella – rice dish with seafood or chicken (make sure the paella is home-made: you can wait for up to 30 minutes, but it’s totally worth it).
  • Fresh seafood (ideally in one of the local restaurants by the beach).
  • Porra Antequerana – tomato and pepper sauce served with tuna, eggs and bacon. Surprising combination, but very refreshing and tasty.
  • Croquettes.
  • Fried aubergines with honey.

What are your top things to do in Malaga?

Where are your favourite places to visit in Malaga? Anything you’d add?

 Love as always and happy adventuring…

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