My family and I were on a visit to Malaga, Spain. On a certain day my husband took my oldest son climbing and I decided to take my youngest boy out for a tour of the city. It was quite a challenge to find something we would both enjoy but I found a Hop On – Hop Off Bus Tour that worked perfect for us. It ended up being a fun and educational experience.

A Day Trip in Malaga, Spain

Photo credit: Marina K. Villatoro /Gringa TravelingMom

When I first started thinking about taking my family to Spain I barely gave Malaga a second thought. It didn’t sound as exciting as Madrid and Barcelona. But being the research junkie that I am, I looked into it and  after reading about it, Malaga started screaming out to me. I ended up deciding that we were going to spend one week in the area (more time than Madrid).

TMOM-disclosure-graphicThe first thing I do whenever I decide on visiting a new place is to contact the local tourism office. I received a reply from Margarita from that office and she helped me plan my time in Malaga. She was able to give me tons of great information and advice.

Because we had limited time I decided that we should take one full day to visit the most iconic spots of the city. We also like to have separate play dates with my boys. Having some alone time with each boy allows us to connect better with them.


The day this adventure took place I had the honor of sharing time with my youngest boy. During that time my oldest son and husband went climbing.

What To Do In Malaga – A Day Tour

It was quite a challenge to come up with stuff to do for a fun and educational day with a five year old. The city has tons to offer but not everything is going to capture my son’s attention and help him remember the cool things.

Luckily I had Margarita’s help and she helped me come up with a great plan that would work for all ages and allow us both to have fun.

Malaga Sightseeing Hop On – Hop Off Bus

This was the perfect option for us to get around the city and see the main attractions. We learned a lot and my boy stayed excited. If you do the whole tour, it takes 80 minutes. You also get the chance to hop on/hop off 14 different stops.

I decided to shorten the tour to 30 minutes by picking only the ones I thought were the best spots to hop on and off and then walking down back to our hotel through the two most iconic landmarks in Malaga. We ended up in the historic district which has lots of windy streets.

A Day Trip in Malaga, Spain

Photo credit: Marina K. Villatoro /Gringa TravelingMom

1. Castillo de Gibralfaro (Gibralfaro Castle)

  • This is a castle located in the highest point of Malaga. It overlooks the whole city and the Mediterranean Sea. For me the best way to enjoy its surrounding is getting there on the bus and slowly walking down.
  • This is a c astle that was built in the 14th century to house troops that would protect the Alcazaba.
  • It is one of the most visited monuments in Málaga.
  • If you walk up to the top of its walls you can see spectacular views of the city.
  • It was named after the lighthouse at its peak (Jabal-Faruk, the light mountain).
  • The Phoenicians and Romans used it in 1340.
  • Then the Nasrid King Yusuf turned it into a fortress.
  • During the re-conquest (i.e. the Reconquista), in 1487, it was besieged by the Catholic Monarchs.
  • King Ferdinand the Catholic made it his temporary residence.
  • He also designated the castle as a symbol on the coat of arms of the city.
  • It has two lines of walls and eight towers.
  • Gibralfaro and Alcazaba are united by underground tunnels.
  • The Castle is divided into two parts. The upper part (The main courtyard) – It houses the Main Tower (Torre Mayor), 17 metres high, the Phoenician well and the baths. The lower part (Courtyard) – Where you find the troop barracks and stables, the watchtower or White Tower (Torre Blanca), a water tank, auxiliary buildings and storerooms.
A Day Trip in Malaga, Spain

Photo credit: Marina K. Villatoro /Gringa TravelingMom

2. Alcazaba (Fortress)

  • The trail from the castle to the fortress is one of the most scenic. I highly recommend it!
  • This old Arab fortress is one of the most iconic buildings and monuments of the city.
  • It was built between 1057 and 1063.
  • It has an Arab style that mixes the defense qualities with gorgeous gardens.
  • It is one of the most important Muslim fortresses from the old days of Spain.
  • This fortress is, of course, complete with dungeons and towers.
  • During its best days it was surrounded by a pretty advanced town. There were indoor plumbing in most homes. The town has disappeared completely.
  • The fortress went through two reconstructions during the XX century.