Cruises,  Spain

Malaga in 1 Day – Amazing Itinerary For Cruise Ship Guests

Do you want to see the most amazing sights of Malaga in 1 day? Then you are in the right spot.

Planning a shore day can be such a hassle. It is always super hard to decide what to do in just one day in a city.

Luckily for you, I have just returned from my Western Mediterranean cruise on the MSC Divina – and Malaga has been on our itinerary.

I have done a lot of research on how to best spend a day in Malaga – and in this post, I will spill all the details! Even if you don’t come from the cruise ship, you can still enjoy this Malaga walking tour.

Let’s get to it!

A close-up of Málaga Cathedral's ornate exterior with intricate architectural details and statues, under a blue sky with light clouds.

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How to Spend One Day in Malaga: Possible Itineraries

When going to Malaga on a cruise, you have a couple of different options on how to spend your day. Of course, it depends on your budget and how much time you have.

We opted for a self-guided walking tour, which is also what this post will focus on for the most part. But of course, there are lots of other options as well.

Here are possible itineraries for Málaga in 1 day:

My recommendation: we took the self-guided walking tour, and we absolutely loved our day in Malaga. However, after seeing all the pictures from the white villages of our fellow cruisers, this is probably what I would pick in hindsight.

About the Malaga Cruise Port

map of the malaga cruise terminal

I have written a dedicated post about the Malaga Cruise Port and how to get around from there. But I’ll still quickly give you the rundown here.

The Málaga Cruise Port is just a short walk from the historic old town, about 2 km (1.2 miles) away. You can reach the city center in roughly 15 minutes on foot.

f you prefer, there’s also a shuttle bus that runs every 15-20 minutes and costs around EUR 5,00. However, the walk is quite pleasant, so you might want to skip the bus.

This port is quite large and can accommodate multiple big ships each day. It has three terminals (A, B, and Palmeral) that offer plenty of amenities like restrooms, WiFi, parking, cafes, shops, guest services, and shuttle bus services.

The port is linked to the city center by a long boulevard lined with charming cafes, shops, and restaurants.

An elevated view of Málaga’s cityscape, showing residential buildings, palm trees, and the Mediterranean Sea in the distance. You can see the cruise port with the MSC Divina in the background.

1 Day in Málaga Self-Guided Walking Tour: Itinerary

If you opted for the self-guided walking tour through Malaga, you are in the right spot. See below our favorite walking tour itinerary of Malaga. This way, you’ll see the most amazing spots of the city in just one short day.

Distance: 8.8 km (5.4 miles)

Walking Time: 2,5 hours (without stops)

Start/End Point: Malaga Cruise Port

  1. Malaga Cruise Terminal
  2. Playa La Malagueta
  3. Centre Pompidou
  4. Castillo de Gibralfaro
  5. Teatro Romano
  6. Alcazaba de Málaga
  7. Museo Casa Natal de Picasso
  8. Centro Historico
  9. Málaga Cathedral
  10. Muelle Dos Pier
  11. Málaga Cruise Terminal
1 day in malaga walking tour map

Playa la Malagueta

Playa la Malagueta beach in Malaga with some palm trees and the ocean behind the big signs saying malagueta in sand.

Once you leave your cruise ship behind at the terminal and walk towards the city center, you’ll see the famous Playa la Malagueta pop up on the right-hand side.

This stunning beach is about 1,200 meters long and 45 meters wide, with dark sand that comes from a mixture of sand and gravel.

La Malagueta is also famous for its iconic “Malagueta” sculpture. This has become a popular Instagram-spot in Málaga.

Check out the beach or simply enjoy the walk toward the Centre Pompidou.

Centre Pompidou

The colorful cubus known as centre pompidou in Malaga. It is one of the best spots to visit in 1 day in Malaga.

The Centre Pompidou Málaga is a cool art museum in Málaga, Spain. It’s like a smaller version of the famous one in Paris.

You can either check it out from the outside or go in for a tour. We are not so much into art, so we skipped out on the tour.

The building is easy to find because it has a colorful glass cube on top. Inside, you can see modern art, including paintings, sculptures, and photos.

It’s a fun place to check out if you like art or want to see something different. Plus, it’s right by the port, so it’s easy to get to on our way to the next stop.

Castillo de Gibralfaro

The Castillo de Gibralfaro is an old castle in Málaga. It sits on a hill, so you’ll have amazing views of the city and the sea from up there. It is a bit of a strenuous walk up, but we thought it was absolutely worth it.

Tickets are pretty cheap, so you might as well go in after all this hiking. On the walk up, you’ll also pass by some street vendors selling arts and crafts and souvenirs.

The castle has big walls and towers that were used a long time ago to protect the city. Now, you can walk around the castle, learn about its history, and take some pictures.

There’s also a nice path that goes from the castle down to the Alcazaba, the next stop on our one-day in Malaga itinerary.

Teatro Romano and Alcazaba de Málaga

A man smiling in front of the reflective glass pyramid at the Alcazaba entrance, with the fortress walls and visitors in the background. It is the husband of the author.

Our next two stops on the 1 day in Malaga itinerary are located right next to each other. We’ll check out the Teatro Romano and the Alcazaba de Málaga before heading into the city center.

The Teatro Romano is an ancient Roman theater. It’s really old, dating back to the 1st century BC. People used to watch plays there back in the day. You can still see some remains of the theater, like the steps where people sat and the stage where actors performed

The Alcazaba is a beautiful old fortress built in the 11th century, by the Moors who ruled the area back then. It is especially beautiful from the inside, so be sure to check it out. You can also buy combined tickets with the Castillo de Gibralfaro.

Lunch Break

At this point, you’ll have walked a lot and are probably craving some lunch. If you’d rather eat back on the cruise ship, feel free to skip this stop on your Malaga in 1 day tour.

Here are a couple of great and authentic restaurants in the area:

🥘 El Pimpi: this is a famous bodega bar in Málaga, which is known for its traditional Andalusian dishes. You can also eat tapas there. Its great for lunch, because it has a nice atmosphere and is close by the Alcazaba.

🥘 Eboka Casa de Vinos y Comidas: This restaurant also serves Spanish cuisine, with a focus on local ingredients and wines. It’s located near the Alcazaba and the Roman Theatre.

🥘 La Barra de Zapata: A cozy spot known for its delicious tapas – also a great choice after the Alcazaba. It is a bit farther away but still walkable.

Museo Casa Natal de Picasso

The Museo Casa Natal de Picasso (Picasso’s Birthplace Museum) is a special place that should be on your 1 day in Málaga itinerary.

It’s the house where the famous artist Pablo Picasso was born in 1881. Today, it’s a museum where you can learn about his early life and see some of his art.

The museum has paintings, drawings, and ceramics that he made. But there are also some personal things from his family and photos of him.

You can find it in the Plaza de la Merced, a nice square in the city center. If you are not so much into art, you can skip this place and head straight for the old town center.

Centro Historico

The Centro Histórico in Málaga is such a charming place – it was probably my favorite part about Málaga! It’s like stepping back in time with its narrow, winding streets and beautiful historic buildings.

You can find cute restaurants, bars and lots of shops there. Make sure to pop into one of the official shops selling Turrón, a Spanish specialty. You can sample them for free there, and they make an amazing souvenir.

Walk around without an agenda and see where the winding streets take you. Take your time for this one!

Málaga Cathedral

The towering presence of Málaga Cathedral's side façade, seen from a square where people are walking and relaxing. you can see the author's husband in the picture as well enjoyting his 1 day in malaga.

The Málaga Cathedral, also known as “La Manquita” or “the one-armed lady,” is a beautiful landmark in the heart of Málaga’s historic center. This spot definitely needs to be on your 1 day in Malaga itinerary.

The cathedral got its name because one of its towers was never completed. So now it has a bit of an asymmetrical appearance.

You can also go inside, where you’ll find beautiful stained glass windows. The church has a peaceful, light-filled atmosphere.

My tip: There’s also a lovely garden courtyard where you can relax and enjoy the surroundings.

Muelle Dos Pier

The last stop on our Malaga in 1 day itinerary is the Muelle Dos Pier. You’ll pass by there on your way back to the cruise port.

Muelle Dos, also known as “The Palmeral de las Sorpresas” (Palm Garden of Surprises), is a modern promenade along the port of Málaga.

The pier is lined with palm trees, shops and restaurants. This is the perfect place to get some handmade souvenirs from Málaga.

The structure looks a bit funky, so it is definitely worth a picture. Also, you can see some super expensive luxury yachts from there too.

Conclusion: Málaga in 1 Day – From Cruise Ship

To sum it up, our perfect Málaga in 1 day itinerary includes all the highlights of the city. If you choose to follow this self-guided walking tour, you’ll pass by every famous spot.

From the Alcazaba de Málaga to the beautiful old town, this itinerary covers it all. Malaga is truly a beautiful city, and it can nicely be explored in one day on a cruise. If you have some extra time, check out the Casa Aranada for some churros or the Atarazanas food market.

If all this walking is not your thing, you might want to book a day tour to the Alhambra or maybe even the white villages instead.

I hope you enjoyed your cruise stop in Málaga and keep on reading about other destinations in the Western Mediterranean.

Next Stops in the Western Mediterranean

🚢 One Day in Malta from Valletta Cruise Port

🚢 What to Do in Gibraltar in One Day – Perfect Day Trip

🚢 One Day in Naples From Cruise Ship: Amazing Itinerary & Tips

🚢 Lanzarote Cruise Port: How To Spend A Perfect Day in Lanzarote

🚢 How to Spend One Day in Tenerife From Cruise Ship

🚢 Best of Casablanca & Rabat in One Day: From Cruise Port

🚢 Malaga Cruise Port: Everything You Need to Know For Your Cruise

🚢 Awesome One Day in Cannes Itinerary – From Cruise Ship

🚢 Cannes Cruise Port – Everything You Need To Know

🚢 One Day in Marseille From Cruise Ship: Ultimate Itinerary

🚢 One Day in Corsica Itinerary: From Ajaccio Cruise Port

🚢 One Day in Barcelona From Cruise Ship: Amazing Itinerary

FAQ: Málaga in 1 Day

Is one day enough in Malaga?

Yes, one day is enough to see the major sights in Malaga. However, there are also lots of other lovely things to do in the area, so it would be nice to have a couple more days for some day trips. Stay in a hotel by the beach and combine some sightseeing with a beach vacation in Malaga.

Is Malaga a walkable city?

Yes, Malaga is very walkable. You can reach all the major sights in Malaga on foot.

blonde girl pink dress in front of blue door santorini

About the Author

Sabrina is a passionate travel blogger and content creator, based in the Netherlands. She spends most parts of the year abroad at various destinations with her husband.

She provides slow-paced itineraries that focus on quality over quantity. Sabrina wants to help her readers to get more out of their travel experiences – while doing less. Read more.