Malaga is one of the most beautiful and attractive cities for national and foreign tourism. It has become a benchmark in Andalusia and many people come to discover the places of interest in this wonderful city and throughout the province of Malaga. There are places par excellence that you should not miss in the city of the Costa del Sol and its surroundings, but there are many other curious places in Malaga that you will not find in any guide.
Natural paradises, monuments, architecture and historical heritage that surround the entire province and are undiscovered corners even to many locals. Discover Malaga and travel around the province to find those unusual places that are part of the richness of this city.
In the middle of the Sierra de Mijas and above the sea, we can find this Buddhist stupa in Benalmádena. The white quadrangular building is notable for its dome and its golden conical tip. Earth, water, air, fire and ether are represented through the architecture and the design symbolises the Buddha’s enlightenment. So here, on the Costa del Sol, we find this Buddhist temple recognised as the largest in Western Europe. If you visit the province of Malaga, you can come to this spot for meditation and see Himalayan culture first-hand.
Genalguacil is a small village in the Valle del Genal which holds one of the most important art festivals of the province every two years. Started in 1994, this biennial art exhibition gathers renowned artists from around the world for two weeks to create a work which is later shown in the city. The village offers bed, food and everything else needed for their work and, in exchange, keeps the work of these sculptors, painters and photographers forever. Carved trunks, sculptures, art on the roof and a totem are some of curiosities you can see the result of this artistic event in Genalguacil.
Fuengirola Open Museum
In the heart of the Costa del Sol is Fuengirola. In this city, the buildings have a very special feature. Old walls on buildings and other unused walls are used by artists for their paintings. This is an Open Museum and is available to everyone and allows everyone who wants to walk around the city to see a wide range of urban art. If you like paintings, it is a nice example of how to decorate unused areas and how to involve all locals in art.
Casa de los Navajas in Torremolinos
This residential palace belongs to a businessman dedicated to sugarcane production, the construction of which began in the early twentieth century. The style is clearly Neo-Mudéjar and the interior decoration is inspired by the gardens of the Alhambra. It is located on the Bajondillo seafront on a cliff and has some enviable views. If you stop by, you will see that this enclave seems to be immersed in a dream of the Arabian Nights where you can enjoy the splendour of our Arabian roots in addition to the smell and the sea breeze.
Baños del Carmen in Malaga
This is one of the emblems of the city despite not being one of the most advertised places on the tourist trail. This is an old bath complex next to the sea, now almost in ruins, where, for the first time, in the early twentieth century, mixed bathing was allowed between men and women. It was designed for the upper class of society and built with stones from the quarry of San Telmo. Don’t miss the sunset from this point of Malaga as it is one of the most beautiful views you can see in the province.
Colomares Castle in Benalmádena
Colomares Castle is a monument to Christopher Columbus which was built to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the discovery of America. Among the styles that are distinguishable, we can see Byzantine, Mudéjar and Gothic. The smallest church in the world, dedicated to Elizabeth of Hungary, is found inside, and is even included in the Guinness Book of Records. If you walk around you will notice the castle is in the shape of one of the Columbus’ ships.
Hand of Santa Teresa in Ronda
In the town of Tajo, Ronda, is one of the relics of the Catholic Church which is unknown to many. This is the incorrupt hand of Santa Teresa de Jesus which is kept in the La Merced Cloister. History tells us that nine months after the death of the Carmelite nun, her body was exhumed and, according to Catholic tradition, was incorrupt. That’s when one of the pastors present decided to cut off her right hand to give it to the Carmelite nuns. Currently the relic is protected by a silver glove inlaid with precious seventeenth century stones.
Smurf Town, Júzcar
If you want to see something original, don’t hesitate to stop by Júzcar. Its blue houses have made it the world’s first Smurf Village and represents one of the most curious attractions of the province. This is a town that breaks completely with the typical white Andalusian aesthetic and has street corners adorned with these cute cartoon characters. A unique place to enjoy a day of rest.
Royal tin factory in San Miguel
These ruins are given so much importance due the fact that it was the first tin factory in Spain. Located in Júzcar, it was essential for the transport of charcoal and wood from the Serrania de Ronda, necessary elements for casting. Being unique in our country, it needed the help of German technicians who were experts in this field which was unknown to the Spanish. Now only some ruins remain and it is a special setting for lovers of photography.
The Cortijo Jurado, Malaga
If you are a lover of mysteries, don’t miss the Cortijo Jurado. This is a mid-nineteenth century bourgeois working farm. But rather than its artistic value or structure, it is famous for its paranormal legends. It has become an area which is studied and visited by those interested in these scary stories. It is said that you can see shadows which look like people with hats and you can easily record EVP. Many people come to take pictures and try to receive some kind of message or signal from the afterlife. If you aren’t scared and you like this area, don’t forget to come to the Cortijo Jurado.
Doña Trinidad caves, Ardales
This cave in this village of Ardales, called Cueva de Doña Trinidad Grund, is one of the archaeological jewels that we have in the province and is unknown to many. It dates back to prehistoric times, specifically to the Upper Paleolithic, as confirmed by the cave engravings found inside. This site was discovered thanks to an earthquake that opened the entrance to the cave, which was opened to the public, but only to the bourgeoisie, and a century later some galleries were discovered inside the cave. In addition to artistic manifestations, we can find remains of bones, so that funeral activities were part of the ins and outs of this site. After a recovery project, the cave of Doña Trinidad was included in the route “Caminos del Arte Rupestre” by the Council of Europe. This archaeological wonder is a treasure of prehistory that can be visited from Tuesday to Sunday. It is necessary to buy a ticket and it is not recommended for children under 8 years old or over 70 years old with mobility problems.
Balastar waterfall, Faraján
Did you know that one of the most unusual places in the province of Malaga is a waterfall? “La Chorrera de Balastar” is the name of a waterfall in Faraján. This village in Málaga was described by Hemingway as a “white swan on a pond of hope”. Discovering a waterfall in the middle of nature full of crops and fruit trees is one of the most interesting experiences we can have in this very interesting place. La Colina de Don Fabrique is the setting where we find the Balastar waterfall, which, surrounded by canals and ditches, takes us back to the Muslim era. The beauty of this waterfall, more than 10 meters long and shaded by trees, is a treasure to be discovered.
Benalmádena Butterfly Park
The Benalmadena Butterfly Park is one of the places of interest and a perfect plan that you can do with the little ones. This butterfly park is the largest in Europe, with more than 150 different species of butterflies and more than 1500 butterflies from tropical areas of the world. Walking through the gardens and discovering the natural paradise where all kinds of butterflies live is like traveling through Thailand. The Thai style of the building is because butterfly breeding originated in Asia, especially in China. Next to this large butterfly garden is the Enlightenment Stupa, a Buddhist temple with a meditation hall. The most Asian style and culture is only 20 minutes away from Malaga, in Benalmadena, and it is one of the most interesting places to visit if you are looking for the most special places in the province.
The Almond Blossom Route, Guaro
The almond tree is one of the most beautiful flowering trees. Its pink blossoms begin to bloom between January and February, and this is its time of splendor. So much so that this small community has a route to enjoy the beauty of the almond tree. Several trails lead to visit the almond grove and enjoy this spectacle of nature as the PR-A 279 and PR-A 274. Both are routes of the almond, easy to carry out, and very well signposted. The landscape of almond trees with their pink and white flowers is a spectacle that should be immortalized.
Fuente Piedra Lagoon
Málaga hides unusual places that you would never expect to find in this province. One of them is Fuente de Piedra. And here you can see, among other things, a bird as unique as the flamingo. This village has the largest wetland area in Andalusia. The Laguna de Fuente de Piedra Nature Reserve is a unique enclave in our region and the one that hosts the largest number of flamingos in the entire Iberian Peninsula. Flamingos flock to this lagoon and although it is the most common species, more than 170 different species can be seen here. A natural spectacle that ranks second in Europe as the largest enclave of flamingo colonies.
Casares, hanging village
They call it the hanging village. Casares is a white village that reminds us of the typical Andalusian with its narrow streets, whitewashed facades, and patios with pots, but this town also has a peculiarity and that is that its houses seem to be mounted on top of each other along the mountain, hence the name so peculiar. Casares also has a historical Arabic legacy that can still be seen in the village today. The Casares castle and wall are symbols of the past and are also located on the top of the mountain where the village is located. The cemetery and the parish church of the Incarnation are two places not to be missed when visiting Casares. In the visit to this picturesque town of Málaga, an unusual place is the birthplace of Blas Infante, Andalusian politician, writer, and intellectual, born in Casares.
These are the ten most curious corners of the province which can make your trip to Malaga a different experience. These are not the typical tourist routes or the different cities’ traditional sights, but a unique alternative to make your trip a different kind of memorable.
WHERE TO STAY
If you decide to visit the Costa del Sol and enjoy the city of Málaga, there’s nothing better than staying in a prestigious hotel. El Fuerte Marbella a historic establishment on the Costa del Sol, now transformed to 5 stars, is the Marbella hotel that best combines casual luxury, an exclusive and welcoming atmosphere and the sheer comfort offered by its location on the city centre’s beachfront, which offers stunning sea views right across Marbella’s seafront promenade.