Malaga – the perfect European winter destination

January 16, 2012 (Last Updated: December 1, 2022)
by Carolyn
Malaga with bullring and harbour

Heading to Europe in winter doesn’t have to be a cold affair. Several of the southerly parts of Europe still have very pleasant weather in December and January, including Malaga in the south of Spain.

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Here are just some of the reasons that Malaga is the perfect winter destination in Europe

17 degrees average winter temperature

Malaga, on the coast, has an average winter temperature of 17 degrees Celcius. This means you can enjoy being outdoors and exploring everything the city and surrounds have to offer. And there are plenty of things to do in Malaga in winter.

Excellent transport options

If you are flying into or out of Malaga you will be impressed by the city’s well equipped, modern airport, which is located just a 15 minute train journey from the centre of town.

As well as the train service, Malaga also offers a good bus service with connections to such highlights as Granada (worth at least a three day visit on its own).

Nightlife in Malaga

A feature of the Spanish culture is its vibrant nightlife where young and old head out for the evening, promenading, eating tapas, seeing a show and shopping.

As well as joining in this relaxed way of spending your mild evenings, by day there is also plenty to do.

Malaga skyline Malaga Old Town skyline at dusk. Image © Adobe Stock Photo / SeanPavonePhoto

Tourists well catered for

More than 500,000 people live in Malaga and in recent years there has been a big push to improve infrastructure and tourism information and services.

This includes introducing bike hire facilities, tourist information centres and booths throughout the city and the use of technology.

For example, the information centres offer a series of eight walking tour maps themed for monuments, Picasso, religious attractions, traditional and 19th century features, parks and historical gardens, romantic highlights, stone and water and contemporary Malaga.

At various sites, information can be downloaded to your mobile device and the map provides the reference point for information along the way.

Alcazaba Citadel

The Alcazaba which dominates the landscape and is literally one of the main features of Malaga, is the former palace-fortress of the then Moslem rulers of the city. Sections of the citadel date back to the 11th century, but most of it is dated to the 14th century.

It’s an impressive set of buildings by any standard as it is built on a spur and fits in with the landscape. The Alcazaba Citadel has extensive gardens and was largely restored in 1930. Of course, it provides stunning views of the city and this is your reward for a steep walk.

Those who are no longer as agile as they would like to be don’t need to miss out entirely – a lift runs from calle Guillén Sotelo, behind the Town Hall.

The Alcazaba showcases a range of building materials, techniques and decorative styles including marble columns, carved wooden ceilings, ceramics and pottery.

You get to explore courtyards with pools and orange trees, palaces, towers and a dungeon. You can learn more about the history of Malaga and the citadel on a guided walking tour.

Alcazaba citade, Malaga Alcazaba Citadel, Malaga. Image © Adobe Stock Photo / SeanPavonePhoto

Picasso Museum

The Picasso museum is just one of the city’s many museums – there are 34 in all, dedicated to such things as the Art of Flamenco and transport.

Pablo Picasso, most widely known for co-founding the cubist movement, was born in Malaga in 1881 and the museum features many of his early works.

Malaga Botanic Gardens

Malaga’s historical Botanic Gardens were founded in 1855. Among the features are a section which includes Australian native plants – Around the World in 80 Trees. In total there are over 2500 tropical and sub-tropical species in this garden.

Malaga Town Hall Malaga Town Hall. Image © Adobe Stock Photo / tonisalado

Search and book more sightseeing tours in Malaga by clicking here

Getting to Malaga

Direct flights operate to Malaga from both Barcelona and Madrid.

If you prefer to travel by train, allow around 7 hours to reach the southern city from Barcelona and 2 hours 20 minutes from Madrid.

Where to stay in Malaga

There’s no shortage of holiday accommodation in Malaga. From 5 star hotels to hostels, there’s something to suit every budget. Click here to browse accommodation options and check current prices.

With Malaga winter temperatures being so pleasant and with plenty of things to do in Malaga in winter, you can see why it is considered as the perfect European winter destination.

For details on events and festivals in Malaga, visit the Malaga Tourist Office website.

About the author:  This article was contributed by Birgit Schonafinger.  Birgit has also written about things to do in Cadiz, Spain.

Top Image © Adobe Stock Photo / Kiko Jimenez