Even if you travel on a budget, there are plenty of free things to do in Malaga Spain to experience the culture and history of this enchanting city.
Especially on Sundays, there are a few top tourist attractions that open their doors for free to everyone in the afternoon. This allows you to save a lot of cash if you’re traveling on a shoestring.
However, you might only spend one day in Malaga and if that’s not a Sunday, there are still plenty of fun things to do in Malaga for free.
After living near the city for many years, I’ve spent a lot of time there and embraced the free things to do. Malaga has a way of pulling you into its allure even if you can’t spend money on attractions.
In this guide, I’ll let you in on the best free things to do in Malaga so that you can fall in love with the city even on a budget.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. That means that if you make a purchase through one of those links, I will get a small commission at no extra cost to you.
I’m Linn Haglund, the face behind Amused by Andalucia! I’ve been based in Andalucia, Spain for the last 10+ years, mainly in Seville and Costa del Sol while exploring the region extensively. Since 2022, I’ve slow-traveled in my van with my fiancee and dog, spending significant time in each place to truly get to know all the hidden corners of this exciting and diverse region. I’m here to help you uncover Andalucia too!
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Free things to do in Malaga
Stroll along Muelle Uno
Muelle Uno is Malaga’s new marina and it’s a delight to walk along. There are often street performers and buskers along there making every visit unique.
Take a look at the boats that are docked up and window shop in the market and stores on the marina. At the end of the upper deck, there is a small lighthouse you can see, but I especially love the views of the port from the upper deck.
On the palm-lined street below, there are plenty of restaurants and bars, interesting statues, and an old fountain in front of a small historical building.
Chill at La Malagueta Beach
Malagueta Beach is the main urban beach in Malaga and the perfect place to retreat on a sunny day. If you visit Malaga in winter, you will find this beautiful beach nearly empty except for people walking their dogs and the odd tourist sunbathing.
In the summer months, it is jam-packed with people swimming, playing games, and sunbathing. Especially if you visit Malaga in August, you will find the beach is close to impossible to walk on, particularly on the weekends.
It is easy to see that Malagueta is the heart of Malaga’s beaches and a center of outdoor recreation for sun-seekers. Even though it gets crowded in summer, I absolutely adore the vibe of this beach!
Visit The Roman Theater
In the heart of the old town located at the foothills of the Alcazaba, the Roman Theater is another free thing to visit in Malaga.
There is no entrance fee and the entrance is right next to the entrance of the Alcazaba, so you basically just walk past the Alcazaba’s ticket office.
It’s a great place to sit down with an ice cream dwelling on Malaga’s Roman past as you sit on the ancient structure dating back to the 1st century. It is actually one of the most recent finds in Malaga – it wasn’t discovered before 1951.
See the processions of Reyes
The Three King’s Day (Epiphany) is Spain’s main Christmas celebration, a massive event with big parades on the night of the 5th and the morning of the 6th. And Malaga does not hold back on its celebrations.
The parades are free to watch and take place in the city center. Get ready for a colorful event with music, dance, and tons of candy – literally! The parades are filled with different costumes and themes, but at the end, the Three Kings come bearing gifts.
Window shop in Calle Larios
Calle Larios is the main shopping street in Malaga and is a lively hub for shoppers, window shoppers, and passing byers.
There, you find anything from Massimo Dutti to Zara, H&M, Pandora, Ray Ban, and Desigual. I love strolling up and down this street, as it boasts a lively atmosphere at any time of the year.
Visit the Alcazaba on a Sunday
While you normally must get tickets for the Alcazaba in Malaga, you can go there for free if you time your visit carefully.
Every Sunday, from 14:00 you can go in for free. Just be aware that they close the door for new entries one hour before closing time.
It’s totally worth it. The Alcazaba is easily one of the most beautiful castles in Malaga and boasts exquisite views of the city. Going back in time to Moorish rule in the Alcazaba is by far one of the coolest things you can do for free in Malaga.
See the views from Gibralfaro viewpoint
Gibralfaro Viewpoint is halfway up the hill to Gibralfaro Castle and boasts epic views of Muelle Uno and the bullring. You can also see down the coast and parts of the city with the cathedral dominating the skyline.
It’s a bit of a climb if you’re not used to uphill walks, but I promise, it’s totally worth it. Everyone I’ve dragged up there who tried to turn around before reaching it has said the same: Thank you for pushing me!
Visit Gibralfaro on a Sunday
Just like the Alcazaba, the Gibralfaro opens its doors for free to visitors on Sundays after 14:00 making it one of the best free things to do in Malaga.
The magnificent castle was built in the year 1340 to protect the Nasrid Kingdom. Walking along its massive old fortress walls is nothing short of impressive.
Besides, the views of the city and the coastline are unmatched. Visiting the Gibralfaro is one of the musts when visiting Malaga, so you’re lucky to be able to experience it for free.
Visit the Picasso Museum on a Sunday
If you enjoy art and are a Picasso fan you will be delighted to know that the Picasso Museum has free admission on the last opening hour every Sunday.
This gives you a unique opportunity to witness some of the artist’s most famous work in his birth city.
See the Christmas light show in Calle Larios
One of the most epic free things to do in Malaga in December is to watch the Christmas light show in Calle Larios. But more than seeing it, you will experience and feel it.
The vibe is unmatched as the twinkly lights dance to the Christmas songs played and the street is packed with people singing and dancing along.
It plays every evening in December leading up to Christmas and is one of my favorite free events in Malaga to experience.
Snap a picture of Malaga Cathedral
Malaga Cathedral is not free to enter unless you’re a resident of Malaga province. But nonetheless, its architectural beauty is worth seeing from the outside.
It looks quite spectacular and unique from different angles. The entrance is stunning, but my favorite part is that of Plaza del Obispo. There you can also see the unfinished tower giving it the nickname, La Manquita, or the one-armed woman.
Patio de Los Naranjos is also free to enter, you find the entrance to the right before you reach the cathedral entrance. It’s a peaceful escapade from the busy city.
Stroll around Malaga Old Town
Malaga Old Town is such a lovely area full of life, stunning architecture, and cute little boutique shops for window shopping.
There’s also some cool street art in Malaga and while the most famous works are found in the Soho district, the old town hides some beautiful treasures.
Step inside some of the churches for free to take in the evangelical architecture and if you’re religious, you might even want to join mass.
Dance along at the Feria de Malaga
The Feria de Malaga takes place every August and is my favorite festivity in Malaga. The entire historic center turns into a giant Fiesta with live concerts on every square and people dancing and singing.
You can easily experience it sober if you’re on a budget, or it’s quite affordable to purchase a bottle of sweet wine to join in on the traditions.
Go hunting for street art
The best street art in the city is no questioning in Soho. There are several large-scale art pieces covering buildings and the dried-out riverfront.
Take your time strolling around and you’ll be surprised by all the art that pops up around every corner. But also the Old Town holds some nice pieces, especially on Plaza de La Juderia.
Reflections on Malaga’s free things to do
Summing up Malaga’s free things to do, there’s enough to keep you busy for a few days without spending a penny on other than food.
I hope you got inspired to visit the city even if you’re on a tight budget because it’s truly worth it.