The curiosities about Malaga make this wonderful place that has stolen our hearts even more special. Malaga, the pearl of the Costa del Sol, is a city that unfolds like a fan of contrasts and cultural wealth in the south of Spain. This sunny city is often associated with golden beaches and blue skies. But Malaga offers much more than sun and sea.
In its ancient streets, surprising stories, illustrious characters, unique traditions and a vibrant cultural life are hidden. Therefore, today we want to tell you curiosities about Malaga that will make you feel like a true Malaga native during your visit.
Did you know that Malaga is one of the oldest cities in Europe? Its roots date back to the Phoenicians, who founded it more than 2,800 years ago. It is also home to some of the best preserved Roman theaters in Spain. This impressive amphitheater dates back to the 1st century BC. and has witnessed centuries of history.
But not everything is history. Málaga is the epitome of artists such as Pablo Picasso. It is the tradition of its holy week, its fair and its festivals. It is also a delicious and unique gastronomy, like its sardine skewers. And of course, it is the accumulation of experiences that you can live in the city, such as a sunset from the port or the mythical Larios street, one of the most elegant in Spain.
As you discover these curiosities about Malaga, you will delve into the essence of a vibrant city and appreciate its charm from a more authentic perspective. Get ready to immerse yourself in the history, culture and traditions that make Malaga an exceptional destination on the Costa del Sol.
Curiosities about Malaga | Facts you don’t know and want to know
Let’s start by talking about those curiosities about Malaga that are difficult to know if you don’t live in the city. Everyone knows that we people from Malaga are affectionately nicknamed “boquerones”. But few outsiders know the reason. It is because anchovy is one of the city’s star dishes. And although we will talk about gastronomy later, believe us, you will not taste the same anchovies.
Well, one more gastronomic note. You can’t leave Malaga without trying our famous locas. They are our typical sweet par excellence. And without a doubt, they mark our personality. When you try them, you will understand.
Being one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Spain, Malaga has many typical things that give it Andalusian identity, such as flamenco. And speaking of that, I’m sure you don’t know that Malaga has the Guinness record for the most people dancing flamenco at the same time. Nothing more and nothing less than 3920 people. It was in 2018, on the mythical Larios street.
Have you tried to order a coffee in Malaga? We have many denominations, depending on the amount of coffee you like: long, shadow, half, shadow, cloud, and a long etc. The way the coffees are called is a bit peculiar, so when you come to Malaga, you should bring your homework done to enjoy the coffee the way you like it.
Many people and guides will recommend that you visit El Pimpi, our most well-known and legendary winery. What few people know is that although today it is a famous restaurant, it was the first concert hall on the Costa del Sol.
One of our great traditions happens during a very special week for us. During Holy Week a prisoner is released. For more than 270 years, the brotherhood of Jesús “El Rico” has had that privilege.
3 Symbols of the city that almost everyone misses
These curiosities about Malaga that we tell you now are worth noting. Absolutely no one notices that the clocks in Malaga do not read 60 seconds, but 59. This is because our clocks imitate the old British railway clocks. The seconds hand remains paused until the minute hand marks the remaining second.
Another great curiosity that we want to tell you is one of the great symbols of the city: the cenachero. This is a profession that no longer exists, in which fishermen sold their fresh products in the city.
And finally, you will not know that in Malaga you will find the only lighthouse on the peninsula with a feminine name. And our lighthouse, more than 200 years old, is “La Farola”. Well, apparently there is another “lamppost” in Tenerife, but surely ours is prettier.
Curiosities about Malaga | Iconic architecture and buildings
With almost 3000 years of history, imagine if we can tell you curiosities about Malaga. We have many vestiges of the passage of time, witnesses of different civilizations that have enriched our cultural heritage. So addressing some curious facts about these constructions was mandatory in this article.
- La ‘Manquita’: The Unfinished Cathedral of Malaga is an essential visit. This magnificent building is affectionately nicknamed “La Manquita”. Its construction began in the 15th century and lasted approximately 250 years. However, the most notable thing about this cathedral is what it is missing: the south tower.
- The German Bridge: This story dates back to the beginning of the 20th century, when a strong storm caused the shipwreck of the German ship Gneisenau. Many people from Malaga came to the aid of the sailors, many of them lost their lives. Years later, in 1907, the Guadalmedina River overflowed, destroying the city’s bridges. In a gesture of gratitude, Germany started a fundraiser to finance the construction of the “Bridge of the Germans.”
- The Roman Theater at the Foot of the Alcazaba: Malaga stands out in the world for its impressive historical wealth. One of the most notable treasures is the Roman Theater (1st century BC), which lies at the foot of the imposing Alcazaba, a palatial fortress from the 11th century. This is one of the most impressive visits to the city. And if you want to do it with a guide, and without missing out on all the details, we recommend our Free Tour Alcazaba.
- The English Cemetery: Located in the heart of the city, it is the oldest Protestant cemetery in Spain. This historic place was established in the 19th century in the Cañada de los Ingleses. One of its most notable characteristics is that it is the first Protestant cemetery built in Spain.
Curiosities about Malaga | Illustrious Malagueños and Malagueñas
And if we talk about curiosities about Malaga, we cannot leave aside all the illustrious and famous people who have left our city. You probably know almost all of them, but you didn’t know they were from Malaga. From painters to athletes, comedians, cooks, actors, singers and politicians. Málaga has given life to a wide range of historical figures who have transcended the borders of the region.
We have put together an outstanding list of illustrious people from Malaga that we hope to continue enriching with your collaboration. It is important to mention that the list leaves out many important people. But covering them all would need its own blog post.
Painters and Sculptors
- Pablo Picasso: One of the most recognized names worldwide, Pablo Picasso, is a proud son of Malaga. Born on October 25, 1881 at number 36 Plaza de la Merced, Picasso became one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. Throughout his life, he created more than 2,000 works that encompassed not only painting, but also sculpture, ceramics and drawing. His painting “Guernica,” painted in 1937 in response to the bombing of the city during the Spanish Civil War, is considered a masterpiece of the 20th century. Currently, his works can be admired in the Picasso Museum and in his Birthplace in Malaga, as well as in important museums around the world.
- Fernando Ortiz: Born in 1717, he stood out as one of the most important sculptors in Spain in the 18th century. Although little is known about his childhood and youth, his artistic training was linked to influential families in the artistic field. Beginning in 1756, his work began to receive recognition, and he was named academician of merit by the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando. Among his notable works are the sculpture of Saint Francis of Assisi in the National Museum of Sculpture in Valladolid and Saint Joseph in the Cathedral of Malaga.
- Francisco Palma Burgos: Born in 1918, he was a prominent Spanish sculptor and painter. He completed his training at the School of Arts and Artistic Crafts of Malaga and was named Academician of Fine Arts of San Telmo de Malaga at the age of 22. Known for his work in the imagery of Andalusian Holy Week, his style is characterized by an aesthetic of baroque tradition. Palma Burgos left a legacy of countless works, including the “Christ of the Good Death and Souls” and the processional throne of “Our Father Jesus of the Column.”
- Blas Infante: Born in Casares in 1885, he was a versatile Spanish notary and politician. Recognized as the “Father of the Andalusian Homeland,” Infante stood out in politics, music, history and literature. He composed the lyrics of the Anthem of Andalusia, becoming official symbols of the Autonomous Community.
- Antonio Cánovas del Castillo: Born 1828, he was an influential Spanish politician, historian, novelist, journalist and poet. After the Revolution of 1868, he helped restore Alfonso XII to the Spanish throne. He was the architect of the Restoration system, which advocated alternation in power and a constitutional monarchy. He held the position of president of the Council of Ministers seven times under the reign of Alfonso XII and contributed to the definitive abolition of slavery in Spain in 1880.
- Victoria Kent: Born around 1891 in Malaga, she was a prominent republican politician and lawyer. She was the first woman to enter the Madrid Bar Association and to practice as a lawyer before a war court in the world. During the Second Republic, she was Director General of Prisons and worked to improve the prison system. Although she was initially a member of the Liberal Union, she later joined the Republican Left.
- Salvador Rueda: Born in 1857 in Macharaviaya, he was an influential Spanish poet and writer. Recognized as a precursor of Modernism in Spain, Rueda had a self-taught training that led him to perform a variety of jobs before becoming a poet. His poetry was acclaimed in Latin America, and in 1909, he was crowned in Havana for his contribution to literature.
- Emilio Prados: Born in Malaga in 1899, he was a prominent poet of the Generation of ’27. He began his career at the Madrid Student Residence, where he established friendships with figures such as Federico García Lorca and Salvador Dalí. In 1924, he founded the magazine “Litoral” in Malaga with Manuel Altolaguirre, and later they worked together at the Sur printing press. Prados also played an important role in the Alliance of Anti-Fascist Intellectuals during the Civil War.
- Manuel Altolaguirre: Born in Malaga in 1905, he was a poet, screenwriter and filmmaker of the Generation of ’27. His career spanned poetry, publishing and cinema. During the Civil War, he participated in the Alliance of Anti-Fascist Intellectuals.
José María Hinojosa: Born in Campillos in 1904, he was a poet of the Generation of ’27 and a pioneer in the introduction of surrealism in Spain. He was co-editor of the magazine “Litoral.”
- Antonio Banderas: Born in Malaga in 1960, he is an actor, producer and director of Spanish and American films. He has participated in more than 90 film productions, including hits such as “Desperado” (1995), “The Mask of Zorro” (1998) and “Los Mercenarios 3” (2014), among many others. In addition to his acting work, he has also directed and produced notable films such as “The Way of the English” (2006). Banderas is a respected figure in the film industry, and in 2005, his star was added to the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
- Pepa Flores: Known artistically as Marisol, she was born in Malaga in 1948. This talented Spanish actress and singer achieved great notoriety. She grew up in a humble family and from an early age she showed interest in flamenco singing and dancing. At the young age of 12, she received the award for best child actress at the Venice Film Festival. Her success transcended borders and led her to participate in a television program in the United States in 1961. Throughout her childhood and youth, she starred in numerous films.
- María Barranco: Born in Fuengirola in 1961, she is an outstanding actress with a solid career in theater, television and film. She studied Dramatic Art in Malaga and immersed herself in local theater groups before moving to Madrid. Her talent led her to collaborate with renowned director Pedro Almodóvar on “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” (1988), which became both a national and international success. This role of hers catapulted her to fame, and she was recognized as the breakout actress of that time.
Singers, Musicians and Dancers
- Antonio Molina: Born in Malaga in 1928, he emerged from a modest family. With an inimitable voice and style, he became an iconic figure of flamenco and Spanish copla. In addition to his musical success, Molina starred in several films where his unique voice was the main attraction. In 1990, he received a Platinum Record in honor of his distinguished artistic career. His unmistakable voice filled theaters and bullrings throughout Spain.
- Eduardo Ocón: Born in Benamocarra in 1833, he was an outstanding composer and musician. His musical career was forged in the Cathedral of Malaga, where he learned various musical disciplines, from music theory to composition, and mastered instruments such as the organ and the piano. He held the position of minister of the Cathedral choir and, in 1854, won the position of second organist through a competition.
- Pablo Alborán: Born in 1989, his passion for music arose in childhood, and at the age of 12 he began to compose his own songs. His fame grew significantly around 2010, when he shared videos of his performances on YouTube. His voice and fame have crossed borders, and he has won numerous music awards, accumulating more than a million copies sold worldwide.
- Diana Navarro: Born in Malaga in 1978, she is a singer with an exceptional voice. Since her childhood, her voice stood out at family gatherings. Her love for the copla led her to participate in more than 25 copla competitions, winning 19 first prizes, including the Málaga National Saeta Prize. Diana’s music fuses traditional genres such as flamenco and copla with Arabic, classical and other rhythms, all enriched with her distinctive voice.
- Dani Rovira: This actor, comedian and stand-up comedian from Malaga has gained recognition in recent years. Born in the La Paz neighborhood, Dani took his first steps as a stand-up comedian in bars and cafes. Soon, he stood out on the Paramount Comedy tour and in programs on this channel. His talent took him to television, where he became a well-known face on comedy shows. In 2013, he starred in “Eight Basque Surnames,” marking his leap to the big screen alongside actress Clara Lago.
- Chiquito de la Calzada: He was a Spanish comedian, singer and comic actor born in 1932. Although he began his career as a singer at an early age, it was at age 62, in 1994, when he became a media sensation. Chiquito de la Calzada achieved fame thanks to his participation in a comedy program on Antena 3. His unique and innovative style quickly set him apart, taking the program to record audience levels.
- Fernando Hierro: Born in the municipality of Vélez-Málaga in 1968, he is a renowned former soccer player and coach. He represented the Spanish national team for 13 consecutive years and spent most of his career as a central defender at Real Madrid C.F., where he was also captain. He participated in four World Cups and two European Championships.
- Juan Gómez “Juanito”: He was born in Fuengirola in 1954. He began his career as a footballer in several local teams and was signed by Atlético de Madrid in 1969, making his debut with the first team in the 1972/73 season. In 1976, he joined Real Madrid, where he remained for ten seasons. Known for his intelligence, skill, intuition and speed on the field, Juanito won the first division Pichichi title in the 1983-84 season.
- Berni Rodríguez: Born in Málaga in 1980, he is a former basketball player who played as a shooting guard. Standing 1.97 meters tall, Berni trained in the Unicaja Málaga youth academy. He debuted in the first team in the 1999/00 season, during which the team achieved numerous titles, including the Korac Cup, the Copa del Rey and an ABC league. Berni also represented the Spanish Basketball Team, winning the gold medal at the 2006 World Championship in Japan, the silver medal at the 2007 Eurobasket and at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
- Isco Alarcón: He was born in Benalmádena in 1992. Isco is a footballer who won the Bronze Boot in the 2013 U-21 Euro Cup, when Spain became champion. He began his career at Benalmádena, before joining Valencia in 2006. Then, in 2011, he signed for Málaga CF, where he stood out as one of the league’s revelation players. Isco left a deep mark at Málaga before joining the Real Madrid. He also represented the Spanish National Team on several occasions, participating in important competitions such as the Euro Cup and the World Cup.
What to eat in the capital of the Costa del Sol | Typical Gastronomy
The curiosities of Malaga are very good, but it is time to move on to something more serious. Let’s talk about what you’re going to eat during your stay. The typical gastronomy of Malaga is a true celebration of flavors, colors and traditions.
With a privileged location on the Mediterranean coast and a rich cultural heritage, Malaga offers a delicious amalgam of influences ranging from traditional Andalusian cuisine to contemporary culinary trends.
We have already made some progress with the famous “locas” and anchovies. But there is much more:
- “Pescaíto Frito”: This is one of the most emblematic dishes. It consists of fresh fish, generally anchovies or dogfish, battered and fried to perfection. The people of Malaga are masters at achieving a texture that is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. It is served with a pinch of salt and is usually accompanied with a cold beer.
- Sardine Skewers: The freshness of the Mediterranean is found in every bite of the sardine skewers. Fresh sardines are skewered on cane poles and cooked on the grill, usually on the beach. This unique cooking technique gives sardines a smoky, delicious flavor.
- Porra Antequerana: Similar to gazpacho but with a denser texture, it is a typical dish from Antequera. Its ingredients include bread, tomato, pepper, garlic, olive oil and vinegar. It is often served with serrano ham and hard-boiled egg.
- Ajoblanco: Another popular cold soup in Malaga. This delicacy is prepared with almonds, garlic, olive oil, vinegar and bread. The result is a smooth and refreshing cream that is served with grapes or pieces of melon.
Sweet Wine from Malaga: To accompany these culinary delights, you cannot miss trying the sweet wine from Malaga. This fortified wine is known for its smooth and sweet flavor.
Dictionary of Malaga expressions to communicate better
We couldn’t finish this list of curiosities about Malaga without talking to you about a language that we love. Yes, the “malagueño”. And we have very own expressions with which we communicate much better. We are sure that our peculiar vocabulary does not go unnoticed.
If you want to be “boquerón”, you have to familiarize yourself with these expressions:
- Pechá / pila: a lot of something.
- Petao’: full of people.
- Bulla: hurry.
- Terrá’ (terral): dry and hot wind.
- Perita: cool.
- Chuminá: foolishness.
- Chorra: good luck.
- Piña: blow.
- Chorraera: slide.
- Aliquindoi: be on the lookout, be attentive.
- Guarrito: drill.