Palm trees, vibrant orange trees, tropical flowers, sunshine, parrots tweeting… even though situated in the busy city, Malaga’s parks are full of life! One of the reasons Malaga feels so special to tourists visiting is that you get these islands of nature and relaxation in the middle of a commercial and historical city. If you need a quick stop from the day-long sightseeing, grab a coffee or ice cream and rest in the many parks Malaga offers. Without further ado, let us share our favorite Malaga parks with you!
1. Paseo del Parque and Parque de Malaga
Parque de Malaga, also called Alameda Park, is situated alongside Paseo del Parque, the scenic pathway parallel to the port. it is the oldest park in Malaga and you would not believe it but in the old times, the whole area of the park was covered in water! Once the sea receded, it gave place to this beautiful area. The park has beautiful tropical palm trees and exotic flowers, some of them imported from overseas which make the park even more diverse and colorful. It is amazing how this main street is an attraction in itself. So if the Spanish sun gets too hot during the day, stroll along these picturesque paths in Malaga Park.
2. Jardines de Pedro Luis Alonso
Trust me when I say this is one of the most beautiful gardens in Malaga. Named after the first post-war mayor of Malaga, this city park is an eclectic mix of Malaga’s culture and history. It has characteristics of both Hispanic-Muslim and French-style gardens, with calming fountains and radiant flower gardens. This landscaped garden is for you if you wish for a tranquil atmosphere, smelling the aroma of the orange trees and listening to the water ripples of the lily pond. Lastly, Jardines de Pedro Luis Alonso provides an astonishing view of the Alcazaba and the Town Hall.
3. Parque de Huelin
On the other side of the river, Parque de Huelin is a locals’ favorite. Instead of just being a pretty park, Huelin Park has very practical features. It has a playground for kids, a lighthouse, a multipurpose sports court, a dog area, and green spaces for picnics or just laying down. However, it is the little lake in the middle of the park that is the most gorgeous about it. Conveniently, the park is just next to Playa de Huelin so you can visit both the park and the beach on the same day!
4. Jardin de la Catedral
Although it is quite small, the garden next to the Malaga Cathedral is a gorgeous staple of Malaga. Moreover, the gardens of the Cathedral have various species such as cypress, ficus, rosebush, bird of paradise, bitter orange, mandarin, privet, Canary palm, date palm, Washingtonia, and many more. Also, there is a small fountain with other water features, surrounded by greenery. Even if you only have time to pass by it, you will notice the small trees with aromatic whitish flowers and fruits like black olives.
5. Parque Del Oeste
Similar to Parque de Huelin, this is another city park that locals visit regularly. Parque del Oeste is an incredibly huge and versatile park that has everything you might want from a park. In its sparkling lakes and fountains, it has fish, turtles, swans, geese, and ducks, just to start the list. The flora contains tall pine trees, fan palms, and spider flowers. Huelin has more than 14,000 plants and flowers and almost 800 trees. Other than being pretty, the park also has facilities you will love: tables and benches so you can eat at the park, soccer and basketball courts, ping-pong tables, and petanque. Also, there is a dog park and two playgrounds for families with kids. Lastly, Parque de Huelin has an open-air museum with many statues and temporary exhibitions, to cater to the art-lovers too. It is one of the best parks Malaga can offer.
6. Jardines de la Alcazaba and Jardines del Castillo de Gibralfaro
As you might have already heard, the Alcazaba is one of Malaga’s most famous and must-see attractions. The Alcazaba was built in the early 11th century so walking through these cobblestoned paths is like an amazing time traveling experience. Moreover, the gardens of the Alcazaba are well kept and beautifully blooming, especially in the spring and summer seasons. So if you like the Jardines de la Alcazaba, we also recommend you also visit the Jardines del Castillo de Gibralfaro, the gardens of the Gibralfaro Castle. These two are one of the most beautiful parks in Malaga.
7. Jardines de Picasso
If you heard anything about Malaga before, it was probably related to Picasso. As the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, Malaga is full of monuments of his life, art, and accomplishments. So to honor the world-famous artist, you can visit the Picasso Museum, the Picasso Birthplace Museum, or this beautiful city park dedicated to him. And the roots of the centennial ficus tree are almost as strong as the admiration of the Malagueños for Picasso.
8. Jardines de Puerta Oscura
Between the Jardines de Pedro Luis Alonso and the gardens of Alcazaba, you have Jardines de Puerta Oscura. On your way up the Gibralfaro hill, this spectacular garden will not disappoint. During May, the incredible purple trees bloom, covering the whole garden in a colorful mix of green and purple. Its aesthetic is beautiful and the view is alluring. Plus, it is great for a more active walk!
9. Malaga Parks in the Province of Malaga:
These spectacular parks are either a little farther from the city center or in the province of Malaga. While you will probably need to use public transport to get there, trust us, they are all worth a trip!
1. Jardín Botánico Histórico – La Concepción
This botanical garden is so unique, that it cannot be compared to any other experience. Situated just a bus ride away from the city center, this unbelievable oasis will transport you to a fairytale-like world. It is rare to find an English landscape garden in Southern Spain, mixed with cacti imported from Mexico and Madagascar, etc. Jardín Botanico Historico is one of the few gardens in Europe that has subtropical plants. If numbers impress you, this botanical garden has more than fifty thousand plants and has a history that goes 150 years back! Therefore, you must visit it! Other than that, it is a perfect photo spot! And a useful tip for travelers: you will need around 2-3 hours to go around the garden, and on Sunday afternoons the entry is free! Check out the garden’s official website for the opening hours.
2. Rio Guadalhorce Nature Reserve
For an easy trail to escape the city and immerse yourself in nature, visit Rio Guadalhorce Nature Reserve. Before flowing into the sea, this river divides into two, and between the two branches of the river, there is a nature reserve. This place is ideal for bird watching. From the beginning of spring, migrating birds fly across the sky and stop to rest here. The best time for birdwatching is during the winter season.
3. Parque del Cine and Parque de Laguna de la Barrera
Parque del Cine is in Teatinos, the university neighborhood of Malaga. This park is full of fun things to try! Here you can find playgrounds, climbing equipment, and zip lines too. However, the most special thing about Parque del Cine is that during summer it hosts an outdoor cinema! Walk along the colorful film strip, grab your popcorn and enjoy watching your favorite movie stars under the stars!
Just 10 minutes walking from Parque del Cine you can also visit Parque de Laguna de la Barrera. Although it is an artificial lagoon, it is a valuable place for biodiversity. It houses a number of species, like a wealth of planktons and various species of reptiles and fish. Also, you can see migrating birds resting here while passing through the area. Altogether, it is a very nice park where you can escape the city life for a few minutes. It has a playground area and green areas for picnics, so for families, it is a great choice. Make sure to respect the area as it is the habitat of many animals!
4. El Retiro Garden, Malaga
El Retiro is a beautiful botanical-ornithological garden located only a few kilometers west of Malaga, in a small town called Churriana. This garden is around 350 years old! True to the architecture and culture of Malaga, this garden presents the mixed influence of French, English, Italian and Moroccan styles. So here you can observe Italian marble fountains and statues, flowers and fruit trees. What is more, you get a piece of the skyline, the mountains, the flora and fauna of the area. Also, notably, this is a fairly new attraction as there was a long legal battle between the private owners and environmental campaigners. But in 2022, the botanical garden opened again for the public. They are only open on Tuesdays, from 10.00 to 13.00. So make sure to plan your itinerary when visiting as it is an incredibly huge garden and you have to book a guided tour there.
If you plan to spend most of your relaxing vacation on the beach, you must read our recommendations on the best beaches in Malaga!
If you crave a more active trip in Malaga, click here to read about hiking in Sierra Nevada Spain!