Malaga has some of the best free museums in Spain and Europe, making it one of the world’s cultural capitals. If, as well as good gastronomy, first-class beaches and an extensive leisure agenda, you would like to find out more about the art that the city has to offer, don’t miss out on some of the free offers that its art galleries have to offer.
Malaga has positioned itself in recent years as one of the cultural reference points in Spain and its 40 museums are a good example of this. But is it possible to enjoy a few days of beach and sun and also visit its museums for free? If you know how to plan your holidays well, it is possible. The best free museums in Malaga are at your fingertips.
Although there are permanent free museums, there are also a large number of museums such as the popular Museo Picasso, Museo Carmen Thyssen Málaga or Centre Pompidou Málaga, which can only be visited free of charge on Sunday afternoons.
There are other times when visitors can enjoy free visits to all the museums in Malaga, such as the Noche en Blanco (White Night). During this day, artistic activities extend throughout the day and into the night, with street exhibitions, performances and talks, among others.
In addition to the Noche en Blanco, most museums are open free of charge on public holidays: Andalusia Day (28 February), International Museum Day (18 May) and World Tourism Day (27 September).
As we at MalakaTurismo understand that getting to know the dozens of museums that exist in Malaga can be a titanic task (even for lovers of art galleries), we suggest you visit the 10 best-known free museums along with the opening hours when you can access them, so you won’t miss anything!
Timetables may be subject to change due to the pandemic.
MUSEO PICASSO MÁLAGA
Pablo Picasso was born in Malaga in 1881, in a small house located in one of the corners of the popular Plaza de la Merced. It was his daughter-in-law and grandson, Christine and Bernard Picasso, who – following the painter’s wishes – donated an important collection of his works to create what was to become the Picasso Museum in Malaga.
Located in the beautiful Palace of Buenavista, its 11 rooms house 233 works by Picasso that are also an initiatory journey from the artist´s early years in Galicia and Barcelona to his maturity in 1972. Oil paintings, ceramics, sculpture and engravings are intermingled in a unique and visual way that will delight viewers with works such as Olga Khokhlova with a “Mantilla”, Woman with Raised Arms and The Three Graces.
Of particular note are the always innovative temporary exhibitions held by the gallery, often in symbiosis with other Picasso museums around the world or with works by artists who are friends of the painter, critics, publishers and others.
Address: Calle San Agustín 8 // Tel: 952 127 600
PICASSO’S BIRTH HOUSE MUSEUM FOUNDATION
The Picasso´s birth house museum does not house works by Picasso inside; however, it can be a great reference for lovers of the Malaga painter who are passionate about his life and work.
Inside you can visit the studio of his father, José Ruiz y Blasco, and even see a large painting of a dovecote (a favourite subject of the artist). There are also objects belonging to Picasso, such as a christianar skirt with which he was baptised, together with garments and family photographs.
Perfect to visit before the Picasso Museum in Malaga, it can help the visitor to contextualise the Malaga of the time and the earliest childhood of the man who was to become the greatest exponent of universal art.
Address: Calle Alcazabilla, 2
CARMEN THYSSEN MUSEUM
The Museo Carmen Thyssen Málaga is located on one side of the Plaza de la Constitución in the heart of the city centre. Its beautiful space is a renovation of the Renaissance Palacio de Villalón and has three floors with up to 230 works in its permanent collection.
Once inside, the Thyssen Museum has the most complete collection of Andalusian Costumbrismo, with scenes of landscapes, dances and beautiful everyday moments of the nineteenth century.
The first floor is dedicated to the Old Masters, with paintings from the 13th to the 17th century, as well as wooden sculptures of breathtaking realism. On the third floor we can find the temporary exhibitions that usually feature national and international artists of the highest level. A must-see museum on a cultural tour of Malaga.
Address: Calle Compañía, 10 // Tel: 902 303 131
CENTRE POMPIDOU OF MALAGA
In a privileged enclave by the sea and the touristy Muelle 1 is the Malaga Pompidou Centre, whose visible part is an eye-catching coloured cube that is integrated into the city’s maritime landscape.
If at the Thyssen Museum we turn our gaze to the 19th century and earlier masters, at the Centre Pompidou we can find works of art from the 20th and 21st centuries in different groups of paintings, performances, sculptures, films and video art, with titles as suggestive as Metamorphosis, The Man Without a Face, Self-Portrait, The Political Body, and The Body in Pieces.
In addition to the works that are integrated into the different spaces of the museum, there are temporary exhibitions, workshops, talks on dance and film, among other activities.
Address: Pje Doctor Carrillo Casaux, s/n Muelle 1 // Tel 951926200
ALCAZABA OF MALAGA
Clearly, the Alcazaba is not a museum per se. At least in the strict sense of the word; however, this Moorish construction is one of the most characteristic postcards of the city that makes it a great open-air museum about the past, present and future of Malaga.
Built along the side of the hill, it is joined to the Gibralfaro Castle by a long defensive walled path called La Coracha. Another classic snapshot of Malaga is the Roman Theatre at the base, the Alcazaba and the Castle; the ideal fusion of what Malaga was and is: a mixture of cultures in which the Roman, the Muslim and the Renaissance can be seen.
De hecho lo romano se identifica claramente en el Alcazaba, ya que los constructores árabes tomaron rocas, capiteles y piezas de mármol para su construcción, datada entre el 1057 y el 1063 d.C.
Its interior has divisions divided into high rooms, patios, ponds with fountains with water rails running along the floor, gardens, fusing the defensive with the purely aesthetic and ornamental aspects of Nasrid architecture. A jewel that can be reached either on foot from the Roman Theatre or by a lift behind the Town Hall in the Parque de Málaga.
Address: Pje Doctor Carrillo Casaux, s/n Muelle 1 // Tel 951926200
In the previous section we talked about the most famous postcard of Malaga which includes the Theatre, the Alcazaba and of course, the Gibralfaro Castle, the defensive fortress of the Alcazaba which was built in the 14th century in the face of the imminent reconquest which was confirmed with the arrival of Ferdinand the Catholic.
In addition to the visit to the Castle and its walls, there is an Interpretation Centre where tourists can learn more about the history and evolution of this marvel of Nasrid architecture.
Its name comes from the lighthouse on its summit called Jabal-Faruk, which can be translated as the mount of the lighthouse and which the monarch Yusuf I established as a defensive fortress in 1340 AD.
BOTANICAL GARDEN OF MALAGA
It is certainly not a museum, but the Botanical Garden of Malaga has for us that ideal mix between a space for observation but also for delight. In a space of 23 hectares, up to 25,000 species of plants are grouped together, three thousand species of tropical and subtropical plants and 90 species of palm trees.
Built in the mid-19th century by the Marquises of Casa Loring, Amalia Heredia Livermore and Jorge Loring Oyarzábal, this space was declared a historic-artistic garden in 1943 and restored by Malaga City Council for its better conservation and opening to the public as a tourist attraction.
As vestiges of times gone by we can still see along the route the Palace House and the Administrator’s House, authentic jewels of nineteenth-century architecture. There is also a Barbies Exhibition House for the little ones, which recreates the Malaga of the time with these popular figures.
Address: Camino del Jardín Botánico, 3 // Tel: 952 250 745
MALAGA AERONAUTICAL MUSEUM
The National Museum of Airports and Air Transport, or simply the Aeronautical Museum of Malaga, is one of the free museums in Malaga that is worth a visit thanks to its large outdoor space of 4,000 m2, but also to the internal collection with instruments, data and activities about the world of aeroplanes and airports.
From their website they propose two key questions: What does it feel like to sit at the controls of an aeroplane, and How do aeroplanes fly? In their outdoor space you can see nine historic aircraft and even a control tower from the 1940s.
This museum is a bit far from the centre (on the way to Malaga Airport), but it can be easily reached from the city centre by public transport.
Address: Avenida Comandante García Morato, 81 // Tel: 952 048 176
ROMAN THEATRE OF MALAGA
The Roman Theatre in Malaga is one of those free gems that can be found in the heart of the city centre. Built in the 1st century AD during the rule of Emperor Augustus, it was used for entertainment and imperial propaganda until the 3rd century AD.
On the façade of the free Roman Theatre Interpretation Centre, attached to the Theatre, we can see printed fragments of the Lex Flavia Malacitana (which granted Malaga the status of Roman city), and several original pieces with educational content.
Address: C/ Alcazabilla, s/n // Tel: 951501115
CENTRE FOR CONTEMPORARY ART (CAC)
The Centre for Contemporary Art – CAC Malaga is located very close to the Muelle in the heart of the city centre; built in the old Wholesale Market with an area of 6000 m2, it was once the centre for a large part of the inhabitants of the area.
Inside you can see a good sample of modern and avant-garde art by artists such as Damian Hirst, Julian Opie, Louise Bourgeois, Olafur Eliasson, Thomas Hirschhorn, Thomas Ruff and Thomas Struth. A bonus of this space is the dynamism that characterises it, with a good number of parallel exhibitions, conferences, talks, workshops, seminars, among other artistic and research activities.
The Malaga City Council (owner of the space) is currently promoting the construction of a bridge to facilitate access, as well as new temporary exhibitions and the use of the space for local and international artists.
Address: Calle Alemania, 2 // Tel: 952 120 055
If after reading this post you still have doubts about which are the best free museums in Malaga, which ones are permanently free, or which ones have free access on Sundays or public holidays, do not hesitate to write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
And remember: Knowledge doesn’t take up space!
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