Top 6 Beautiful Castles in Malaga | Best Spanish Fortresses

May 18, 2023

Spain boasts some of the world’s most hauntingly beautiful castles. Whether you’re a history lover or just curious to glimpse some of the country’s most impressive architectural feats, look no further than Malaga. 

Spain is home to some of the best fortresses and castles in the world. The Province de Malaga alone is home to over 90 castles and palaces scattered throughout the region. The castles primarily served as fortresses, as attacks often threatened southern Spain’s coastline. Additionally, they also served as local government, administration, and justice centers. 

Some people admire castles because of their history. Others love them because they are aesthetically whimsical and robust. 

Whatever your take on castles, below is a compiled list of five of Malaga’s most striking and must-see fortresses and palaces. 

Best Castles in Malaga to Visit

Below are a list of the top castles you can visit while in Malaga:

Castillo de Gibralfaro

Built in the 14th century, this castle sits on top of a hill and boasts some of the best views of Malaga City. Gibralfaro is derived from Arabic and Greek, translated to ‘Rock of Light’ in English. The castle is most famous for a three-month siege in 1487, in which the Arabs were forced to surrender out of starvation to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. 

Even though the castle is accessible by bus or car, the walk up winding and narrow roads is a beautiful experience. However, if you have mobility issues, the climb is not recommended. There’s a small museum located inside the castle, as well as a cafe that serves food and drinks for a quick refreshment. 

Quick Tip: Bring water if you’re walking to the castle, as the walk can be long and steep. 

View of Malaga sea and buildings

Alcazaba de Málaga

Built as a fortress palace during the Islamic Period in the 11th century, Alcazaba of Malaga is breathtakingly picturesque. It’s one of Spain’s most influential Muslim buildings today. Alcazaba is Arabic for ‘citadel’. 

The castle suffered extreme damage from a massive earthquake in 1680 and an attack from French ships in 1693 during the 9 Years’ War. However, the impenetrable fortress remains fortified thanks to several restoration efforts. 

On the way down from Alcazaba, you can stop and view the Roman Theatre, discovered in 1951 at the base of the fortress. Alcazaba de Malaga can be accessed by foot and bus routes. There’s also a lift in front of the City Hall building. 

Photo of Malaga castle and Roman amphitheatre

Castillo Monumento Colomares 

Probably one of the most unconventional castles you’ll ever visit – Castillo Monumento Colomares is actually a giant monument in the form of a castle. As its name suggests, this castle was dedicated to the life and adventures of Christopher Colombus. It’s the largest monument in the world dedicated to Columbus. 

It was designed and built between 1987 and 1994 by U.S. doctor Esteban Martin Martin who was astounded at the lack of homage paid to Columbus and his discoveries. Completely unique, the castle is elaborately adorned with details carved out of brickwork, concrete, wood, natural stone and other materials. 

Everywhere you look, there are symbolic representations of Columbus’ adventures as well as religious references to Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The castle is also home to the smallest church in the world, as claimed by the Guiness Book of World Records. 

Located about 18 miles from Central Malaga in a small town called Benalmadena, Castillo Colomares is well worth a visit. You can access the castle by local bus, Uber, or car. 

Photo of Columbus Castle on a sunny day

Castillo Sohail 

Located in Fuengirola on a small hill overlooking the river, Castillo Souhail is a robust fortress tha certainly stands out. The castle was originally built when the Romans occupied Andalucia. It was redesigned and restored by Abd-ar-Rahman III in 956 A.D. in order to fortify and strengthen Fuengirola’s coastal defense. 

Made out of stone, brick and mud walls, Castillo Souhail has undergone many restorations. It is now a proud tourist and cultural monument. You can enjoy magnificent views of Malaga as you stroll along the castle walls. 

Take the train or bus and enjoy Castillo Souhail’s free admission. The castle is just a six -minute walk from El Castillo beach. Castillo Souhail’s popular outdoor amphitheater hosts many music concerts and festivals. 

Tip: Keen on exploring more things to do in Andalucia? Check out more of our guides. 

Castillo de Bil Bil 

If you’re walking the Benalmadena beachfront, you can see Castillo De Bil Bil. Decorated with red plaster, colorful tiles, and cubic in shape, it looks like an ancient Islamic castle right on the beach. 

It was built in 1927, originally intended as a villa for a highly wealthy family. Arabic in style, Castillo de Bil Bil is not a large structure, however, it’s beautiful and intricate in detail. 

Now belonging to the Benalmadena Municipal Authorities, Castillo de Bil Bil is free of charge to the public and occasionally hosts exhibitions, concerts, and weddings. At night, the structure is illuminated and is quite a sight to behold. A large number of weddings in the province of Malaga is held at Castillo de Bil Bil. 

Light shining through arched windows

Palacio de Mondragón 

Palacio de Mondragon is one of Ronda’s most beautiful and historic buildings, located about an hour’s drive from Malaga City. Built in the 14th century, this structure epitomizes charm and elegance. 

The palace was home to Moorish King Abomelic I. It was later said to have been the residence of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella after they conquered the town of Ronda in 1485. 

Palacio de Mondragon is not only a palace – it’s now the Municipal Museum of Ronda, where you can learn about the history of Ronda and southern Spain. Walk through the palace’s delightful gardens and enjoy spectacular patio views. 

Fountain in palace courtyard garden

Wrapping Up: The Top 6 Most Beautiful Malaga Castles  

Exploring some of Malaga’s exquisite castles is among the province’s things to do in Malaga. There’s no better way to learn about an area’s history than visiting these historical structures. Their sheer size and lavish architectural styles represent power, conquest, and an opulent lifestyle that was only available to a select few. 

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