Gibralfaro Castle: A Historical and Scenic Gem of Malaga

Gibralfaro Castle is a great place to visit in Malaga. This ancient fortress, perched on a hill overlooking the city and the sea, is one of the most emblematic landmarks of Malaga and a must-see visit for any traveler.

In this blog, we will explore the origins, features, and attractions of the Gibralfaro Castle, and give you some tips on how to make the most of your visit.

The Origins of the Gibralfaro Castle

The Gibralfaro Castle has a long and fascinating history that dates back to the 10th century. It was built by the Moors on the site of a former Phoenician lighthouse, which gave the castle its name: Gibralfaro means “mountain of the lighthouse” in Arabic.

The castle was originally designed to house troops and protect the lower Alcazaba, a citadel that served as the residence of the Muslim rulers of Malaga. The castle and the Alcazaba are connected by a walled corridor that runs along the hillside.

The Gibralfaro Castle was considered one of the most impregnable fortresses on the Iberian Peninsula, thanks to its strategic location and its double wall and eight towers. It witnessed several battles and sieges throughout the centuries, most notably the Siege of Malaga in 1487, when the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, conquered the city after a three-month-long siege that starved the defenders into surrender.

After the Christian conquest, the castle became a military barracks and a prison, until it was declared a historical monument in 1931. Today, it is one of the most visited attractions in Malaga and a symbol of the city’s rich and diverse heritage.

The Features and Attractions of the Gibralfaro Castle

The Gibralfaro Castle offers a lot to see and do for visitors of all ages and interests. Here are some of the highlights of the castle that you should not miss:

  • The ramparts: You can walk along the ramparts of the castle and enjoy the panoramic views of the city, the port, the bullring, and the Mediterranean Sea. You can also spot some of the landmarks of Malaga, such as the cathedral, the Alcazaba, and the Picasso Museum.
  • The towers: The castle has eight towers, each with its own name and function. The most prominent ones are the Torre Mayor, the main tower that stands at 17 meters high and houses a water tank, and the Torre Blanca, the white tower that has a circular shape and a vaulted ceiling.
  • The museum: The castle has a small but interesting museum that displays some of the artifacts and weapons found in the castle, as well as some models and panels that explain the history and architecture of the fortress.
  • The gardens: The castle has a beautiful garden area that surrounds the museum and the towers. You can admire the variety of plants and flowers, as well as some fountains and sculptures, that create a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere.
  • The events: The castle hosts several cultural events throughout the year, such as concerts, exhibitions, and workshops. You can check the official website of the castle for the latest information and schedules.

The Tips for Visiting the Gibralfaro Castle

To make the most of your visit to the Gibralfaro Castle, here are some tips and recommendations that you should keep in mind:

  • The opening hours: The castle is open every day from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. in summer (April to October) and from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in winter (November to March). The last admission is 30 minutes before closing time.
  • The admission fees: The entrance fee to the castle is 3.50 euros for adults, 0.60 euros for children under 16, and free for children under 6. You can also buy a combined ticket that includes the entrance to the Alcazaba for 5.50 euros. There are discounts for students, seniors, and large groups. The entrance is free on Sundays after 2:00 p.m.
  • The transportation: You can reach the castle by car, bus, or on foot. If you go by car, you can park in the parking lot near the entrance of the castle, which has a capacity of 60 vehicles. If you go by bus, you can take the bus line 35 that stops at the castle gate. If you go on foot, you can walk up the hill from the Roman Theatre or the Plaza de la Merced, which takes about 20 to 30 minutes, depending on your pace and fitness level. The walk is steep and uneven, so wear comfortable shoes and bring water and sunscreen.
  • The facilities: The castle has a souvenir shop, a cafeteria, and a picnic area. There are also toilets and drinking fountains. The castle is wheelchair accessible, but some areas may be difficult to access due to the uneven terrain and the stairs.

Gibralfaro Castle Málaga can be visited the same time as other top attractions in Málaga due to its central location. I would personally recommend visiting the Castle, Alcazaba, Roman Theatre, Málaga Cathedral and the Picasso museum during a day trip to Málaga. With all these attractions being within 10 minutes walk of each other, you will be able to view the historic centre of Málaga as you move between each place you wish to visit.