Immerse yourself in the history of Málaga as you explore Gibralfaro Castle, an impressive fortress built in the 14th century to protect the Alcazaba. Located in the historic center of the city, at an elevation of approximately 130 meters above sea level, the castle stands proudly atop Gibralfaro Hill, a lush forest of pines and eucalyptus.
Gibralfaro Hill has witnessed significant events in the city’s history and is depicted on the coats of arms and flags of Málaga. 2800 years ago, the Phoenicians founded the ancient city of Malaka in its vicinity.
Gibralfaro Castle, declared a Historic-Artistic Monument in 1931 and considered a Site of Cultural Interest, is a treasure waiting to be explored.
History and Construction of Gibralfaro Castle
The castle takes its name from an ancient lighthouse that once crowned its summit (from Arabic, “gíbal al-faruh” -> “giblafaruh,” meaning ‘mountain of the lighthouse’). It was King Yusuf I of the Nasrid dynasty who converted it into a fortress in 1340. During the Reconquest in 1487, the Catholic Monarchs besieged the castle and made it their residence, even incorporating it into the city’s coat of arms.
Gibralfaro Castle consists of two lines of walls and eight towers. The outer wall is connected to the coracha, a structure that links the castle to the Alcazaba. The inner wall allows for a complete walk around the perimeter of the fortress. It can be divided into two distinct parts:
- The Upper Part, also known as the Main Courtyard, houses the Interpretation Center, where you can delve into the fascinating history of the castle. Here, you will find the Tower Mayor, an impressive 17-meter-high tower, the Phoenician well, and the baths. The Airón Well, carved into solid rock, has a depth of 40 meters.
- The Lower Part, or Parade Ground, used to accommodate barracks and stables. The Albarrana Tower, or White Tower, is one of the most prominent features and houses a cistern, rooms, and storage facilities within its walls.
The Enchantment of Gibralfaro Castle Today
Today, Gibralfaro Castle is open to the public, and from its homage tower, you can enjoy spectacular views of the city of Málaga. On clear days, you can even catch glimpses of the Rif Mountains in Africa and the Strait of Gibraltar.
There are several options to visit the hill and Gibralfaro Castle and delight in panoramic views of the city. You can start from the Alcazaba Tunnel by car or use urban buses.
For a more enriching experience, we recommend taking the walking route, which takes approximately two hours round trip. The path begins on an asphalt road with some dirt sections and a moderate incline through Gibralfaro Hill. As you ascend through the Puerta Oscura Gardens, behind the Málaga City Hall, you will reach the Gibralfaro viewpoint, where you can enjoy marvelous views of Málaga’s port and the eastern neighborhoods of the city. A little further up is the entrance to the castle. Another route passes through the castle walls.
Along the route, you will find an area with tables and chairs where you can have a picnic and take a rest.
Once you arrive at Gibralfaro Castle, don’t miss the Interpretation Center, where you can see a model of Málaga and fully immerse yourself in the history of the castle and the Alcazaba. Within the premises, there is also a bar where you can enjoy refreshments and beverages.
Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Gibralfaro Castle and marvel at its history and breathtaking views. An unforgettable experience awaits you at the top of Málaga!
Address: Camino Gibralfaro, 11, 29016 Málaga
Castle Opening Hours
Open every day
Summer: 9:00 am to 8:00 pm
Winter: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
When is admission to Gibralfaro Castle free?
Admission is free on Sundays from 2:00 pm until closing.
How to Get to Gibralfaro Castle in Málaga?
There are several ways to reach Gibralfaro Castle in Málaga:
On Foot: One of the most popular options is to walk to the castle. The castle is located atop a hill, and there is a path that leads from the city center to the castle entrance. The walk takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes and offers panoramic views of the city along the way.
Take a Bus: You can take the bus to reach Gibralfaro Castle. Several bus lines have stops near the castle, including lines 35 and 36. Check the bus schedules and routes to plan your trip accordingly.
By Car: If you prefer to drive, you can reach Gibralfaro Castle by car. There is a road that leads to the castle, and parking facilities are available nearby. Please note that the road to the castle is narrow and winding, so it is recommended to drive with caution.
By Taxi: Taxis are also a convenient option to reach Gibralfaro Castle. You can hail a taxi on the street or book one through a taxi app to take you directly to the castle entrance.
Regardless of the transportation method you choose, it is recommended to verify the opening hours and any visitor restrictions in advance, as well as consider the best time of day to visit in order to avoid crowds and fully enjoy the experience.