Malaga City - Big Wheel

The Malaga Big Wheel (Noria de Malaga) © Michelle Chaplow
The Malaga Big Wheel (Noria de Malaga) © Michelle Chaplow

Malaga Big Wheel

The Malaga Big Wheel (Noria de Malaga) is a modern 70m-high big wheel located in Malaga port, near the city centre. Billed as Europe's largest itinerant ferris wheel, it opened in September 2015 and will be in situ until September 2016, or possibly longer if the contract is extended again. The Big Wheel offers fantastic views over the port area, and over the tops of the buildings in the Plaza de la Marina area to the Cathedral and Gibralfaro. In the evening, the sun shines on the cabins when they're at the top of the wheel, while those at ground level are in the shadow of the city centre buildings. The Noria is great for taking photos of the port area and selfies. 

A ride on the Noria is 15 minutes long, during which time the cabins rotate three times. The wheel has 42 air-conditioned cabins, each of which holds eight passengers, giving a capacity of over 1300 passengers an hour. In practice, families, groups, friends and couples will often have a cabin to themselves.

Many new perspectives on Malaga from the big wheel ( Click to enlarge) ©Michelle Chaplow
Many new perspectives on Malaga from the Big Wheel (Click to enlarge)


The total weight of the Noria is 600 tonnes - this 70m extended version is the biggest such dismountable wheel in Europe - it took 25 trailers to deliver all the sections to Malaga.

The Wheel, named Mirador Princess, was previously in Valencia for the Fallas. Before that, it was in Zaragoza and Andorra la Vella, where the cost of the ride was 8€ (here in Malaga it's 10). A smaller version of the wheel was at the Malaga and Cordoba Ferias in 2013, and Pamplona for the San Fermines.

At night the wheel is lit up with 20,000 LED light bulbs and looks stunning.

LOCAL Controversy

In early 2015, disagreements between the Malaga Port Authority, on behalf of the Mirador Princess owners, and the town hall, over the site of the wheel delayed its installation. The town hall considered it too close to apartment blocks on the other side of Avenida de Manuel Agustín Heredia, invading their privacy because people riding the cabins could see into their apartments. Following another rejection in the new location, the Port Authority publicly pulled out of the project. 

Then practical (or political) differences were settled and the wheel was set up in August (the website mentiions a construction time of two weeks by 42 crew), leading to complaints from the feriantes (annual feria ride owners) that it would be unfair competition for them. 

The port was paid 100,000 euros for the eight-month concession of land and had to demolish the 1950s  Apostolado del Mar building (Catholic Seamen's mission), which had been uninhabited for many years, to provide space to put it.

In an online survey in July 2015 by local newspaper Diario Sur, 65% liked the idea of a big wheel in Malaga port and 31% did not.

The average loading from September to November 2015 was 800 pasengers a day, which was considered sufficient by the owners to successfully apply to the port for an extension of the original eight-month contract to September 2016.  The big wheel had to stop operating on 22 August 2016 after one year,  pending a new one year contract with the port authority. This was approved in late October 2016 and a new licence from the town hall was given on 23 November. Residents of the apartment block oposite the site have continually complained about the invasion of privicy. The town hall support the project, and says it took into account of the resident's formal objections but there was no legal basis to deny the application.    


There are also plans to replace this big wheel with a inovative designed permanent 100m structure located further into the port.   

 

Height comparisons

London Eye: 135m
Malaga Port cranes: 100m
Malaga Cathedral tower:  84m
Malaga Mirador Princess Big Wheel: 70m
Big Wheel at the Feria 2013: 65m
La Equitativa building in Malaga: 42m
Seville Noria: 40m (losed) 
Malaga Port lighthouse: 33m

Hours of operation

Daily 11.00 to 01:00

ADMISSION PRICES


Adults:  10 euro
Under 18 yrs: 7 euro
Family members (at least two generations): 7 euro 
Groups of more than four: 8 euro
Senior Citizens: 6 euro 
Children (under 1.2m): 6 euro 
Children (under 80 cm): Free
Disabled (including one companion): 6 euro 


Eating, drinking and smoking are not allowed in the cabins. A safe area is provided for the storage of children's prams and pushchairs and bicycles during the ride.  

Location


In the port near Plaza de la Marina. You will see it as you arrive.