Gibralfaro Castle, Malaga

The Gibralfaro fortress of Malaga. © Michelle Chaplow
The Gibralfaro fortress of Malaga.

Gibralfaro Castle, Malaga

The magnificent Castillo de Gibralfaro sits on a high hill overlooking Malaga city and port, and dates back to the 10th century. The image of Gibralfaro is well known: you can see it in both Malaga city and province's seal and flag.

The hill where the Gibralfaro is situated forms part of the Montes de Malaga mountain range, located to the east and north of Malaga city - this land is protected by the Montes' natural park status.




The castle was built in 929 AD by Abd-al-Rahman III, Caliph of Cordoba, on a former Phoenician enclosure and lighthouse, from which its name was derived - gebel-faro (Arabic and Greek, meaning rock of the lighthouse). Yusef 1, Sultan of Granada, enlarged it at the beginning of the 14th century, also adding the double wall down to the Alcazaba.

The castle is famous for its three-month siege by the Catholic monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, which ended only when hunger forced the Malagueños to surrender. Afterwards Ferdinand occupied the site, while his queen took up residence in the town. Interesting historic fact: this was the first conflict in which gunpowder was used by both sides.


1. Car Park
2. Entrance
3. Lookout Tower
4. Interpretation Center
5. Bar and Toilet
6. Airón Well
7. White Tower
8. Original Gateway
9. Coracha
10. Octagonal Cistern Wall
11. Baker's Oven

What you can see today

The most visible remains of this historic monument are the solid ramparts which rise majestically from dense woods of pine and eucalyptus; inside the fortress itself you will find some buildings and courtyards, reminiscent of those in the Alhambra. The ramparts have been well restored and you can walk all the way round them. At one point, you can get a good view down into the La Malagueta bullring - some visitors linger for a free view of the bullfight. These walls make a fun, interesting and scenic walk, and usually you will have it to yourself, as there aren't many tourists about.

Interpretation Centre

Near the entrance you can find the Interpretation Centre (formerly known as the Museo Militar), a small military museum.
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How to get there

There are three ways to reach the entrance of the castle.

One is from the Alcazaba: walk up Paseo de Don Juan Temboury from near the Alcazaba entrance. This follows the fortress's outer wall and joins a cobbled path, which traces the hill's contours and passes through the pine trees on the Coracha. Take a bottle of water, as there is no kiosk until the top.

Another way is to climb the zig-zag steps which lead up from the Plaza del General Torrijos at the east end of the Alhameda Gardens to join the same cobbled path.

The third way is to take a taxi or the Tourist Bus which use the road around the back of the hill.

There are plans to make a walkway along the ancient curtain wall that joins the Alcazaba and the Gibralfaro. Other plans to build a funicular railway up the hill to the Castillo have been dropped.

One suggestion, to enjoy the views and have a walk, but without too much strenuous uphill climbing, is to take a bus or taxi up to the castle, and walk back down.

If you prefer to stay the night to take in the stunning views, or you want to have a drink or meal on the terrace, the Parador Hotel Gibralfaro is conveniently located near the entrance.

Opening hours
Monday to Sunday
Summer: 9 am to 8pm    (1 June to 30 Sep)
Winter:  9am to 6pm   (1 Oct to 31 May) 
Closed 1 Jan, 28 Feb & 25 Dec.

Entrance Fees
Normal: 2.20 euros
Joint ticket Alcazaba & Gibralfaro: 3.55 euros
Reduced: 0.60 euro.
Free entry Sundays after 2pm.

CMNO GIBRALFARO 11, 29016 Málaga 
(Postal Address: Paseo de Reding, 1, 29016 Málaga)
Tel:  952 227 230