Sunny Málaga on Spain’s southern coast is a popular summer beach destination and port of call for Western Mediterranean cruises.
But did you know that this vibrant and historic city is also home to superb street art? Discover the best Málaga street art in this guide to one of Spain’s best urban art collections.
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Málaga’s MAUS Project
Málaga Arte Urbano Soho – MAUS for short – has been instrumental in introducing street art to the city. This initiative has helped to transform the once scruffy neighbourhood between the Guadalmedina River and the port into an open-air urban art gallery.
The MAUS project has attracted some of the greatest street and graffiti artists from across the globe, including Boamistura, ROA, D*FACE, Doger, Dadi Dreucol and Dal East.
Where Can You Find Street Art in Málaga?
Both street art and graffiti can be found across the city. However, for the highest concentration, head to Soho or the Lagunillas neighbourhood.
The trendy Soho area, also known as the Barrio de las Artes or the Art Neighbourhood, occupies a triangular shape of land bounded by
Alameda Principal at the south and the port area of Málaga to the east.
Bordering the Soho neighbourhood is the riverbed where there is an abundance of graffiti.
The second street art epicentre is Málaga’s Lagunillas neighbourhood around Calle Lagunillas.
How to Explore Málaga’s Urban Art
I suggest exploring Málaga’s street art by geographical area.
Start at the beginning, so to speak, with street art in the Soho neighbourhood. To help you navigate Málaga’s outdoor art gallery, MAUS has produced a free Málaga street art map. It’s not the most user-friendly map out there, but it does include links to Google Maps for you to GPS your way around the artworks.
I explored the murals around Calle Lagunillas by using this self-guided street art walking tour as a loose framework.
For greater insight into Málaga’s street art, join a walking tour with a guide. This one explores the work of graffiti artists in both the Soho and Lagunillas neighborhoods.
>>> CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR TOUR
Graffiti and Street Art in Soho Málaga
If I had to pick my favourite Málaga street art, this would be it. The Italian artist TV Boy is responsible for the paintings of four favourite sons of the city: Pablo Picasso, Antonio Banderas, Chiquito de la Calzada (comedian and actor) and Dani Rovira (actor).
Calle Comandante Benítez 14
Londoner Dean Stockton, or D*FACE, is a self-taught illustrator, painter and street artist. I love his pop-art aesthetic and this massive mural is straight out of the playbook of the Roy Lichtenstein.
Keep your eyes peeled for a smaller D*FACE work (Undead) on Calle Casas de Campos.
Calle Comandante Benítez 14
The American Shepard Fairey, aka Obey, is one of the most influential street artists of his generation. He is perhaps best known for creating the iconic “Hope” image used in the propaganda poster for the then-presidential candidate Barack Obama.
The 40-foot-long Paz y Libertad mural in Málaga took him and his team three full days to complete.
Calle Thomas Heredia
By contrast, his most recent mural was completed within a day (it’s said that his team worked from a template). Mujer Fatal is a portrait of his wife and a symbol of peace.
Alameda Principal 25
Born in China in 1984, DALeast is famous for his unusual paintings of animals. This magnificent mural of an eagle is an excellent example, its shape formed by what looks like hundreds of metal shards. His use of fractured imagery lends the image a 3-D quality and breathes life and a sense of urgency into his art.
Calle San Lorenzo
Málalga native Dadi Dreucol studied at the city’s School of Fine Arts before moving to Valencia to complete his studies. His works feature the same bearded nude man, representing freedom from the rules set by society.
Calle Casas de Campos
This large monochrome mural by Belgian street artist ROA depicts rats tumbling down the façade of a multistorey building. Typically using a minimal colour palette, he creates animals and birds that are native to the area being painted.
This creation doesn’t say much about Málaga’s wildlife then.
If you are exploring street art in London, take a look at ROA’s mural of a large bird on the side of an Indian restaurant in Brick Lane. And if you are taking a city break in Ghent, his hometown, there are more of his murals there.
Further down Calle Casas de Campos, there is a smaller mural of a chameleon by ROA. I love the level of detail in this painting.
Calle San Lorenzo and Colegio García Lorca
Boamistura is a graffiti and muralist collective based in Madrid and has received worldwide recognition for bold artworks. Although their works are rooted in graffiti, they also incorporate mural painting, illustration and graphic design.
Okuda and Remed
Martínez Campos Street (Hotel Sojo Bahía Málaga)
Covering the façade of the Hotel Bahía, this vibrant mural of interlocking colours and shapes represents Venus intertwined with a sailor.
Riverside Graffiti in Málaga
The walls of Málaga’s scruffy dried-out riverbed forms a gigantic canvas for street artists. These walls are largely covered in tags by graffiti artists who were given free rein to paint what they liked.
Street Art Around Calle Lagunillas
The street art around Calle Lagunillas has a different tone from that in the Málaga Soho area.
Many of these wall murals have social content and were painted to represent the sometimes harsh realities faced by the residents of this run-down neighbourhood. Unemployment is high in this area and the residents in Lagunillas have few opportunities to improve their lives.
Unlike the street art in the Soho district, the work in Lagunillas is uncommissioned and the artists have to fund their own materials.
To reach this district, head to Plaza de la Merced and then head up Calle Victoria.
Here is the pick of my favourite Málaga street art from this area. In many cases, it’s unclear who the artist is.
Street art by Doger
I loved these works by Doger on Calle Lagunillas. Born in Zaragoza, Spain, Jonathan Morillas (Doger) began his career by spray-painting graffiti in 1995.
Also on Calle Lagunillas is one of his many graceful female portraits.
If you are in the heart of Málaga’s historic centre, look out for this work by Doger in Plaza de la Juderia. It is an extraordinary piece of street art with a 3-dimensional quality.
Plan Your Visit to Málaga
Here is some practical information to help you make the most of your time in Malaga.
When is the best time to visit Málaga, Spain?
Thanks to its temperate climate, you can visit Málaga year-round.
When I visited in February, afternoon temperatures were in the low to mid-20s and the orange trees were vibrant with fruit. As there were fewer visitors than in peak season, exploring Málaga’s highlights was a delight.
Between March and May, the days and nights are warmer but still comfortable. The sea may just be warm enough to chance a dip and the orange trees will be blooming.
The autumn (fall) months have similarly comfortable temperatures.
To avoid the intense summer heat, don’t visit between June and August.
How to get to Málaga
Málaga is well served by train and air.
AVE high-speed trains run to Málaga’s main Maria Zambrano station from Madrid (from 2 hr 30 minutes), Seville (from 2 hours), Valencia (from 5 hours) and Barcelona (from 6 hours). Book in advance for the best fares.
From the resort towns on the Costa del Sol – Fuengirola, Benalmadena, Torremolinos – use the C1 line which terminates at the more conveniently located Málaga Centro Alameda.
As the main hub for the Costa del Sol, Málaga Airport is served by a number of airlines. Located just 8 km from central Málaga, you can take the C1 train directly to Málaga Centro Alameda.
How to get around Málaga
Málaga is a very walkable city. Its main attractions are spread over a concentrated area and the best way of getting around is on foot.
Where to stay in Málaga
Base yourself in the Old Town area around the Cathedral or in Soho. These areas are close to the city’s main attractions, bars and restaurants and offer accommodation to suit all budgets.
Here are my recommendations:
I stayed at this apartment in the Old Town, which is a great self-catering choice in Málaga. The washing machine, Nespresso machine and roof terrace were bonuses.
>>> CLICK HERE TO BOOK
I also stayed in this fabulous new boutique hotel in Soho. But this is not style over substance. It is also in a superb location and its staff are first-rate.
>>> CLICK HERE TO BOOK