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7 things to do like locals in Malaga and best spots to enjoy them

The complete guide of authentic activities to enjoy during your holiday

You’re almost on holiday and you’re planning to go to Malaga soon. Lucky you! 😊

If you want to enjoy beautiful Andalusia and avoid the classic tours, we’re here for you.

Cooltoural helps you meet local people in Malaga who will show you how they live, where they eat, where they go out, give the best spots and tips. During a walk you get to know not just the touristic Malaga but, above all, the hidden and authentic Malaga. 😊👌

The visit is prepared just for you and is private just for you (for a couple, family, or friends), so you can ask your local friend all your questions and really be immersed in the culture, avoiding the tourist traps. Enjoy Malaga and its best spots just like a local.

Sounds awesome right? Book your Cooltoural immersion or contact us directly if you want to know more about what we do.

As promised, here are a few activities you could try and be like the locals.

1. Order your coffee like a local in Malaga in one of the many relaxing terraces

As the weather is quite hot in Andalusia, people in Malaga during warm days typically choose to have their coffee with ice. You’re served your cup of coffee and a glass with ice to pour yourself.

Cooltip: The technique if you want to add sugar is to add it to your hot coffee before pouring it on the ice. Many people add the sugar after they pour the coffee on ice making it harder to dissolve.

To order this coffee it’s very easy, it’s called “café con hielo” (“hielo” with a silent “h”, it means “ice”)

Tyical things to do in Malaga: Have an ice coffee or "café con hielo" in Spanish

But Malaga is more famous for its way to order different kinds of hot coffee. Forget the classic “café con leche” or “coffee with milk” and try to learn the name Malaga gives your favourite coffee.

Typical names of coffee in Malaga used by locals

The name depends on the amount of coffee and milk.

“Nube” means “cloud” because it has a lot of milk and is very light in colour.

“Sombra” means “shadow” because it’s darker and has more coffee than a “nube”.

“Mitad”, which means half, is simply a coffee with half milk and half coffee.

See, there’s a logic in almost every name. 😊

Our Cooltoural team of locals will tell you the whole story and reasons why they started to use these typical names for coffee in Malaga and many other curiosities, fun stories about its culture, traditions, and habits.

2. Open and use an “abanico” (a fan) like locals

As mentioned earlier, Malaga has many hot days during the year (300 days per year to be precise). So you’ll often see, in daylight as well as at night, Spanish ladies waving their fan to get some fresh air. You might also see Spanish men borrow the fan from their partner to wave it too.

The fan can be used while dancing flamenco and it has a specific language. The woman dancing can give many different messages with her “abanico”. 💃

Using a fan is very easy. To get some relief from the heat, why don’t you make like a local and give it a try? Ready?

Typical things in Malaga: how to use the Spanish fan (abanico) like a local?

3. Get a late night ice cream

After a late diner and during a walk in the pleasant night in Malaga, why not grab an ice cream? The perfect night ice cream should be ordered between 23:00–1:00. The famous Casa Mira in Larios street has a huge variety of home-made flavours. What’s your flavour, tell me what’s your flavour? 🎵🎵

One of the flavours you can find there is the “turrón”. It is a southern European nougat confection shaped into either a round cake or a rectangular tablet. The typical ingredients are honey, sugar (in case it’s not sweet enough with the honey 😄) toasted almonds, other nuts, and egg white. It is usually eaten during Christmas.

Things to do in Malaga like a local: the late night icecream

There are many other flavours there; fruit of course is popular and for chocolate fans, there is a huge variety: dark chocolate, ferrero rocher, kinder, nutella, etc.

You might have to wait in line (there’s even a machine to get a ticket with a number to know when it’s your turn), as this store is quite famous in Malaga. But it’s worth the wait. 😊

4. Buy a “biznaga” (jasmine bouquet) for your lover, friend, parent, or whoever you love!

What to do in Malaga like a local: Buy a biznaga (one of the symbols of Malaga)

The “Biznaga” is a very typical bouquet in Malaga and a symbol of the city. During summer days you’ll probably see many biznagueros (men, and sometimes women, who sell “Biznaga”) in the streets selling their flowers. They are usually wearing a white shirt, black trousers, and red belt.

This is the typical “uniform” of this important character here.

But you don’t need to buy “Biznagas” to smell its delicate scent, in Malaga you’ll notice there are quite a few jasmine trees.

5. Eat toasted almonds while strolling around the city

The typical food you can eat while strolling Malaga streets: Toasted almonds

Another “classic activity” is to buy a little bag of toasted almonds sold at little booths in the street and enjoy them while strolling around the beautiful Andalusian city.


Cooltip: Toasted almonds is easy to say in Spanish; it’s similar to English. It is said “almendras tostadas”.

You’ll also often see people eating pumpkin seeds in the streets, which can be an alternative if you’re not into almonds.


Coolstory: In the last 5 years, the province of Malaga has experienced a boom in the production of almonds. Many farmers replaced cotton and citrus for almonds. If you get to travel in Andalusia, you’ll see many almonds trees.

6. Take a nap in the afternoon: the famous Spanish "siesta"

This time let’s talk about a non-active activity 😄

the typical non-active activity: the nap or "siesta" in Andalusia

The very famous “siesta” or nap is a national activity in Spain practiced usually between 14h and 17h, and probably more in the South. Some sleep one hour, others less, others more. There are no real rules here. The advantage is that the body gets a bit of rest from the hot weather after lunch.

After a siesta and a good “mitad”, you’re new again until very late. Don’t forget that Spanish people like to party until the early hours of the morning. So if you want to keep up with the locals, a nap is highly recommended. 😊

7. Skip the big meal and order some tapas

The secret is to order different tapas (a small portion of food) and share them with your friends, partner, or your family. Even if you travel alone, you can order various tapas instead of just one main meal and try more local cuisine.

The advantage? You’re not trying just one dish, you get to discover several typical dishes and it creates a fun atmosphere where you get to pick from different plates on the table.

Things to do in Malaga like locals: Order tapas!

Coolstory: The word tapa means “cover” and one of the theories explaining the origin, says that it was a little plate put on top of the drink to avoid sand from getting in the drink. In the plate they’d put a small quantity of food to accompany the drink. So the small plate was originally used to cover or “tapar” in Spanish.

If you’re not familiar with the typical dishes in Malaga, check out this blog post : "5 typical dishes you need to try in Malaga and best restaurants to enjoy them". You’ll have all the info on the best food you need to try in Malaga and the best spots and restaurants to taste them.

Cooltip: In Andalusia, you have 3 different dish sizes.

How to order food in Malaga? Difference between "tapa"; "ración", "media ración"
  • The smallest is the “tapa” which we’ve just covered.
  • The larger size is “media ración” or “half portion” and
  • the biggest is “una ración” or a portion, which is the size of a classic meal in any other country.

So when you order any dish that exists in different sizes, be clear on the size you want: “tapa”, “media ración” or “una ración”

With these tips you might almost be confused for a local. Enjoy your stay in Malaga and Andalusia, and don’t forget that our Cooltoural team of locals will be happy to show you the hidden and most authentic spots here. They will als give you their best tips that only locals know. Don’t hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to help. 😊

Mona for Cooltoural