Gibralfaro Castle

History of the Gibralfaro Castle

The Castle of Gibralfaro is situated on the homonymous mountain of Gibralfaro. 

On the top of the mountain, there are remains of the construction of a small fortification dating back to Phoeno-Punic period and surely, during the kingdom of Abderraman III was built a defense on the mountain. 

Nevertheless, the castle that we know nowadays was built thanks to Yusuf I in 1340 a.C., in order to improve the defense of Malaga.

The Nasrid Kingdom was isolated on the Peninsula and its borders were surrounded by the kingdom of Castilla, to which it should pay a tribute to maintain its lands/the territory safe. 

Because of this situation, the only way to protect the kingdom from a possible attack was the construction of various rings of walls reinforced with hundreds towers. 

Malaga was a city almost unassailable; it had only a weak point, the Gibralfaro mountain. 

At the beginning of the XIII century, when the gunpowder was discovered in Europe, Muslims understood that if Christians had collocated their cannons up to the mountain, the city would have been bombarded and could have been ruled by the Christians. 

For this reason, Yusuf I ordered to build a Castle and a “Coracha”. 

The “Coracha” is a kind of walled corridor, which connected the Alcazaba with the Castle and allowed the soldiers to move safely from the castle to the Alcazaba and from where later they could access to the city or the harbour. 

For this reason, the “coracha” is not a simple wall, is an ingenious access that helped military logistics, supplying troops and food in different defensive points in case of attack.

In 1487 Christians came to Malaga with 70.000 soldiers ready to reconquer the city. 

At this time, the Alcazaba and the Castle of Gibralfaro became the protagonists of the city. Signs of that heart-rending battle can still be seen on its walls.

But we will proceed step by step, explaining the different parts of the Castle before going on with wars and conspiracy. 

“Do you know that the complex of the Alcazaba and the Castle is considered one of the most difficult fortresses to conquer during the Middle Age?”

How is the Gibralfaro Castle?

The castle has two rings of walls: one main bigger wall and one that is a barbican wall, a smaller wall built in order to avoid the approach of siege machinery.

Moreover, between the walls there was a ditch to complicate the enemy’s assault. 

The crenellated wall had also a parapet and towers. During the visit you can walk the patrol path around the perimeter of the castle.

Parts of the Castle of Gibralfaro

The castle has a wide perimeter and it is divided in two parts:

Main courtyard: Higher part and Fortress

It is the first area that you see when you enter the castle. Here there was: 

Mosque: Today have been founded only few ruins of it, as for the Arabic Baths. After the Christian Reconquest, the mosque was converted into a church dedicated to Saint Louis and the surrounding area was used as a storage of gunpowder. 

However, today there is no trace of that. Nowadays, in this area there is the Interpretation Center where we can observe some uniforms and weapons of the garrisons that passed through the castle over the time. 

Airon Well: This well was digged in a rock and it is believed that it dates back to Phoenicians times. It is 40 meters deep. 

Mayor Tower: This 17-meter-high  tower was a fortified element. Here the garrison could have water supply, houses and warehouses. 

Weapons Courtyard: Lower part and Castle

Here were collocated stables, troops barracks, two bread owens and an octagonal cistern.

Also there were collocated the following points of interests: 

White Tower: it is the largest preserved tower from Al-Andalus. It is oriented to the northwest and its principal function was to control the only entrance to the castle through the coracha.

Inside there are still preserved rooms and a cistern to collect rainwater. 

The white tower had the function to control the entrance to the castle and to defend the dead points of the wall. 

Do you know that the emblem of Malaga, besides the yoke and the arrows of the Catholic Royals, represents the Alcazaba and the Gibralfaro Castle?

What’s the entry time to Gibralfaro Castle?

The opening time of the Gibralfaro Castle is the same of the Alcazaba of Malaga. 

Opening hours:

The castle it’s open every day.

Summertime: from 9.00 to 20.00

Wintertime: from 9.00 to 18.00

If you want to know more about the opening hours or when it is better to visit it, go to the page Alcazaba Opening time.

How do I walk up to the Gibralfaro Castle?

There are two ways to walk up to the Castle:

The way of the Coracha

The most common and turist way is the ascent through the old Coracha district, where the Gibralfaro viewpoint is collocated in the middle of the way. 

The Coracha is the wall that connect the Alcazaba and the Castle. Nowadays it is closed and it is impossible to go directly from the internal way, for this reason you need to go from the outside until reaching Gibralfaro.

It is a pity that it is closed and we hope that in few years it can be opened again to the public, because this is a spectacular access.

Right at the side of the Coracha there was a malagueño neighborhood very popular that in 1990 was demolished in order to create a complex of steps and paths to climb up the Gibralfaro mountain.

There are two ways to reach the Castle from this path:

Option A: from the stairs close to the Municipal Heritage Museum, located in Paseo de Reding. 

Option B: from the uphill street close to the Alcazaba entrance, Juan Temboury street.  

Camino de Mundo Nuevo

This way is not very spectacular as the way of the Coracha, a way to go to the Castle mostly used by the locals. It is very strange to see tourists from there since it’s a quieter and wilder way, a little bit longer. 

Here you can see squirrels, a lot of flowers and plants and you can admire other views different from the ones that the city offers. 

Moreover this way is a paved street without cars and during the way you will notice different paths perfect for doing trekking or others that people themselves do by which you can walk or “get lost”. 

We have to tell you that some of these ways won’t lead you anywhere but…at least you can add a little bit of adventure to your visit!

Our Recommendations

To don’t go up and down from the same way we recommend you, if you have enough time, go up for Mundo Nuevo and go down for the Coracha way; in this way, you will avoid to walk under the sun while you walk up the mountain.  

How much does it cost the entrance to the castle of Gibralfaro?

As for the opening hours, the ticket prices are the same of the Alcazaba of Málaga. 

The price of the general entrance to the castle is: 3,50€

The price for the entrance Alcazaba + Castle is: 5,50€

Our Recommendations

If you want to visit the two monuments even if not during the same day, it is cheaper to buy the ticket Alcazaba + Gibralfaro. You have 24 hours to visit the two monuments so you can go one day to the Alcazaba and one to the Castle.

Discounts for the Castle of Gibralfaro

There are different kinds of discount: students, schools, retired people and groups. If you want to know more, take a look to Alcazaba ticket price.

Free entrance to the Castle of Gibralfaro

It is possible to visit the Alcazaba and the Castle for free every Sunday at certain times. If you want to discover at what time and when is the best moment to visit it, avoiding lines, click here Alcazaba free entry.

How to go to the Castle of Gibralfaro?

For sure this is the most asked question about the Castle of Gibralfaro of Malaga and for this reason  we are going to clarify some of your doubts related to it:

Is it difficult to go walking to the Castle?

This question is not very easy to answer, since it depends on the physical condition of each person. 

If you don’t have any mobility problems and you can walk up for 30/35 minutes this is the best option. The physical effort required is medium-low and while walking you can admire a piece of mediterranean nature in the middle of the city. 

Up to Gibralfaro you can admire one of the most beautiful views of Malaga, its flora and if you are lucky you can also see some animals like squirrels, hedgehogs and boards. 

In the middle of the way to the Muslim fortress you will arrive to the viewpoint of Gibralfaro; the typical picture of Málaga with the view of the Muelle 1 (the harbour) and the bullring is taken from this point. 

Without any doubts, one of the best pictures that you can take in the city. If is possible try to get there for the sunset, it will be an unforgettable moment. 

Our Recommendations

Without any doubts, if you have to choose among walking, bus or car to get to the castle, we recommend you the first one. 

Nevertheless, if it’s a rainy day, is better if you avoid to walking up or down or, if you still want to do it, wear non-slip shoes. Most of the way is made of slate so it is very slippery when it’s wet. A lot of people fall during a rainy day and it can be very dangerous. 

Moreover, we do not recommend you to walk to the castle during summer between 13.00 and 18.00, if you don’t want to end up with a heat stroke. Again, if you want to go during these hours, bring with you water, a hat and sunscreen.  

How long does it take to climb the Gibralfaro Mountain?

By car: from the city center it takes 10/12 minutes.

By bus: from Malaga Park it takes 15/18 minutes.

Walking it takes 30 minutes

There is a bus to go to Gibralfaro?

Yes, there’s a public bus of the EMT nº35; you can take it at the stop of Alameda Principal or at Parque de Malaga.

The price of the bus is 1,30 € (one way) and you will arrive until the entrance door of the Castle. You have to go down to the last stop on the top of the mountain.

Advantages to go by bus to the Castle of Gibralfaro

First of all, going by bus it’s cheap and you don’t have to wait a lot of time. moreover, if it’s too hot or rainy the bus is a good option. Reach the Castle will be so much easier.

Disadvantages to go by bus to the Castle of Gibralfaro

You will miss a beautiful path through the mountain and some incredible views of the city, Moreover, the spirit of the adventure is completely lost. 

Sometimes the bus takes a lot of time to arrive and especially during the weekend you can wait for 20/25 minutes plus the other 15 minutes to reach the Castle. 

Our Recommendations

If you don’t have enough time, it’s a hot summer day or you have some physical problems, we recommend you to go up by bus and walk the way down.

Can I go by car to the Castle?

Yes, there are two options to go to the Castle by car: 

Option A: take Calle Victoria, Calle Ferrándiz and later Camino Gibralfaro. We don’t recommend this one since sometimes there could be traffic jam or a school exit. 

Option B: Paseo de Reding, Paseo Salvador Rueda and later Camino Gibralfaro. Even if it could take a little bit of time, this is the best option since it’s more difficult to find traffic jam.

What to visit in the Castle of Gibralfaro?

Here we want you to give some useful tips to visit the Alcazaba and the Gibralfaro Castle in order to enjoy your vacation in the best way ever.

1. If it’s possible visit one day the Alcazaba and the following day the Castle, in order to visit them without being in a rush.

2. If you don’t have enough time to visit both monuments, we recommend you the Alcazaba where you can visit the fortress, the palaces amazing gardens and a breathtaking panoramic view. Of course, if you have more that one day, the Castle is a must see too. 

3. Regarding to the ascent to the castle, if you’re adventurous enough, we recommend you to walk up for Mundo Nuevo and walk down for the part of the Gibralfaro viewpoint. In this way you will do a circular route and you will see more things. 

4. We suggest you a guided tour of the Alcazaba; as for the Alhambra and the Mosque of Cordoba, the visit changes if you go by yourself or with a guide. There are a lot of hidden secrets and legends that only a guide can tell you! You will see, if the day after you go to the Castle, you will have fun discovering some things learned the day before with the visit of the Alcazaba. 

5. Watch the sunset from the viewpoint of Gibralfaro

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