Discover the Botanical Gardens of Málaga

a day at the botanical gardens

The Botanical Gardens of Malaga is one of the most emblematic places of the city. Therefore, it should be on every visitors’ list of things to do in Malaga. Located just 7 kilometres north of the city centre, it is a short distance to go to find yourself in the middle of nature. And what’s more, there is a bike path that will take you almost all the way there. So, why not rent one of our city or trekking bikes and make it a truly green, eco-friendly day-trip? (There is bike parking inside the gardens).

Ceramic tyle representation of the Botanical Gardens of Malaga

early history of the botanical gardens

The real name of the gardens is LA CONCEPCIÓN HISTORICAL BOTANICAL GARDENS (Jardín Botánico Histórico La Concepción). La Concepción was the name given to the area north of the city of Málaga where farmers used to cultivate cereals, olives, vines, almonds and fruit trees.

Later, these various parcels of land were joined together to form the estate of the Marquesses of the House of Loring: Jorge Loring and Amalia Heredía. The two aristocrats were the children of well-known foreign business men who had come to Malaga to seek their fortune.

The idea to create the botanical gardens was born on the couple’s honeymoon. They travelled all over Europe after their wedding. During this trip they visited numerous palaces, parks, villas, stately homes and botanical gardens. All of which inspired them to create their own botanical gardens on their estate in Malaga.

Aristocratic life at the Botanical gardens

The Marquesses lived in ‘La Casa Palacio’ ( the Palace House). Built in 1855, it is a classic-style 2 storey- building on top of a hill with spectacular views to the city, the cathedral and the Mediterranean Sea. The rooms of the house are organised around a beautiful interior patio which has a marble fountain at its centre.

La Casa Palacio- the stately home in the Botanical Gardens of Malaga

Naturally, the house and the gardens became the venue for many a soireé, theatrical representation, weddings, picnics and excursions. The Marquesses guests included politicians, aristocrats and actors -the most famous visitors being the empress Sissi of Austria and the Spanish Prime Minister Cánovas del Castillo. The local press would regularly publish articles of the famed parties, plays and events that took place there.

Creation of the Historical Gardens

Besides their love of plants, the Marquesses were also avid collectors of archeological remains. It was their goal to try to restore as many archeological pieces as they could obtain. So much so, it was their magnificent collection at La Concepción that became famous all around Europe long before it was known for its botanical gardens.

The highlight of their collection was the Lex Flavia Malacitana- a bronze piece displaying the Roman laws that governed Malaga in the year 80 A.D. Today, this treasure is housed in the National Archealogical Museum in Madrid. In 1859, the Marquesses installed a small temple on the grounds. A Doric style pavilion built to the measurements of a Roman floor mosaic discovered in nearby Cartama. Jorge Loring purchased the mosaic which depicts the feats of Hercules.

The Doric Style Pavilion, built in 1859, in the Botanical Gardens of Malaga

These days, the majority of the mosaics, sculptures and other Roman pieces of their collection are housed in the Museum of Malaga or the National Archealogical Museum.

later history of the botanical gardens

In 1911, a couple from Bilbao, Rafael and Amalia Echevarrieta, bought the estate. They expanded the gardens, added more modern sculptures and miradors- viewing points. The most emblematic mirador dates from 1920. With its regionist style of archictecture, it has become an iconic photo of Malaga. From this beautiful mirador, you can enjoy amazing views over the city and the montes of Malaga.

In 1943, the gardens were officially declared to be an artistic historical garden (Jardín Histórico Artístico). When the Echevarrietas passed away, the brother of Amalia inherited the estate. He took impeccable care of it until his death in 1963. Decades passed and the gardens fell into decay and were basically abandoned. However, in 1990 the City Hall of Malaga purchased it for just over 3.5 million euros. Today the gardens are protected under the Cultural Heritage Act.

the botanical gardens today

The official opening of the gardens to the public was in 1994. Today the gardens have two objectives: 1) to conserve and improve the historical garden 2) that the collection of plants of the botanical gardens be used for both educational and scientific purposes.

How the gardens are organised

The plants

The plants are organised in different groups. They are: aquatic plants, primitive/prehistoric plants, african plants, a bamboo collection (with 2 varieties over 150 years old), a biodiversity rock garden, a greenhouse of carnivorous plants, cactus and succulents.

There are also centuries old ficus trees, subtropical fruit trees, a historical lemon grove, local malagueño vines and olive trees and one of the finest collections of palm trees in all of Europe.

Centuries old trees in the botanical gardens of Malaga

Hiking trails in the Botanical Gardens

Inside the gardens are various routes you can choose to follow. There is the ‘Around the World in 80 Trees’ route. Also the route of the Miradors will lead you to the iconic historical mirador. Higher up the hill you can follow the Forest Route.

As you wander around the gardens, it’s not difficult to feel like you are in the jungle. If fact, several movies and TV ads ‘set in the Amazon’, have been filmed here. The most famous one being The Bridge of San Luis Rey, starring Robert de Niro and Kathy Bates. (2003)

Enchanting spots in the gardens

The gardens are every instagrammers paradise! It is full of charming, beautiful spots that make for perfect photo opportunities.

Check out the exedra- a classical style marble bench that was common in 19th century landscaped gardens. Join the numerous celebrities that have sat here for portraits during their visit.

The exedra- a classical style marble bench in the botanical gardens of Malaga.

If you are in Malaga at the end of March/beginning of April, then maybe you will be lucky enough to see the wisteria in bloom. This spectacular lilac flower is a climbing vine that covers a 19th century iron gazebo- one of the most beautiful in Spain.

Wisteria in bloom on the 19th century iron gazebo in the botanical gardens of Malaga

Other charming spots you will encounter are the Nymph’s pond, the waterfall and the oriental pavilion.

Exhibitions at the gardens

Temporary Exhibitions

Throughout the year, the garden is home to all kinds of artistic exhibitions. At the time of writing, (May-June 2023) there is a really fun sculpture and painting exhibit by Xaveir Vilató called Le Jardín Circonflexe.

Painting by Xavier Vilató, Le Jardín Circonflexe exhibition, Malaga.

Permanent Exhibition

Housed in the gardener’s shed is the quirky permanent exhibit called: The History of La Concepción told by Barbie. Yes- Barbie! (and Ken).

Opening hours of the gardens

From 1st April to 30th September: 9:30-20:30

From 1st October to 31st March: 9:30-17:30

Visitors may remain in the garden for up to half an hour after closing time.

Closed every Monday as well as 24th, 25th  & 31st December & 1st January

admission PRICES

STANDARD TICKET (for the general public): €5.20 per person

REDUCED TICKET (for visitors aged up to and including 16 years and pensioners): €3.10 per person

Free Admission

Admission is free on Sundays between 1st October & 31st March, 14:00-17:30

Sundays between 1st April & 30th September, 16:30-20:30

We hope you enjoy your trip to the beautiful botanical gardens of Malaga. It is the perfect place to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy some spectacular nature and history. It is also the perfect activity to do with kids. They can run safely around the trails for hours. Enjoy a picnic there or have a snack and cool drink at the garden’s café.

The outdoor café at the botanical gardens of Malaga

And then visit the limonero dam!

After visiting the gardens, why not cycle up to EL LIMONERO dam? Yes- it is a little steep but the views over the mountains and the city make it worth the effort, honestly! Turn left as you exit the gardens and cycle up the same road. The entrance to the dam is up the hill and on your left. Cycle along the road . When you come across a barrier, don’t worry. It is just to prevent cars going in. Cyclists and hikers are welcome. Just go through the gap to the right of the barrier. Enjoy the views!

The Limonero Dam, Malaga