The Plaza de la Merced is a spacious 19th-century square in Malaga’s historic center. Lined with cafés, bars and restaurants, Plaza de la Merced really begins to buzz in the late afternoon, when visitors join the gathering locals to soak up the last rays of the sun and exchange stories. Linger on a terrace on the northern side and order tapas or coffee. Find the bronze statue of Picasso sitting on a bench and visit Picasso’s Birthplace.
A neoclassical obelisk is the plaza’s focal point. It was erected in memory of General Torrijos and his comrades for their patriotic sacrifice of 1831. The northwest of the square is the former site of the 16th-century Church and Convent of Our Lady of Mercy, which was irreparably damaged in the Burning of the Convents in 1931.
Take a seat in a bar and relax with an Andalusian sherry or beer, or sit on a bench for some people-watching. Watch residents of the Old Town pick up groceries from the fresh produce markets. You can often enjoy live music and theater performances and many festivals are organized in the square. “Living” statues compete for your attention, pantomiming for the crowds and delighting both adults and children. Give them a coin for a unique photo opportunity or simply watch them do their tricks.
In late October, join the festivities celebrating Pablo Picasso’s birthday. His place of birth on the square is now a museum, dedicated to archiving and displaying the great artist’s works.
The Alcazaba, a palatial Moorish fortress, is located just a few minutes away on foot from the plaza. From the Alcazaba you can take a passageway to the city’s landmark Gibralfaro Castle in the mountains.
Reach the Plaza de la Merced on foot while exploring the historic Old Town or catch one of the convenient buses and alight at the Plaza de la Merced bus stop on the square’s eastern corner. The plaza’s restaurants and bars remain open until very late at night and taxis can drop you back at your hotel.