Cheapest car hire in Malaga Guide

  • Mini
    Chevrolet Matiz
    4 |
    1 |
    3 |
    From € 6.40
  • Economy
    Ford Fiesta
    5 |
    2 |
    5 |
    From € 6.83
  • 5 seat minivan
    Peugeot Partner
    5 |
    4 |
    5 |
    From € 10.05
  • Compact
    Seat Leon
    5 |
    3 |
    5 |
    From € 10.17
  • Estate
    Renault Clio Estate
    5 |
    5 |
    5 |
    From € 11.66

*daily rates in Malaga Guide based on a 1 day rental (24hr period) and for guidance purposes only.

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*average daily rates based on 7 day rental, search for todays best prices.

Useful things to know about Malaga Guide

Malaga Key Facts:

  • Malaga’s population is just under 600,000 making it the sixth largest city in Spain.
  • It’s one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world with a history stretching back over 2,800 years.
  • It was founded in the year 770BC by the Phoenicians who named it Malaka
  • Pablo Picasso was born in the city
  • The city has one of the mildest climates in Europe

Where is it?

Malaga is a big city located on the Costa del Sol in the Spanish region of Andalusia. It’s 62 miles from Gibraltar in the west and 80 miles from the coast of North Africa. Between Malaga and Gibraltar you’ll find the well-known resorts of Marbella and Fuengirola. It’s halfway along the Autopista del Sol, giving easy access to many of the resorts of the coast.

Distance from…

Granada - 55 miles
Gibraltar – 62 miles
Seville – 99 miles
Ceuta – 76 miles
Cordoba – 83 miles
Cadiz – 105 miles
Almeria – 109 miles
Alicante – 243 miles


Budget Hotels in Malaga
Description / Room Rates
Ibis Budget Malaga Centro
from €33
Ibis Budget Malaga Centro
The Malaga Centro is a bright, clean and comfortable hotel from this international chain. It’s only 100m from the seafront and also less than 15 minutes’ walk from the historic areas. Breakfast is an optional extra at €4 but good value for the money.
Intercentro Algarrobo
from €38
Intercentro Algarrobo
The Algarrobo is a plain and simple hotel but right on the beachfront. It is clean and bright and excellent value for money. No food is served but bars and restaurants are close by.
Hostal Moscatel
from €42 
Hostal Moscatel Malaga
This is a cheap but clean and comfortable hostel around ten minutes’ walk from the seafront. Its location isn’t special but if all you want to do is sleep there then that doesn’t matter. There’s a kitchen where you can cook for yourself but most choose to check out the cheap bars and cafes nearby.
Mid-range hotels:
Description / Room Rates
Monte Malaga Hotel 
from €95
Monte Malaga
This hotel gets great reviews on TripAdvisor and ranks number six in Malaga. It’s attractive and looks more upmarket that the price. The downsides are a poor restaurant and its distance from the sights. It does have views from the upper floors and facilities include a spa.
Malaga Hotel Picasso
from €70
Malaga Hotel Picasso
Receiving rave reviews from its guests, this is one of the top mid-price hotels in Malaga and is beautiful inside and out. With welcoming staff, clean rooms, good food and proximity to the town and airport, it’s a good choice for a few nights or even a longer stay in Malaga Hotel
Molina Lario 
from €115
Molina Lario Malaga
Borderline between mid-range and luxury, take advantage of the low prices for the excellent accommodation. The hotel is perfectly located close to the cathedral and is tastefully decorated throughout. The staff are friendly and welcoming and the food, whilst simple, is delicious and filling. It’s a four star hotel but rated as the top hotel in Malaga by TripAvisor.
Description / Room Rates
Vincci Seleccion Posada del Patio
from €130
Vincci Seleccion Posada del Patio
This is probably the best hotel in the centre of Malaga and close to all the sights. You are treated like a celebrity from the moment you arrive and no expense is spared to ensure you have the best time there. TripAdvisor rates this five star hotel very highly and deservedly so.
Parador de Malaga Gibralfaro
from €155
Parador de Malaga Gibralfaro
Probably having the best location in Malaga looking down over the city, the hotel looks beautiful. The rooms are a little dated and the service pretentious on times but it rates highly on TripAdvisor and is not a bad price for staying in a four star hotel in the city.
Hotel Villa Padierna Thermas
from €150
Hotel Villa Padierna Thermas
Looking more like the inside of a museum or a stately home, this hotel offers luxury at a reasonable price. Great dining can be had at the hotel and the rooms are exquisite. The spa facilities are based around the thermal springs the hotel is built on and you’ll feel like royalty taking advantage of them. The guest service is attentive, respectful and unobtrusive and for a luxury stay in Malaga, this is hard to beat.

Places to Eat:
Tapeo de Cervantes
Tapeo de Cervantes - Malaga
This is a traditional Spanish tapas bar but with a twist. The food is exquisite and can really only be called tapas because the food is served in small portions so you can try lots. Really unusual food too, most of it seasonal so you’ll get fresh asparagus, quail’s eggs or ripe juicy baked tomatoes all washed down with excellent house wine. Prices are reasonable too with a decent meal available from €12.
Restaurante Yerbaguena
Restaurante Yerbaguena Malaga
Once more, an establishment that serves mainly fresh seasonal produce including delicious seafood. The ambience of the restaurant is perfect and the food served beautifully like works of art. The walls of the restaurant are adorned with art from local artists. It’s recommended that you try the degustation menu where you’ll get to sample a little of all they have on the menu and certain to tempt you back!
El Piano
El Piano - Malaga
If you’re a vegetarian or a vegan it’s often hard to find any kind of restaurant to suit let alone one that is recommended. El Piano is both, serving innovative vegan food in homely surroundings and has knowledgeable, friendly staff as well. Prices are excellent with meals starting at around €10


Malaga is one of the oldest, continually inhabited cities in Europe, if not the world and was founded by the Phoenicians on the site of an old fishing village where the locals used to salt the fish they caught to preserve and trade them. The name of the city, Malaga, comes from the word Malaka, itself from Phoenician mlk, meaning salt.

Originally from Tyre, the founders eventually ceded the rule of the city to Carthage and it remained under Carthaginian control until it passed into Roman hands after the Punic Wars. The Romans realised the importance of the city, retaining its name under a Latinized form Malaca and developed the city greatly as a city confederated to the Empire.

The fall of Rome saw the city taken over by the Visigoths who were already planning a Visigoth kingdom in Iberia. It remained under their control until a burgeoning Byzantine Empire spreading out across the Mediterranean took control. Byzantine rule lasted only for 71 years before the rise of Moors from North Africa who invaded Spain and, as part of their conquest of Southern Europe, changed its name to Malaqah and ruled the city from the Caliphate of Cordoba.

Over 700 years of Arabic rule followed during which the city grew in splendour and wealth. The Muslim traveller Ibn Battuta praised it greatly as the most beautiful city of Andalusia and waxed lyrical about the produce of the city and the surrounding region. Malaga became the second longest city to hold out against Christian forces, only Granada lasted longer, by another five years and the people of Malaga decided to risk starvation rather than surrender.

Eventually the Christians triumphed and the entire population was sold as slaves or given as gifts of slaves to supporting rulers. After initially suffering some destruction, especially of distinctly Islamic tokens, the remainder of the Muslim city was left standing and today adds to the city’s archaeological and architectural wealth.

A period of slumber was enjoyed by the city until the war of Spanish Secession when it witnessed the stalemate of the Battle of Malaga, off the coast of the city.

The 19th century, especially after the Iberian campaign freed Spain from the clutches of Napoleon, saw the city rise to become an industrial powerhouse in Spain, rivalling Barcelona. Political factionalism saw the industry and wealth taken away as the century wore on and it suffered terribly in the Spanish Civil War when over seven thousand inhabitants were killed in the aftermath of the Battle of Malaga when Francoist forces dealt a terrible retribution for the city’s defiance.

After the Second World War attempts to revive its fortunes centres around the nascent tourism industry and in a period of rapid growth in the seventies and eighties, the city became wealthy once more. Testing economic times in the 21st century have left the city’s finances in tatters but its infrastructure, as well as its historical value have ensured that it is currently surviving the misfortunes and is well placed to benefit when better times return.

Things to See and Do:

For Sports Fans and Enthusiasts

Malaga CF LogoMalaga CF is a top flight Spanish football club whose home is in the city. This year they reached the quarter finals of the Champions League before losing to Borussia Dortmund but there’s the expectation that despite being relatively unknown, they will soon be consistently challenging Barcelona and Real Madrid for the La Liga crown, so if you get a chance, they’re a team worth watching. Interestingly, since being taken over by a Qatari investor who poured millions of euros into the club, they have set out on a different course than other teams. They’ve signed a deal with UNESCO to act as ambassadors for sport amongst young people and have dedicated part of their wealth to helping talented Andalusians fulfil their dreams. Sadly controversy dogs the club who’ve been banned from European competition for a year for unpaid bills despite the wealth of the owner. British followers of the team wil recognise Roque Santa Cruz, on loan from Manchester City and Lucas Piazin, on loan from Chelsea. The team play at the magnificent Estadio La Rosaleda which also hosts the annual Costa del Sol Trophy, an invitation only competition for Spanish teams that takes place in the off season.

Club Baloncesto Malaga

Basketball fans could do worse that see a game involving CB Malaga which have been Spanish champions or runners up several times over the last decade. The team are properly known as Baloncesto Malaga from which comes the name Club Baloncesto Malaga and plays in the Association League as well as the Euroleague although it’s also known by its sponsor’s name Unicaja. The team has only existed in its current format for twenty years when it was formed from the merging of two Malaga teams; Caja de Ronda and Maristas. They’ve won the Andalusia Cup in five out of the last six years and have been relatively successful in the Euroleague. They are one of the only overseas teams to have defeated an NBA team in a competitive match when they beat the Memphis Grizzlies in 2007. If you want to see them play a home game you’ll need to go to the Palacio de Deportes Jose María Martin Carpena in the city. With a capacity of 11,000, it’s rarely filled but that means that last minute tickets aren’t a problem.

Malaga has got dozens of golf courses of every standard, many of which will rent clubs for the spur of the moment golfer. Visit Malaga Tennis Club for a game at the centre where many of the top European players spend the winter.
Despite the calm waters of the Med you’ll still find places where the surfing is good. You can also kite surf whilst dive schools operate in the summer months. If you haven’t had enough airborne activity flying into Malaga you can skydive or paraglide from the airport.

Rock climbing is also a popular activity locally and one of the finest faces in Europe is located at El Chorro Gorge just under an hour north west of the city. The highlight of El Chorro though is not the climbing but the King’s Walkway, a walkway suspended over the gorge. Other great climbs can be found at the Via Ferrata and El Torcal. 

For the Cultured Visitor!Museo Picasso Malaga

This is the city where Picasso was born and many of his works plus a detailed account of his life can be seen in the Museo Picasso Malaga

The Museo Picasso Malaga has the largest collection of the works by the great artist in the world. Opened in 2003, the ceremony was attended by Spain’s king and queen and initially had 155 of Picasso’s works. It now has 285 pieces ranging from ceramics to sculptures and sketches to paintings.

The collection is housed in the Buenavista Palace, itself a fabulous piece of art built in the 16th century over a former Nasrid palace. The remains of the former building can still be seen in places.

Within walking distance of the museum is the Plaza de la Merced and the house where Picasso was born. There you’ll find details of his early life and many artefacts from it. some of his paintings are also housed there as well as on a second smaller Picasso museum located in the same street. Both museums and Picasso’s Casa Natal open between 9:30 and 10:00am and close at 8:00pm. Entrance fees vary from a euro for the Casa Natal to €8 for the main museum.

If you want to continue your artistic journey through Spain’s paintings, the Museo Carmen Thyssen, which opened in 2011, has a fine collection of 19th and 20th century. Again it’s €8 for entry at any time between 10am and 8pm. Get to see all of the country's cultural delights when you rent a car in Spain.

La Alcazaba de Malaga
One of the most striking features of the city is the Moorish Alcazabar built in the 11th century as a royal palace and fortress and rebuilt later in the 11th century. It was extended under the Nasrids 250 years later and joined to the Castle of Gibralfaro by a series of passages. It sits atop the eastern hillside of the city and overlooks Malaga below it. The layout is of a four sided fortification with double walls between which led the passage to the Gibralfaro.

The entrance to the Alcazabar served a dual purpose. Defensively it was ideal, featuring a double bend allowing for surprise attacks on an invading force. There were several gates, adding to the security which then opened upon to the Governor’s Palace surrounded by beautiful gardens and the passageway up to the Gibralfaro.

Castillo de Gibralfaro

Above the Alcazabar is the Gibralfaro Castle built around the same time as the Alcazabar. Equally well fortified, it benefited from the defensive strength of the Alcazabar below and housed the Royal Palace. Still, it was conquered several times in its history and the small exhibition inside tells the stories of its occupants over time.

 It was originally built on the site of the old Phoenician lighthouse and takes its name from the mixed Arabic and Greek meaning ‘lighthouse rock’. The castle took three months to fall to the Catholic army under Ferdinand and Isabella, a siege which was the first in which both sides used gunpowder however the siege was lifted only when starvation forced the Arabs to capitulate. After capturing the city and the castle Isabella decided she wanted to live in the city.

Roman Theatre

Roman Theatre Malaga at night
Immediately below the Alcazabar you’ll get free entry into the Roman theatre that predated the grander building above it by over a thousand years.

The theatre is acknowledged as the oldest structure in Malaga and is one of the few Roman remains in Andalusia after centuries of recycling of building materials and a destruction of Andalusian culture in the Civil War. Many pieces from the theatre can be seen in the walls of the Alcazabar. The theatre remained undiscovered until 1951 when construction of a municipal garden unearthed aspects of it. A full excavation was carried out and that’s what you’ll see today.

Performances are still held there but on other days you can wander through the visitor centre, see a short film detailing its history then wander at your leisure through the site.

Malaga Cathedral

Malaga Cathedral

The construction of Malaga Cathedral was started in the early 16th century and by the time building stopped, three hundred years had passed. The cathedral is unfinished as the funds for completion were used elsewhere with several stories given as to where. Part of the building is renaissance style whilst the façade is baroque. The north tower is the second tallest in Andalusia whilst the south tower remains incomplete. The cathedral is known locally as La Manquita which translates as ‘The One-armed Lady’.

The interior of the cathedral is beautiful and also in the renaissance style and is adorned with paintings, sculptures and reliefs from some of Spain’s greatest artists. Particularly impressive is the altar front of the Chapel of St Barbara, completed in Gothic style whilst the Chapel of the Incarnation has a very different neo-classical style. The latter is the home of the famous painting of the Beheading of St Paul by Enrique Simonet and installed in the cathedral in 1888.

Interactive Museum of Music 

Interactive Museum of Music Malaga
This is a great place to visit if you’re interested in music and it’s fun for kids too. It has the largest collection of musical instruments in Europe, many of which you can try out. You’ll find out the history and the origin of many of the world’s instruments and how they are used to make the unique sounds of different cultures.

The space is filled with music and the centre has its own concert hall called the Sala Muralla de la Marina. There’s a varied and extensive programme of performances and recitals throughout the year with visiting guest musicians from the classical, popular and world music. Entrance to the museum is free of charge and as well as over 300 musical instruments there are many interactive displays explaining how music is made..

Plaza de Toros de la Malagueta

Plaza de Toros de la Malagueta 
Not everyone’s cup of tea, this is the city’s bullring – akin to any UK city’s football ground and even when there are no shows there’s an oppressive atmosphere of expectation about the place. There’s also a small museum dedicated to some of the most famous matadors that have performed there.

The building was constructed in 1874 and the first bullfight took place two years later. Its architectural significance and majesty led it to be declared a UNESCO site and an official site of cultural interest. The bullfighting season runs from April to September with the main contests being during La Semana Santa and the August Malaga Fair. Ticket prices range from €12 up to €50 and higher and can be purchased from any UniCaja Bank branch or from the Plaza de Toros booking office.

Conception Botanical & Historical Garden

La Concepcion Botanical Garden of Malaga
This is a botanical garden with a difference for not only does it have the wonderful, peaceful atmosphere of a private garden but it’s also strewn with antiquities. You can take a guide to find out more about the plants and historical artefacts or simply enjoy the place at your leisure. It’s over a quarter of a million square metres in area and has over two thousand species of plant from all over the world.

The gardens are classed as tropical and subtropical and the wealth of plants has led to an equal wealth of bird and animal life. The gardens are over 150 years old and have been used as the meeting place for national and international dignitaries in the past. The gardens also contain part of the historic San Telmo viaduct which extended 10kms into Malaga and supplied La Concepcion with water. Entry to the gardens is €4.20 for adults with concessions available. It’s open until 8.30pm in summer and 5.30pm in winter.

Best Irish Pubs in Malaga:

Irish Pub in Malaga


Rhino Rating

Morrisseys Irish Pub

Calle Méndez Núñez, 5, 29008 Málaga, Spain


The Bailey Irish Pub

Calle Doña María Barrabino, 4, 29620 Málaga, Spain


Shamrock Irish Pub

Edificio Benalplaya, Av. Antonio Machado, 106, 29630 Benalmádena, Málaga, Spain


Hollie’s Fitzsimons Irish Bar

Av. Palma de Mallorca, 14, 29620 Torremolinos, Málaga, Spain


Camden Town Pub – La Malagueta

Calle Puerto, 14, 29016 Málaga, Spain



There are three festivals of note in the city; the Holy Week celebrations; the Malaga Fair in August and the Malaga Film Festival.
La Semana, or the Holy Week has been observed in the city with processions for over five centuries. There’s a procession every day from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday.

Floats carry scenes from the Passion of Christ whilst attendants in purple robes and pointed hats walk with them. Over 250 floats are seen, carried by members of the Brotherhood of the Lady of Hope and are followed by the womenfolk who carry black candles. The floats are huge, weighing over five tonnes and are so big, many of them don’t fit in the churches. Music accompanies the procession in the form of drums and trumpets whilst soloists sing the traditional saeta song.

The Feria de Málaga held in August sees the streets filled with traditional aspects of Spain; from flamenco dancers to wine exhibitions, guitar music, bulls, art and more. The whole city joins in and there’s entertainment night and day from bullfights in the arena to music concerts and a huge fairground. Food and drink is abundant and there are so many free samples you won’t need to pay for lunch all week!
April sees the Malaga Film Festival which showcases films made in Spain. Many are free to watch and the festival ends with judging of the best entries in the festival.

Doing Nothing!

Playa de la Malagueta Beach MalagaThe beach is the obvious place for idling the day away and Malaga has a great selection within the city limits and slightly further afield:
The beach everyone goes to because it’s the most convenient is Playa de la Malagueta it’s close to the city centre accessed from the Paseo Pablo Picasso and is over 1.2km long. There are plenty of facilities and it has a Blue Flag – always a bonus. The downside is it’s comprised of black sand and the popularity means it’s not one to fall asleep on!

Next to the El Candado Marina the Palo beach is formed from several small sandy coves. They’re all linked by a promenade and again have good facilities. You’ll find the bars and restaurants handy but not obtrusive and you can usually get a quiet spot where forty winks are a possibility.

Another town beach is the Playa Huellin close to the centre and only a short bus or hire car ride away. Again there’s enough to make the stay enjoyable and although it’s busy, it’s not oppressively so. 

The young and young at heart head for Las Acacias and as such it’s very popular. It’s over 1.2km long and is divided up into sections by the breakwaters. The sand is fine and grey but not as bad as it sounds.

Those with a hire car can explore further afield and three beaches of note spring to mind.

Playa Torrox:

Half an hour along the coast you’ll find a much smaller resort of Torrox with its 300m long beach. It’s uncrowded but is close to the main road making it easy to find but not so quiet!

Playa Benajafare:

Located in Velez Malaga, this is thought of as the region’s best beach. It’s over 4km long and a hundred feet wide. The sand is dark but there’s plenty of room so you’ll always have space to yourself.

For those of you that are ‘clothes optional’ types, Almayate Bajamar is the place for you. Again, it’s a long beach and completely unspoilt but already the signs are there that the developers are waiting to pounce.
Elsewhere within the city you could just let go of your stress at any one of the bars that lookout to the blue Mediterranean or take a tapas lunch to the Botanical and Historical Gardens and relax amongst the beauty of nature and artists.

Best For:

Families: Aqualand Torremolinos is a great place to spend the day with young families. It’s the biggest water park on the Costa del Sol and around twenty minutes from Malaga. Selwo Adventure is another great visit at Estepona, around an hour away where you’ll find over 2,000 animals from around the world in as natural conditions as you’ll find in captivity.

Singles: Virtually everywhere in Malaga welcomes the single traveller and you can do many of the sights in solitude and still enjoy them. The bars and restaurants also don’t mind serving the lonesome traveller and with the city welcoming so many, it’s unlikely you’ll be by yourself for long – unless you choose to be.

Couples: This is the easiest one with strolls around the art gallery being a time to get in tune with each other. A picnic in the Botanical and Historical Gardens is also romantic and of course a delicious romantic meal at one of the amazing restaurants is also worth considering.

The Less Mobile: Malaga is well equipped to help the less able and some of the beaches have disabled access including Pedregalejo and San Andres beaches. Under European laws public buildings must have disabled access and you’ll find no trouble getting in and out of the museums and art galleries in the city. 

Days out with hire car from Malaga: 

If you’re staying in Malaga you’re fortunate in having a great road network to take you in either direction along the Costa del Sol or inland into Andalusia. The A-45 and the AP-46 take you north inland and turning off this west you’ll reach the villages of Almogia, Pizarra and Alora whilst to the east you’ll find the much smaller villages of Colmenar, Comares and Vinuela where the mania of the coastal resorts gives way to long forgotten, timeless villages drenched in tradition.
It’s not unreasonable either to consider a jaunt up to CordobaSeville or Granada for the day. Granada will entice you with the majestic Alhambra whilst the city of Cordoba is steeped in history having been the capital of several parts of southern Spain over the centuries. Seville is also worth a trip, if only for the amazing modern architecture spawned by the Expo in 1992.

Local Costs:

1 litre
€ 1.35
1 kg
€ 1.35
1 kg
€ 1.39
1 kg
€ 1.25
1 kg
Chicken boneless
1 kg
€ 5.50
1 kg
€ 8.75
Olive Oil
1 litre
€ 3
1.5 litres
1 litre
€ 1.29
Coca Cola
1.5 litres
€ 1.09
1 kg

Malaga Weather:

Malaga is ideally located in the Mediterranean to have an almost perfect climate. It’s far enough to the east to avoid the Atlantic weather fronts yet far enough west to avoid the winter chill of Eastern Europe. It’s also not far from North Africa benefiting from the warming influence. Malaga enjoys the warmest winter temperatures of any European city with temperatures averaging 17C-18C throughout and with many days above 20C.

All Time Highs and Lows: Malaga’s record high temperature occurred in August 1881 when the mercury reached 43.3C. That month also recorded a highest average temperature of 34.8C. The coldest temperature reached was -0.9C ten years later in January 1891 and has only once ever seen snow in February 1954.

Weather Science: Malaga is said to have a Subtropical-Mediterranean climate under the Koppen classification and has over 300 days of sunshine and only an average of fifty days of rain a year. The influence of the Mediterranean means that cooling south westerly winds help to cool the temperatures so the city rarely sees over 90f.

Average Temperature Malaga

The Seasons:

Spring comes early but is barely noticeable as winters are so mild anyway. The main difference is that temperatures rise by a degree or two each month and rainfall halves along with days of rain. The warming temperatures bring out an abundance of flowers and even in February, T-shirts and shorts can be the order of the day.
Summer is beautiful in Malaga. The abundance of natural water keeps the landscape fresh and green whilst temperatures never get very high. Humidity can be a problem and you’ll face hot sticky nights, especially with the winds coming in off the sea. You can usually expect no rainfall at all from May through to September although sometimes violent thunderstorms will break periods of intense humidity. You’ll also see over eleven hours daily of sunshine in summer, one of the highest figures in Europe.
Autumn seems a long time coming with summer lasting forever but all the new season serves to do is postpone the onset of winter. Usually temperatures start to drop at the end of September and you’ll notice the humidity easing. You’ll still get eight hours of sunshine day but the occasional rainy day will creep in towards the end of October.
Winter is a great time to be in Malaga, especially if you’re escaping the icy cold and rain of Northern Europe. Temperatures are regularly in the low seventies and whilst you might get rain one day out of five, that’s much better than you’ll find elsewhere in Europe.
Best Time to Visit:
Malaga is a city for all seasons but we prefer it in April when rainy days are almost gone and spring is truly upon you. Temperatures are warm yet not so hot that climbing to the citadels becomes a struggle. Again, late summer or early autumn is wonderful with golden hues tinting the landscape.

Malaga Airport

Malaga Airport

Malaga Airport is the fourth busiest airport in Spain and a major carrier for tourist traffic to Spain’s main holiday resort coast; the Costa del Sol.

It is rapidly expanding after a fall back during the early years of the recession when traffic fell from a high of 13.5m to 11.5m passengers. Last year 12.6m passengers passed through the airport.

Malaga Airport or Malaga-Costa del Sol Airport as it’s been known since 2011 has flights to over sixty countries worldwide. Nearly 150 routes are served worldwide.

Finding Your Way Around the Airport:

The airport has three terminals alongside each other. Terminal 1 is the oldest opening in 1972 although the airport itself opened on the same site in 1919.

The terminal originally served flights in from non-Schengen destinations but as the terminal became tired-looking the flights were moved to the new Terminal 3. This left the terminal with no flights and it was closed although it opens occasionally for busy periods and in particular for Air Europa flights. The terminal is currently undergoing refurbishment ready for use in the future and already the check-in desks have been replaced and a new baggage reclaim has been installed. You can access it from Terminal 1 but it’s a bit of a ghost town with closed shops and just the workmen doing upgrade work for company.

Malaga Airport Map

Terminal 2 opened in 1991 and was named after the son of the artist Pablo Picasso. It too is in the throes of renovation with work started in 2011 still continuing. Currently the upgrade work has spread to the retail area which is closed off for now. The terminal has four levels with car rental collection in the basement. Arrivals come in on the ground level whilst the first floor is a bit of a wasted space having just the access way to pier B and the ground floor arrivals. The second floor is where departing passengers from Terminal 2 will find themselves. Piers B and C lead off the terminal building with UK and Ireland travellers using Pier C almost exclusively whilst travel to other European destinations will use Pier B. Rather confusingly, although Piers B and C are physically part of Terminal 2, access to them is now restricted to only from Terminal 3 which is actually part of the same building!

The opening of Terminal 3 brought about many changes for Terminal 2, not least in that all the gate numbers needed to be changed. The arrivals hall waiting area closed to be replaced by extra baggage reclaim carousels and a passageway between Terminals 2 and 3. The new terminal was due to open in 2008 but didn’t officially open until two years later. It is twice as big as Terminal 2 and has 86 check-in desks, twenty boarding gates of which twelvMalaga Airport Terminal Mape have jet ways. Key features of the terminal are that it has the biggest food court in Europe and also the first and only National Geographic shop in the world. Terminal 3 has an operating capacity of 15m passengers, doubling the airport’s capability and readying it for the projected expansion of the next few years.

The new arrangements leave Terminal 3 as the main operating terminal controlling Piers B, C and the new Pier D. Terminal 2 takes a small proportion of the airport’s passengers whilst Terminal 1 stays defunct. Arrivals on all medium and large bodied planes will use Terminal 3 whilst small planes such as those operated by Flybe use terminal 2.

A new runway opened in 2012, doubling the landing capacity at the airport and again, adding extra facilities vital for the airport’s future.

Access To and From the Airport:

Malaga Airport is one of the easiest airports to get to and from as it has a very comprehensive transport infrastructure;

By Road: The MA-21 passes by the airport which is an adequate road but most travellers travel southwest on the MA-21 to the roundabout at junction 2 and travel southeast onto the MA-20 which joins the AP-7, the main coastal motorway for the resorts of the Costa del Sol.

Car hire is exceptionally good value at the airport and is one of the cheapest in Europe. There is a huge range of cars to choose from and after completing the paperwork in Terminal 3’s arrivals hall you go down a level to the basement to collect your car. Fuel is currently €1.40 for unleaded and a couple of cents cheaper for diesel. Malaga has one of the highest petrol prices in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona so be prepared.

Car parking at the airport is all covered and consists of 3,700 spaces, all accessed from the transportation hub.

By Train: Outside Terminal 3 is the airport’s transport hub which contains the bus station and the train station as well as access ways to the airport car parks. The train station is an underground one for the Cercanias Malaga Commuter Train Network. It links to Malaga city and also to Fuengirola with a potential extension to Algeciras and Marbella in the pipeline. Currently the trains operate every twenty minutes so, if you’d prefer to hire a car in Marbella itself you can easily get into the city centre.

By Bus: The transportation hub is also a major bus station with four routes operated by three different companies. You can buy tickets for onward travel at the airport and connect to most destinations within the city and along the coast.

Airport Shopping:

Almost all shopping outlets are found on level 1 of Terminal 3. There are nineteen shops, some with multiple outlets with a wide range of goods on offer. 
What's on offer?
Selling the typical range of clothes, shoes and other sports accessories you’d expect of Adidas, there are many bargains to be had, especially if flying out to a non-EU country. It’s in the post-security zone so not accessible to all airport visitors.
Adolfo Dominguez
A Spanish designer label selling fabulous fashion for men and women complete with accessories including ties, jewellery, shoes and bags.
Arrivals Store
The store has outlets in both terminals and is the duty free outlet for the airport. Confusingly called Arrivals, it’s actually after security in Departures.
Not too difficult to work out what you’ll buy in this shop. Specialising in high class chocolates and posh sweets, beautifully packaged. High prices though!
Crystal Media
This is your standard airport electronics store and has many small electronic items from the main brands. You’ll also find many discounted Apple products as a large range of laptops and PC accessories. Cameras are also a good bargain.
Cottet Sol
Cottet Sol is a cross between Sunglasses Hut and Swatch selling designer sunglasses and fun and funky watches. Brands such as Oakley, Ray-Ban, Swatch, Sekonda and more can be bought at lower than high street prices.
Desire is a little like an upmarket Accessorize with costume jewellery and other small fashion accessories. A little pricier than its English counterpart, the quality is better.
Express Shop
This is another Duty Free outlet, slightly smaller than Arrivals but with a good range of gifts, chocolates, perfume, spirits, wines and tobacco products.
If you need last minute toiletries or some medication before or after your trip, the Farmacia will have all you need. They’re also able to dispense basic medical advice and help.
More fashion, this time from the sports car manufacturer. You’ll look great with a Ferrari handbag and guys, the Ferrari jackets or even a low cost baseball cap are worth a visit.
The world famous crocodile brand is here at the airport. From once being a cheap brand of polo shirts, you’ll now pay anything from €50 for a polo shirt but just a little cheaper in the airport outlet.
Libreria Luces
This is the airport newsagents. Think Spanish WH Smith and you’ll be partway there. Books, magazines and the dailies with many English titles available means that you can pick up a read quickly and grab a chocolate bar and drink at the same time.
Mix Point
Mix Point is a second newsagents located at the other end of the departure lounge and sells almost exactly the same items as Libreria Luces but has a smaller range of books.
Museum Shop
This sounds a little strange but isn’t what you think. Instead of pencil sharpeners and notepads with historic pictures on it, the Museum Shop sells local traditional products and is a great place to pick up last minute gifts for friends and family or to get a quality souvenir instead of the straw donkey.
Travel Mate
Travel Mate sells lots of travel related products. Whilst it may seem a strange place to buy a new suitcase, they also sell wallets, purses, travel money belts as well as travel adaptors and anything else that is useful for trips overseas.
Sibarium is one of the must visit shops in the Departure lounge. You’ll have enjoyed many fresh, new and exciting tastes on your visit to Malaga and in this shop you’ll be able to buy many of the unique products that have tempted your taste buds. Many of them make great gifts too but you may be too tempted to keep products like olives, olive oil and herbs for your own use.
The Sweet Market
Try keeping the kids away from this one! All manner of sweets both traditional Spanish and international are available packeted or loose in those jars from long ago.
Why go to one fashion store and have a limited range of clothes to choose from when you can have many to choose from under one roof. Hugo Boss, Armani, Lauren and more are found there under one roof and all at discounted prices.

The Future:

The airport is hoping for a continuation in the recent growth of the airport traffic and is marketing itself as the airport of choice for the Costa del Sol. It’s also muscling in on traffic that would normally arrive at Gibraltar Airport as the difference in travel times to many of the south coast resorts between each airport is negligible. Malaga Airport also has the added attraction of many more routes and cheaper ticket prices on many of them as well as lower cost car hire than Gibraltar.

Capacity is now at 30m after the opening of Terminal 3 but when the refurbishment of Terminal 1 is complete, this will increase further as traffic currently from Terminal 2 will use Terminal 1 allowing much of the Terminal 2 space to be incorporated into Terminal 3.
Increased traffic is expected to come from the opening of the second runway last year and to service it, a new second fire station has been built and a power station to supply electricity to the runways has also been brought into service.

Transport improvements include the possibility of a dedicated dual carriageway from the airport linking to the east and west AP-7. When funds are received from the European Investment Bank, plans to extend the suburban train line to Marbella will be implemented but this is not expected to happen until later this year allowing quicker and convenient access to Marbella from Malaga Airport.

Help for the Less Mobile:

It’s preferable to request assistance at least 48 hours in advance of your arrival from airport staff on 034 91 321 1000 or by using the request form on

There are many meeting points both inside and outside the terminals and are recognised as black signs with yellow and black symbols with push buttons for calling assistance. Staff should arrive to help you within ten minutes of you pressing the button and from there you will be personally assisted through all stages of the airport procedure.

The airport conforms fully to EU Regulation 1107/2006 on the treatment of mobility restricted passengers and asks that passengers give their feedback after their airport experience. There is a downloadable guide to assistance at Malaga Airport available from

Malaga Airport Assistance for Persons with reduced mobility

Driving in Malaga Guide - Need to know


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    EUR  1.12/Ltr

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Malaga city is often overlooked in the rush to the coastal resorts but with a hire car you can spend time on the beach and in the historic city. The oldest remaining part is the Quecha theatre which dates from the 1st century. Deeper into the city you’ll find the historic old town, still showing many signs of Moorish influence.

Higher up is the fortress of Gibralfaro and the Alcazabar, a Moorish bastion and palace. Outside of the city, spend time exploring the mountains behind the coast of this part of Andalucia where, even in summer the air is cool.

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