“Ciudad del paraíso” the paradise city. This is how the Nobel Prize winner for literature, Vicente Aleixandre, described Málaga. A city that vibrates with life and fascinates with its mixture of ancient history, folklore and modern culture. And of course, it is easy to imagine paradise in this harbour city with nearly 3,000 hours of sunshine a year and several kilometres of beach right in the centre. Sadly many visitors to the coast never visit the city itself. They land at the airport, dash off to Fuengirola and return to the airport a few days or weeks later – without once having visited the city!
Málaga’s Pablo Ruíz Picasso airport is approximately 10 kilometres from the city centre and has good transportation with the entire Costa del Sol. It is easy to get to Fuengirola by train or taxi. The train takes 40 minutes and a taxi between 20 and 30 minutes. The train costs approx. 3.50 and depart every 20 minutes normally. Taxis to Málaga centre cost 15 euros and 35/40 euros to Fuengirola approximately. Phone: +34 902 404 704
I always recommend that you book your transfer from the airport in advance.
Thanks to the new motorways, a transfer from Malaga airport to Fuengirola will take only about 25 minutes to get to most hotels in the town. Mijas is about 30 minutes and Marbella about three quarters of an hour only. Your transfers can be booked at: malagaairporttaxi.net
They cover both the east and west of the coast and come highly recommended.
Málaga has accommodation at all price levels and all standards. You can choose from city centre, beach or airport hotels. There are no 4 or 5 star hotels at the airport so if this is the type of accommodation you require you will have to leave the airport. There is, however, a Parador some 3kms away at the golf course.
All major booking engines will be full of special offers and AirBNB will also have many choices.
Buses from Málaga bus station at Paseo de los Tilos go to, for example, Marbella, Estepona, Granada, Córdoba, Ronda, Madrid and Seville. Departure times can be found here. Please note this site is by no means comprehensive! The reason is that the bus station serves dozens of different bus companies and some are better than others at updating their information.
The main train station is right next door. It is rather splendidly called Estación Málaga – María Zambrano (after a local writer). Trains depart to Sevilla, Córdoba, Madrid and Barcelona among others. Departure times here. Suburban (“local”) trains which run between Málaga and Fuengirola (C1) and Álora (C2) leave from both the main station and at other stops in the centre. The terminus station is Alameda and is in a subway next to the post office on Avenida Principal. Tickets MUST be bought in advance.
You can catch city buses on Alameda Principal or Paseo Parque. Tickets are purchased on the bus.
Taxis are booked via Unitaxi, but it is just as easy to hail one on the street. Alternatively, you can go to one of the city’s taxi ranks.
Phone: +34 952 333 333
The pharmacies are usually open from 10.00-20.30 with a siesta from 13.30-17.00. Farmacia Reding, Paseo De Reding 17 (opposite the bullring on Plaza de Toros), is one of the pharmacies that are open 24 hours a day, Tel: +34 952 223 731.
You can download a complete travel guide free of charge from the Arrival Guides website
What to do
Alcazaba and Gibralfaro are military forts dating from the period of Arab rule. There is a palace inside the walls with a beautiful garden and spectacular views. The Roman theatre just beneath was built during the first century A.D. and has recently been restored and renovated after many years of neglect.
Address: Calle de la Alcazabilla 2
Phone: +34 952 217 646
Málaga cathedral was built between 1500-1700 on the site once occupied by the Aljama Mosque. Renaissance style with a Baroque main façade and décor.
Address: Plaza del Obispo
This beautiful museum from the 16th-century Buenavista Palace is a must for all visitors to Málaga, young and old. Thanks to the grand-master’s daughter-in-law, Christine, and grandchild Bernard, the museum boasts a collection of nearly 200 works of art. Just a stone-throw away, at Plaza de la Merced, the house where Picasso was born, is also open to the public.
Address: Calle San Agustn 8
Phone: +34 952 127 600
Websites: (museum) and foundation
Jardín Botánico (Botanical Garden)
The affluent couple Jorge Loring and Amalia Heredia created this fantastic garden around their Hacienda La Concepción in the 19th-century. 30,000 square meters with 500 tropical plants.
Address: Camino del Jardín Botánico 3
Phone: +34 952 252 148
Arab baths in a cosy, relaxing environment in the centre of Málaga’s old town, near Plaza de la Merced.
Address: Calle Tomas De Cozar 13
Phone: +34 952 212 327