How To Get Around Malaga13 April, 2022by Bounce
Malaga is a big city but the historic center is pretty compact making it a breeze to walk around and explore on foot. Though the city centre may be easy to navigate on foot, some of the best attractions are located further away from Malaga city centre. To get to them you will need to either use Malaga public transport, rent a bike, a taxi or a car.
Public transportation in Malaga is abundant, affordable and easy to use. You can choose to commute with buses, segway, taxis, trains, bicycles, hop-on hop-off buses, or bike taxis to make your stay in Malaga as pleasant as possible.
But before you get on the hop on-hop off bus or any other form of getting around this terrific city, store your stuff somewhere safe. You can do that at a luggage storage service in Malaga and go about your day without having to worry about your belongings. Enjoy the sights!
Get to and from Malaga Airport
There are several options to get from Malaga-Coast del Sol Airport (sometimes called the Pablo Ruiz Picasso Airport) to Malaga city centre. Bus and train are the cheapest ways but you can travel by taxi, Uber, limo, rent a car, or shuttle depending on your accommodations.
The cheapest way to get to the airport is by train. The C1 trains run roughly every 20 minutes from 5:42 am to 11:20 pm and will get you to the Malaga city centre in about 12 minutes. If you are staying further out like Fuengirola, Benalmadena, or Torremolinos it will take a little longer and you will need to transfer lines.
The last station is Centro-Alameda which puts you right in the middle of the city. There are 3 stops in between including Malaga Maria Zambrano station, the main train station, and the High-Speed Train. The cost is about $2 unless you are traveling to one of the outer regions of Costa del Sol. The tickets can be bought at the airport from vending machines.
Taking the Airport Express Line bus will also save you money and, unlike the train, it runs 24 hours, however after midnight the hours are very limited. The buses run every 30-45 minutes depending on traffic and tickets can be bought right on the bus for around $5. It is a little slower, about 25 minutes to downtown, but might actually get you closer to your hotel than the train.
Taxis and Private Transfers
Taxis and private transfers are always an option, as they are convenient and will get you directly to your final destination. The cost will be around $25 depending on the distance and time to your destination. Taxi fares from the airport are also more expensive for late-night runs. Be cautious of unofficial taxis, look for white taxis with a blue stripe on the side. Private transfers will wait for you at the arrival gate with a name card for 45 minutes.
Renting a car is always an option to get from Malaga Airport, and possibly the better choice if your accommodations are outside of Malaga, like El Palo. The major car rental companies have desks in Terminals 2 and 3, smaller local companies are just outside the airport gates and can be reached by a courtesy bus.
It is very easy to get around Malaga without a car and there is very little free parking available, so hiring a car may not be necessary. And it can be a little stressful driving on such narrow streets.
How to get around Malaga by bus
Malaga bus station is modern and large. The bus system in Malaga is quite extensive, even though the city itself is rather compact. Fifty bus lines offer transportation to and from many of the attractions within the city and to the outer villages and towns. Using the bus can be a great way to explore Malaga and is one of the cheapest ways to travel around the city.
If you are only going to use a bus a few times, it's best to pay the single-bus ticket at a price of about 1.40 EUR, or 1.80 USD, but you have to pay in euros, of course. This price is a one-way charge and doesn’t allow for transfers. You can buy a ticket right on the bus and you don’t need to have the exact amount as the bus drivers will provide change. But make sure you pay with a 5 EUR bill or less.
For those who plan on using the bus as the main way to get around the city and hit all the tourist attractions, getting a Bonobus card will save you quite a bit of money. You can buy them at an estancos (tobacconist) stand, just look for the Venta de Bonobus sign. It ends up being about 1 USD per ride, you can transfer lines for free for an hour, and you only need one card for multiple people.
The cards can be recharged at an estancos or online, just go to the EMT Malaga website to get more info. Almost all the buses are wheelchair and walker accessible and many of the bus stops have electronic display schedules. You can also TEXT the bus number to find out when the next one arrives.
The public bus is a good option to see the city but it can be slow at peak times. Another great way to check out Malaga is a hop-on-hop-off bus. These buses run about every 30 minutes from 9:30 am to 6:30 pm. The red double-decker buses are also easy to spot. There are different packages and some include free boat and walking tours, or free entry passes to other attractions.
How to get around Malaga by train
There are two train lines in Malaga and they are both commuter trains, which means not a lot of stops and pretty much a direct line to the outer urban areas to the Northwest and Southwest. Most of the big tourist hot spots are more easily accessible by other modes of transportation, such as walking or bus. The train is great for getting to and from the airport as we described above, as it runs frequently and will get you there quickly and cheaply.
How to get around Malaga by car
Renting a car in Malaga is pretty common, as it is in most cities in Spain. If you are looking to rent a car you can find most car hire spots at the Malaga Airport or Maria Zambrano Station, or Malaga city centre. Prices vary depending on the company, but if you are not planning on leaving the city, than you are better off without one.
The city can be hard to get around with a car, especially the old town known for its narrow streets. Finding parking spots can be a little challenging too, so its best to stick to public transport, bicycle, bike taxis or walking.
How to get around Malaga by taxi
Taxis in Malaga are a common way to get around the city. Unlike other European cities, taxis in Malaga are affordable. For instance, a taxi from the airport to Malaga city centre will cost you around $25 and if you are traveling within the city centre expect to pay about $10-$15 for a short trip. If you are not sure, you can always ask the driver what the cost may be before you get in.
Families and friends traveling together short distances may be better off getting around in a taxi rather than looking at public transport options. Taxis in Malaga can be found almost anywhere in the city and you can always hail one from the street; they are white with a diagonal blue line on the side.
How to get around Malaga by bicycle
With 18 miles of cycling lanes, biking in Malaga is one of the best ways to get around the city. It is convenient, eco-friendly and affordable. If you have your own bicycle even better, but you can always rent a city bike for a couple of hours, or as long as you need to get to all the main sights in one day.
Prices vary depending on the company you use. One of the most popular services is Malaga Bici, a city bike rental company offering free 30 minutes, and past that is only $0.02 per minute. You can pick up a city bike at several self-service points throughout the city centre, and when you are done biking for the day you can return your bike at any of these spots.
How to get around Malaga by bike taxis
Another unique way to ride through the city is with a bike or tricycle taxi also known as Trixi, which is kind of a rickshaw but on wheels. Getting around Malaga in a Trixi is another eco-friendly mode of transport that is fun, quick and affordable. You ride in a pod-like carriage which is completely covered, making it safe to travel in the rain too.
The taxi driver is your tour guide too, so you can sit back, relax and learn about Malaga's top sights, without having to worry you'll be stuck in traffic. There are many companies where you can rent a bike taxi from, offering different prices, but on average a bike taxi ride costs about 10USD per person.
The bike taxis can be found all around downtown and they usually take you to the main sights in the city like the Plaza de la Marina, the main shopping centers, Maria Zambrano train station, or the Port. Tricycle taxis operate from 10am to 8 pm every day, but if you need to ride one outside these hours, make sure to book in advance.
Malaga on Segway
Exploring Malaga on a Segway can be lots of fun if you are up for the ride. Segways are becoming a popular means of transport in every city because they are fast, exciting and eco-friendly. In Malaga, you will see many locals commute on a Segway, but tourists get the chance to rent one and explore the city too. The Segway tours offer many different routes, and most include free entrance to the main attractions.
You can book a Segway Tour from any Segway company in Malaga and there are plenty. Keep in mind that since it's new, Segway is a bit more expensive way to explore the city (about 35 USD per hour), but if you are up for the fun and a different then the usual ride, it is all worth it. To rent a Segway you will need your ID. Don't worry if you have never been on a segway ride before, as you will be provided with training, plus you will wear a reflective safety coat and a protective helmet.
Can I get around Malaga by foot?
If you prefer exploring Malaga on foot, you can certainly do so, as it's the best way to see all the major attractions, not to mention it's free. Walking in Malaga allows you to move at your own pace and make as many stops as you'd like, such as the wonderful Plaza de la Merced or the Museo Carmen Thyssen. There is no rush to hop back on the bus or look for a parking space. All you need is sunny day, a set of comfy shoes, and a bottle of water and you can easily walk from one attraction to another.
If you are good with maps and guide books, stop by any tourist information center and grab a few leaflets. This way you will know which walking tours are more popular, and which routes to avoid. Guided walking tours are also available to purchase, which are great for tourists who can't be bothered to explore and search for sights on their own. If you want to walk to the beach, it will only take you 20 minutes to get there from the city centre. Enjoy the scenic walk and wonderful views of the park and the modern docks.
See Malaga in Many Ways
There are many means of transport in Malaga. Whether you are traveling alone or with the family, the city offers affordable and easy to use public transport that will take you to any destination in Malaga and the outskirts.
Make sure to see places like the Gibralfaro Castle and coastal towns like Fuengirola. From buses, trains, and Trixis, to riding a bicycle or simply walking, getting around in Malaga can't get any easier. Whether it's night buses you need or bikes for a short distance excursion, Malaga is fantastic any way you choose!