Is Malaga safe to visit? A comprehensive safety guide
Founded by the Phoenicians and named Malaka around 1000 B.C., Malaga is a port city and the capital of Costa del Sol in the Andalusia region, southern Spain. Its mild climate, rich Mediterranean cuisine, culture, and stunning beaches make it a favorite destination among travelers, especially in summer when crowds flock to the city for music, festivals, food, and water activities.
Malaga is home to approximately 580,000 people and is visited by roughly two million tourists each year, who admire its impressive blend of culture and the sea. Its historical spots include El Teatro Romano de Málaga and the magnificent Castillo de Gibralfaro, perched on a hill overlooking the city. Besides the intriguing monuments, visitors can also explore the numerous natural attractions and beaches that offer a unique combination of culture, sun, and fun.
You won’t run out of things to do and places to visit in this charming Spanish city, but losing your property can quickly ruin your trip. The last thing you’d want is to chase down missing items while traveling, so entrust your valuables with the Bounce luggage service in Malaga to explore the city without worries and burden.
Is Malaga safe to visit right now?
Visiting the stunning city of Malaga is safe, with a safety score of 76 based on the Travel Safe Abroad Index. It is one of the safest cities in the region of Andalusia, welcoming millions who enjoy its landmarks and activities and return home safely without incident.
Your chance of experiencing or witnessing a violent crime in Malaga is low, and there are no known natural disasters to worry about on your trip. Even newcomers feel safe when walking at night, allowing them to take advantage of the city’s colorful nightlife.
Although a very safe city, you should remain alert and careful with where you go and how you act. Avoid reckless behaviors, like drinking too much or flashing your jewelry and money. Like most cities, petty crime exists in Malaga, like pickpocketing, which is common around popular tourist landmarks, public markets, and other crowded places, such as shopping centers and bus and train stations. Even airports, including Málaga Airport, the main international airport serving the Costa del Sol, aren’t safe from scammers and opportunistic criminals waiting for their next victim.
No perfect safety guide exists, so you should do additional research on Malaga safety before your trip. Experienced traveler or not, you should always check your government’s travel guidelines for the city or country you plan to visit.
Top petty crimes and scams in Malaga affecting tourists
Often, the more crowded a place, the higher the safety risks. But despite being one of Spain’s largest cities, crime rates in Malaga are significantly low. However, it’s not without petty crimes and scams targeting newcomers and unsuspecting visitors.
No price menu
Be suspicious of food establishments without a price list on the menu. If you come across a restaurant in Malaga that gives you a menu without including the prices, beware of overcharging. Even if the restaurant doesn’t look high-end, there’s a chance that the prices are higher than you thought. Another version of this scam is when a restaurant offers a daily special that’s not on the menu but turns out to be very expensive.
Petition and financial aid scams
It’s common in Malaga and other cities in Spain where locals will encourage you to sign a petition supporting a charitable cause. The chances of this being a scam are pretty high, so don’t make a donation even if they pressure you to do so. If possible, don’t engage with them in the first place. It might also be a distracting tactic, as while you’re busy conversing with them, they might take this chance to steal from you.
Some scammers are more direct in their approach to asking for financial aid. They will tell you their story to appeal to your conscience, then urge you to give them money to buy food, contact their family, or go to the police station. Unfortunately, this is likely a scam to get something out of their victim.
Malaga’s pickpocketing rate isn’t high despite being a relatively populated city. There are cases, but it’s not very prevalent. Still, you should remain vigilant and be aware of crowded spaces. If you keep your valuables close to you or stow them with Bounce, are mindful of your surroundings, and don’t wander alone at night, you’ll be safe.
Is Malaga safe to travel alone
Malaga is not, in any way, more dangerous for solo travelers than those traveling with a group, though you should still be alert and exercise caution, as you would when visiting a new place. It’s a wonderful solo travel destination where you can meet friendly and welcoming people. It has a relaxed vibe, and you’ll find hundreds walking the streets at night around touristy places, so you won’t feel alone and lonely.
Spain has a safety score of 66.13 based on the Bounce Women Travel Safety Index, and 78% of women feel safe walking alone at night in the country. And as Spain’s sixth-largest city, Malaga is a safe place for solo female travelers. You can be in charge of your itinerary, explore at your own pace, and visit as many landmarks and attractions as possible without worrying about any threat to your safety.
Safest neighborhoods in Malaga
Finding a safe neighborhood in Malaga isn’t a challenge, as there are many options you can choose from. Whether you’re into the city’s beaches, restaurants, and nightlife or prefer a quiet and peaceful vacation, there’s a place for you. Here are some of the safest Malaga neighborhoods and a few places you shouldn’t let your guard down if you plan to visit.
La Malagueta is among the best neighborhoods in Malaga for its beaches, dining and shopping options, and general safety. It’s a favorite tourist spot, especially during the peak summer season. Still, the neighborhood and its beaches are generally considered peaceful, so you can enjoy your stay here freely.
Consider Segalerva, located far north of Malaga, for a quieter stay. The neighborhood is mainly domestic and away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s, therefore, calm and more peaceful than most areas in Malaga. It’s also not too remote, as the city center is only 1.5 kilometers away.
Plaza de Toros Vieja
Plaza de Toros Vieja is one of the most peaceful neighborhoods in Malaga, making it ideal for families with long-term plans to reside in the city. This small district is primarily residential, so it’s mostly made up of houses and apartments. This means there’s not much going on here, and not exactly the most fun neighborhood for tourists. However, safety-wise, you can rest assured that you’re secure in Plaza de Toros Vieja.
Regardless of where you are in Malaga, you don’t always have to be on edge for your safety. As mentioned, the city is generally peaceful, with low crime rates. However, it’s always better to be wary of potential dangers. Be extra careful when you’re in La Palma, Cruz Verde Street, and Trinidad.
Is Malaga public transportation safe?
There’s a low risk when taking public transport in Malaga, so you can hop on the bus or train without trouble. It is reliable, very safe, and clean, allowing you to explore the towns and neighborhoods around the city. However, keep an eye on your belongings to avoid being a victim of pickpocketing, as petty thieves typically operate in busy bus and train stations.
Taxis are a safe option and recommended when traveling late at night. But make sure to use licensed taxi services, as some taxi drivers might try to scam you by overcharging, or you might encounter fake drivers. It’s best to book your taxi or airport transfer online through a reputable taxi company.
Important emergency numbers in Malaga
Anything can happen to anyone, anywhere, so it’s important to be prepared at all times. As part of your travel preparations, you must know what number to call in case of an emergency during your trip to Malaga. You should also be aware of your embassy number and always keep their contact details wherever you go.
- Spain country code: +34
- Malaga area code: +34-95
- Emergencies: 112
- National Police: 091
- Local Police: 092
- Guardia Civil: 062
- Ambulance: 061
- Fire brigade: 080
Organize a safe trip to Malaga
You’ve made the right choice of planning a visit to one of the most spectacular coastal cities in Andalusia, Spain. It has everything to please visitors and keep them busy and is a peaceful and safe destination to add to your travel bucket list. As you keep your belongings close to you and be mindful of your surroundings, you can ensure a safe and memorable trip to Malaga.
Navigating such a large city may be tricky, so get valuable tips and information on How to Get Around Malaga. You might also want to check out our guide on Where to Stay in Malaga: The Ultimate Guide to know which area would be best to spend your days in the city.