Located in Southern Spain in Costa del Sol you will find the city of Malaga. Malaga is one of Spain's most popular tourist destinations for great beaches, parties, and culture, but you need to be in the right neighborhood to maximize your experience. If you are there for the party scene, El Palo is not the right neighborhood to stay in, and if you have children you are not going to be happy with the noisy atmosphere of La Merced.
There is never really a bad time of year to visit Malaga, but finding the best accommodation deals in the summer when tourism is at its peak is a bit of a challenge. For that reason, we've compiled this ultimate neighborhood guide to help you find the best area for you to stay in Malaga, Spain. And it doesn't matter if you prefer a luxury or budget hotel, you will find one in every area of the city that will suit your needs and budget.
If you want to explore Malaga before you can check in to your hotel or if you have time before your flight home, store your luggage at a Malaga bag storage service. It's just what you need to lighten the load while you sightsee.
Where to stay in Old Town - Downtown Malaga
If you have never been to Malaga before and wondering where to stay, the Old Town is your best choice. Near Malaga bus station, Old Town is right in the Malaga city centre and within walking distance of so many great attractions Malaga offers. Being the busiest area of the city, it tends to be a little noisier but that is to be expected when you are in the middle of all the action.
Staying in Old Town will give you access to a wide variety of places to eat from tapas bars to the most trendy and fashionable restaurants. You will also be close to most of the "must-see" tourist attractions like the Malaga Cathedral, Picasso Museum, and Calle Marques de Larios.
Old Town is also home to La Alcazaba, one of the most beautiful Moorish castles in Spain, and the Teatro Romano de Malaga, the old Roman theatre. From Old Town to La Malagueta beach is only a five to ten-minute walk, depending on how often you stop to take pictures of the incredible architecture.
Old Town downtown Malaga has many accommodation options from luxury hotels to more budget-friendly ones and you can even find reasonably priced boutique hotels.
If you are looking for a luxury hotel to pamper yourself, the Vincci Seleccion Posada del Patio is a great choice. It has everything you require, high-speed free wifi, a fitness centre, and an amazing terrace with a rooftop pool and bar. The spacious rooms are equipped with a flat screen tv, mini bar, and a private balcony. All that combined with excellent customer service makes for one of the best hotel stays in Malaga.
A 4-star hotel at a 3-star price, the Ilunion Malaga offers tourists a touch of luxury without breaking the bank. A spa, steam rooms, an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, plus a great breakfast buffet, and it is located a block from the beach. For those on a budget, the Dulces Dreams Boutique Hostel is a good choice with cozy rooms, a great location, and a rooftop terrace. Be aware that not all rooms have air conditioning, but most have balconies and views of the Church of Martyrs.
Where to stay in Soho
Escape the crowds and touristy areas of Malaga by booking your hotel in the trendy Bohemian district of Soho. This is an ideal place to stay in Malaga if you are looking to save some money or are into urban art. The streets are alive with street murals and graffiti art that you can spend hours exploring.
The area is not as clean as other parts of Malaga, but this just means fewer tourists and less expensive places to stay. In fact, the Soho area has many inexpensive boutique hotels and other great affordable accommodations. There is plenty of public transport available with the intercity bus station and Maria Zambrano train station nearby. Being so close to the train station also makes getting to and from the Malaga airport easy.
There are a number of things to do in Soho besides checking out the street art scene. Two markets worth exploring are the 19th-century building that holds the Mercado Central de Atarazanas where you will find great food and tapas bars. The other is Made in Soho Market, a shopping market full of crafts, art, antiques and some great vintage items, but it takes place on the first Saturday of the month.
You can also hang out at the hip bars and cafes at the Plaza de la Marina, take a stroll or have a picnic in Parque de Malaga.
While there are no luxury hotels in the Soho district there are certainly excellent mid-range priced ones. A couple of the best boutique hotels are the Soho Boutique Colon and the Hotel Soho Boutique Malaga. While these places have very limited facilities, the rooms are well equipped and comfortable. For a hotel that offers more amenities like a fitness centre, your best bet is the Eurostar Malaga, also in the mid-price range.
If you really want to save some money, Airbnb has some great deals in the Soho area. The top of the list would be La Casita de Atarazanas, located just on the western edge of the Soho. It is a full apartment with a kitchen and washing facilities, great for a family.
Where to stay in El Perchel
If you are on a tight budget, El Perchel might be just the right spot for you. The area is not a designer hotspot or even a trendy hip place, in fact, it is more like the true Malaga. It is actually the oldest neighborhood in Malaga and it shows. The fishermen still bring in their daily catch to sell at the Mercado del Carmen just as they have done for centuries.
Not being a tourist area, in some ways, makes El Perchel an even better place to stay in Malaga. You can really get a sense of community in El Perchel that other areas of Malaga are missing, not to mention some of the best seafood restaurants in the city. And there are plenty of free things to do in the area, making it ideal for those on a strict budget.
You can check out some of the free places like the Convento de San Andres with its historical past as a hospital, prison, military barracks, and, of course, a convent. Hang out at the Jardines Picasso (Picasso Gardens) with its giant ficus trees and monuments dedicated to the artist. There are a couple of really cool Virtual Reality centers in Perchel as well that will keep you and your kids entertained for hours.
You can find some pretty nice hotels in Perchel. One of the best hotels to stay in is the Barcelo Malaga, with a price of what you would pay for a 2 or 3-star hotel in the city centre, but here you are getting 4-star accommodation. There are plenty of on site amenities like a fitness centre, pool with a view, steam room and more. Spacious rooms that include room service, soundproofed walls, and free wifi are all available.
If you are not worried about amenities, check out Pension Terminal, the best hostel in the area, close to the Malaga train station. Better yet, rooms and apartments on Airbnb in Perchel can save you a ton of money compared to a hotel. One of the best-rated ones is run by Superhost Thamara, it is only three blocks from the beach and has all the comforts of home, but you do have to share a bathroom.
Where to stay in Pedregalejo and El Palo Beach
Looking for accommodations outside of Malaga will definitely save you money. Head to the east of the city and you will find yourself in one of the best places for families and beach lovers. The beaches in these areas are not nearly as crowded as most famous urban beaches like La Malagueta Beach, although they are still pretty busy in the summer months.
The promenade is lined with beach bars, restaurants, and kids' play areas for when they are not splashing in the water. The kids will love to play here and for other family activities, read our guide. And the view from the shore is pretty amazing with the small fishing boats lining the horizon. Just imagine sitting on the beach with an ice cream or a cold drink in your hand, watching the waves roll in, and a warm summer breeze on your face. Perfect!
With beautiful calm water for swimming, six man-made coves, and miles of sandy beaches to relax on, you may never go into the city of Malaga. When you do decide to head into Malaga, you can either hire a car, which is pretty cheap, or take a number 3 or 11 bus into the city.
One of the best hotels you can stay at is the charming and modern Hotel LaChancla featuring two terraces (one on the roof with a bar), a massage spa, and rooms with a fireplace. The price is a third of what you would spend in the Malaga city centre, and it is right on the beach. This is one of the best beach resorts whether you are visiting Malaga in the summer or winter.
A great little boutique hotel is the Hotel Elcano, not far from the beach and a little more secluded from the crowds, making it perfect for couples on a romantic getaway. Aunt Antonia Beach House is a wonderful luxury apartment-style that has a private sun terrace with beach views from all the rooms. It costs a little more but it is a great choice for families or couples who want a great location and direct access to the beach.
Where to stay in La Merced
Party people of the world unite! For those who love to party and were wondering where to stay in Malaga for the best nightlife, you have found it. Calle Carreteria and Calle Alamo host a plethora of clubs and discos, more than any other area in the city. But it is not only about the parties. Plaza de la Merced is a hub of arts too, with live theaters, film festivals, and fashion shows.
La Merced also has the best music scene. From big rock and symphony concerts to intimate jazz bars, live gigs everywhere, really, La Merced has it all. It is also a haven for foodies with the best local and international culinary delights to sample on your adventures through the evenings.
Plaza de la Merced just happens to be the birthplace and childhood neighborhood of Malaga's most famous son Pablo Picasso. The Plaza is like a reflection of Picasso himself, vibrant and full of life. If you are looking for peace and quiet at night, this is definitely the wrong spot for you.
Accommodation options in the area are pretty wide-ranging. If you are on one of those luxury holidays then there is only one place for you to stay in Malaga, the Palacio Solecio. What you get is huge soundproof rooms, impeccable service and food. On the other end of the spectrum is the Minimal Rooms by iloftmalaga, a bit on the smaller side but very nice. Both offer shuttle service to the Malaga airport and are close to the Picasso Museum and Malaga Cathedral.
Where to Stay in Malaga
Malaga is not that big of a city so wherever you decide to stay you will be able to hit the highlights, like Calle Larios, Alcazaba, and the Carmen Thyssen Museum. And with 16 beaches located nearby, you can really soak up some Mediterranean sun. From the old city to beach resorts and everything in between, a stay in Malaga is always a treat!