If you’re visiting Malaga then you’re probably interested in seeing some of the surrounding area. While there is plenty to see and do within Malaga itself, one of the best things about visiting this city is all of the amazing day trips from Malaga that you can take.
Located on the stunning Costa del Sol in southern Spain, Malaga is a city known for its rich history, beautiful beaches, and vibrant cultural scene. And Malaga sits in a prime location for being within hours of so many breathtaking places.
From charming whitewashed villages nestled in the mountains to picturesque coastal towns with pristine beaches, there are countless options for exploring beyond Malaga’s borders. Whether you’re seeking a relaxing beach getaway or an adventure through ancient ruins, these day trips from Malaga offer something for every type of traveler.
Quick guide to day trips from Malaga
If you’ve decided to spend time in and around Malaga and want to use Malaga as your home base for taking day trips, here is a list of some of the best day trips from Malaga Spain. All of these places are easitly accessible as day trip from Malaga.
- Granada: Explore the Alhambra palace, a UNESCO world heritage site.
- Ronda: A picturesque town known for its dramatic gorge and bridge.
- Setenil de las Bodegas: This town’s homes and buildings are built into the rocks.
- Gibraltar: A British Territory with the iconic landmark, the Rock of Gibraltar.
- Antequera: Visit prehistoric burial mounds (dolmens) dating back thousands of years.
- Nerja: A charming coastal town with the famous Nerja Caves.
- Frigiliana: Town with well-preserved Moorish architecture and white-washed houses.
- Caminito del Rey: A narrow cliffside path with breathtaking views in El Chorro Gorge.
- Marbella: Luxury resort town with beautiful beaches, lively nightlife, and lots of shopping.
- Mijas: A small town with white-washed buildings and cobblestone streets.
Remember that personal preferences play a significant role in determining whether a destination is enjoyable for a day trip. Some people may find appeal in the bustling atmosphere and modern amenities of some of the towns mentioned above, while others may prefer the quieter, more historic charm of nearby villages like Mijas. It’s always a good idea to research and consider your interests and expectations when planning day trips from Malaga.
A little about Malaga’s History
Malaga, situated in southern Spain, has a rich history dating back to Phoenician times in the 8th century BCE. Successively ruled by Romans, Visigoths, and Moors, it thrived as an Islamic center during Al-Andalus. The Catholic Monarchs’ Reconquest in 1487 marked its shift to Christian rule. In the 19th and 20th centuries, Malaga underwent urban development and economic growth. Today, it is a vibrant city, blending historic charm with modern amenities, drawing tourists with its cultural heritage and coastal allure.
How many days To Spend in Malaga
I loved the city of Malaga and it was one of those places where I kept thinking how I could absolutely live there. How many days you need to spend in Malaga depends on what you want to see and how you like to spend your time when you’re on vacation.
If your travel style is kind of slow paced and you like to take your time exploring every inch of a museum or spend 3 hours at lunch people watching, then you’ll need more time in Malaga. If you don’t care so much for museums or you like to quickly see a place and then move on to the next spot then you can get away with less time in Malaga.
I think devoting at least two full days to Malaga is a good amount of time for exploring the city but you can probably just spend 1 day in Malaga Spain if you’re interested in just the major sites there. Then you’ll have time to take as many day trips as you have time for to places from Malaga. The possibilities are endless!
why go on a day trip from malaga
The southeast coast of Spain, known as the Costa del Sol, serves as the perfect launching point for exploration. And there is a LOT to explore. The history in this area alone is reason enough but the captivating scenery coupled with the region’s delicious cuisine ensures that a day trip from Malaga will be a memorable experience of a lifetime. Now, you just have to decide which places to visit.
How to get around on day trips from Malaga
There are mulitple easy ways to travel around Spain and to visit destinations near Malaga. From renting a car to going on a tour, picking your transportation option will depend on how much you want to spend (or save), how long you want to be at that location, and which option is the easiest.
For me, I like to rent a car because I like to be in control of how long I can visit a place and being able to stop along the way. But I’m easily distracted by seeing places that I want to take pictures of and telling the driver of the tour bus to stop isn’t really possible.
But, there’s also a nice feeling when I don’t have to worry about anything but getting on the tour bus or train and just arriving. So, you’ll have to decide what option is best for you. If you plan on taking multiple day trips then it might be a combination of all the transporation options. I’ll talk about my personal recommendation for each day trip out of Malaga below to try and help you decide.
Important Links for Day Trips from Malaga
Train Tickets: If you want to take a day trip from Malaga by train then you’ll want to book your train tickets online. Head to the Renfe website for that. You can read about How to buy a train ticket in Spain if you’re unsure how to do so.
Bus Tickets: Taking a day trip from Malaga by bus is easy and affordable. The Alsa website is where you can purchase bus tickets in Spain. Another place to look for bus tickets for your day trip from Malaga by bus is the Avanza Bus website. It’s good to have several places to compare prices. Plus, there are different bus companies so if you don’t find what you’re looking for on one site, you might find it on another.
Car Rental: Taking a day trip from Malaga by car will give you more time to explore at your own pace. Discover Cars is a car rental program that compares prices from multiple car rental companies getting you the cheapest rate.
Tours: There are plenty of day tours from Malaga to the surrounding towns. I book tours through Viator and Get Your Guide. Both are reputable companies and offer a variety of different tours.
Day trip to Granada from Malaga
Taking a day trip to Granada from Malaga is one of the most popular day trips to take. Granada is located about 130km or 82 miles east of Malaga and it’s a fairly easy place to reach.
Granada is home to the historic palace and fortress complex of The Alhambra. This famous landmark has intricate Islamic architecture, beautiful gardens and stunning views of the area. It is the most popular thing to see in Granada and if you only have time for one thing, make sure it’s visiting the Alhambra. You MUST get your entrance tickets in advance. They only allow a limited number of visitors per day and while that number may seem high at just over 6000 people a day, don’t take the chance of not being able to enter once there.
Entrance tickets to the Alhambra are around 19€. This includes the Alcazaba, Nasrid Palaces, Partal, and the Generalife Gardens.
Once you purchase your Alhambra ticket, you’ll have a scheduled entry time. I recommend trying to enter as early as possible to avoid big crowds and the heat. The Alhambra is open from 8:30 am to 8 pm from April to mid October and from 8:30am to 6pm from mid October through March.
Other things to see and do in Granada include exploring the streets of the Albaicin, the old Moorish quarter where you can visit historic churches and enjoy panoramic views of the Alhambra from the Mirador de San Nicolas. Sunset is the most popular time to go but the day time views are pretty stunning as well.
If you happen to visit in the winter you might want to go skiing at the Sierra Nevada Ski Resort. It’s the southernmost ski resort in Europe and with the longest ski season in Spain, you can ski well into spring.
Don’t forget to grab some Tapas in Granada. It’s the only place in Spain where you get free food with your drinks! I mean, we all have to eat so why not!?
Getting to Granada from Malaga
The fastest way to get from Malaga to Granada is by high speed train. The journey takes a little over 1 hour but can take up to 3.45 hours so make sure you choose the right time if you want to get there quickly. You’ll sit in a comfortable seat and get to enjoy the scenic views on the way there. The train will cost around 30€ for a roundtrip ticket.
If you want to take your time and stop along the way or plan on visiting other locations then you might want to rent a car. Driving will take 1.5 to 2 hours.
If you’re on a tight budget then taking a bus from Malaga to Granada will cost around $8 to $13. The Alsa bus takes anywhere from 1.45 hours to 2.5 hours to reach Granada depending on the bus. Buses leave Malaga starting at 7 am and the last bus that leaves Granada back to Malaga is around 9pm.
If you want to leave the planning to someone else then consider taking a tour. This 10 hour tour from Malaga to Granada takes you to the Alhambra, Nasrid Palaces, and Generalife Gardens. You’ll also get some free time to explore the city on your own. The tour includes your entrance tickets but does not include lunch.
Another tour option that might save a little money is this tour that takes you from Malaga to Granada and gives you 5 hours of free time to explore on your own. You will have to purchase the Alhambra tickets on your own so be sure to make sure there are tickets available and then purchase them once you’ve booked the tour.
Tips for your day trip to Granada
- Alhambra Tickets: If you plan to visit the Alhambra, book your tickets in advance. It’s a popular attraction, and securing tickets beforehand ensures you can explore this iconic site.
- Time Management: Granada has much to offer, including the Alhambra, Generalife Gardens, and the historic Albaicín neighborhood. Plan your time wisely to make the most of your day.
- Local Transportation: Granada’s city center and the Alhambra are walkable, but you may need local transportation or a taxi to reach certain areas.
- Comfortable Shoes: Wear comfortable shoes, especially if you plan to explore the Alhambra and its extensive gardens.
Whether you choose the train, car, bus, or a guided tour, a day trip to Granada from Malaga provides a glimpse into the rich history and cultural heritage of this enchanting city.
Day trip to Ronda from Malaga
Ronda Spain has to have one of THE most spectacular bridges in the world and is the highlight of a trip there. Ronda Spain is located 101 km or 63 miles west of Malaga. Ronda is considered to be a fantastic destination and is highly recommended for visitors. This historic town is perched dramatically on the edge of a deep gorge and offers a captivating blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and architectural marvels.
Some of the best things to see in Ronda include the Puente Nuevo (New Bridge), the Mondragon Palace, Arab Baths, and the Plaza de Toros (Bullring) which is one of the oldest in Spain.
The construction of the Puente Nuevo took 40 years and was completed in 1793. Fifty builders lost their lives building this bridge and you can see why that happened. I’m not sure I would want to partake in that! Visiting the Puente Nuevo is free since it’s a public bridge and you can even hike into the El Tajo gorge to view if from below. The hike to the bottom of the gorge is also free.
Getting to Ronda from Malaga
Taking a train from Malaga to Ronda is possible but limited. There’s just one train that leaves in the mornings out of Malaga to Ronda. That train leaves at 9:12am and arrives in Ronda at 11:07am. The return train back to Malaga leaves Ronda at 6:41pm and arrives in Malaga at 9:45pm. The roundtrip train ticket will cost around 20€ and gives you a full 7.5 hours to explore.
Renting a car would be my choice for a day trip to Ronda. The drive there would take about 1.5 hours which is a little faster than the train. However, our next day trip listed below is just a 12 minute drive from Ronda and with a car you can visit both of these places on the same day. With a car you can leave earlier in the morning which gives you more time to explore.
There are several buses that leave Malaga for Ronda every day. A roundtrip bus to Ronda costs about 24€ and takes between 2 hours to 2.5 hours, depending on the bus. You can leave Malaga as early as 8am and the last bus from Ronda back to Malaga leaves around 6:30pm, depending on the day.
If you want to take a tour this 10 hour tour to Ronda with a local guide will tell you about the history of the city and show you interesting spots to visit. The tour also includes tickets to visit the bullring and gives you 2.5 hours of free time to explore.
Tips for your day trip to Ronda
- Ronda is best explored by foot so be sure to wear comfortable shoes, especially if you plan to hike to the bottom of the gorge.
- Ronda has a LOT to see so I would suggest starting your day early to get the most out of your time in Ronda.
- Consider adding the next town on the list, Setenil de las Bodegas, to the day trip to Ronda since it’s just 15-20 minutes away.
Overall, Ronda’s combination of historical significance, natural beauty, and cultural attractions make it a highly recommended destination for those exploring the Andalusian region of Spain.
Day trip to Setenil de las Bodegas
Setenil de las Bodegas is a charming and unique town located in the province of Cádiz in the Andalusia region of southern Spain. What sets Setenil apart is its unusual architecture, as many of its houses and buildings are built directly into the rock formations along the Rio Trejo gorge.
The town is known for its cave-like dwellings and the buildings are literally carved into the cliffs. Setenil’s history dates back to the Roman times and has narrow streets, whitewashed buildings, and panoramic views of the countryside from the Castle of Setenil.
Local Cuisine: Setenil is also known for its traditional Andalusian cuisine. Visitors can enjoy local dishes in the town’s restaurants and tapas bars, often featuring ingredients from the region.
Whether wandering through its labyrinthine streets, marveling at the rock-hewn structures, or savoring local cuisine, Setenil de las Bodegas offers a memorable and distinctive experience for visitors.
Getting to Setenil de las Bodegas
Reaching Setenil de las Bodegas takes a little planning and might require two forms of transportation to reach it.
There isn’t a direct train from Malaga to Setenil de las Bodegas because the town does not have a train station. However, you can get a train to Ronda and from Ronda you can either catch a bus or take a taxi since it’s so close.
Renting a car and combining a day trip to both Ronda and Setenil de las Bodegas would be the best option. You can leave earlier in the morning and will have more time to explore both cities before heading back to Malaga.
There are no direct buses from Malaga but you can catch the bus from Ronda to Setenil de las Bodegas for just $5 for a roundtrip. The bus ride takes around 40 minutes. The last bus from Setenil de las Bodegas back to Ronda is 6:45pm, arriving at 7:30pm.
If you want to take a tour to Setenil de las Bodegas then it will need to be combined with a tour to Ronda. These two towns are so close to each other that most tours are for visiting both in one day trip from Malaga or other nearby cities. This walking tour of Ronda and Setenil de las Bodegas is very affordable and gives you a few hours to explore Ronda on your own.
Tips for your day trip to Setenil de las Bodegas
- Setenil de las Bodegas is fairly small and can be explored in just a few hours. Combine this town with the town of Ronda to make the most of your day.
- Many buildings and homes are built into the cliffs and make for some great photo opportunities.
- The streets are uneven and hilly so be sure to wear comfortable shoes.
Day trip to Gibraltar from Malaga
Gibraltar is a British Territory located on the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, and it’s known for its iconic Rock of Gibraltar, stunning views, and unique blend of British and Mediterranean influences.
Gibraltar is located about 135km, or 83 miles, south of Malaga. Take a cable car or hike to the top of the Rock of Gibraltar for breathtaking views of the Strait of Gibraltar. You might even be able to see the African coastline if the day is clear.
Gibraltar is home to the famous Barbary macaques, the only wild monkeys in Europe. You can encounter these playful creatures on the Rock, but be cautious as they are wild animals.
Other places to visit while in Gibraltar are St. Michael’s Cave, the Moorish Castle, and the local picturesque marina and beaches. Explore the streets and have lunch at a traditional British-style pub!
Getting to Gibraltar from Malaga
There are no trains in Gibraltar but you can combine a train from Malaga to Algeciras (29 minutes away) or San Roque-La Linea (22 minutes away). From there you can either take a taxi or a bus.
The journey from Malaga to Gibraltar will take approximately 2 hours by car and you’ll basically follow the coastline all the way south.
Because Gibraltar is a British Territory, you won’t be able to catch a direct bus from Malaga to Gibraltar. You’ll have to catch a bus from the Malaga to the La Linea bus station. La Linea is the town near the border. The bus will take around 2.5 hours and will cost about 38€ roundtrip.
The first bus leaves Malaga at 6:30am and arrives in La Linea at 8:45am. There are multiple buses heading back to Malaga throughout the day but the last bus leaves at 8:30pm and arrives back in Malaga at 11:30pm. Use the Avanzabus website to book your bus ticket.
There are two different types of tours you can take from Malaga: a Guided Tour of Gibraltar OR a Gibraltar Day Trip at your Own Pace. The guided tour includes entrance to the major sites but you will be on a schedule and will need to stick to the tour. The tour at your own pace does not include any entrance fees but you can visit the sites you want and stay longer or leave for the next place whenever you’re ready.
Tips for your day trip to Gibraltar
- Gibraltar is a British Territory and you’ll have to pass through border control when entering and leaving. You will need to bring your passport. If you would require a visa to enter the United Kingdom then you will need one to visit Gibraltar as well.
- English is the official language but many locals also speak Spanish.
- The currency in Gibraltar is the Gibraltar Pound but you can also use the British Pound.
- Gibraltar is a popular shopping destination, especially for duty-free goods. You’ll find a variety of jewelry, perfumes, clothes and electronics.
Day trip to Antequera from Malaga
Antequera, located about an hour north of Malaga, is known for it’s historical, cultural, and natural attractions. Antequera is home to a 14th century fortress with panoramic views of the town and surrounding landscape.
Antequera is home to three ancient burial mounds called Dolmens. These megalithic burial mounds, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, date back to around 3700 BC and represent an important archaeological complex providing insight into the prehistoric cultures and burial practices of the region.
Just outside of the town of Antequera is the El Torcal Natural Park, a unique limestone mountain range with impressive limestone karst landscapes and unusual rock formations. It’s a popular destination for hiking and nature enthusiasts and it’s a great place to visit from Malaga.
Getting to Antequera
Antequera is just 57km north of Malaga and you can be there in just 20 minutes by train. The earliest train leaves at 6:37am but takes an hour. For a few euro more, the 7:01 train only takes 21 minutes and gets you there before the early train arrives. The last train heads back to Malaga at 11pm but the 9:57pm train is about 1/5th of the price so I would recommend that. A roundtrip ticket will cost around 15€.
If you plan on renting a car during your time in Malaga then you can reach Antequera in about 1 hour. The train is affordable but depending on the number of people in your group, renting a car might make more sense.
There are public buses that travel between Malaga and Antequera throughout the day. The earlies one leaves Malaga at 7:45am and arrives in Antequera in just 50 minutes. The last bus that leaves Antequera for Malaga is at 7:10pm and arrives back in Malaga at 8:00pm. The total cost for a roundtrip bus ticket is 13,10€.
There are half-day tours from Malaga that take you to Antequera’s UNESCO sites. On this VIP Antequera Torcal Hiking and Dolmens Site you’ll go on a 3km hike exploring the El Torcal Natural Park and the Dolmen Site. It does not include the town of Antequera.
This Antequera Walking Tour takes you to all the major sites in the town of Antequera. It does not inlcude the Dolmens Site or the El Torcal Park.
Tips for your day trip to Antequera
- Antequera is small enough to explore on foot but make sure to check opening hours of places you want to visit.
- If you have time, take a short trip to Lovers’ Rock, an interesting natural formation tied to local legends and folklore.
Day trip to Nerja from Malaga
Nerja is widely considered a fantastic place to visit, and it has become a popular destination for tourists. Located on the Costa del Sol in southern Spain, Nerja offers a mix of natural beauty, cultural attractions, and a charming atmosphere.
Nerja is located 50 minutes east of Malaga and sits on the coastline offering stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. Nerja has beautiful beaches with crystal-clear waters where you can relax, swim, or engage in water sports.
One of Nerja’s main attractions are the Caves of Nerja, a series of natural caverns with stalactite andstalagmite formations. The caves also host concerts due to their acoustics.
The narrow, winding streets of Nerja’s Old Town are filled with whitewashed buildings, quaint shops, and vibrant squares. Nerja has historical sites like the Church of El Salvador and the Hermitage of Nuestra Señora de las Angustias. The surrounding natural landscapes, including the Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara, and Alhama Natural Park, provide opportunities for hiking and exploring scenic trails.
Getting to Nerja from Malaga
There is no direct train service between Malaga and Nerja
Renting a car is a great option for your day trip to Nerja, especially if you plan on visiting the town of Frigiliana (next day trip from Malaga below). The two towns are right next to each other so if you want to visit both places on your own then a car is the best way to do that.
Nerja is just 56km from Malaga but the bus will take 1.5 hours to reach it. Depending on the bus you’ll have up to 10 stops along the way. But with more than 40 daily routes each way and with a cost under 10€ for a roundtrip ticket, this is a great option if you’re on a budget.
Another two for one tour includes Nerja and the town of Frigiliana, the next day trip from Malaga below. The 8 hour tour explores both fishing villages on the coastline where you can admire whitewashed houses, the prehistoric caves of Nerja, and views of the Mediterranean Sea.
Tips for your day trip to Nerja
- Make sure you visit the Balcon de Europa, a must-visit viewpoint that has breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea.
- If you have time, consider taking a boat trip along the coast to get a different perspective of Nerja.
Overall, Nerja is a versatile destination that appeals to a wide range of travelers, whether you’re seeking relaxation on the beach, exploration of cultural sites, or outdoor activities in the surrounding natural landscapes.
Day trip to Frigiliana from Malaga
The small town of Frigiliana is nestled in the Sierra de Almijara mountain range. The village is known for its narrow winding streets and white-washed houses. Located a little over an hour east of Malaga, Frigiliana has a well-preserved historic center with Moorish architectural influences.
Frigiliana’s Old Quarter, Casco Antiguo, has labyrinthine streets with hidden plazas. The Arco de la Torreon, a 16th century fortress gate, is one of the prominent landmarks. It was part of the town’s defensive structures and is part of the historical significance of Frigiliana.
The Sierra de Almijara Natural Park is a great place for hikers to explore the trails with breathtaking views of the mountains and coastline.
The Church of San Antonio de Padua is located in the heart of Frigiliana and has a distincitve Mudejar-style tower and is a notable religious and architectural site.
The Botanical Garden of Cacti and Succulents is located near the entrance of the village and it’s a peaceful place to take a leisurely stroll.
Visit the Three Cultures Square, or Plaza de las Tres Culturas, a square dedicated to celebrating the coexistence of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish communities.
Getting to Frigiliana
Just like Nerja, there is no direct train from Malaga to Frigiliana.
Renting a car is the best option if you just want to visit Frigiliana but hopefully you’ve also decided to visit Nerja. If so, then renting a car is definitely the best way to see both places.
There is not a direct bus to Frigiliana. To reach Frigiliana you’ll have to take a bus to Nerja and then switch to a bus to Frigiliana. Buses leave every 1-2 hours for Frigiliana and leave back to Nerja every 1-2 hours. It costs just 1,20€ each way and takes about 15 minutes each way.
You likely won’t find a tour just for Frigiliana but you can visit it with a tour to Nerja like the one listed above in the Day trip to Nerja section.
Tips for your day trip to Frigiliana
- Frigiliana is a small town and you won’t need a full day to visit so consider adding it to your Nerja day trip itinerary.
Frigiliana is a small but charming village and a great place to experience an authentic Andalusian town.
Day trip to Caminito del Rey from Malaga
The Caminito del Rey is a fantastic day trip from Malaga for those seeking adventure and stunning natural scenery. The Caminito del Rey is a famous footpath located in the Desfiladero de los Gaitanes gorge, near the town of El Chorro, which is about 1.5 hours northwest of Malaga.
The Caminito del Rey was constructed for workers to access two hydroelectic plants in the early 20th century. Over time, it fell into disrepair and became known as one of the world’s most dangerous walks. In recent years, it underwent extensive renovations to improve safety while retaining its adventurous character.
The trail offers breathtaking views of the gorge, the Guadalhorce River, and the surrounding natural landscape. The path is suspended along the steep walls of the gorge and is approximately 7.7 kilometers long and is considered a moderate hike. The trail takes about 3-4 hours to complete.
Due to its popularity, it’s advisable to purchase tickets in advance, especially during peak seasons. Visitor numbers are controlled to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
Getting to Caminito Del Rey
There is not a direct train to the Caminito del Rey from Malaga. Trains run from Malaga to El Chorro, and from there, you can take a shuttle to the starting point of the trail.
You can reach Caminito del Rey in 1.5 hours by car from Malaga. If you decide to rent a car for this day trip, you might want to combine the Caminito del Rey and Antequera into one day. Antequera is 1 hour east and both of these trips are possible to do on the same day if you rent a car.
There are no bus routes from Malaga to Caminito Del Rey.
If you prefer a guided experience, there are tour operators that offer guided trips to the Caminito del Rey from Malaga. This can enhance your understanding of the history and geological features of the area. You’ll have a meeting point in Malaga and be dropped back off 7 hours later.
Tips for your day trip to Caminito Del Rey
- Make sure you wear good shoes for this experience. Sandals and flip flops are not allowed.
- The hike is 7.7 km and takes about 3-4 hours.
- Bring some snacks, drinks and sunscreen.
For nature enthusiasts, hikers, and those looking for a thrilling adventure, the Caminito del Rey is a highly recommended day trip from Malaga. The combination of natural beauty, historical significance, and the excitement of the trail makes it a memorable experience.
Day trip to Marbella from Malaga
Marbella is a glamorous and upscale resort town located on the Costa del Sol in southern Spain, in the province of Malaga. Known for its luxurious amenities, stunning beaches, and vibrant nightlife, Marbella has become a popular destination for both international tourists and local residents.
Marbella is located an hour south of Malaga and has beautiful beaches including Puerto Banús and Playa de la Fontanilla. These beaches have upscale beach clubs with water sports and a lively atmosphere. The Puerto Banús marina is a hub of luxury high-end shops, restaurants, and extravagant yachts.
Marbella is also known for it’s shopping so if you’re looking to buy something luxurious or just want to look, Marbella is the place to do that.
Getting to Marbella
There is no direct train service from Malaga to Marbella.
Renting a car is always a good option if you want to explore places along the way to Marbella. You can combine a visit with Marbella and Mijas since they are close to each other.
A bus from Malaga to Marbella can take anywhere between 45 minutes up to 2 hours depending on the bus and how many stops it takes. The fastest bus leaves at 7am and arrives at 7:45am and costs 7,42€ one way. The last bus leaves Marbella for Malaga at 10:50pm and arrives back at Malaga at 11:50pm and also costs 7,42€.
Enjoy a full day tour from Malaga to Marbella AND to our next trip below, the town of Mijas. You’ll make a quick stop in Mijas to look around before heading to Marbella.
Tips for your day trip to Marbella
Marbella’s appeal lies in its combination of luxury, natural beauty, and a rich cultural heritage. It caters to those seeking a glamorous and sophisticated getaway on the Costa del Sol.
Day trip to Mijas from Malaga
Mijas is a picturesque town nestled in the foothills of the Sierra de Mijas mountains with views of the Mediterranean Sea. Known for its traditional Andalusian white-washed buildings and narrow cobblestone streets, Mijas is a popular destination for tourists seeking a more relaxed and traditional Spanish experience.
Mijas is one of the closest day trips from Malaga at just 30 minutes south of Malaga city. There you can wander through the narrow streets adorned with colorful flowers, explore small squares, and admire the unique architecture.
Plaza de la Constitución is the main central square surrounded by cafes, restaurants, and shops. It’s a great place to grab something to eat and people-watch. One of the unique things about Mijas are the Donkey Taxis. These donkeys and their drivers provide a unique experience for exploring the town.
Other places worth visiting in Mijas is the historic Mijas Bullring that dates back to the 19th century, the Mijas Museum that showcases the culture and traditions of Mijas, and the Church of the Immaculate Conception, a historic landmark dating back to the 17th century.
If you like nature then you might want to visit the Botanical Garden of Cacti and Succulents that showcases a diverse collection of desert plants.
Getting to Mijas
There is no direct train to Mijas. The nearest train station is in Fuengirola. From there you would take a bus.
Rent a car and combine Mijas and Marbella into a day trip. By renting a car you can spend as much time as you want at each destination and pick exactly what you want to see. It will take about 30-40 minutes by car to reach Mijas Spain.
Buses leave the Malaga bus station several times a day with the earliest one leaving at 6:35am. The bus will arrive in Mijas at 7:45am. You can find route information from Malaga to Mijas.
Just like the previous tour to Marbella, this tour from Malaga stops at both Mijas and Marbella. While the previous tour is more guided, this tour takes you to the towns and lets you explore on your own so you aren’t stuck with the group the entire time.
Tips for your day trip to Mijas
- Again, wear comfortoble shoes because Mijas has cobblestone streets and a hilly terrain.
- Head to the Mirador de Mijas for fantastic views of the town and coastline.
- The donkey taxis are part of the town’s tradition but be mindful of the well-being of the animals and make sure they appear to be well-cared-for.
Whether you’re interested in exploring historical sites, enjoying the scenic views, or simply strolling through charming streets, Mijas offers a delightful mix of cultural richness and natural beauty.
Day trips NOT to take from Malaga
Now that we got the best day trips from Malaga out of the way, let’s talk about the day trips from Malaga that you should NOT take. There are several places in Spain that are not too far from Malaga and probably could be visited as a day trip from Malaga but shouldn’t. These places deserve a little more time if you want the full experience of the city.
Seville Day Trip
While Seville is a fantastic destination to visit, it is not typically considered an ideal day trip from Malaga due to its distance. Seville is located approximately 200 kilometers (about 125 miles) northeast of Malaga, and the journey by car or train takes around 2 to 2.5 hours each way. Given the travel time, it’s more practical to plan an overnight stay in Seville ( or 2-3 nights) to fully appreciate its rich cultural heritage, historic landmarks, and vibrant atmosphere.
Seville, the capital of the Andalusia region in southern Spain, has a lot to offer from it’s delicious cuisine to its vibrant energy. Seville is home to the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Alcazar of Seville, a Moorish palace with beautiful gardens, courtyards, and opulent rooms.
The Cathedral of Seville is another UNESCO site and is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world housing the tomb of Christopher Columbus. A climb to the top of the Giralda Tower will reward visitors with panoramic views of the city.
The Plaza de Espana is a grand square with a semicircular building featuring a series of bridges over a canal that feels like a mini Venice. You can find locals performing flamenco in the square, a vibrant and passionate form of dance.
An evening visit to Las Setas (the Mushrooms) is a must. This modern architectural structure resembles giant mushrooms made from wooden interconnected pieces that form a lattice. There is a raised walkway where visitors can view the city from above. Once the sun goes down there is a light show set to music.
These are just a few highlights and Seville has much more to offer and warrants more than just a day trip from Malaga.
Cordoba Day Trip
Cordoba is another city that can be a day trip from Malaga but really deserves a longer visit. While it’s a bit farther than some other nearby destinations, the high-speed train (AVE) does connect Malaga and Cordoba. The train ride takes around 1.5 to 2 hours.
Cordoba is renowned for its well-preserved medieval architecture and its historic center, which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The highlight of Cordoba is the Mezquita (Mosque-Cathedral), a stunning example of Moorish architecture with its horseshoe arches, intricate tilework, and a Christian cathedral incorporated within it.
Other notable attractions in Cordoba include the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos (Royal Palace), the Roman Bridge, and the charming Jewish Quarter (Judería) with its narrow streets and whitewashed buildings.
While a day may not be enough to fully explore all that Cordoba has to offer, it can provide a glimpse into the city’s rich history and culture. If you have the flexibility, consider spending more time in Cordoba to delve deeper into its attractions and savor the unique atmosphere of this Andalusian gem.
Tangier Morocco Day Trip
Taking a day trip to Tangier, Morocco from Malaga, Spain is feasible, but it involves a considerable amount of travel time, border crossing logistics, and it would also be pricey. You’ll have to find your way to a ferry crossing from either Tarifa or Algeciras which is near Gibraltar.
Tangier offers a unique blend of Moroccan, Spanish, and French influences. You can explore its medina, visit historical sites, and immerse yourself in North African culture. Tangier has a distinct atmosphere with vibrant markets, traditional tea houses, and historic landmarks like the Kasbah and the Medina.
Unfortunately you would have only a brief visit to Tangier and you might not have enough time to explore the city thoroughly. The ferry ride alone takes approximately 1 to 2 hours each way, and additional time is needed for border crossings and transportation within Tangier. This can result in a substantial portion of your day spent on travel. The long travel times may leave you feeling tired, affecting your ability to enjoy the experience fully.
Morocco is an amazing country and truely deserves it’s own trip where you can explore Tangier and other fascinating cities such as Chefchauouen, Fes, and Marrakech.
Final thoughts on day trips from Malaga
Malaga serves as the perfect starting point for exploring the diverse and captivating treasures of southern Spain. With its strategic location and excellent transportation options, day trips from Malaga offer endless opportunities to delve into the rich history, stunning landscapes, and vibrant culture of Andalusia. Whether you choose to wander through ancient cities steeped in Moorish heritage or bask on pristine Mediterranean beaches, each day trip promises an unforgettable adventure. Embrace the spirit of exploration and let Malaga be your gateway to discovering the hidden gems that await just beyond its borders.