I love-love-love Malaga! While for many people it might not come as a surprise, because Malaga is exceptionally beautiful, it was a pleasant discovery for me. You see, Malaga had never been on my radar. When I was planning my 3 weeks of solo travel in Spain, I knew that I wanted to visit Cordoba, Granada, Ronda, Sevilla, Salamanca and Madrid. After deciding how much time I wanted to spend in each of these places, 2 days were left out. I considered Murcia and Valencia trying to fill my schedule, but these cities were far from my route, so, reluctantly, I booked my tickets for Malaga, which was a very convenient place to stop at between Granada and Ronda. And you know what? My 2 days in Malaga ended up being simply fantastic! And Malaga, the city I did not want to go to at all, is my absolutely favorite one of the 7 places I visited during my solo travel in Spain. Do you see the irony here? 🙂
It is easy to see why I love Malaga so much. Every coastal city has its own, special charm. Malaga has everything one might think of, but I like it for the huge lush greenery area in the center, which is a lifesaver in hot weather, and is the place to find some quiet time away from the bustling city and crowds. I like Malaga for its sandy beaches (with cigarette butts here and there 🙂 ) and blue waters, for its lively atmosphere, for its southern calmness and warmness. I like it for many things 🙂
2 days in Malaga city break
As I wanted to spend more time in Granada, I bought my Malaga ticket for a late bus. When I arrived at Malaga, it was around 10 PM. The bus 4 runs conveniently between the bus station and the central part of the city. After consulting my notes, which said that it was better to go on foot then by bus, I started my night stroll. The station area at late evening was not crowded, and it felt scary sometimes, but there actually was nothing to be afraid of. I think it is mostly because people expect something bad to happen in an unknown place at night.
It took me about half an hour to get to the hostel, and I could not understand why on earth I would put down ‘better walk’ to my notes when I knew I would arrive that late. After a smooth check-in, when I was comfortably sitting on my bed, I noticed that I checked my notes on Salamanca instead of Malaga. Weirdly, the bus from the bus station to the center of Salamanca is number 4 as well and this distance actually is walkable!
How to get to Malaga for your city break
Malaga is well connected to many cities in Spain. In my case, I came to Malaga from Granada on an ALSA bus for as cheap as 9 EUR. Just like I mentioned already in the part 1 of my posts about my solo travel in Spain, ALSA buses are very comfortable and clean, with free Wi-Fi service. And if you buy tickets in advance, you might get even a cheaper rate.
Of course, bus is not the only way to get to Malaga. The airport of Malaga is the 4th busiest in Spain, and many airlines (including Ryanair, Vueling) fly there. The easiest way to get from the airport to the center of Malaga is by taking express bus A for 3 EUR. In addition, this bus stops at the main bus station, which allows travelling further into the province. This page has useful information on the route and tickets.
The railway station is next to the bus station, so you might consider trains as well. There is a train C1 connecting the station and the airport. More info here.
Where to stay in Malaga
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Malaga is another expensive place, so I had to stay in a hostel here as well. If in Granada I found a bed for a reasonable price in a 4-bed room, that was not the case of Malaga. But I was willing to pay more just to stay in the center, so I chose Alcazaba Premium Hostel. I paid 60 EUR for 3 nights in a 6-bed female dormitory, and luckily, I had a very nice company. I met lovely ladies from South Korea and, finally, a girl from Russia 🙂 It was so nice to speak to someone in Russian at last 🙂 Sevda, if you are reading this, many thanks to you!
Let me say some words about the hostel itself. The location is perfect, just 100 meters from Alcazaba, and within walking distance to many tourist attractions of Malaga. The room is clean, I would not say that it is spacious, but the size is acceptable. There are special compartments for luggage (even for big suitcases) below the lower beds, and smaller lockers for valuables. The bathroom is big, and the towels are offered against a price. I do not remember it for sure, but I think it is 2 EUR per night for a towel.
The guy at the reception was super lovely. His name is Jesus, and many thanks to him for being so friendly and mindful. It really sounds promising: ‘Jesus is here to help you’ 🙂
Oh, and there is an elevator! In addition, Jesus told me that their terrace on the upper floor is one of the best in Malaga, and offers panoramic views of the city.
Well, for 2 days in Malaga it was a perfect place 🙂
How to move around Malaga
The main tourist attractions of Malaga are very close to each other, and I never used any buses. If you stay in the center, you won’t need any either, especially if you like walking and have no problems with it, because getting up to Gibralfaro is extremely tiring. If you know you can’t do it on foot, the bus 35 leaves from the Paseo del Parque (at the Park of Malaga) and goes up to Gibralfaro.
The buses 4 and A (airport express) will take you from the main bus station to the city center.
The cost of a ticket is 1,30 EUR and I was told one can buy tickets while on board.
What to buy in Malaga
There are loads of souvenir shops around the main cathedral of Malaga. Calle Molina Lario is the place of stores with clothes of European and local brands. Don’t forget to check its side streets!
While you will see similar stuff in all souvenir shops of the southern (and not only!) Spain, we came across a place selling kid’s clothes, aprons, and many other things. What makes it special is that the seller sews your name or whatever you want to the selected item. I was surprised to see a guy sitting outside at a small sewing machine and sewing names. The bad thing is that I do not remember the name of the place or the address. The shop is somewhere at the Picasso Museum: if you know anything about it, I would appreciate any info in the comments. I did not even have my camera with me 🙁
Where to eat on your Malaga city break
As I stayed only 2 days in Malaga, I did not go to many restaurants there. I had breakfasts in one place only: La Plaza at the corner of Calle Alcazabilla and Calle Zegri. It is really close to the hostel, and I loved the wide selection of breakfasts: they had traditional Spanish breakfast, American pancakes, about half a dozen varieties of cooking eggs. Actually, I do not remember any other place with so many options. The food looked appetizing and was really delicious, and it was late to take pictures when I remembered about it 🙂 I spent 25 EUR (including tips) for 2 breakfasts.
We had dinner at La Dehesa at Calle Bolsa 3, and went there specifically for their offer: 7 tapas for 9 EUR 🙂 Very delicious tapas, by the way 🙂
Another place to eat is the Atarazanas Market. Fish and seafood are raw and you can choose which one you want to be cooked for you. In addition, you can order traditional Spanish tapas like tortilla, paella, etc. I saw a counter where buyers could try olives before purchasing them 🙂
What to see and do in Malaga: itinerary
In my opinion, there are 5 places everyone must visit in Malaga: the fortresses of Alcazaba and Gibralfaro, the main cathedral, the park area in the city center and the beach. Here is a detailed post on what to do in Malaga for free and really cheap. If you are not ready to do it on foot, consider a hop on-hop off bus.
And here is my itinerary:
Santa María de la Victoria Basilica
Capilla del Agua
Plaza de la Merced/Torrijos Monument
Picasso Museum Málaga
Catedral de la Encarnación de Málaga
Parroquia de los Santos Mártires
Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón
Plaza de la Constitucion/Fuente de Genova
Iglesia de San Juan Bautista
Mercado Central Atarazanas
Teatro Romano – Alcazaba
Castillo de Gibralfaro: Mirador del Gibralfaro
Parque de la Alameda
Puerto de Malaga/ La Farola
Playa la Malagueta
Just like I said, Malaga is just one of the cities I visited in Spain, so if you are curious, I have a detailed, day by day itinerary for those 3 weeks I spent in Spain or Andalusia tour only.
Day trips.If you have more time to spend in Malaga, you might consider some day trips outside the city. Gibraltar day tours are very popular from Malaga, as well as tours to Tangier in Morocco or to Caminito del Rey.
Weather. I was in Malaga from October 22 till the morning of October 24 and the weather was fantastic! It was sunny everyday, with temperatures around 28-30 degrees. The water was cold, at least, cold for me because I saw some people swimming, but the majority just sunbathing.
Supermarkets. I did not see any supermarkets around the hostel, just some places to buy sandwiches and beverages. There is a SuperSol supermarket at the bullring at Calle Cervantes, 5; a Dia supermarket is at Calle Victoria, 64. Keep in mind, they might be closed on Sundays.
Pharmacies. At Alameda Principal, 2, not far from the main park, there is a 24/7 Pharmacy Caffarena. Farmacia Mata at Calle Marqués de Larios, 8 is open till 9 PM.
English. Malaga is very popular among British tourists, so, naturally, many people here speak English. Of course, it is not everyone, but it is much easier to get help here than in Cordoba 🙂
Free charge. Not far from the main cathedral I saw a stand where people could charge their phones for free. I did not try it myself, but I think this is fantastic!
2 days in Malaga city break budget breakdown
Bus from Granada to Malaga – 9,28 EUR
Alcazaba Premium Hostel – 60 EUR
Food (restaurants, supermarket, occasional snacks) – 55,6 EUR
Entrance fees to touristic sights – 13,55 EUR
I want to say that Malaga is the only city (out of the seven that I visited) where I wished I could stay more 🙂
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