Málaga is a beautiful city on the southern coast of Spain, located within the autonomous community of Andalusia. It is like the Miami of Spain, but with more history and culture. It is a beautiful place to escape to some sunshine, enjoy delicious food, and it is a small enough city that most of the old city can be seen in just a few days.
Getting There (From Madrid)
Iberia and Air Europa run direct flights from Madrid, and the flight time is about an hour and a half. We got our one way ticket for only 30 euro, buying very early in advance, but roundtrip should always be under 100 euro.
Renfe has a high speed train that runs from Madrid to Málaga, taking only 2.5 hours for the journey. The Renfe website is a headache to deal with, and I would highly recommend buying directly from the ticket office if possible. Ticket prices are almost comparable with the cost of the flight, depending on when they are purchased
This one is trickier, as it generally requires being able to speak a bit of Spanish as usually drivers are Spanish, but if you are able to communicate, Bla Bla Car is a great way to get around Spain. It is a ride share service, that allows drivers to charge for a seat in their car, from Madrid to Málaga, seats run around 20-25 euro. It is harder to plan in advance with Bla Bla Car, as drivers can cancel, new postings at different times are put up all the time, and coordinating can be tricky, but overall it really is a great service.
La Casa Mata Central
This hostel was a really great location, in the old town of Málaga. It was quiet and small, so I wouldn’t recommend it to solo travelers looking to socialize, but for friends it was nice, a great value for the price. No free breakfast but free coffee and tea!
Eat & Drink
This restaurant is definitely a notable spot in Málaga. A sprawling bodega in an old mansion, with a huge patio at the foot of the Gibralfaro Castle, it is definitely the place to eat and be seen in Málaga. We shared a bottle of their famous Iberia, a sweet dessert wine. I also ate the most delicious goat cheese salad. It was a really great atmosphere and excellent menu selection.
Located in the Plaza de Los Martires, this is a great cafe to get a cheap breakfast and enjoy the sunshine in the morning. We went here twice, and a full English breakfast with coffee cost us only 6 euro. They also had a variety of other breakfast options and delicious crepes, I would highly recommend this cafe to a budget traveler looking to save money while fueling up in the morning.
This is one of the main attractions in Málaga, and it is definitely worth a visit. We slowly made our way to the entrance, hiking and enjoying the beautiful view of the ocean and the harbor. There is a main road that buses run up to the entrance of the castle in case one didn’t want to do the upward climb.
A normal adult ticket costs 2.50, but with student ID we paid only 60 cents for entry to the castle. Not bad! A basically free attraction offering a stunning view of the city and the sea, I would highly recommend the castle as a must-see of Málaga.
La Malagueta Beach
Located just off the city center, the beach is a great place to retreat to if it’s hot and sunny. There are various restaurants in the sand, as well as local guys grilling up fish and bringing huge plates of them to tables for a cheap price. We enjoyed some calamari and the view of the ocean.
Mercado Central Atarazanas
I wouldn’t classify this as a “must-see” in Málaga, as it is a pretty standard Spanish market, except for the beautiful stained glass windows that run the width of the market. It is a beautiful spot to browse through to pick up some fruit or other foods for the traveler looking to cook in their hostel.