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Ideas for day trips from Malaga

Malaga makes the perfect destination for a long weekend. Three to four days give you just enough time to see the main attractions in the city’s compact centre. If you’re staying for longer you might fancy exploring further afield. In this new section on Guide to Malaga, we take a look at the best day trips from Malaga.

All our suggestions are easily doable in a day and public transport from Malaga. If you want to stay a little longer all have excellent places to stay plus some great restaurants so you can sample the best of the local foodie scene.

For detailed information, take a look at our road trips on the Costa del Sol and around.

In this section, we’ll be looking at days trips from Malaga to the following destinations:


Dolmens at Antequera
Inside the dolmens at Antequera

Tucked up behind the mountains to the north of Malaga, Antequera makes a great day out if you like historic buildings, Baroque churches, prehistoric monuments and exceptional views.

How far is it from Malaga?

Antequera lies 55km due north of Malaga.

Why visit

Plenty of highlights on this day trip. They include some of Spain’s finest dolmens, a Moorish fortress with simply stunning views of the Antequera plain, an interesting art museum and a long list of remarkable churches.


  • La Menga dolmen, built over 4,000 years ago and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Museo de la Ciudad de Antequera with its Roman bronze statue of a boy known as Efebo.
  • Nuestra Señora del Carmen Baroque church with an extraordinary altarpiece.
  • Alcazaba Fortress with not a lot to see inside but with amazing views.
  • A Malaga wine tasting tour with free transport to and from Antequera town centre. Find out more here.

More information from Antequera Tourist Office.

How to get there from Malaga

On public transport: Regular buses leave from Malaga bus station for Antequera. The journey takes between 45 and 55 minutes, and costs around €7. You can buy your ticket at the bus station or book online via the Alsa website.

By car: if you’re hiring a car for your day trips from Malaga, head north out of the city along the river to the A45. Simply follow the dual carriageway and signs to Antequera. Allow just under an hour for your journey.


Day trips from Malaga - Granada
The Alhambra in Granada

As home to the Alhambra, Spain’s greatest Moorish monument, Granada needs no introduction. But there’s a lot more to the city than the Alhambra and you’ll probably want to spend more than a day there.

How far is it from Malaga?

Granada is 130km to the north-east of Malaga.

Why visit

Not only do you get a chance to see the Alhambra, but you can explore the old Moorish quarter as well as the city centre with lots to see and do. Granada also has an up-and-coming foodie scene. And this is the city where you get a free tapa with every drink.

Highlights to see

  • The Alhambra Palace and Generalife gardens.
  • The Albaicín Moorish quarter with its Bañuelo baths and Dar-al-Horra palace.
  • The tomb of the Catholic monarchs, Isabel and Ferdinand.

More information from the Granada Tourist Office.

For information about getting tickets for the Alhambra, click here.

How to get there from Malaga

By bus

Frequent buses leave from Malaga bus station for Granada. The journey takes between 1 hour 30 minutes and 2 hours, and costs around €14. This is a popular bus route so it’s best to book your ticket online in advance.

Granada bus station is in the north of the city and it takes around 45 minutes to walk to Plaza Nueva, near the Alhambra. It’s quicker to get the No 33 bus to the city centre (around 10 minutes).

By train

Around seven trains connect Malaga and Granada daily, although not all are high-speed. The quickest journey takes 1 hour 20 minutes and the longest, over 3 hours. Tickets on the high-speed trains cost from €14 each way.

By car

From Malaga you have 2 options: you can either take the coastal A7 road east until Motril when you bear left for Granada on the A44. Or take the A45 north and then bear right for the A92M and A92 for Granada. The journey takes around 1 hour 40 minutes.


Puerto Banus in Marbella
Superyacht in Puerto Banus, Marbella

Malaga is very much a Spanish city that has remained little affected by tourism on the Costa del Sol, so you might fancy including a true holiday resort in your day trips from Malaga. We think Marbella is probably the best one to visit.

How far is it from Malaga?

Marbella is 57km west of the city.

Why visit

Marbella has a reputation as the Costa del Sol’s capital for glitz and glam. While there’s certainly plenty of that in the resort, Marbella also offers a good choice of things to see and do.

Highlights to see

  • Marbella old quarter with its typical Andalusian architecture, alleyways and squares.
  • The surrealist Dali sculptures on Avenida del Mar.
  • The seafront promenade that runs along the coast.
  • Puerto Banus marina with its superyachts, designer boutiques and stunning views.

More information from the Marbella Tourist Office.

How to get there from Malaga

By public transport: frequent buses run by Avanzabus connect Malaga and Marbella. Make sure you get a direct service to avoid a long journey. Direct buses take 50 minutes and cost around €8. This is a busy service so we recommend booking your ticket online in advance.

Marbella bus station is in the north of the city, about 20 minutes’ walk from Plaza de los Naranjos in the old quarter. You can also get a bus (No 2 and 6).

By car: Marbella is an easy 40-minute drive from Malaga. Simply follow signs to the A7 (Cádiz). Just before Fuengirola you have the option of taking the toll road (AP7 – quicker but expensive) or the coastal road (A7).


view of nerja coastline
View of Nerja coastline

If you’re looking for a pretty Costa del Sol resort you can’t go wrong with Nerja. Although the town has expanded hugely on the back of tourism, it has managed to keep its original character.

How far is it from Malaga?

Nerja lies on the coast 57km to the east of Malaga.

Why visit

Nerja offers a good day out from Malaga. It gives you a chance to see the rocky coastline on this side of the coast, the town’s lovely centre and of course, visit the famous Nerja Caves.

Highlights to see

  • Nerja Caves, home to the world’s largest known stalactite and Neanderthal cave paintings.
  • Balcón de Europa, a lovely promenade with stunning views of the coast and mountains.
  • Frigiliana, a pretty white village to the north of Nerja.

More information from the Nerja Tourist Office.

How to get there from Malaga

By public transport: there’s a good bus service between Malaga and Nerja. Buses run more or less every hour from Malaga bus station and take just over an hour. Tickets cost around €5.50. You can also get buses to Nerja Caves from Malaga. Online booking available here.


Ronda river gorge
Ronda river gorge and bridge

Ronda ranks as one of the most famous tourist attractions in Andalusia and the good news is that it’s an easy day trip from Malaga. Home to legendary bandits and the cradle of bullfighting, Ronda enjoys a spectacular hilltop position with some of possibly the best views in Spain.

How far is it from Malaga?

Ronda is 85km north-west of Malaga and situated in the Sierra de las Nieves mountainous natural park.

Why visit

Just the journey through stunning mountain scenery makes Ronda a must-see on your list of day trips from Malaga. Ronda is one of the prettiest towns in Andalusia and even if you don’t visit any of the monuments, a wander round the old quarters is more than worthwhile.

Highlights to see

  • Puente Nuevo, the bridge of the river with dizzy views of the gorge and surrounding countryside.
  • Plaza de Toros, an interesting visit even if you’re not a bullfighting fan.
  • Arab baths, slightly off the beaten track but worth seeking out.
  • Palacio de Mondragón, a 15th century mansion, home to Ronda’s museum.
  • Santa María la Mayor, the town’s main church with rooftop visit included.

More information about Ronda from the Tourist Office.

How to get there from Malaga

By private tour

Costa Excursions organises private trips to Ronda for a maximum of 6 people. The day trip includes a private tour of all the town’s monuments and viewing points, explaining its rich history and giving your an insight into this unique place in Andalucia.

By bus

Buses leave from Malaga bus station and there’s a good daily service. If you want to visit for the day, get the first fast bus that leaves at 8.30am. The journey takes around 2 hours and tickets cost around €12. You can buy tickets at the bus station or online from Los Amarillos bus company (website in Spanish only).

By train

You can also travel to Ronda from Malaga by train, although there’s just 1 train a day in each direction. If you plan to take the train, stay overnight in Ronda to make the most of your visit. Information and ticket purchase from the Renfe website.

By car

You can the choice of three routes to get to Ronda from Malaga by car. The quickest takes you north out of the city on the A357 to the A343 as far as Ardales where you take the A367 to Ronda. This journey takes around an hour and 30 minutes.

The shortest and most scenic route takes you via the Sierra de las Nieves mountains (A354 and A366). This route takes 1 hour 45 minutes and includes lots of bends.

Another alternative is to drive west along the A7 as far as San Pedro de Alcántara (just west of Marbella) and take the A397 to Ronda. This journey takes almost 2 hours and also includes plenty of mountain scenery and bends.

Meanwhile, for all the information you need about Malaga how about checking out our website? All you need to know at your fingertips!

Malaga on a short break - GuideToMalaga.com ebook

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