10 tips for a holiday in Malaga on a budget
As a holiday destination Malaga rates as one of the cheapest in Spain and most visitors are pleasantly surprised how little everything costs in the capital of the Costa del Sol. But if you’re on a budget, there are ways of making your holiday in Malaga even cheaper. Here are our top 10 tips for keeping the costs as low as they can go.
Getting to Malaga on a budget
The airport train is the cheapest way of getting to the centre of Malaga. It costs €1.80 per person, one way. If there are several of you it’s worth getting a quote from a taxi driver for a ride to the centre – it may be cheaper than the train for all of you but don’t forget to factor in the extra charge for luggage.
Getting around Malaga and saving money
If your accommodation in Malaga is reasonably central your getting around costs will be almost nil because everything is within walking distance.
But if your hotel is slightly out of town or you want to visit sights that are off the beaten track, you may want to use Malaga city buses. You can save on bus journeys by buying a multi-journey bus ticket (bonobus). Instead of paying €1.40 a journey, you’ll pay €0.84 and you can use the bonobus for as many people as you like.
You can also use the bonobus for multiple bus journeys – if you take a second or subsequent bus within one hour of taking the previous one the next journey is free.
You can buy a bonobus (10 journeys minimum) at estancos (look for the yellow capital T outside the shop), newspaper kiosks and many other places in the city centre. Look for the ‘Venta de bonobus’ sign.
Getting into Malaga monuments on a budget
- Concessionary tickets – if you’re a pensioner or a student (under 26) you get reduced rates for entry to all monuments and museums in Malaga. You’ll probably need to show proof so take some form of ID with you.
- Combo tickets – the art museums in Malaga offer combined tickets for their permanent and temporary exhibitions, usually cheaper than buying tickets separately. The Carmen Thyssen Museum, for example, has cheap entry between 2.30 and 4pm (€6 instead of €10).
There are combo tickets for the Alcazaba Fortress and Gibralfaro Castle (€5 for the two instead of €3.50 each) and for the Cathedral and Cathedral rooftops (€10 for the two instead of €6 each).
- Or for a rock-bottom budget, you can get into Malaga sights free. All the sights in Malaga have free entry at certain times of the week. You can get into the art museums free on Sunday afternoons (e.g. from 5pm at the Pompidou Centre and Russian Museum).
The Alcazaba Fortress and Gibralfaro Castle are free after 2pm on Sunday. (But beware of the crowds – Sunday afternoons are unsurprisingly the busiest times.)
And entry to monuments and museums is free on certain days of the year including: Andalusian Regional Day (28 February) and International Tourism Day (27 September).
Getting the most of Malaga
Saving money is also about saving time and one of the best ways to do this in Malaga is to come prepared. Our Malaga on a Short Break ebook does all the preparation for you – whether you’re visiting for 2, 3 or 5 days, this handy guide saves you money and time and comes with tried and trusted recommendations plus tips and advice. And it’s bang up-to-date for 2021 too!
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Staying in Malaga (and saving money)
- Book your hotel in Malaga well in advance especially if you’re planning to visit in the summer or during Easter week. Check hotel websites for early-bird deals. For the best prices for accommodation in Malaga come out of season and/or mid-week rather than at the weekend. Read our guide to Accommodation in Malaga.
- If your accommodation in Malaga doesn’t include breakfast don’t bother paying extra for it. Visit one of the nearby bars (and there will be plenty to choose from) for a breakfast deal – €2.95 is typical for coffee, toast and fresh orange juice.
Eating out in Malaga on a budget
- Leave the tourist track behind and head for the bars where the locals go. You probably won’t need to go far either but keep away from the obviously touristy places to keep your bill down.
- Look for a lunchtime menú del día (menu of the day). There are lots of venues (again, off the tourist track) where you can enjoy first course, mains, dessert or coffee plus drink and bread from €8.
But don’t think ‘cheap and cheerful’ only. Malaga has some great restaurants where you can enjoy a gourmet 3-course lunch for less than €20.
And even treat yourself meals needn’t be expensive – several restaurants offer extensive tasting menus from €40, from €85 if you want to pair it with wine.
- Shop in the local fresh food markets for picnic bargains. Atarazanas Market is the most central but those in the outlaying districts are cheaper – try the Mercado del Carmen, 5 minutes’ walk south from the Corte Inglés department store.
If you’re wondering how much a holiday in Malaga costs read our guide to prices.