Guide to Accommodation in Malaga
Malaga flights booked? Tick. Malaga accommodation booked? Maybe not yet. This is perhaps your biggest decision before you arrive. The good news is that you’re spoilt for choice as Malaga has a long, long list of places to stay. But the not-so-good news is that they get booked up quickly. Read on for some ideas on the types of accommodation in Malaga and tips for booking them.
How to choose where to stay
When thinking about where you’re going to stay in Malaga, bear the following points in mind:
The majority of places to stay in Malaga are in the historic centre, the east or near the mainline railway station. There are also some accommodation options near the airport.
Historic centre accommodation
The big advantage is that you have the main sights and things to do on your doorstep. It’s a walk to the beach (between 15 and 30 minutes), but it’s a pleasant one or you can get the bus. City-centre accommodation is also easy to get to from Malaga Airport.
The big disadvantage can be noise. Some streets and squares in Malaga city centre have bars and cafés, often open till very late. If you’re booking a hotel, ask for a room not facing onto the street or check the hotel has double-glazed windows.
Note that you cannot access some streets in central Malaga by car or taxi. Bear this in mind if you’re bringing a lot of luggage or heavy items.
Accommodation in eastern Malaga
The best thing about staying in the east (La Malagueta, El Limonar, Pedregalejo and El Palo) is the proximity to the beach. If you’re staying in La Malagueta, you’re also near the port (Muelle Uno and the pergola). There’s a good choice of bars and restaurants.
On the downside, you have to travel to the city centre to see the sights. However, it’s a very pleasant walk along the seafront and regular buses take you into the city centre (15-30 minutes depending on how far away you are). And public transport from the airport only gets as far as La Malagueta so you will need to get a taxi or hire a car. Link
Mainline railway station
There are several options around the mainline railway station including a couple of very good hotels. Advantages of staying here include proximity to the transport links – high-speed train, train to the airport and bus station – and slightly lower prices than accommodation in central Malaga.
But you won’t have the main attractions on your doorstep – although it’s only a 20-minute walk into the city centre. And this area isn’t as attractive as the historic centre or the east.
Most hotels in Malaga provide breakfast but don’t necessarily include it in the price. The quoted price is generally for accommodation only unless it’s a boutique hotel. Mid-week deals sometimes include breakfast. Few hotels in Malaga offer half-board accommodation (breakfast and evening meal).
Malaga is packed with bars and cafés offering breakfast from €3. If your hotel doesn’t offer breakfast or it’s too expensive, eat out. Check our listing of morning coffee venues for some inspiration.
If you’re planning to hire a car during your stay in Malaga, parking will be an important consideration for you. Street parking is almost impossible in Malaga city centre so you’ll need private parking with your accommodation or a nearby car park.
Many of the larger hotels have their own car parks – note that parking is rarely included in the price and costs from €10 a day. Small hotels and hostels don’t usually have private parking so you’ll have to use a nearby car park. You can usually take your car to the hotel entrance to unload your luggage.
Types of accommodation in Malaga
Hotels in Malaga
Hotel accommodation in Malaga are classified by stars, from 1 to 5. Note that the number of stars tells you about the facilities and amenities at a hotel, not about the service, cleanliness or location. All hotel rooms must have a private bathroom with a bath or shower, heating and lift access to the rooms.
As a rough guide, the more the stars, the larger the room and the better the facilities. But just because a hotel doesn’t have 4 or 5 stars doesn’t mean it isn’t good. Quite the opposite – sometimes the best hotels in Malaga are those with 2 or 3. In fact, we classify our hotel listings by type of hotel (boutique, family-friendly, splurge etc) rather than stars.
Hostels in Malaga
Hostels get a 1 or 2 star classification, again referring to facilities rather than service or cleanliness. You don’t always get your own bathroom with hostel accommodation – check before you book. But a hostel classification doesn’t mean you won’t have a great stay. We list several excellent hostels in our listings.
Self-catering accommodation is booming in Malaga. There are 3 main types:
Rather like hotels and hostels, these properties are officially inspected and receive a classification. There are often several holiday lets in the same building and they tend to share the same type of fittings and furnishings. A list of this type of accommodation in Malaga can be found here.
Several holiday let companies operate in Malaga with a portfolio of properties in the city. Again, they are officially registered but not necessarily in the same building. Most companies offer a meet-and-greet service as well as 24-hour assistance. We list several reputable holiday let companies in Malaga.
Like all popular tourist spots, Malaga has a lot of privately-owned accommodation options. Many owners advertise on Airbnb and similar platforms. Under regional law, all private lets must be registered and fulfill certain requirements. This guarantees a minimum standard. But note that not all holiday lets are registered and that standards vary hugely.
Our top tips for private holiday lets in Malaga:
- Read the online reviews carefully. Beware of a property with no reviews.
- Factor cleaning costs into your budget. Some owners charge over €50 for cleaning.
- Check the location. An advertised ’10-minute walk to the centre’ might actually be more like 30 minutes.
Tips for finding good value accommodation in Malaga
We think you’ll be surprised to find how cheap Malaga is as a holiday destination. And this includes accommodation. If you’re planning a city break outside high season, it’s easy to find a good hotel for around €60 a night for a double room. Search a little harder and you can get an even better deal especially if you’re staying for more than 2 nights.
Here are our tips for getting a good hotel deal:
Tourism in Malaga is enjoying a boom and visitor figures increase every quarter. This squeezes accommodation options especially at peak times. Book well in advance to be sure of a room particularly if you’re planning to visit the city at the following times:
Easter week – particularly the period from Maundy Thursday to Easter Monday.
Malaga Fair – around the second week in August. July and August are generally busy too.
Christmas – particularly the period from 20 December to 6 January.
Spanish public holidays – read our dedicated post to find out when these are.
We know this contradicts the previous tip, but if you’re coming to Malaga in low season (November and January to March), booking your accommodation at the last minute could get you a good deal. This is because hotels are keen to fill their rooms and to do so, bring their rates down.
Take a look on comparison sites for the latest deals. Or, phone or email your preferred hotel direct and see what they can offer you.
With the odd exception (for example, if there’s a public holiday on a Tuesday or Thursday), staying mid-week is always cheaper. You’re also more likely to get extras such as breakfast, late check-out or parking during a mid-week stay.
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