Sandy beaches, beautiful architecture, lively atmosphere and delicious food are some of the best things that Malaga has to offer.
Malaga is a great destination to visit, and although you can visit all the main attractions in a couple of days, it’s also the perfect place in Southern Spain to go on day trips.
There are incredible one-day trips from Malaga that will make you want to stay longer. From unique white villages to popular UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as The Alhambra in Granada.
If you’re wondering what places to visit from Malaga, keep reading this guide.
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23 Best Day Trips From Malaga
Top things to check before travelling to places around Malaga
- Discover all the amazing things you can do in Malaga for free in this guide.
- Have a look at this Malaga food guide to indulge yourself in eating the best typical food and sipping cocktails on the best rooftops.
- Rent a car to travel with ease around Malaga.
- Book travel insurance for your trip, this is a must for any trip!
At only 15 minutes drive from the capital, Torremolinos is a lively town to visit half-day. To get to Torremolinos you can drive, get a bus or train.
One of the best things to do in Torremolinos is spending the day on the beach.
Pack some food with you or even better have lunch in a beach club or chiringuito. The beach clubs are great because of the atmosphere – music, sunbeds, refreshing drinks and tasty food.
If you want to explore other things apart from the beaches:
- Wander around the old town to do some shopping.
- Go to Parque de la Batería, a beautiful park with a boat pond, fountains and great views from its tower.
- Visit Aqualand for a full day of fun with the family.
- Walk in the beach promenade at night for a different atmosphere.
- Go to Punta Gatuna, an observation deck with outstanding views.
An easy day trip from Malaga is Benalmadena. You can easily access Benalmadena by car, train or bus in no time.
Most people have a misconception that Benalmadena is only a resort place for tourists, and I disagree with this. The town has something to offer for everyone – a theme park, castle, temple and beaches among other activities.
It’s a great place to visit with young kids as you can go to Selwo Marina and Sea Life Benalmadena to watch the dolphins and other aquatic animals; Tivoli World to enjoy a fun-packed full day of rides on attractions; Parque de la Paloma to have a picnic and feed small animals like rabbits and birds.
For adults, one of my favourite hidden gems in Benalmadena is Castillo de Colomares, a castle next to Benalmadena Pueblo where you can learn about Christopher Columbus and take beautiful pictures of the detailed walls and views.
But, let’s not forget the beaches. Benalmadena has outstanding beaches where you can easily spend a full day sunbathing, eating some traditional espetos de sardinas (sardine skewers) or walking in the promenades.
The main highlight of this town is the 7 kilometres of beautiful sandy beaches.
However, there are also two beautiful buildings you can’t miss during your trip to this town – La Mezquita Central de Fuengirola (Fuengirola’s mosque) and Castillo Sohail.
Castillo Sohail is a towering 10th-century castle that is very popular for hosting outdoor concerts.
Last but not least, if you’re a shopaholic, you’ll love visiting the Miramar shopping centre and the independent boutiques in the town.
At the top of the mountain, you’ll find Mijas Pueblo, an enchanting white town that will steal your heart.
Mijas Pueblo is one of my favourite white towns because despite being small, it has views overlooking the coast, many bars and restaurants to enjoy traditional tapas, live dancing shows during the summer months and much more.
It’s a very picturesque town and you’ll want to take pictures on every corner, just imagine walking in hilly cobbled streets with beautiful white houses that have blue plant pots with bright red and pink flowers.
The best place to get a view is from the viewpoint next to the Ermita de la Virgen de la Peña chapel. This chapel is special as it’s inside a small cave.
Other popular things to do in Mijas Pueblo are taking a donkey ride and eating almendras garrapiñadas (candied almonds) from the street stalls.
The easiest way to travel from Malaga to Mijas Pueblo is by car. The journey takes approximately between 40 and 50 minutes.
If you don’t have a car, you can take the train from Malaga to Arroyo de la Miel (Benalmadena), and then take the M-121 bus to Mijas Pueblo. This will take you about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Who hasn’t heard of Marbella? Despite being popular for its party beach clubs and luxurious shops in Puerto Banús, there are more reasons to visit this town.
If you’re after a more authentic experience, Marbella Old Town is where you want to be.
The quaint old town has narrow streets with whitewashed buildings that lead to Plaza de Los Naranjos, a square where you’ll find Ermita de Santiago church and plenty of restaurants with outdoor seating to enjoy a traditional refreshing gazpacho.
In the Old Town, you’ll also be impressed by bronze sculptures by the artist Salvador Dalí.
On the western side of Costa del Sol, it takes about an hour to get to Estepona from Malaga.
Estepona is often overlooked in comparison to other nearby towns like Marbella. It’s more relaxed but that doesn’t mean there isn’t much to do.
The best thing to do is to walk through the old town where you go through beautiful cobblestone streets decorated with colourful flowers like geraniums.
As you walk, you’ll come across the Castillo de San Luis, a castle built by the Catholic Monarchs in the 15th century and visit a tiny bell tower that was part of an old church.
Apart from the old town, it’s worth spending time in Playa del Cristo, a beautiful and relaxing beach.
However, if you’re up for some adventure, go to Selwo Aventura, a safari which is just outside Estepona.
Inside there are plenty of animals to see like lions, giraffes, flamingos, etc. walking trails and vehicle tours to get closer and feed some animals.
Lastly, Estepona is a golf paradise!
Montes de Malaga
An escape from the coast and the city life, Montes de Malaga is just five kilometres from the north of Malaga.
This nature park has beautiful valleys, river beds, streams and other steep paths that will challenge you. It’s the perfect place for hiking, cycling and camping.
There are plenty of hiking trails that go from easy to difficult. Torrijos path is one of the easiest whereas El Cerrado path is ideal for you if you want to push yourself a bit further.
Apart from these activities, you’ll be surprised to hear that gastronomy is a big thing in Montes de Malaga. The place has even a traditional dish called, of course, Plato de Los Montes (Dish of Los Montes).
This hearty dish consists of pork loin in a lard sauce, fried egg, fried green peppers, chorizo, morcilla (black pudding) and fries. It’s also sometimes accompanied by Migas, fried crumbled bread.
There are a couple of restaurants where you can try this dish, but the best is Venta Los Montes.
Torre del Mar
Torre del Mar isn’t as popular as other Costa del Sol destinations like Nerja, Benalmadena or Marbella for international tourists, it’s for Spanish people.
Torre del Mar has a more relaxing atmosphere in comparison to other towns, but it’s still worth visiting.
The best thing about Torre del Mar is the beach and promenade where you can easily spend the day.
I would just avoid visiting the beach on a Sunday during the summer months as you’ll find it very busy (remember most people don’t work on Sundays).
I can’t forget to mention the best restaurant in Torre del Mar that not many people know!
Tierra y Mar is a small restaurant that serves delicious fresh salads, meat and fish dishes. What’s exciting is that there isn’t a menu, the chef will tell you the meals of the day and this is great because this shows that he does buy fresh local produce.
I absolutely love the salad, and yes, it isn’t any salad, you can tell all those tomatoes, avocados, etc. are fresh. Another must-try is strawberries with homemade whipped cream. They’re amazing!
45 minutes from the capital, Nerja is one of the most popular day trips from Malaga for locals and tourists.
If you wonder why it’s so popular, it probably has the best beaches in Costa del Sol – clear crystal water that makes it perfect for those who love snorkelling and canyoning too. As you can imagine, it gets really busy during the summer months.
Nerja’s most famous spot is El Balcón de Europa, an incredible viewpoint where you can contemplate amazing views of the sea, mountains and other coastal towns.
Next to it, there are many great restaurants to enjoy a meal and independent shops to get some leather bags, hats or souvenirs.
You can access Nerja by car or take the Malaga to Nerja bus with ALSA from Malaga bus station in the city centre.
Frigiliana is located six kilometres from Nerja and about 50 minutes drive from Malaga, it’s a unique picturesque village – white-washed buildings, cobbled streets, colourful plant pots and incredible viewpoints.
If you’re wondering what to do in Frigiliana in a day, wander the streets of the Mudéjar neighbourhood, have tapas in La Taberna del Sacristan or Restaurante El Jardín for outstanding views, visit the local market to buy food souvenirs.
Also, you can visit Frigiliana surroundings such as the Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara y Alhama Natural Park or go to the sandy beach of Burriana.
El Chorro is a small village near the town of Álora and what makes this place so special is the rock climbing activities that attract mountain bikers and hikers.
This place is known as Malaga’s lake district as it has three artificial lakes created by the Garganta del Chorro (El Chorro river gorge).
It’s a popular alternative to the beach during the summer months.
Caminito del Rey
Caminito del Rey has become a very popular attraction, and it isn’t surprising as the rock formations are out of this world. The 4.8 km hiking route goes from the Count of Guadalhorce Reservoir to El Chorro Dam.
To access Caminito del Rey you can do it in three different ways:
- By car. This is the easiest way to get there as you need to take the A-357 road and exit it at the Zalea crossroad. It takes about 55 minutes.
- By train. You can get the regional RENFE train to Caminito del Rey from María Zambrano train station. The only disadvantage of this is the restricted timetable.
- By coach. Get the M-231 Málaga – Pizarra – Álora coach from Malaga bus station to take you to Álora. Once you’re in Álora you’ll have to take the M-340 bus to Caminito del Rey.
I don’t always book guided tours, however, it’s completely worth booking a guided tour for places like this, as you get the most of the day and learn a lot about the place.
This tiny quaint village is about a 1 hour and 45 minutes drive from Malaga.
Júzcar used to be one of the most popular white-painted villages in the region of Malaga, however, this changed when Sony Pictures in 2011 painted all the buildings in blue to promote The Smurfs film.
Once the production was over, Sony offered the village council to repaint the buildings in white, however, most locals voted to keep the buildings blue and since then, this village welcomes more and more tourists every year.
So if you’re after a different experience, you must add Júzcar to your list!
A town located in the mountains of Malaga province, Ronda is one of the most visited towns in Andalusia. Although it’s very small, Ronda’s monuments are worth seeing.
The most famous spot in Ronda is Puente Nuevo, a historic stone bridge spanning El Tajo gorge and outstanding views.
Other popular attractions are Plaza de Toros, the bullring, and the Arabic baths which are the best baths preserved in Spain.
You can drive from Malaga to Ronda or take a train plus coach. The easiest and most convenient option is the drive takes about 1 hour and 25 minutes whereas the train plus coach can take up to 3 hours.
However, another great idea is to book a day tour from Malaga. On these tours, you get to visit the must-see places in Ronda and its surroundings.
A break from the coast, Antequera is a beautiful town that will surprise you. It’s one of the biggest towns in the region of Malaga, and it has incredible things to do.
One of the highlights of Antequera is The Antequera Dolmens Site, a cultural heritage that consists of three cultural monuments (The Menga, Viera Dolmens and the Tholos of El Romeral) and two natural mountain features (La Peña de Los Enamorados and El Torcal).
Another must-see place in Antequera is the Alcazaba, a beautiful Moorish fortress with views over the city and La Peña de Los Enamorados mountains. Next to the Alcazaba, you can also see Arco de los Gigantes a historical arch.
During your visit to Antequera, something you can’t miss is the opportunity to try the traditional mollete, a delicious rounded white bread that is typically served with Iberian ham, butter or other cold meats. You can find them in any bakery or cafe.
Granada is the perfect full-day trip for those who love immersing themselves in the culture and history of a place.
Granada’s main attraction is The Alhambra palace located at the top of the city. It attracts millions of tourists from everywhere every year, so you must book your entry ticket months in advance because it’s a unique place you can’t miss.
To access the Alhambra, you can walk, get a bus or taxi. Walking is my favourite option as it gives you a sense of achievement once you get there, and also as you walk up the hills you get different views of the city.
The Alhambra is divided into different complexes and areas (Royal complex, Court of the Lions and Fountain, Generalife…) and each one has something special.
For me, Patio de Los Leones (The Court of the Lions) is the most impressive. You’ll love walking through the different rooms and contemplating the detailed columns and walls.
Granada is also known for being a great culinary destination, and I couldn’t agree more! You’ll find many tapas bars and restaurants across Granada, and they really know how to serve amazing tapas.
So what tapas do you need to try in Granada?
- Habas con jamón
- Tortilla del Sacromonte
- Remojón Granadino
- Berenjenas con miel de caña
If you don’t know where to eat in Granada, and you don’t have the time to research which tapa bars are the best, it’s definitely worth booking a food tour.
Apart from these delicious tapas, you can’t miss out on the opportunity to try piononos – a spongy small cylinder pastry with syrup and topped with toasted cream. The best place to eat them is Pastelerías Casa YSLA.
In the province of Granada, but not too far from Malaga and Almeria, Sierra Nevada is a must-see location in Andalusia.
Sierra Nevada is a mountain range in which you can see the highest mountain in the Iberian Peninsula, El Mulhacén (3482 metres), and other impressive mountains like Veleta.
During the winter months, Sierra Nevada is one of Europe’s most popular ski resorts with excellent conditions to ski and snowboard and sunny days!
During the summer, it becomes a place for those who love exploring the unique fauna and flora.
Although this is a great day trip, staying a night or two in the Sierra Nevada is absolutely worth it. Many hotels include a spa, outdoor hot tubs and other relaxing activities after a full day of fun in the snow.
El Lodge is indeed the best hotel in the Sierra Nevada, however, this isn’t for you if you’re looking for something budget-friendly.
A more affordable option is staying at Hotel Vincci Selección Rumaykiyya which also includes a spa and hot tubes.
The capital of the Andalusia region is just about 2 hours drive from Malaga, but you can easily travel by bus from Malaga to Seville too! The bus journey typically lasts 4 hours.
There are incredible things to do in Seville – from enjoying a live flamenco dancing to exploring beautiful castles and architecture across the city.
Although you can easily spend more than a day in the capital, it’s possible to visit the main attractions in a day.
Some of the must-see places in Seville are Plaza de España, one of the most beautiful squares with ceramic tiles in Spain; Royal Alcázar de Sevilla, a Moorish royal palace with beautiful gardens and ornate arches; Alcazaba de Sevilla, an outstanding Gothic cathedral and La Giralda, a bell tower next to the cathedral where you get incredible city views.
Sevilla is indeed a place with character and culture, and it’s a good place to enjoy some tapas. When in Sevilla, you may want to check out some traditional dishes such as Bacalao con tomate (cod in tomato sauce), Rabo de toro (bull tail) and the famous gazpacho.
One of the most magical times to visit Seville is in April when it’s Seville’s fair. It’s a unique experience where you’ll have fun and discover more about the Andalusian culture for sure.
If you’re planning to visit Sevilla during the summer months, remember to take plenty of water with you and suncream. Temperatures can be very high (+40 degrees), this is why I recommend visiting Seville in Spring or even late Autumn.
I remember going to a wedding in a village near Seville in early October and it was super hot.
Nearly two hours drive from Malaga or 52 minutes train ride, Cordoba is the perfect place for history and culture lovers.
Cordoba is a city with lots of charm that is well-known for the impressive Mezquita, one of the world’s greatest Islamic buildings. Although there are more things you can do in Cordoba, it’s even worth visiting only for the Mezquita.
Another incredible place you don’t want to miss is Alcázar de Los Reyes Cristianos, a beautiful castle that was built amongst the ruins of a Moorish fort. Inside you’ll find a wide range of towers, the Royal Baths, courtyards and beautiful gardens.
Lastly, check Viana Courtyards, a range of 12 beautiful courtyards. It’s a place where you’ll be transported to other centuries.
At this point, I believe you’ve figured out that Cordoba is a picturesque city, not only because of its impressive buildings but its old town, streets and the Guadalquivir surroundings.
One of the best ways to explore Cordoba’s historic attractions is by booking a tour. This tour includes tickets to Alcázar, Mezquita and Sinagoga.
As always, if you’re after a food experience, here are some dishes you might want to try:
- Flamenquines, a breaded pork fillet rolled and filled with ham and cheese which are to die for;
- Salmorejo cordobés, a tomato soup that consists of bread, garlic, salt and olive oil;
- And the famous pastel cordobés, a pastry tart filled with jam made from pumpkin pulp and white sugar.
1 hour and 45 minutes away from Malaga, Gibraltar is a unique place you must visit once in your life. The country is located in the Spanish Peninsula but belongs to the United Kingdom.
The place represents a mixture of different cultures (Maltese, Spanish, British, Moroccan, etc.), and this can be seen in the language, food and architecture.
If you’re wondering what to do in Gibraltar in a day, you’ll be surprised by how many activities you can do.
Gibraltar’s most famous attraction is The Rock and Upper Nature Reserve where you can enjoy incredible views of Africa, Spain and, of course, Gibraltar; explore St Michael’s Cave and watch the monkeys relax and eat.
But that’s not all, discover hidden gems in Gibraltar such as the Sacred Heart Church, Catalan Bay and many more.
If you don’t drive, booking a day trip from Malaga to Gibraltar is your best choice. Many of these tours are from Malaga, but they also have meeting points across Costa del Sol.
Two hours from Malaga, Tarifa is a well-known and cool beach town that attracts plenty of sea adventurers as its beach condition is perfect for surfing. Strong winds are common in the area, so of course, expect plenty of surfers and hipster cafes.
The journey takes about two hours, and I can guarantee you won’t regret spending a full day there.
Apart from surfing on its sandy beaches, the town has a chilled atmosphere that makes you fall in love with the place. Walkthrough the old town to see beautiful narrow streets with white buildings, bright blue doors and window frames. The perfect place to take some pictures.
But that’s not all, there are other popular activities like mountain biking and horse riding.
Tucked away in a tiny peninsula in Southern Spain, you’ll find the city of Cadiz. It’s a small popular port city that you can easily visit in one day.
The best way to travel from Malaga to Cadiz is by car, and the journey takes about 2 hours and 40 minutes. You can also travel by train, but I wouldn’t recommend travelling this way since you’ll have to change trains and the journey takes too long.
Start the day visiting Cadiz Cathedral, a beautiful late 18th-century yellow-domed building with baroque-neoclassical architecture.
Tickets to the cathedral include audio guides, religious treasures and a climb up to the tower for great city views.
Go to Torre Tavira, a tower that has the highest point in town. From here you’ll contemplate the best views in the city. Also, you can see a camera obscura that projects moving images of Cadiz onto a screen.
Continue your day with a stop to try Cadiz’s fresh fish. Freiduría Las Flores has the best seafood and fried fish.
Last but not least, spend some time walking in Cadiz promenade and on the beach.
Setenil de las Bodegas
If you love discovering unique whitewashed villages, known as pueblos blancos, then Setenil de las Bodegas must be on your itinerary.
What makes this village special is the fact that the whitewashed houses were built into the surrounding cliffs, so it seems like locals live under a rock.
However, living in these conditions have its advantages – these houses are perfect to avoid the warm temperatures in summer and cold in winter.
The village is small and can be visited in half-day, however, there are lovely things to do – wandering its streets, visiting the Arab Castle, enjoying the views from the top of the village and tasting the local cuisine.
Getting from Malaga to Setenil de las Bodegas is very straightforward, and it takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes by car depending on traffic.
Alternatively, you can book a day trip to Ronda and Setenil de las Bodegas. This tour combines the best of these two charming destinations.
Frequently asked questions about day trips from Malaga
Where can I go from Malaga?
The options are endless, it all depends on how far you want to travel. However, some of the most popular days trips from Malaga are:
How many days do you need in Malaga?
2 or 3 days are enough to explore all the main attractions in Malaga. The city has plenty of things to do for those who decide to stay longer. Not to forget about incredible day tours and trips to other beautiful Andalusian destinations.
What towns are near Malaga?
The nearest towns in Malaga are:
- Rincón de la Victoria
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P.S. Don’t forget to get travel insurance! I always get mine with World Nomads.
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