Malaga is the perfect city for both beach and culture lovers and is ever-growing in popularity. It’s wonderful for a short city break, but what many visitors don’t realise is that there are all kinds of gems within just a stone’s throw of the city, perfect for idyllic day trips from Malaga.
If you’re spending more than just a couple of days in this Andalusian beach city, then you’ve got huge amounts of time to explore the surrounding area.
What’s the best way to get around when taking day trips from Malaga?
You have three main options when planning Malaga day trips.
The first is public transport. Spain doesn’t have a very extensive train network, so locals generally rely on buses to get around.
There are buses that will take you from Malaga to most of the best places to visit in Andalucia listed below, but it won’t be practical way to get all of them for the day, especially the ones that are a little further afield.
Your next option, and what most people opt for, is a rental car. Rental car prices aren’t too high in this area and having your own wheels give you fantastic freedom.
If you’re spending most of your time in the city and will only be doing one of these day trips from Malaga, then renting a car will be a very economical way of doing things.
Lastly, you could always join an organised day excursion from Malaga. These can be wonderful if you’re short on time, as they might mean you can squeeze more than one destination into just one day. You’ll also probably have a guide included giving you more of an insight into your destinations, and maybe even get lunch thrown into the deal too.
Right, now we’ve established how you’re getting there, let’s have a look at our top 10 beautiful places in Andalusia that make for fantastic day trips from Malaga.
The best places to visit around Malaga
This is one of our favourite spots on the southern coast of Spain. It was once a traditional fishing village and has now become a popular holiday spot, although it still has buckets of oldy-worldy charm, especially out of peak season.
Some of the best beaches in Andalusia can be found very near Nerja. You can combine some beach time with a stroll around the town, and perhaps a meal at one of the many fantastic seafood restaurants.
Not to be missed are the incredible Nerja caves about a 10 minute drive from the village itself. They’re part of what makes this one of the best day trips from Malaga.
Only 6km from Nerja, and perfect as a destination in itself or to be squeezed into your day exploring this area. Frigiliana has in the past been voted one of the prettiest villages in Andalusia, thanks to its well-maintained white-washed buildings, cobbled streets and colourful flower pots.
Take a stroll through the old Moorish quarter and soak up the atmosphere. Pull up a chair at one of the many bars that offer views down over the village and out to sea.
Salobreña is another small beach town, but is slightly less popular with tourists than Nerja. However, it’s just as charming, and one of the best day trips from Malaga out of high season for those who don’t like crowds.
It has long, sandy beaches, but the main attraction is the castle perched on top of the monolithic promontory that stands alone in the middle of what is otherwise an area of flat land.
You can visit the castle and wander the streets of the ancient village clustered around it, perhaps stopping for a drink and to admire the views out to sea or to the Sierra Nevada from one of the many white-washed bars.
Salobreña’s slightly larger neighbour is another fantastic spot to visit, with another imposing Moorish castle with panoramic views. It also boasts beautiful beaches and a quaint centre dotted with bustling terraces where you can enjoy a nice, cool glass of tinto de verano, or whatever takes your fancy.
The coast might be beautiful and a great option for day trips from Malaga, but there’s plenty to discover inland, too!
There are no words to describe Ronda. The way the town perches on the top of walls of the gorge that suddenly appears from nowhere has to be seen to be believed, and the history of this strategically important stronghold is fascinating.
You could easily spend a couple of days exploring the places to see in Ronda and the villages around it, but a day is enough to visit all the main highlights of Ronda itself.
It’s only about an hour and a half’s drive between Malaga and Ronda, but make sure you get an early start to make the most of your time there.
Granada’s fame proceeds it, with the Alhambra being Spain’s most visited tourist destination. Whilst you could easily spend days getting to know the magical city of Granada, if you’re short on time then a Malaga to Granada day trip is definitely feasible.
You can drive from Malaga to Granada in an hour and a half, but bear in mind that parking can be a little tricky in the winding streets of the old city centre.
The Alhambra is mindblowing and something that everyone should see at least once in their life, but tickets book up quickly. Make sure you get organised in advance, or book one of the many day tours from Malaga to the Alhambra.
Going even further into the heartlands of Andalusia, you’ll come to the ancient city of Cordoba. This is another city that, like Granada, has a fascinating, multi-layered history, symbolised by the mosque-cathedral that dominates the city centre. There are also countless other historical buildings to be explored.
The best way to get to know the city on a day trip from Malaga is definitely to take a tour.
It takes nearly two hours to drive between the two cities, but a Malaga to Cordoba day trip is definitely worth it if you get going early. Just be wary about visiting in mid-summer, as temperatures soar here.
The capital of Andalusia is the furthest away of all the places to visit in Andalucia we’ve mentioned here, but if you’re up for driving just over two hours then a Malaga to Seville day trip is a fantastic way to spend one of your precious holiday days.
The stunning Alcazaba has been used as a set for Game of Thrones, and the whole thing is suitably mysterious and other-wordly.
Just as with Cordoba, avoid visiting Seville in July or August, as it turns into a very beautiful oven.
Planning your trips to beautiful places near Malaga
Whilst some of these destinations can be visited on the spur of the moment, if you’re considering a holiday on the Costa del Sol with a few day trips from Malaga thrown in then you might want to consider booking any tours and your hire car in advance.
Malaga is a fantastic destination in itself, but exploring the surroudings will add another dimension to your trip, and whet your appetite for another holiday exploring more of the best of Andalusia.