The port city of Malaga in Spain’s Andalusia region is often considered to be the gateway to the Costa del Sol. However, this city offers something more than simple sun, sea and sand.
Around 10 million tourists arrive at the city’s airport annually, and for many of them, Malaga is an afterthought as they head to their dedicated tourist resorts. However, those in the know remain and explore Malaga itself, a city with a skyline dominated by two huge citadels, which sit high on the hill behind the urban center itself.
We know that you'll be keen to get out there in your rental car and discover Malaga’s many highlights. When you rent a vehicle from us we give you our best price guarantee, which means that in the unlikely event you find a better Hertz price, we’ll refund you the difference. Plus, there are no credit card fees and no hidden extras to pay, and our 24-hour rental helpline means we’re always right there when you need us.
Malaga is a well-connected city and car rental here allows you to fully immerse yourself in the area’s incredible scenery. From Malaga, take the A-7 to the west and drive through the Serrania de Ronda Mountains, which are scattered with pretty whitewashed buildings, and you’ll be in an Andalucía that many visitors miss out on. The sweeping olive and cork groves roll by and the welcoming towns and villages provide ideal stop-offs for a bite to eat.
The Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park, along the MA-20 southbound and joining to the AP-7, is another destination to explore in your hire car. Look out for the spa at Tolox and the pretty hamlets of Cartajima, Pujerra, and Alpandeire.
A right-hand drive country with a well-maintained road infrastructure, it’s comparably easy to get about in Spain. Don’t forget that many of the roads will require drivers to pay a toll – look out for the word ‘péage’ and have your coins ready.
The speed limit in Spain is 120kph on motorways and dual carriageways. On roads with more than one lane in each direction it is 100kph, and on basic roads outside a built-up area, it is 90kph. Be sure to stick to these speeds both for your own safety and to avoid being administered with an on-the-spot fine. If you have children traveling with you there are considerations to be made. Those aged under 12 and who are less than 135cm tall can only travel using a child seat.
Malaga has undergone something of a renaissance in recent decades. The city has been rediscovered for its long and rich history, vibrant festival culture and for the warm welcome it extends to visitors. Although Malaga has an unshakable sense of tradition and heritage, as the birthplace of Pablo Picasso it was always bound to have something of a bohemian, arty edge. A fun, young vibe prevails in the evenings, while careful investment in the city’s infrastructure and public buildings have served to preserve and enhance its long-won beauty.
From the Gothic cathedral, your eye will be drawn to the funky bars and boutiques, and the twin medieval citadels take their position in a place that always has its sights set on the future. In many ways, this is Malaga’s appeal – its ability to combine old and new to create something very special indeed.
Explore the Old Town
Malaga’s Old Town, with its winding lanes, crooked balconies and curious alleys is somewhere you’ll want to lose yourself. Dare to delve beyond the trinket stalls and ice cream shops and look out for the very house where Pablo Picasso was born.
Here is where you’ll find the Pablo Ruíz Picasso Foundation Birthplace Museum. This intimately curated museum holds over 200 pieces of art created by the man himself including Cubist works, still life and portraiture.
The Museum of Arts and Popular Customs is another Old Town favorite. Housed within a charming 17th-century Moorish-style building, the exhibits offer visitors an intriguing glance into the crafts, tools and personal effects that are central to Andalusian culture.
It’s time for a fiesta
No matter what time of year you visit, you’re almost guaranteed a fiesta in Malaga. The city’s people take any opportunity to dance, eat and make merry so be prepared to party. The Malaga Carnival, which takes place just before Lent is a national event that sees local folk put on crazy fancy dress outfits as live music fills the streets and a colorful procession makes its way to the La Malagueta beach for the event’s climax.
A little later in the year the Easter celebrations have a more religious atmosphere. Incense and candles are lit and a serene parade of hooded figures passes through the city’s streets. Throughout the summer, Malaga’s events calendar really picks up pace with food, family and bonfires during The Night of San Juan in June, then the week-long Malaga Fair in August. The streets are adorned with pretty paper lanterns for this thrilling event which culminates with flamenco dancing and other activities.
Go for green
Malaga’s green spaces offer a welcome retreat from the city’s heat and fast pace. Head to El Parque for gorgeous tropical blooms and hand-picked shrubs, plus a sense of peace and tranquility. Those with a love of flora should also make time for La Concepcion Jardin Botanico. These botanical gardens were originally created in 1855 and the collection includes rare and exotic varieties of plant life, all displayed wonderfully amongst fountains and waterfalls, floral pathways and quaint arbors.