Best Places To Stay in Malaga – Tips and Advice
Before moving on to our list of the best areas to stay in Malaga, to ensure you make the most of your trip, we put together a handful of valuable tips and advice:
- Book your lodging in as much advance as possible. Avoid waiting until the last minute to book your room in Malaga, it will save you anywhere from a few Euros to much more.
- Search for concessionary tickets for free or reduced prices. When it comes to visiting museums, monuments, and other attractions, if you are 26 years old, or younger, and are a student, or are a pensioner, you may be eligible for concessionary tickets at free or reduced prices.
- Buy as many combo tickets to tourist attractions as possible. This little tip will save you several euros per combo ticket. For example, you can buy combo tickets for Malaga Cathedral and Bishop’s Palace as well as Alcazaba Fortress and Gibralfaro Castle instead of buying four individual tickets and spending more.
- If your lodging doesn’t include breakfast, buy it from a local pub or cafe. Instead of paying for an overpriced breakfast, head out to a local pub or cafe (anywhere the locals can be found frequenting for a bite to eat in the morning) and it will cost you as little as three euros.
- Follow the locals to restaurants, bars, and pubs instead of listening to the internet. Doing so will lead you straight to the best local food without the normal jacked-up tourist prices, and the same goes for drinks as well.
- Sundays are the best day to see museums and tourist attractions. If you’re on a budget, Malaga is quite a friendly place to visit. In fact, on Sundays, most of the popular attractions are free or reduced.
- Around lunchtime lookout for signs that say “Menu Del Dia.” These “menu of the day” options are by far the best deals you’ll come across as far as a good meal at a reasonable price goes. Most of these menus offer a full meal with bread, dessert, and drink for less than 10 euros.
Malaga, Spain, though often passed over by world-travelers for nearby Costa del Sol (a very popular tourist destination), is the capital city of one of the most beautiful regions of the country. Few tourist cities are so diverse, with a unique balance of 40 percent nature preserves and 60 percent urban, and surrounded by gorgeous beaches.
A port city steeped in culture, cuisine, history, and most of all, exquisite style, Malaga enjoys beautiful beach weather all year long. That said, tourism in the region is becoming more sought out than ever before.
However, deciding where to stay in Malaga can be quite the challenge with just over 2,000 hotels, hostels, and other lodging options to choose from. And, with some many markedly different city districts, and so little time, the decision is genuinely a tough one. Many travelers to Malaga even opt to split their stay into multiple locations just to experience more of what the city has to offer.
The 11 Best Areas To Stay In Malaga
Malaga is a gem among Spanish cities, especially those frequented by large numbers of tourists. There are numerous districts throughout the city that each offer a distinctly unique experience. From beaches to old town districts and hip modern neighborhoods, there’s a lot of excellent spots to stay while in Malaga.
To aid you in your planning, we’ve put together a list of all the best areas:
1. Downtown Malaga (the Old City) – A Vibrant Old Malaga Neighborhood
If drinking and fine dining happen to be your thing, or you have a love for the oldest areas within cities, downtown Malaga is a wonderful area to stay in. Lying on the west side of the famous Guadalmedina River you’ll find the old city and with it most of the local attractions such as the Plaza de la Merced and the Picasso Museum. Also, it’s super easy to get around thanks to taxis, buses, and metro lines.
Another great aspect of downtown Malaga is that due to the recent resurgence in tourism most of the hotels and hostels in the area are remodeled and fully updated. And, despite being so much in demand, the prices in the area are still more than reasonable. Seafood, bars, wineries, and microbreweries dot the old city as well. So, if you enjoy the nightlife, downtown Malaga will not disappoint.
We recommend checking out the Barcelo Malaga hotel if you’ve decided to give the Old City a shot.
2. Calle Larios – One of the Newer and Most Famous Areas in Malaga
Perhaps the most currently famous and sought after area to stay in Malaga is by far Calle Larios, or as it is known to the locals, Marques de Larios Street. Many tourists refer to the area as something of a miniature version of downtown Malaga, just more compact and much hipper. Also, it’s situated close to the port than the Old City and offers amazing views of Mediterranean vistas.
In comparison to other areas of the city, the lodging options tend to offer less space and cost more too. This is due to the district being much more commercial and modern than other areas. The nightlife, however, is much trendier and is home to a large number of pubs and cafes. If you enjoy people watching, or partying, Calle Larios at night is one of the best areas to do so.
If you’d like to book one of the best hotels in the area of Marques de Larios Street, we suggest having a look at the hotel Don Curro.
3. Maria Zambrano – Málaga Train Station
For tourists who are in a hurry, Maria Zambrano is a district to consider having a stay in. The local train station, Maria Zambrano train station, maybe noisy and crowded in comparison to other city districts but it is still well worth a visit. Amenities, attractions, and transportation are a few of the perks to this bustling neighborhood.
When it comes to shopping, and international cuisine, there are few better areas in the city (if any). Even the locals tend to gravitate to Maria Zambrano to do their shopping and eating. You can find just about any sort of food or drink here, novelty shops galore, and even a cinema.
Oh yeah, the area also happens to be one of the most peaceful at night in all of Malaga.
Sercotel Malaga is one of the highest recommended lodging options in Maria Zambrano if you’ve decided to give this district a go.
4. Soho – One of the Artsiest and Trendy Areas in Malaga
For free-birds, art-lovers, and bohemian-spirited travelers, one of the best places to stay in Malaga is without question the district known as Soho. Artsy, touristy, and super trendy all together, there is no better area in the city to experience art. Visual, performing, or culinary, or otherwise, Soho is always full of artistic beauty.
As you might guess, this particular area of Malaga is home to a large number of the city’s boutique hotels, hostels, and inns. Dressed up with decorative roofs, half-walls, terraces, and patios, the lodging options in the area are quite something to see.
Furthermore, an ongoing project, Malaga Arte Urbano Soho, is quickly and successfully transforming the entire area into an open-air art gallery.
If you think the artsy atmosphere of Soho might be the best place for you to stay in Malaga, we recommend lodging with the Soho Malaga hotel.
5. La Malagueta – A Traditional Malaga Beach Neighborhood
Ahhh, what can we say about Malagueta? For those who wish to stay right on the side of the Mediterranean Sea, La Malagueta is the place to be, period. A traditional Malaga beach neighborhood, the area boasts more than just gorgeous views of the Mediterranean seaside.
Locally owned and operated cafes, pubs, and novelty shops line the shore in addition to the many lodging options in the area.
All things considered, La Malagueta is one of the most classic districts to visit in Malaga. In addition to the close proximity to the sea, there’s plenty of other attractions worth checking out as well. Nearby are several ornate churches, Alcazaba Castle, and even a traditional bullfighting arena.
Due to being located so close to Costa del Sol, one of the most popular tourist regions in Spain, the cost of accommodations in the district are more than reasonable (albeit you will need to reserve lodging in advance due to the high booking volume).
The California Malaga hotel is a fun and relaxing sea-side lodging option we think is more than worthy of looking into in the La Malagueta area.
6. Ciudad Jardin (Garden City) – A Popular Area of Malaga for Nature Lovers
Also known as Garden City, Ciudad Jardin is probably the most popular district in Malaga for both nature lovers and sports fans as it is home to both hiking trails and one of the loveliest nature preserves around as well as the La Rosaleda Stadium and headquarters of the area’s football club.
The Garden City Trail, connecting with the Montes de Malaga Nature Preserve, Ciudad Jardin draws as many backpackers as any district in the city (if not more). Another factor that makes the Garden City area popular with backpackers is the highly affordable lodging options and friendly local residents.
The Hilton Malaga is currently one of the most highly suggested lodging options in Ciudad Jardin by recent tourists to the district.
7. Pedregalejo – A Charming Little Fishing Village Neighborhood
For those who are looking for more of a relaxed sea-side experience in Malaga, the neighborhood of Pedregalejo is as good as it gets. And, it gets pretty good. This charming little fishing village oriented neighborhood is said to be one of the most unique and authentic in all of Spain.
Anyone interested in the fishing culture will enjoy the tours and experience of actually fishing with the locals from their traditional wooden boats.
Along with the culture and amazing atmosphere of Pedregalejo come plenty of phenomenal local pubs, Inns, and shops. The neighborhood has so much charm and such a relaxed attitude (as well as good prices) that even the locals tend to spend a lot of time in the area shopping and lazing around the beach when they’re not fishing. And, only 15 minutes away from downtown, the nightlife in the area is alive and well (albeit much smaller than found in other areas of the city)
If you’d like to book a stay in the Pedregalejo and get the full-on local fishing village experience, we suggest trying out the La Chancla hotel.
8. El Perchel – Located Between Maria Zambrano and the Guadalmedina River
Another splendidly charming little barrio of Malaga is located between Maria Zambrano and the beautiful Guadalmedina river. The area is a working-class neighborhood and always has been, meaning the locals make a living from the Sea. As with Pedregalejo, the atmosphere smacks of a fishing village. El Perchel is conveniently situated, making it super easy to further explore areas of Malaga.
El Perchel gives tourists a genuine glimpse of what much of the surrounding area was like before tourism picked up. At any rate, the neighborhood is nothing like the sleek and sophisticated areas of Malaga such as downtown.
If you have extra time on your hands in El Perchel, you must have a few drinks at a local pub or try some tapas (though not too many at once!).
The Zeus Malaga hotel is one of the highest recommended lodging options for El Perchel.
9. El Palo – Small Town Atmosphere East of the Old City
If you find the small-town atmosphere appealing, El Palo could be just the place for you to stay while visiting Malaga. Situated just to the east of the oldest parts of the city, El Palo affords a calm and unique experience to tourists.
Backpackers and those staying longer than a few days tend to end up in El Palo due to the beautiful ocean views, beaches, and excellent seafood all steeped with that nostalgic small-town atmosphere.
For those who envision a Malaga vacation that consists of soaking up rays on a hammock somewhere along the seaside, or pounding drinks at a popping local pup, El Palo is definitely a trending area to stay.
Many of Malagas’ most pristine beaches are located in El Palo. In addition, the area is home to both a golf course and lies near the Condado Country Club and Penon del Cuervo. Quaint shore-side hotels and restaurants with seaside terraces make the neighborhood even more appealing.
Speaking of lodging, the Elcano comes highly-rated by tourists who’ve recently stayed in the El Palo area.
10. La Merced – One of the Trendiest Barrios in Malaga
North of El Palo lies La Merced, far and wide one of the trendiest barrios in all of Malaga according to travelers. Interestingly, the area gets its name from Plaza de la Merced (birthplace of Pablo Picasso). To this day, Plaza de la Merced is one of the greatest places to spend time in Malaga.
The area is normally packed with tourists and locals alike taking advantage of the many trendy restaurants, shops, and bars.
La Merced is a neighborhood that has an extremely lively vibe. From dancers and singers to musicians, the area seems to be a magnet for street performers and artsy types. Mercado de la Merced, a covered market, is said to be the best in town for fresh fruit, fish, meat, and trinkets.
Furthermore, with so many popular bars and restaurants, the nightlife is excellent. And, speaking of excellent, the tapas in La Merced are among the best in the city.
The Zenit Malaga is a sleek and comfy hotel located in La Merced (approximately 20 minutes walk from the center of Malaga) that comes with excellent recommendations.
11. Huelin – A Humble Neighbourhood West of the City Center
One of the fastest-growing neighborhoods west of the center of Malaga is Huelin, a humble little neighborhood that’s enjoyed a growth-boom due to recent tourism. That said, the area is historically home to a tobacco factory, flour, and metal mills and other industrial businesses. Today, those same buildings house the Automobile Museum and the Russian Museum of Saint Petersburg.
To say the least, Huelin comes from a hard-working past and offers much to see for lovers of history. For example, the area is home to several other museums, including the Museo Carmen Thyssen Malaga, the Wine Museum, and the Museum of Music.
The Museum of Arts and Popular Culture is also found in Huelin. Wow. That’s a lot of museums! In addition to museums and historical buildings, Huelin is said to be home to some of the most magical holiday charm in Malaga.
Looking for lodging not directly in the city center, but not too far away? Slightly to the west is Solymar Malaga, one of the trendiest and most recommended hotels in Huelin.
The 3 Best Hotels in Malaga
Now that you’ve had a peek at some of the best options, as far as where to stay in Malaga, here are three of the best hotels to consider booking:
1. Hotel Don Curro – 800m From La Malagueta Beach
Looking for a stylish hotel near the water? The Hotel Don Curro lie close enough to see the water, but isn’t located directly on the seaside. That said, La Malagueta Beach, the most popular in the city, is a mere 800 m away.
In addition to the finest beaches and seafood in the area, the hotel is located within less than a 15-minute walk to nearly all of the best attractions in Malaga including the Alcazaba Castle, Picasso Museum and Malaga Cathedral.
Aside from an awesome view and one of the best locations in town, Don Curro offers even more. All of the rooms come with air-conditioning, WiFi, modern room amenities such as flatscreen TVs, hair dryers, minibars, private bathrooms and more.
In addition to bomb rooms, the entire facility is pretty hip. There are lounges for relaxing, with big sofas, coffee and tea machines, a fine-dining restaurant, bar, and bingo hall.
2. Barcelo Malaga – 10-Minute Walk From the Historic City Center
For those looking to lodge somewhere a bit further from the seaside, the Barcelo Malaga has one of the most legit reputations in all of the city. And, located only 10 minutes from the historic old city center, and 50 to 20 minutes from most of the other attractions in the city, it’s an incredibly conveniently situated hotel for exploring more than one area of the city in comfort and with ease.
The culture that surrounds the hotel is one of the most authentic in the area as well, so be sure to try the tapas if you book a stay here!
Rooms at the Barcelo Malaga are renovated and very much modern. Each unit comes with air conditioning, extra pillow options, satellite, flatscreen TV, WiFi and sleek comfortable furnishing. Each of the rooms include a hydromassage shower as well.
The facility includes a sauna, gym, fine-dining restaurant, and a classy bar. A convenient location for traveling around the city, Barcelo Malaga gives direct access to the train station.
3. Hotel Tribuna – 1.1 km From Pompidou Centre
Approximately 10 minutes from all of the most popular attractions in Malaga lies the Hotel Tribuna. Easily one of the most preferred hotels in the area, it is situated directly across from the Tribuna de Los Pobres where the city’s Easter celebrations take place each year.
The Cathedral, the Pompidou Centre, and several museums are within eyesight let alone walking distance of the hotel. Also, Hotel Tribuna’s restaurant, La Barbacana is one of the most highly-rated eateries in Malaga.
Rooms at Hotel Tribuna each come with secure safes, satellite, flatscreen TVs, minibars, private bathrooms and breathtaking views of Malaga and the surrounding area. Parking is available as well but may cost you a few extra euros.
In addition, the stay is friendly, professional, and available at the reception desk 24-hours a day and offers tourism info and personal insight on any questions about the area that you may have. Hotel Tribuna is located in one of the most popular areas in Malaga with international tourists.
The 3 Best Hostels in Malaga
If hotels just aren’t your thing, hostels often offer a much more unique and memorable lodging experience and Malaga has a few gems we’d like to share with you!
1. Feel Hostels Soho Malaga – In the Historic Center
Situated near Malaga’s vibrant port-area is the Feel Hostels Soho Malaga, a fun hostel for those who desire a trendy stay in the Historic Center. Just five to ten minutes from such popular attractions as Parque de Malaga and Alcazaba Fortress, as well as a few dozen bus and train stations/stops, this hostel has an excellent location.
A friendly stay who loves to mingle with the guests, comfortable rooms and a relaxing atmosphere to rest in between exploring the city are just a few of the benefits of booking a room with Feel Hostels Soho Malaga.
Feel Hostels Soho Malaga has a major focus on personal service, so if you like being pampered, don’t overlook this little gem. In addition to comfortable and affordable rooms, a breakfast buffet is also available with your stay.
After a delicious breakfast and a good night’s sleep, with the best beach in town is less than a 10-minute stroll away, what more could you ask for on a Saturday morning in Malaga?
2. Oasis Backpackers’ Hostel Malaga – In the City Center of Malaga
For backpackers and those who love to mingle with other world-class travelers, few better hostels exist in this Spanish-style seaside paradise as the Oasis Backpackers’ Hostel Malaga. Situated conveniently near the most popular sites to see in Malaga, the hostel is an excellent lodging option for those who wish to explore multiple sections of the city.
Whether pub hopping in the historic district, shopping, eating local food or strolling along the most popular beaches, you’re within a 10 to 15-minute walk of pretty much everything Malaga has to offer.
All things considered, the Oasis Backpackers’ Hostel Malaga is truly geared towards backpackers and travelers who enjoy an ongoing party atmosphere. You won’t find plush rooms wish all sorts of perks, but you will find a cheap, clean, and basic room along with a staff that is all for having a good time.
That said, as far as sleep goes, plan for earplugs if you’re a light sleeper. However, if you’re the party type yourself, the Oasis is among the best spots to crash after a long day of having a blast in Malaga.
3. Patio 19 – Approximately 1.5 km from the Beach
If you’re looking for a simple and safe, yet interesting lodging accommodation, Patio 19 might be just the place for you to stay in Malaga. Located in an ancient old home, this massive old place is definitely one of the most unique hostels around.
The staff has been running the place for several years now and still offer the same great prices despite recent tourism growth in the region (and they are well worth the money if you take customer reviews seriously).
Comfortable accommodations, a 15-minute walking distance from the beach and major attractions, and friendly staff are all part of the Patio 19 experience. They offer double, triple, and dorm-style rooms.
That said, keep in mind, if you are traveling with a 16-year-old or younger they are not allowed in any rooms except private ones. Patio 19 does not let dorm rooms to families with kids, and there are no exceptions to this rule. However, children under 4 years of age stay for free!
Best Places To Stay in Malaga
When it comes to the best places to stay in Malaga, or anywhere for that matter, the perfect lodging options vary depending on the circumstances surrounding your visit. Are you visiting with family, flying solo, or traveling for business?
Furthermore, the district of the city you would prefer to stay in also plays a vital role in determining the best lodging option.
If you find yourself drawn to the allure of the Old City or one of the surrounding districts, and prefer a cheap bed and a party crowd, Oasis Backpackers’ Hostel Malaga is hands-down the lodging solution for you. While, as far as hotels in the Old City go, the hotel Barcelo Malaga makes for a hard-to-beat option.
On the other hand, if the beaches and fishing villages of Malaga are all that happen to be on your mind, booking a stay at the La Chancla hotel is a sure-fire move. Surrounded by beaches, seaside shops, fishing tours, authentic local fishing activities, you’ll feel like you’re miles from the center of Malaga.
For families who plan on spending several days in Malaga, the hotel Don Curro is a versatile lodging option that’s sure to meet the needs of your family. And, being located near to Marques de Larios Street, and other exciting attractions, the location is one of the best for further exploring as many areas of the city as you and your family desire.