Are you wondering how to get from Malaga to Marbella? Both Malaga and Marbella are located in the region of Andalusia, Southern Spain, along the Mediterranean coast.
Malaga, often called the “capital” of the Costa del Sol, is a tourist hotspot. Traveling just 59 kilometers (36 miles) southwest will take you to Marbella, which is in the province of Malaga.
The journey from Malaga to Marbella promises scenic views, making the trip a unique experience. Stay with us as we guide you through the most effective and budget-friendly travel options between these two destinations.
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I’ve experienced the heartbeat of Spain firsthand. Over the last five years, I’ve immersed myself in the dynamic cities of Spain, truly living the Spanish way. My insights into this beautiful country are rooted in genuine experience.
4 Ways to Travel between Malaga and Marbella
This guide is a must-read for those looking to explore some of the best seaside cities in Spain, such as Malaga and Marbella. You can take the budget-friendly bus for an approximately one-hour coastal journey or opt for a more relaxed train ride with a bus transfer midway.
Alternatively, you can enjoy the freedom and convenience of driving or ride-sharing services offering flexible travel options, including a swift 41-minute transfer.
From Malaga to Marbella by Train
Unfortunately, there isn’t a direct train service from Malaga to Marbella. Instead, you’ll board the Cercanias train at Málaga’s María Zambrano Station, which departs every half an hour. This train makes 14 stops (45 minutes) before arriving at Fuengirola train station (Estación de Tren Fuengirola), which is approximately halfway to Marbella.
To continue your destination to Marbella, walk 2 minutes to Fuengirola terminal and take an Avanza Movelia or Grupo bus service to the Marbella bus station (Estación de Autobuses de Marbella). This bus rides along the length of the Costa del Sol on the A7 road and makes a few stops.
From Malaga to Marbella by Bus
Getting a bus (Avanza Grupo, Socibus, Interbus) means a quicker ride, typically taking 45-55 minutes to reach Marbella. The adventure begins at Estación de Autobuses de Málaga (Centro bus station), located on Paseo de los Tilos southwest of the city center, around a 2.5 km walk from the historic district.
The express bus provides a direct route to Marbella’s bus station without any stops en route. Though it is priced slightly higher at €9, it’s still an affordable choice. Alternatively, you can pick a slightly slower bus of 55 minutes, priced between €6.24 and €7.5, which includes a quick pit stop at Fuengirola Terminal. You can easily purchase tickets online, at the station, or over the phone.
As you journey along, the panorama of the Mediterranean coastline unfolds before you, accompanied by the Spanish countryside adorned with whitewashed towns like Benalmádena Pueblo, where the Colomares Castle offers jaw-dropping views. Further, stops like Riviera del Sol will tempt you with its beautiful beaches and traditional Spanish atmosphere, highlighting the country’s cultural richness.
From Malaga to Marbella by Car
Getting to Marbella from Malaga by car is the most efficient way to get around. You can easily rent a car with discovercars.com.
The fastest route is the AP-7 Mediterranean motorway (Autopista del Sol), which connects all Spanish cities and towns along the Coast. Keep in mind that while it’s quick, with only 41 minutes of travel time to Marbella, there is a toll for using this road. It costs €4.80 from October to May and €8.16 during the high season and Easter.
You will also be treated with some special coastal municipalities, which is a cinch with a car at your service! The best ones to visit en route are the golfer’s paradise, Mijas Costa, and Mijas Pueblo, with white-washed houses, Arab courtyards, and daily markets.
However, navigating parking in Marbella can be a bit of a puzzle with limited tourist spaces. Luckily, most hotels provide parking, so be sure to inquire when booking your stay.
From Malaga to Marbella by Taxis or Ride Apps
Along with taxis, riding apps like Uber have gained popularity in Spain, offering trustworthy and fast rides with easy booking. They are available in most big cities, including Malaga Airport, which offers another travel option to Marbella. However, this comes with a higher price tag and might not suit those on a budget.
To get a ride from Malaga to Marbella with Uber, simply open the app and request a ride. The real-time pricing feature is great – it gives you a heads-up on costs so you can decide if it fits your budget. The average price for a trip is €70. Whether you prefer cash or cashless, Uber’s got you covered, even if you’re in a new place.
The estimated price of grabbing a taxi from Marbella to Malaga ranges between €70 to €90. This can vary based on traffic conditions (delays) and route distance. The journey typically takes around 45 minutes to cover around 36 miles (60 km) between the two locations.
How Far is Marbella from Malaga?
The geometric distance between Malaga and Marbella is 29 miles (47 kilometers). However, the driving distance is slightly longer at 36 miles (59 kilometers). This difference arises because the road network does not follow a straight line between the two cities, adding up your travel distance.
On average, the journey by car takes around one hour. This duration can vary, taking as little as 45 minutes during off-peak seasons and up to 1.5 hours during peak seasons via the direct A-7 highway route, factoring in traffic conditions.
Opting for the bus as public transportation is quicker, taking you directly to Marbella in about 45-55 minutes. The train makes its final stop at Fuengirola, where you must transfer to a bus. This transfer can take up to 1 hour and 25 minutes, depending on waiting times.
Fun in Marbella: Activities and Stays
Marbella is one of the primary party cities in Spain, with a diverse selection of clubs, bars, and restaurants, keeping the party going until the early hours.
While it feels like this city never sleeps, there is also room for relaxation on a sandy beach, to soak up culture in the old town, or join adrenaline-boosting activities if that’s your thing. You can also treat yourself to comfort with some luxurious hotel stays. The choices are infinite!
Things to Do in Marbella
Marbella caters to all tastes, whether you’re seeking relaxation, sports, adventure, or exploration. With stunning beaches, water sports, and vibrant nightlife, this city ensures an unforgettable experience.
While in Marbella, don’t forget to explore the city’s Old Town, where you can load up on Spanish souvenirs for your loved ones. You should also visit Avenida del Mar, the modern urban square with ten bronze sculptures created by Salvador Dali. This square is also the connection between the Paseo Maritimo (the Boulevard) and the historic city center of Marbella. It’s amazing!
Where to Stay in Marbella
Now that we have all the fun planned, taking a breather is important. After all, we’ll need the energy to make the most of Marbella! You can find a wide range of hotels there that put you right in the center of the action, no matter if you visit Spain in February or July. Whether you’re looking for beachside hotels, luxury villas, budget-friendly pensions, or hostels, Marbella offers options to cater to every budget and preference.
If you would rather save money on your stay, opt for a hostel room with a fitted wardrobe, a flat-screen TV, and a private bathroom. The rooms also provide guests with a fridge, and it’s right in the center of Marbella.
Common Questions and Answers
Now, let’s make sure you’re fully equipped with answers. Below are the most common questions about traveling from Malaga to Marbella and detailed responses. You will find the answers below: whether you’re curious about the best time to visit these buzzing Spanish cities or the most efficient transport mode.
When’s the Best Time for Marbella?
The best time to visit Marbella highly depends on your preferences. For example, during spring, from March to May, the weather is pleasant, and the atmosphere is picking up. It offers a sweet spot between intense heat and unpleasant cold.
However, if you like the heat and the buzz, the best time to visit Malaga is between June and September. The hottest months are July and August, with an average temperature of 31°C and 11 hours of warm sunshine daily. Meanwhile, June is a bit more comfortably hot. It’s the perfect time for boat tours, sunset tours, and chiringuitos on the beach.
Around September, the weather starts cooling down, and the crowd disappears while the kids return to school. This might appeal to certain individuals. The worst time to visit Spain, or the least favorable to say, is from December to February.
Prettiest Way to Travel to Marbella?
The prettiest way to travel from Malaga to Marbella is the coastline road (Mediterranean motorway). As you wing along Costa del Sol, you’ll get a little taste of Torremolinos, known for its stunning sea views. If you want to detour, they also hold Andalusia’s biggest horse and Flamenco shows.
You will also pass by Benalmadena Pueblo, a hillside village with panoramic mountain views, and Fuengirola, where you can feel the cosmopolitan and relaxed atmosphere.
Most Efficient Way to Travel to Marbella?
When it comes to efficiency, driving is the strongest contender. While traffic can influence travel times, the AP-7 Mediterranean motorway offers a direct and relatively quick route with only 41 minutes on average.
Trains require a brief stop for a transfer, which can involve waiting and ultimately extending the travel time. Both trains and buses operate on set schedules, so you must stick to these timetables.
Plus, having the choice to drive back is a bonus and can save you loads of time and money. Relying on a taxi would entail additional costs for the return journey. So, going around in a rented car can be a smart move for a hassle-free and enjoyable journey.
Cheapest Way to Travel to Marbella?
If you aim to save money, buses are the way to go. Tickets usually range from €6.24 to €9, providing an affordable option for budget-conscious travelers. The journey is also relatively quick, taking only 45-55 minutes.
While trains are reasonably priced, with fares between €5.61 to €8, they involve transfers, potentially extending the travel time to as much as 1.5 hours.
Wrapping Up: Your Malaga to Marbella Trip
There are several transfer options available for traveling from Malaga to Marbella, each with its own pros and cons. It ultimately comes down to your personal preference, but rest assured, you’ll find your match.
If efficiency is your aim, rent a car and drive along the Mediterranean motorway for scenic views of Costa del Sol’s charming towns and beaches. With your own car, you have the freedom to make stops and soak it all in.
On the other hand, buses offer a budget-friendly choice with a quick journey of up to 55 minutes, while trains provide a traffic-free option, although the travel time is slightly longer.
If you’re planning a trip in June, which, in my opinion, is the best time to visit Malaga, expect a buzzing atmosphere with long-lasting sunshine.
Whichever transport you choose, you will be treated with a once-in-a-lifetime view. Enjoy the ride!
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