Top 5 Road Trips in Malaga Spain on a Budget

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Learn about road trips in Malaga Spain and some nearby areas to explore. For some fun in the sun, a day trip to the beaches of Costa del Sol may be in order. Whilst in Malaga, Spain you can take a short road trip to the mountainous village of Ronda, divided by the gorge of the Tajo River it has the oldest bull fighting ring in the country.

Another excellent day trip for those who love ancient architectural handiwork, lovely gardens and magnificent views- Gibralfaro Castle and La Alcazaba Palace.

Exploring Spain is such a big part of travel, why not rent a car in Malaga. You can use it to visit to Marbella which is about an hour’s drive. In Marbella you will enjoy visiting art galleries and quaint bistros. It’s a busy, bustling city with an amphitheater and many historic buildings.

Granada is also a must see for its lovely 9th century palace. It will take less than 90 minutes to get there by car. Reasons to visit Spain

Road Trips in Malaga Spain

Here’s 5 great road trips you must consider when traveling to Malaga, Spain:

Beaches of Costa del Sol in Marbella Spain

Crowded beaches during the summertime do not stop visitors from enjoying a day in the sun. Off season, the Marbella Spain beaches aren’t quite as crowded. Stop at the bay to enjoy a day of fishing and some peace and quiet and enjoy fresh fish or gazpacho for lunch at one of many restaurants to complete your day trip.

Road Trips in Malaga Spain Beaches of Costa del Sol
Beaches of Costa del Sol

Marbella Spain Costa del Sol’s Gibralfaro Castle and La Alcazaba Palace

To get to Gibralfaro Castle you’ll have to climb a bit, but once there the views below are gorgeous, especially the night lights.

Costa del Sol's Gibralfaro Castle and La Alcazaba Palace
Costa del Sol’s Gibralfaro Castle and La Alcazaba Palace

Take a tour of the Moorish fortress, La Alcazaba Palace, it’s noted for its ancient watch towers, lovely gardens, patios and beautiful architectural design.

Ronda’s Plazada Toros

The village of Ronda is vibrant, with many historical sites such as Plazada Toros, the oldest bull fighting ring in Spain. A day trip nearly 2 hours west of Malaga is well worth the drive, the mountain views are breathtaking.

Ronda's Plazada Toros
Ronda’s Plazada Toros

Visit this bustling village’s museum to learn about the ancient sport of bull fighting, check out the historic landmark, the Town Square, and visit the Church of the Holy Spirit while in Ronda.

Marbella is an Artists Dream

Art galleries and shops lining the streets give Marbella its charm and lovely character. These are just some of the attractions Marbella has to offer. Take in a show at the amphitheater, have lunch at one of many Spanish bistros, and stop to enjoy the beautiful view of the Marbella Spain coast.

Learn more about Marbella on a budget for things to do and ideas to save money.

Marbella, an Artists Dream
Marbella, an Artists Dream

Granada, The Alhambra Palace

Tourists and residents alike enjoy a tour of the gorgeous Alhambra Palace. This lovely old palace overlooks the city of Granada. Walk around the gardens adorned with wild flowers, enjoy relaxing on the patios, and take in the ancient early 9th century architecture of one of the oldest palaces in the country.

Granada, The Alhambra Palace
Granada, The Alhambra Palace

Exploring Malaga 

Malaga is a large city in the southern Spanish region of Andalucia and capital of the Malaga Province – the largest city on the Costa del Sol, Malaga offers beaches, hiking, architectural sites, art museums, excellent shopping and cuisine, which can turn into a very expensive vacation if you are not prepared.

So, firstly make sure you allocate yourself a budget for each day and really try to stick to it – sort out budgeting before your holiday and research what you’d like to do each day. Using Malaga as a home base to journey to other cities makes great sense but you’ll also want to plan some time to enjoy Malaga. 

Malaga Pre-book for Discounts

Try to find potential online discounts that can be used to buy tickets in advance. For example, when buying tickets for the water park ‘Aqualand’ in Malaga you can save a total of €12 on tickets if you buy in advance online. This will allow you to enjoy your day further either saving the extra money or treating yourselves to an ice cream cooling you down in the summer sun.

If you are booking with a large travel agent then I always recommend asking them for advice. They will be used to giving out advice and would know where the best and cheapest attractions are.

Malaga Shopping

How to shop like a local in Malaga: Go to the markets to buy fruit, vegetables, souvenirs, and presents, etc. Malaga has a huge market every Thursday bustling full of people trying to give and offer you the best deal.

Make sure you haggle as much as possible even if you struggle with the language barrier. As long as the seller is making a slight profit they’ll be happy to sell.

Leather bags for example could have a price tag of €40 but it’s often likely that if you haggle and smile sweetly the price will easily lower to around €15 helping you save money and stick to a budget.

When you see a product you like, set a price in your head of how much you can afford to pay and ensure you pay no more. With so many similar products it’s likely that they’ll be a stall that will haggle down to your lowest offered price.

Restaurants Malaga

Shop for food like a local in Malaga. Choose to eat in as much as possible. Renting a place with a kitchen will be important to achieve this. Having even a small refrigerator and cooktop will enable you to save money.

There are loads of supermarkets like ‘supersol’ offering family meal deals costing as little as €5 for a family of 4. This is a huge reduction from the likely €50 you’ll spend if eating out saving you 90% of your funds.

I would also suggest visiting Atarazanas Market, an attraction in itself, but also a great place to buy fruits, vegetables, bread, meat and fish.

However, I can totally understand the specializes of eating out and would advise choosing an area such as the Mariana in Benalmadena where there’s high competition and therefore you’ll always be offered competitive low prices and potentially free drinks or cocktails helping you to save as much as possible.

Malaga Beaches – Malaga’s biggest assets

One of Malaga’s biggest assets are the beautiful beaches, that are free for everyone to enjoy. Spend some time in the morning, relax in the sun and go for a couple of swims, and after lunch you can check out some free attractions in town.

Malaga Night Clubs

You have to remember that Malaga is not a typical romantic getaway. You may find more party animals than loving couples. So if going out to enjoy the nightlife in the evening, people will be desperate to get you into their bar, never accept the first deal they give you.

Similarly to the markets, make sure you haggle as much as possible helping you to stick to a budget. Also, bring a specific amount out that you’re prepared to spend as to avoid coming home spending more than you intended.

An example of bar deals is being charged €15 to go into an ice bar and then being charged to buy drinks on top of that when actually they’d happily give you 2 free cocktail and entry into the bar for just €5.

As long as the business is making a slight profit margin they’ll be happy to give you a deal. Not only is it good business for them but also means you’re more likely to return or recommend the place to friends.

Road Trips Around Malaga

There are some things that are free every day, but many attractions have certain days where they offer free admission to visitors. If you plan ahead, you can find out which days to visit each place to get in for free.

Malaga’s center for contemporary art, CAC, is a great museum with free entry every day, and a stroll around the Botanical Gardens in the city park is free and always enjoyable. Then you have Alcazaba and Gibralfaro castle which are free on Sunday afternoons, which are an absolute must to see.

Finally, the best piece of advice I can give to doing Malaga on a budget is to pre-plan everything, you can find deals in Malaga online, from ticket entrance fees to the flights and hotel booking. Look online to find a low cost holidays discount code or go on search engines and see what other travelers are getting deals for.

What are your road trips in Malaga Spain on a budget?

(photo credit: 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 6 – 2, 3, 4, 5)