Main city of the Costa del Sol and home to one of Spain’s busiest airports, Malaga is too often dismissed simply as a transport hub.
But the birthplace of Picasso has one of the loveliest Old Towns in Andalusia, stand-out Mediterranean beaches, and is the only city outside France with a Pompidou Centre.
Arriving at Malaga–Costa del Sol Airport
Malaga is home to Spain’s fourth largest international airport, officially known as Malaga–Costa del Sol Airport (AGP). It’s also connected to the east and west Costa del Sol by the A7 coastal motorway, which runs from Algeciras to Almeria.
Malaga Airport has two terminals, welcomes over 15 million passengers annually, and handles direct flights to more than 100 destinations in 25 countries. As you'd expect from any airport this size, it offers quick and convenient connections to the city centre.
An express bus service runs between the airport and city every 20 minutes from 0700 until 0000, seven days a week. The journey time is 25 minutes.
Trains from Malaga Airport to the city centre are a speedier option, taking 11 minutes. They run every 20 minutes from early morning until midnight, seven days a week.
If you’re not in the mood for navigating public transport after your flight, you can always jump into one of the metered taxis available outside the main terminal.
Festivals and events
February is carnival time in Malaga. Think a week-long street party, punctuated by parades, and ending with an anchovy being buried at Playa de la Malagueta on Ash Wednesday.
At Easter Malaga celebrates Semana Santa with pomp and ceremony. It’s busy, but nothing like Seville or Santiago de Compostela. So you can watch hooded penitents marching by torchlight and the spectacular brotherhood processions in relative comfort.
The midsummer night festival of San Juan, in June, sees what seems like the city's entire population heading to the beach for the evening. The festivities involve building bonfires, grilling sardines, burning paper effigies, and washing faces in the sea on the stroke of midnight, apparently in search of eternal beauty.
Feria de Malaga
In one of the last annual Ferias on the Costa del Sol Malaga celebrates for nine days in the middle of August. The atmosphere is beachy rather than non-stop party, but can get wild in the evenings. Local customs are a big part of the event, along with copious over-indulgence.
Fiesta Mayor de Verdiales
One of the city’s most important cultural events takes place at the end of December. The Verdiales festival celebrates traditional Andalusian dance, music and theatre, and is currently under consideration for UNESCO World Heritage status.