Málaga Airport serves the Spanish city of Málaga, but is also a very convenient starting point for those visiting other popular tourist destinations like Granada or coastal towns like Torremolinos, Benalmadena or Fuengirola. More officially known as the Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport, the name translates to Coast of the Sun and provides a pretty good idea of what the region is like.
With almost 13 million passengers passing through in 2013, it was considered Spain’s fourth busiest airport and boasts 3 fully operational terminals. It also contains a large shopping area, with designer retail outlets like Hugo Boss, Armani Jeans, Longchamp and Ralph Lauren to name a few. For those hungry after a long flight, the airport also houses several cafes and restaurants like Soho Coffee Co, Starbucks, Upper Crust, VIPs and Whopper Bar etc. WiFi services are also available for a small fee.
There are plenty of cheap options for getting out of the airport, depending on your destination and budget. For those going to Málaga City, a new underground train station in Terminal 3 of the airport connects you to trains that can bring you right into the heart of the city in less than half an hour. Alternatively, grab the Express Bus – make sure to take Linea A (Line A) and it will take you into the city quickly as well, with multiple stops. Both of these options will cost you a very small fee, less than €10.
Those going to the coastal towns on Costa del Sol can take a train from the same station but in the opposite direction, going towards Fuengirola (which bypasses Torremolinos and Benalmadena). It is fast and cost-efficient, taking less than 45 minutes to reach even the furthest town at less than €5 as of 2014.
When buying your train tickets at the self-service kiosks, make sure to read the instructions carefully and seek help if you don’t understand Spanish! According to train station staff, foreigners often press the wrong button on the kiosk – one that says “Sobretasa” – and therefore end up paying more for their ticket, as “Sobretasa” means surcharge and is actually a fine for those caught without a ticket.
For getting around Málaga city, the traditional method is best – walking. With its narrow lanes and traditional balconied buildings, it’s a city you’d want to stroll around, enjoying the skyline and stopping for amazing tapas whenever you want to. Slowly admire the city’s many cathedrals, castles, plazas and theatres on foot, or – for faster and breezier transportation – rent a bike to zip around on. Málaga is also known for their ‘Trixis’, otherwise known as Bike Taxis, where passengers sit in a covered carriage that is towed along behind a bike. Rainproof, cheap, eco-friendly and fun, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give this a go.
For longer distances, the train service in the city is efficient and reliable. Local trains – called Cercanias – can take you within walking distance to almost every attraction you can think of within the city. Málaga’s bus service network is also very extensive and modern, with many bus stops featuring electronic displays that show the arrival times of the next buses.
What to see and do
If you’re in Málaga, don’t miss the imposing Castillo de Gibralfaro, ruins of a castle perched on top of a hill. It was built by an 8th century Cordoban emir and overlooks the city, providing some magnificent views. Lazily meander through winding paths in garden terraces and be awed by the well-preserved fortress while admiring the stunning scenery from above.
Another one of Málaga’s must-sees is the Museo Taurino Antonio Ordóñez, a bullfighting museum that allows you to experience in-depth the intense world of bullfighting, from past to present. Besides learning about the history of bullfighting in Spain you can also find out more about the matadors and why they do what they do, all without witnessing an actual bullfight (if you’re squeamish about violence).
From sunny skies and relaxing beaches to historic sites and picturesque streets, Málaga can offer you a diverse holiday experience like few other cities can.
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