Is Malaga Expensive? A Guide to Prices in Malaga

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by Maggie Turansky

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Known for its shining coastline, bustling centre and historic sites like the Alcazaba, Málaga is a perennially popular destination that has been charming visitors for decades. However, with its popularity, many would-be travellers are very curious about the prices in Malaga and are asking themselves the question: “is Malaga expensive?”

When planning a trip to Spain (or anywhere for that matter), knowing what your average costs are likely to be is essential to mapping out the best holiday possible.

And though Spain, and Southern Spain in particular, is widely lauded to be an affordable destination, it still isn’t the “cheapest” destination to visit in Europe and, even if it was, it is essential to know all of the potential costs that can go along with a holiday to this beautiful city.

So how expensive is Malaga? Well, on average you can expect to spend €58-170 per person per day while visiting the city. However, it depends on how and where you spend your money.

If you want a more detailed breakdown of the prices in Malaga then look no further. Here I will discuss the main areas that you need to know to effectively budget your trip to this Andalucían city so you are not blind-sighted by the costs associated with travelling here.

Accommodation Prices in Malaga

The first and generally most significant cost to any holiday and certainly in Málaga as well is the cost of accommodation. Obviously, depending on your travel style and needs, your costs can vary widely. Obviously, it is always possible to spend more money and oftentimes, it is certainly possible to spend less as well.

Accommodation costs in Málaga don’t have to break the bank, however, even if you’re looking for a nicer hotel that is centrally located.

For instance, if you’re looking for a stay in a quaint budget to mid-range hotel — like the Hotel Sur Málaga — that is located within easy walking distance of all of the city’s main attractions, expect prices to start at around €80-100 per night. For a slightly nicer spot, expect prices to land closer to €100-130 per night.

Malaga's beautiful sidestreets
Malaga’s beautiful sidestreets

And on the higher end, if you’re keen to stay in a luxury hotel — like the Vincci Larios Diez — and have countless great amenities available to you and plush rooms, then you’re looking at prices that land somewhere closer to €200 or more per night.

Hotels, however, aren’t the only forms of accommodation in Málaga and there are a couple of other options available out there. For instance, if you’re travelling solo and on a tight budget (or simply want a very social atmosphere), a dorm bed in one of Málaga’s many hostels — such as The Lights Hostel — will start at around €30 per night.

Another popular option for accommodation in Málaga is a private rental. There are countless options available on the various platforms ranging from entire apartments to lovely beachfront homes.

The cost of a studio or 1-bedroom apartment like the Malagueta beach studio — starts at around €80-100 per night.

With all these things considered, what are the average accommodation prices in Malaga? Obviously, it depends on what you’re after but if you’re splitting the costs between two people, you’re looking to spend around €30-100 per person per night.

The Roman Theatre in Malaga
The Roman Theatre in Malaga

Transportation Prices in Malaga

Another pervasive expense in Málaga that travellers need to be aware of is the cost of transportation. You’re going to need to get from point A to point B during your time in Málaga and, oftentimes, this comes with a bit of a price tag. However, it doesn’t really have to break the bank in Málaga.

One of the great things about this city is that it is incredibly walkable and, once you’re there, it’s actually unlikely that you need to spend money on transport at all if you’re already in the city centre.

That being said, as well, if you only plan to stay in Málaga and aren’t too interested in visiting some surrounding areas of the Costa del Sol or in larger Andalucía, then you’re not going to need to worry about hiring a car (if you feel you need a car then browse for great deals) or paying for coach or train fare, either.

So how much should you budget for transportation in Málaga?

Well, the first thing that you need to consider is how you’re arriving in the city. Málaga does have its own international airport and it’s incredibly easy to reach the city centre (or elsewhere on the Costa del Sol, for that matter) from there.

Málaga's tranquil Playa de Malagueta
Málaga’s tranquil Playa de Malagueta

If you want to rely on public transport, you can opt for the airport bus or the train. The express bus ticket costs €4 for a single journey fare and the train costs €1.80 for a single journey. Both have departures that leave frequently and are reliable.

If you do want to use the public transit when visiting, you will find that the bus system is both affordable and easy to navigate. A single-fare bus journey will set you back €1.30 and it is unlikely that you will need more than a couple of times throughout your time in Málaga (as mentioned earlier, most of the main sites are pretty concentrate within easy walking distance of each other).

For those who want to use Málaga as a base for some day trips, you are going to need to budget for some higher transportation costs. The easiest way to explore the surrounding area is by hire car, however, this is going to be the most expensive, as well.

You can get great deals on rental cars if you book in advance. Expect a basic car rental to start at around €20 per day. This is not accounting for other costs, like petrol and parking.

Bus and train fares can vary, as well, depending on where you want to visit.

So with the above aspects being mentioned — that being if you only use the public transport system to get to and from the airport and for one or two bus rides — then you should plan to spend about two or three days in Málaga then plan to spend about €3-20 per person per day on transport depending on your habits and choices.

Malaga Cathedral
Malaga Cathedral

Food Prices in Malaga

Now let’s talk about one of the best reasons to visit Málaga — the food.

Spain and the region of Andalucía is known for its fantastic tapas culture and this beautiful city is an absolutely wonderful place to sample it. While there are certainly tourist traps churning out overpriced and underwhelming food, there are far more fantastic local haunts serving great dishes at quite affordable prices.

So what are the Malaga food prices like? Well, again, it really will depend on your habits but one of the greatest things about the country of Spain, on the whole, is the affordability of food.

While Málaga is no Granada and you likely won’t be getting a complimentary plate of food with each drink order, going out for tapas is certainly not going to break the bank. In general, you can expect an individual plate at a local tapas bar to cost around €3-6 depending on what you order — expect to order 2 plates per person for a complete meal.

Delicious and affordable Patatas Bravas in Malaga
Delicious and affordable Patatas Bravas in Malaga

Another great way to eat locally and affordably is to take advantage of a menú del día — or daily set lunch menu — where you will get a starter (usually a soup of sorts), a main course, a dessert or coffee and a drink (beer, wine or a soft drink). These menus can run anywhere from €8-12 depending on the type of establishment but they always tend to be of incredibly good value.

If you’re looking to eat at a more traditional, higher-end restaurant, then the prices can go up from there. For a three-course meal, then expect to pay about €20 per person.

Even with these prices considered, eating out in Málaga can be incredibly affordable without having to sacrifice much. If you take advantage of set lunch menus and frequent local-focused tapas bars rather than overpriced tourist traps, then expect to spend an average of about €15-20 per person per day on food in Málaga.

Delicious and hearty espinacas con garbanzos from La Tranca
Delicious and hearty espinacas con garbanzos from La Tranca

Activities Prices in Malaga

Now that we’ve discussed all of the most fundamental prices in Malaga included accommodation, transportation and food, it’s time to talk about how much it will cost to actually do things in the city. Well, you will be happy to find out that this, too, shouldn’t break the bank.

Málaga is full of interesting historic sites and fascinating museums to visit and none of them have too hefty of entry fees.

For example, if you want to spend a morning exploring the incredible Alcazaba, full-priced entry will only set you back €3.50 (it is €1.50 for students, children, seniors etc.). Want to visit the incredible Teatro Romano just below the Alcazaba? Well, that privilege is completely free of charge!

Museum entry in Málaga is also similarly affordable, with entry fees landing around €5-10 depending on the museum. It’s worth knowing that there are almost always concession prices available, as well, for students and seniors.

If you want to lounge on the beach while visiting Málaga, then you should also be able to enjoy that this privilege is also completely free!

Of course, if you want to enjoy things like a tapas and market tour or even a sunset catamaran cruise, then you’re going to need to budget a bit more than you would for a site or museum entry fee. Expect tours like this to cost anywhere from €15-70 per person.

All in all, if you only do one or two paid activities each day, expect to pay about €5-20 per person on activities when you’re visiting Málaga.

The view of the Alcazaba from below
The view of the Alcazaba from below

Entertainment Prices in Malaga

Now that we’ve discussed all of the prices to expect for your day-to-day life and activities while visiting Málaga, now we’re going to talk about how much it will cost to have a bit of fun while visiting this coastal city. The good news? It isn’t much!

If you want to grab a small beer or a glass of wine in a local bar, for instance, you’re looking at spending about €2-3 depending on the establishment and what you order. The bonus is that you will almost always get a dish of olives or some other little snack to enjoy alongside your drink!

If you’re searching for something a bit stronger, then expect a simple cocktail like a gin and tonic or an Aperol spritz to land around €5-6 in Málaga. On the other side, if you’re interested in going out for the occasional coffee, a basic espresso drink like a cappuccino will generally cost about €1.50.

In general, entertainment costs in Málaga aren’t overly expensive and you can certainly have a couple of drinks in the Spanish sunshine without breaking the bank. If you don’t drink to excess (no judgements here if you do!), then plan to spend €5-10 per day on entertainment depending on your habits and tastes.

2 days in Malaga
Tasting a local dessert wine

Average Malaga Trip Cost

Without further ado, let’s break down the average daily costs of a trip to Málaga! This is calculated per person and assuming that you plan to split the cost of things like accommodation between two people.

Accommodation: €30-100 / day

Transportation: €3-20 / day

Food: €15-20 / day

Activities: €5-20 / day

Entertainment: €5-10 / day

With the above breakdown of prices, you can expect to spend about €58-170 per person per day when visiting Málaga. This doesn’t include any pre-trip expenses such as flights or travel insurance.

While it is certainly possible to spend more and you definitely have the ability to spend a bit less, as well, this is the price range that you can expect to stick to if you want to get a lot out of the city without having to truly break the bank.

Málaga’s Alcazaba sits above the Roman Theatre
Málaga’s Alcazaba sits above the Roman Theatre

So how expensive is Malaga? On the whole, prices don’t have to be too high! So long as you steer clear of the overpriced tourist traps and try to frequent more local-focused establishments, then your total trip to Malaga cost does not have to put you into debt.

Are you wondering about the prices in Malaga? Have you visited the city before? Let us know in the comments!

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Maggie is a co-founder and writer for The World Was Here First. Originally from the US, she has lived in five different countries and has travelled to dozens more, both solo and with her partner, Michael. She particularly loves exploring Spain and spending time in the Caucasus and the Baltics. Read more about Maggie

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