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No Car? No Problem! Here Are 7 of the Best Day Trips from Malaga Without a Car

Want to explore beyond Malaga city but you don't have a car? Here are 7 awesome car-free day trips from Malaga that you can add to your itinerary.

By Liza S. | Updated 11 Jul 2024 | Málaga | Places To Go | Login to add to YOUR Favourites Favourites Icon or Read Later

This article has been visited 111 times Mijas pueblo Mijas pueblo

Mijas pueblo

Malaga is a vibrant city with much to offer, but the real magic lies just beyond its city limits. It’s a fantastic base for exploring the province, with many interesting locations you can visit on a day trip. The best part is that there are many great day trips from Malaga you can do even without a car!

In this guide, you’ll discover the best day trips from Malaga that you can easily enjoy without a car, using convenient public transportation or guided tours. Whether you're craving picturesque seaside towns, historic villages, thrilling natural landscapes, or a taste of local culture, I’ve got you covered.

Get ready to explore these fantastic destinations near Malaga with ease and make the most of your time in southern Spain. Let’s plan your perfect car-free day trip adventure from Malaga!

Quick Answer: 7 Amazing Day Trips from Malaga Without a Car

Here are my picks for the 7 best day trips from Malaga without a car:

  • Nerja & Frigiliana
  • Benalmadena & Mijas Pueblo
  • Caminito del Rey
  • Antequera
  • Torremolinos/Fuengirola
  • Ronda
  • Gibraltar

If you only have time for just one day trip, my personal recommendation is either Nerja & Frigiliana or Caminito del Rey, depending on your interests.

Read on to learn more about each day trip and figure out which one best fits your trip!

1. Nerja & Frigiliana

The lovely village of Frigiliana The lovely village of Frigiliana

The lovely village of Frigiliana

Nerja & Frigiliana are two of the most charming destinations on the Costa del Sol, and they make for an unforgettable day trip from Malaga.

Nerja is a picturesque coastal town, known for its stunning beaches and the iconic Balcon de Europa, a viewpoint offering breathtaking vistas of the Mediterranean Sea. And nearby, you’ll find Frigiliana is a beautiful white-washed village renowned for its narrow, winding streets and Moorish architecture.

The proximity of these two lovely places make it easy to pair them on a day trip… even without a car!

Buses run regularly from Malaga to Nerja, with a journey time of approximately 1 hour. The service is run by ALSA so you can check Alsa.es for the bus schedule or use a platform like Omio.

From Nerja, you can catch a local bus or take a short taxi ride to Frigiliana, which is about 15 minutes away.

Nerja & Frigiliana is also a popular day tour combo from Malaga. This day tour is a complete experience which includes a visit to the impressive Nerja Caves plus a guided visit and free time in both Nerja and Frigiliana.

What to Do in Nerja:

  • Balcon de Europa, perched high above the sea, provides panoramic views that are simply spectacular. It’s a perfect spot for taking in the coastal beauty and snapping some memorable photos.
  • Discovered in 1959, Nerja Caves feature massive stalactites and stalagmites, along with prehistoric paintings. A guided tour will take you through the vast caverns and highlight their fascinating history.
  • Burriana Beach is one of Nerja’s most popular beaches, with golden sands and crystal-clear waters, perfect for a relaxing afternoon.

Click here for more on Nerja

What to Do in Frigiliana:

  • Wander through the labyrinthine streets of Frigiliana’s old town, adorned with colourful flowers and decorative tiles. It’s a delightful place to explore on foot.
  • The village is steeped in history, with well-preserved examples of Moorish design, including the ancient Lizar Castle ruins and the Church of San Antonio.

Learn more about Frigiliana here

2. Benalmadena & Mijas Pueblo

Colomares Castle in Benalmadena Pueblo Colomares Castle in Benalmadena Pueblo

Colomares Castle in Benalmadena Pueblo

Benalmadena & Mijas Pueblo offer a delightful mix of coastal charm and traditional Andalucian beauty, making them perfect for a day trip from Malaga.

Benalmadena is a bustling town on the Costa del Sol, known for its vibrant marina, beautiful parks, and family-friendly attractions. Just a short distance away, Mijas Pueblo is a quintessential white-washed village nestled in the mountains, offering stunning views and a taste of authentic Andalucian culture.

This is a very easy day trip to do without a car. The Cercanias trains run frequently from Malaga to Benalmadena, taking about 30 minutes. You’ll want to stop at the Arroyo de la Miel station.

From Benalmadena, you can catch a local bus to Mijas Pueblo, which takes around 15 to 20 minutes.

What to Do in Benalmadena:

  • The old town of Benalmadena is full of charm, with narrow streets, white-washed buildings, and picturesque squares. While you’re here, don’t miss the interesting and picturesque Colomares Castle.
  • Puerto Marina is Benalmadena's award-winning marina, filled with shops, restaurants, and bars. You can enjoy a leisurely stroll, take a boat trip, or simply relax and watch the boats come and go.
  • Sea Life Benalmadena is a popular aquarium with interactive exhibits and a variety of sea creatures, including sharks, rays, and colourful fish. It's an educational and fun experience for all ages.

Read more about Benalmadena here

What to Do in Mijas Pueblo:

  • Stroll through the beautiful streets of Mijas Pueblo, known for their immaculate white buildings adorned with vibrant flowers. The village exudes a peaceful and traditional Andalusian atmosphere.
  • Mijas Bullring is a unique oval-shaped bullring, built in 1900, one of the few of its kind in Spain. It offers a glimpse into the region’s cultural heritage.
  • The viewpoints in Mijas Pueblo provide stunning vistas of the Costa del Sol and the surrounding countryside, making it a perfect spot for photography enthusiasts.

Discover more about Mijas pueblo here

3. Caminito del Rey

Caminito del Rey near Malaga Caminito del Rey near Malaga

Caminito del Rey near Malaga

This is my absolute favourite day trip from Malaga!

It’s a very popular activity and photos of the stunning scenery and vertigo-inducing walkways are everywhere on the internet… but it’s definitely still worth a visit.

Caminito del Rey, or "The King's Little Pathway," is a walkway pinned along the steep walls of a narrow gorge in El Chorro. Originally built for workers at the nearby hydroelectric plant, it has been restored and is now one of the top day trips in Andalucia.

The main attraction is the 8-kilometre walkway itself, which takes you through gorges, canyons, and along a hanging path that offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The pathway is elevated and includes sections with glass floors for an even more thrilling experience.

My favourite part of the walk is the dramatic Gaitanes Gorge, with its towering cliffs and narrow pathways.

To get to Caminito del Rey, you can catch a train from central Malaga to El Chorro, with a journey time of approximately 1 hour. From the train station, there’s a shuttle bus to ferry visitors to the entrance of Caminito del Rey.

Do note that there are limited trains so taking public transportation will require some advance planning.

For a totally stress-free experience, I recommend taking a day tour from Malaga to Caminito del Rey that includes all transportation and a guided walk. I’ve personally done this tour and you can read about my experience here.

Don’t forget to bring water, snacks, sunscreen, a hat, and a camera to capture the stunning scenery!

4. Antequera

The Alcazaba in Antequera The Alcazaba in Antequera

The Alcazaba in Antequera

If a hidden gem is more your style, then, Antequera is the day trip for you.

This lesser-known historical gem offers a rich cultural experience and stunning natural beauty for a perfect day trip from Malaga.

Antequera is known for its impressive array of historical monuments, beautiful churches, and archaeological sites. This charming town provides a glimpse into Andalucia's past, with a mix of Roman, Moorish, and Christian influences.

Antequera is accessible from Malaga by train, with the AVE train that takes under 20 minutes. You’ll arrive in the Antequera Santa Ana station which is actually 18km from the town. From the Santa Ana train station, taking a taxi is your best option.

The bus from Malaga to Antequera may be a better option as the Antequera bus station is in the town itself. ALSA runs the bus service between Malaga and Antequera - or at least they used to. At the time of publishing, the route is no longer listed on their website but I recommend checking to see if it has been reinstated.

Once you arrive in Antequera, the town is compact and easily navigable on foot, making it convenient to explore all the main attractions.

To get to the Dolmens, a taxi is the best option. Be sure to save the taxi contact number as you may need it to call one for the return trip. Alternatively, it’s about a 25-minute walk.

There aren’t any tour options to Antequera that include both the town and the natural park. But if you’d like to go to the Dolmens, this half-day tour from Malaga will take you on a 2-hour hike in El Torcal National Park.

Compared to other day trips on this list, this one takes a bit more effort to get to but it’s worth it!

What to Do in Antequera:

  • El Torcal Natural Park is famous for its otherworldly limestone rock formations, shaped over millions of years. It's an ideal spot for hiking and photography. There are several well-marked trails of varying difficulty, offering breathtaking views and a chance to explore the park's flora and fauna.
  • The Alcazaba of Antequera is a 14th-century fortress with stunning panoramic views of Antequera and the surrounding countryside. It's a great place to learn about the town's Moorish history.
  • The Dolmen de Menga, Viera, and El Romeral are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These ancient megalithic burial mounds are among the largest in Europe and offer a fascinating glimpse into prehistoric times.

Learn more about Antequera here

5. Torremolinos/Fuengirola

Sohail Castle in Fuengirola, Costa del Sol Sohail Castle in Fuengirola, Costa del Sol

Sohail Castle in Fuengirola, Costa del Sol

If it’s a beach day you’re after, then a day trip to either Torremolinos or Fuengirola could be a good option for you as they’re easily accessible from Malaga.

Fair warning: these two coastal towns get a bit of a bad rep sometimes and some people may warn you against them. But for a fuss-free day out by the sea that’s convenient to get to from Malaga, they’re a decent option.

Torremolinos and Fuengirola are both popular destinations for sun-seekers and families. Torremolinos is known for its bustling beachfront and entertainment options, while Fuengirola offers a more laid-back vibe with its charming marina and excellent zoo.

Between the two, I personally prefer Fuengirola.

The Cercanias trains run frequently from Malaga to both Torremolinos and Fuengirola. The journey to Torremolinos takes about 20 minutes, while the journey to Fuengirola takes around 40 minutes.

Both towns are easily navigable on foot, once you get there, and it’s easy to find amenities like restaurants, cafes, and bars along the seaside.

What to Do in Torremolinos:

  • The water park Aqualand Torremolinos is a big hit with families. With a variety of slides, wave pools, and splash zones, it’s perfect for a fun-filled day for all ages.
  • Located next to Aqualand, Crocodile Park is home to numerous crocodiles, including the largest crocodile in Europe. It's both educational and exciting, with informative shows and feeding times.
  • Torremolinos boasts several sandy beaches, such as Playa de la Carihuela and Playa El Bajondillo, where you can relax, swim, and enjoy water sports.

Read more about Torremolinos here

What to Do in Fuengirola:

  • Bioparc Fuengirola is an innovative zoo that is designed to resemble natural habitats and offers immersive experiences with animals from tropical forests. It’s highly rated for its focus on conservation and education.
  • Sohail Castle is a historic fortress that overlooks the sea. It’s a great spot for history enthusiasts and those looking for panoramic views.
  • Fuengirola is home to lovely beaches, including Playa de los Boliches and Playa de Fuengirola, perfect for sunbathing and enjoying the Mediterranean waters.

Learn more about visiting Fuengirola here

Tip: If you’re up for a full-day of exploring, you can easily combine this day trip with #2 on the list as they’re all pretty close to each other, with bus and train services connecting the towns. You can start in Torremolinos or Benalmadena, head up to Benalmadena pueblo and Mijas pueblo by bus, and then take another bus to Fuengirola. To close the loop, take the train back to Malaga central.

6. Ronda

Ronda's famous Puente Nuevo Ronda's famous Puente Nuevo

Ronda's famous Puente Nuevo

Ronda is one of the most popular places to visit in Andalucia… and you can easily visit it from Malaga without a car.

As one of the most picturesque and historically rich places in Andalucia, Ronda’s dramatic landscapes and wealth of cultural attractions make for an unforgettable day trip from Malaga.

Perched atop a deep gorge, Ronda is famous for its breathtaking views, ancient architecture, and vibrant history. The town's unique position and stunning scenery have inspired poets, writers, and travellers for centuries.

There are no direct trains from Malaga to Ronda, but there are a few trains with one transfer that will take you about 2 to 3 hours in total. There are also buses connecting Malaga and Ronda and they typically take 2 to 2.5 hours. I recommend using Omio to check bus and train schedules to see which works best for you.

Ronda itself is walkable so you’ll have no issues exploring it by foot.

Alternatively, you can opt for a day tour to Ronda that also includes a stop in Setenil de las Bodegas, one of the most unique white villages in Andalucia. It’s a fantastic day out to two of the region’s loveliest places to visit.

What to Do in Ronda:

  • The iconic Puente Nuevo (New Bridge) spans the impressive El Tajo Gorge, connecting the old and new parts of the town. The views from the bridge are spectacular, and it is one of Spain’s most photographed landmarks.
  • Wander through the charming streets of Ronda’s old town, where you’ll find beautiful buildings, quaint shops, and local cafes. Highlights include the Church of Santa Maria la Mayor and the Mondragon Palace.
  • The well-preserved Arab Baths (Baños Árabes) in Ronda date back to the 13th century and offer a glimpse into the town’s Moorish past. The site includes informative displays about the historical and cultural context of the baths.
  • The deep El Tajo Gorge, carved by the Guadalevín River, is a stunning natural feature that adds to Ronda’s dramatic scenery. Several trails and paths provide excellent hiking opportunities and vantage points.

Click here to learn more about visiting Ronda

7. Gibraltar

Ape's Den on Gibraltar's Rock Ape's Den on Gibraltar's Rock

Ape's Den on Gibraltar's Rock

This last day trip on the list actually is pretty much impossible to do without a car but it’s such a popular day tour option from Malaga that it would be remiss of me to exclude it.

This is another one of those places where some people are like, “no, don’t go there!” but in my opinion, it's worth a visit to experience it for yourself.

Gibraltar is a unique and fascinating destination, offering a blend of British and Mediterranean cultures, dramatic landscapes, and rich history. This British Overseas Territory, is renowned for its iconic Rock, vibrant town centre, and historical significance.

This small but intriguing destination provides a distinct change of pace and scenery from the typical Andalucian experience.

La Linea de la Concepcion is the Spanish town that borders Gibraltar. AvanzaBus serves the route between it and Malaga but with only one bus at 2.30pm, it’s not feasible for a DIY day trip.

So the best way to visit Gibraltar from Malaga without a car is with a tour. I’ve taken this tour and found that it was a hassle-free way to visit Gibraltar. You can read my review of the experience here.

Don’t forget to bring your passport (or ID if you’re an EU national), as you’ll need it to cross the border.

What to Do in Gibraltar:

  • The iconic Rock of Gibraltar is home to many of the territory’s attractions including St Michael’s Cave and the Great Siege Tunnels.
  • The Rock is also home to Europe’s only wild monkey population. These playful Barbary macaques are a highlight for many visitors, but remember to keep your belongings secure!
  • Gibraltar’s Main Street is lined with shops, cafes, and restaurants. It’s a great place to enjoy some duty-free shopping and sample a mix of British and Mediterranean cuisine.
  • Visit Europa Point, the southernmost point of Gibraltar, for stunning views across the Strait of Gibraltar. Key landmarks here include the Europa Point Lighthouse and the Ibrahim-al-Ibrahim Mosque.

Learn more about Gibraltar here

Practical Tips for Exploring Andalucia Without a Car

  • To check out the available public transportation options, I recommend using a platform like Omio where you can compare bus and train schedules and prices in one place. Easy peasy!
  • If you opt to travel by train, it’s best to book your tickets in advance as certain routes or timings can be popular. Renfe is the train company in Spain and you can book tickets directly on their website. You can also use Trainline which I find easier to use!
  • Don’t rule out guided tours as they can be both convenient and informative, allowing you to see the best of the region and learn more about Andalucian history and culture from your guide. If you’re travelling in a group, a private tour might turn out to be the most economical option.

For more day tour options from Malaga, check out our Viator Shop where we’ve collected the best tours!

Exploring Beyond Malaga Without a Car

As you can see, there are many options for day trips from Malaga using public transportation or by joining guided tours.

Two other options that aren’t listed above are Seville and Granada, mainly because I personally think they deserve more than just one day. But if you don’t have enough time in your Andalucia itinerary to give them more time, you can read our day trip guides here:

I hope this guide has helped you with your Malaga itinerary and inspired you to take some car-free day trips! If you need more help or advice, pop into our Visit Andalucia Facebook group and I’m sure our community will be happy to offer their recommendations.

Buen viaje!

P.S. Need more Andalucia travel inspiration? Get my e-book, The Ultimate Andalucia Bucket List, which features 13 incredible experiences in the region. It's FREE and you can get it here.

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