Budget itinerary for 2 days in Malaga, Spain (from €25 per day).
Malaga is one of the sunniest destinations in Europe with an average of over 320 sunny days per year. The coastline is even named Costa del Sol (Coast of the Sun) and there are plenty of beaches to be enjoyed. In addition to its proximity to the sea, Malaga is a traditional Spanish city with modern bars, restaurants, and retail stores. The architecture has been influenced by previous rulers, with an Arabic citadel right by a Roman theater and Catholic cathedrals.
Here are my recommendations for Malaga in 2 days including:
- How to get to Malaga
- 2 days in Malaga itinerary
- Free things to do in Malaga
- Where to stay in Malaga
- My travel budget for Malaga in 2 days.
How to get to Malaga
Getting to Malaga is easy with its bustling international airport. For my two days in Malaga, I found a cheap return flight using Skyscanner.
From here, the cheapest and most efficient way to get downtown is by the Cercanias (railway). There are airport buses, however, they are a little more expensive. Be aware that taxis have high airport tax added to fares. Alternatively, if you are arriving by land, buses or Bla Bla Car are great options.
2 days in Malaga itinerary
Breakfast at Republica Malaga
For our 2 days in Malaga, my friend and I stayed at Republica Malaga. Throughout my years of traveling, I have seen quite a few hostels but few that manage to achieve the comfy and homely atmosphere that Republica Malaga has. In fact, the entire hostel has been hand-decorated by one of the owners, Miriam. Miriam is also an avid traveler (just shy of 50 countries) and has taken inspiration from all the different hotels and hostels she has visited around the world.
The ambiance of the hostel is very social, and a lot of that comes from both Miriam’s decorating and bubbly personality. She wants to see guests having a good time and has plenty of recommendations for the city. She even helped us plan our itinerary, including many of the dining options included in this post.
Breakfast is provided complimentary to all guests and served buffet-style in the lounge and dining area. I was really impressed by the range of options with cereals, yogurts, toast, pastries, fruit, juices, teas, and coffee. I love long morning breakfasts and enjoyed sitting with a cup of coffee while chatting with other guests.
Paseo del Parque and Paseo de la Farola
The first thing I would recommend doing in Malaga is taking a stroll down Paseo de los Curas to Paseo de la Farola. Paseo de los Curas is a walkway right by the port and has a striking white trellis structure overhead.
Paseo de la Farola is perfect for sitting in the sun with a drink and some tapas. My friend, Katie, and I stopped in at a restaurant called Plaza to share Paella and a bottle of white wine. For the location, the price wasn’t bad and the wine was actually very good. As a bonus, they gave us a glass of cava each. This is actually customary in the Andalusian region and many restaurants will usually serve a small complimentary liqueur with the bill.
Most of the restaurants in Paseo de la Farola will be a little more pricey because you are paying for the view of the port, however, there is a more economical option. The following day we visited Chopper and between three people, we shared a bottle of wine and tapas for €12.
After you’ve finished your meal, grab an ice cream and head to the beach, but be sure to come back through the leafy-green Paseo del Parque, opposite to Paseo de los Curas.
Playa de La Malagueta
Every day in Malaga should be a beach day! Less than a fifteen-minute walk from the historical center and right next to the port is Malagueta beach. Even if it’s not warm enough to swim, still bring your beach towel so you can stretch out on the sand and soak up the sun.
Heading further east, you will find “Chiringuitos” – beach-side restaurants that specialize in espetos (grilled sardines on a skewer). In front, you will find old fishing boats transformed into fire-pits to cook fish. Some of the best Chiringuitos are in the old fishing neighborhood of Pedregalejo. I visited the area on my second visit to Malaga and loved the low key atmosphere and relaxed beach vibes.
Dinner at La Casa Invisible
Location: Calle Nosquera 11, Málaga, Spain
La Casa Invisible is an unexpected gem, with cheap drink and food options. Miriam from Republica Malaga brought a group of us here for dinner on our first night. The meals are a twist on traditional Spanish tapas and are very filling. The best part, in addition to the cheap drinks, is the atmosphere. It is situated in a courtyard with shady palms and a bubbling fountain. A great place to come with a group or a date.
Teatro Romanoa, Castillo de Gibralfaro and parador de Malaga
The architecture in Malaga is diverse, beginning with its oldest monument, the Roman theater, dating back to the first century BCE. It sits grandly in the center of Malaga, right next to the Alcazaba and path leading up to Castillo de Gibralfaro.
Castillo de Gibralfaro rises high above the city with magnificent views the whole walk up. The sights from parador de Malaga are free, and if you wish to enter the castle it’s free after 2 pm on Sundays.
In addition to Castillo de Gibralfaro, La Alcazaba is also free on Sunday after 2 pm. Alternatively, you can purchase tickets at the gates for a couple of Euros, or a joint ticket for a small saving. We happened to be in Malaga on a Sunday and explored the Arabic fortress palace with its stunning outlooks, arches, and fountains.
Wine from the barrel at Antigua Casa de Guardia
Location: Alameda Principal, 18, 29005 Málaga
For a really unique drinking experience, head to Antigua Casa de Guardia. Here they serve sweet fortified wines (sherry) straight from the barrel. Miriam from Republica Malaga brought a group of us here from the hostel. A little glass of sweet wine was a nice way to start the night.
Dinner and drinks at La Tranca
Location: Calle Carretería, 93, 29008 Málaga
For my first visit to Malaga, La Tranca was my favorite place to eat at and I only tried one thing – empanadas! This was another suggestion by Miriam of Republica Malaga and even got the nod of approval from an Argentinian friend. The flavors for the empanadas are listed on the wall and once you eat one, you will want to try them all!
On my second visit back to Malaga, I also dined at a tapas bar called Meson de Cervantes. It is a little more pricey than the other restaurants or bars that I have included in this post, but the food was top notch. Meson de Cervantes was suggested by a friend in Gibraltar. He also recommended “Tapeo de Cervantes”, so if you go, let me know how it is.
Free things to do in Malaga
There is an impressive amount of free things to do in Malaga. I asked some locals for their favorites to narrow down the list for you:
- Museo Picasso: free admission on Sundays after 2 pm
- Centro de Arte Contemporaneo (CAC): free admission
- Museo de Malaga: free admission for EU citizens and €1.50 for others
- Centre Pompidou: free admission on Sundays after 4 pm
- Coleccion del Museo Ruso: free admission on Sundays after 4 pm
- Museo Carmen Thyssen: free admission on Sundays after 5 pm.
Where to stay in Malaga: Republica Malaga
Location: Antonio Baena Gomez 2, Málaga, Spain 29005
See current prices at Republica Malaga at accommodation in Malaga.
Republica Malaga is a small and cozy hostel full of quirky personality. Each item, within the rooms, has been handpicked by Miriam and you can see the love that has gone into creating this wonderful place.
Situated in the center of the historical district, you couldn’t ask for a better location. Upon arrival, maps are available with all the major sites in Malaga. Make sure you grab one of their business cards too (you’ll see why when you get one).
My friend, Katie, and I stayed in a private double room with access to the two shared bathrooms. The kitchen is also shared if you prefer to stay in and cook. Both nights we were there Miriam invited the guests out to restaurants and bars. This gave us an opportunity to try local places and make new friends.
Republica Malaga is the kind of hostel that has guest extending their trips or coming back to Malaga. With one of the highest ratings on Hostelworld for Malaga, it’s definitely a crowd-pleaser.
My travel budget for Malaga in 2 days (2020 update)
Malaga Travel Costs
All costs are quoted for one person and in the local currency (EUR). See below for the average daily spend per person including currency conversion to USD and AUD. I always try to find and negotiate the best prices to share with my readers. If you know of a better deal, tell me about it in the comments below.
Food: Republica Malaga provides a buffet-style continental breakfast to its guests each morning.
Day 1 – Paella and a shared bottle of wine between 2 for lunch at Plaza (€15), Bailey’s ice-cream from Conico (€3.80), wine and tapas for dinner at La Casa Invisible (€5.25), a glass of wine at Casa Lola (€2.50).
Day 2 – Tosta and coffee with milk for lunch (€5.60), tapas and a shared bottle of wine between 3 at Chopper (€4), a glass of fortified wine at Casa Antigua de Guardia (€1.20), empanadas and wine at La Tranca (€10.30), a glass of beer (€2.50).
Average daily spend: €25 each* ($26.67 USD and $35.29 AUD as of 19 April 2017) excluding accommodation.
*This daily amount could be reduced by skipping the wine and sticking to water.
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