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Situated midway between Gibraltar and Granada, Malaga is the capital of Spain’s Costa del Sol, and is a great place to explore by hire car.
Malaga has reinvented itself in recent years and has galleries, restaurants and stylish new hotels. Seville, Marbella and Gibraltar are all within easy reach by car, as are the traditional Costa Blanca resorts of Alicante and Benidorm.
Get a hire car in Malaga and you can experience it all.
Fly in to Malaga-Costa del Sol Airport, which is eight miles from the city centre, or try Almeria Airport, which is 130 miles, a drive of just over two hours, along the coast.
Most visitors pick up a hire car at Malaga Airport, eight miles from the city centre, but it is also possible to rent a car in Malaga or at nearby resorts and hotels.
Economy hatchbacks are the most popular type of hire car in Malaga, but there are many types of vehicle available depending on your needs.
Ideal Passenger Numbers
Purpose of Travel
Camping / outdoor
The main car hire brands at Malaga Airport are located between baggage reclaim carousels 28 and 31.
Brands with a presence within the airport include Firefly, Goldcar and Sixt. Centauro Rent a Car and Record Go Rent a Car are among the Spanish car hire companies available if you want to go local.
+34 902 180 854
7am – 12am
+34 902 112 585
Open 24 hours
+34 902 491 616
7am – 12am
+34 952 170 850
7am – 12am
+34 902 123 002
7am – 10.30pm
+34 902 119 726
7am – 12am
+34 902 402 405
7am – 12am
+34 902 011 176
Other companies, including Thrifty, Ace, Marbesol and Enterprise have offices near the airport.
In the centre of Malaga, you can find a mix of international and local brands and there are more options at nearby resorts, including Torremolinos and Marbella.
You can use Expedia’s booking tool to find the best deal for your Malaga hire car.
Most rental cars in Spain are manual transmission, so if you want to drive an automatic it is essential to book well in advance.
You will be required to leave a deposit with the car hire company so take precautions to make sure you get it back. When you pick up your hire car inspect it for existing scratches and dents. Make sure the fee you are quoted includes insurance. The deposit you leave is usually equivalent to the insurance excess and you can pay extra to reduce this amount.
You will be expected to return your Malaga hire car with a full tank of petrol, so make sure you have a full tank when you collect it.
Do not take your vehicle out of Spain without telling the hire company, as it affects the insurance.
You can hire a device to electronically pay road tolls, but it is also possible to pay using credit cards or cash at booths.
Check to see if your car is equipped with satnav and air conditioning. These can make a big difference to your trip.
The driving laws in Spain are standard – wear a seat belt, don’t drink and drive and don’t use a mobile telephone. The roads are well signposted and driving is on the right side of the road.
If you are heading west along the coast from Malaga towards Torremolinos and Marbella then you will probably use the main A7 motorway, which intertwines with the AP7 toll road. These roads are the main routes serving the Costa del Sol and other roads can be less well maintained.
The motorway runs all the way to Gibraltar, but do not cross the border without first checking you are insured.
The roads on the seaside of the motorway tend to be busier than the inland roads that head up to the mountains. And in coastal towns and villages take care, the streets can be narrow and there are plenty of pedestrians, while motorcycles and scooters weave through the traffic.
Malaga was the birthplace of artist Pablo Picasso and the Museo Picasso Malaga has an impressive collection of his work. There is also the brightly coloured glass box of the Pompidou Centre – the building alone is worth seeing. But outside the city centre there is also much to explore.
The flashy beach resort of Marbella is 37 miles west along the coast. Head a little further in that direction and you reach Gibraltar, which is an 85-mile drive from Malaga – a journey of about one hour and 50 minutes. The British overseas territory of Gibraltar, or the Rock, is full of British pubs and tearooms, which may seem a little counterintuitive after days spent in Spain. The border is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but take your passport and check that your hire car is insured once it has crossed the border. While you are there visit the famous rock, which is home to many of the Gibraltar’s Barbary macaques.
Granada is 77 miles northeast of Malaga – it is home to the Alhambra, a series of Moorish red-bricked palaces that rise up dramatically against the lush greenery surrounding it. Dating back to the ninth century, the buildings tell a vivid story of the area’s past. Tickets are limited and are allocated in strict time slots, so be sure to book before you go. Drive another 170 miles past Granada and the Sierra Nevada mountains and you reach Murcia, a university town with historic buildings and a bounty of tapas bars. Or head northwest to the vibrant city of Seville, the capital of the Andalusia region.
Are you ready to start planning your trip to Malaga and other parts of Spain? Then use the Expedia search tool to help you find the best deals on flights, car hire and hotels, and research the best attractions.
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