Best Day Trips From Malaga Spain to Nerja Frigilana

9 Best Day Trips from Malaga, Spain

Malaga is perfectly positioned to see some of Southern Spain’s best sights. Here are the best day trips from Malaga that you can reach by car, train, or guided tour.

There are so many great places to visit from Málaga, but if you only have enough time for one, we recommend the Caminito del Rey. It’s the whole reason we went to Málaga in the first place.

While we recommend a Southern Spain road trip to see these sights, you can easily stay in one hotel and visit each of these as Málaga day trips. So let’s jump into the best places to visit near Málaga.

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Planning your trip to Málaga last minute? Here are the tours and hotels we recommend. Other helpful posts include the Best Things to Do in Málaga, the Best Boutique Hotels in Málaga, and a Day Trip to Caminito Del Rey.

Best Day Trips in Malaga Spain

Is it Worth Renting a Car for Málaga Day Trips?

Renting a car in Málaga is the easiest way to explore the city’s captivating day trips. Boasting excellent roads and straightforward directions, the experience is very comfortable for visitors.

You can pick up a rental from Málaga Airport. You will need an international driver’s license or one from the UK or EU. The driver must be over 21, holding a valid credit card.

Discover Cars offers competitive rates for an extensive fleet of vehicles. Whether you are planning a weekend break or a full road trip in Andalusia, a rental car is your best option.

Alternatively, for those who opt not to rent, you can still enjoy the best day trips in Málaga by taking organized tours. We have provided tour information wherever tours are available.


Best Day Trips from Málaga, Spain

Caminito Del Rey Hike Malaga Day Trips
The Caminito Del Rey Hike was the reason we visited Málaga. Don’t miss it!

1. Caminito del Rey – Best of Day Trips From Málaga, Spain – Our #1 Pick

The reason we went to Málaga was to hike the Caminito del Rey. It’s not only the best Málaga day trip, but it’s also the best thing to do in Málaga.

It is known as one of the most spectacular and dangerous hiking trails in the world, but the dangerous part was fixed long ago. Now it is just a thrilling adventure and one of the best hikes in Spain.

The trail follows a narrow path that clings to the walls of the Gaitanes Gorge, then crosses a suspended bridge, offering stunning views of the Gorge and Guadalhorce River.

The best way to visit this amazing place is to do an organized Caminito del Rey Day Trip. They handle your transportation and entry fees, and have a professional guide.

The hike covers around 7.7 kilometers (4.8 miles) and takes approximately 3 to 4 hours to complete. It’s a unique and unforgettable experience.

If you prefer to do the trip on your own, we wrote a full post to help you with all the details.

RELATED POST: OUR EXPERIENCE ON THE CAMINITO DEL REY HIKE FROM MÁLAGA

Granada Spain Best day trips from Malaga Spain
Don’t miss the Alhambra Complex, only 1.5 hours from Málaga. It is the most visited attraction in Spain.

2. Málaga Day Trip to Granada

Granada is a beautiful city, home to the famous Alhambra Palace and the historic Albayzín district.

The Alhambra is the most visited sight in Spain. With all the hype, you might think it’s overrated but it is fantastic. Additionally, the city of Granada has so much to see and do.

Explore the Alcazaba fortress, the most antique area of the Alhambra complex. Admire the Nasrid Palaces, including the Palace of Charles V, and delight with the Generalife, the sultan’s summer palace situated East of the Alhambra.

We enjoyed wandering through the town and indulging in flavorful tapas at local bars and restaurants. Granada has amazing energy, especially at night.

We stayed overnight, and Granada is a perfect place for a Spain weekend getaway,

If you are limited on time though, a Granada day trip from Málaga will still allow you to see the Alhambra and enjoy the city. And someone else will do the driving for you!


Nerja Caves Day Trip From Malaga Spain
The stalactite and stalagmite formations in the Nerja Caves.

3. Day Trip to Nerja & Frigiliana From Málaga

Along the Costa del Sol, see two of the prettiest whitewashed Andalucian villages on a Málaga Day Trip to Nerja & Frigiliana.

Nerja, with its landscapes and pretty beaches, offers spectacular panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea from the Balcón de Europa.

For one of the best attractions, visit the prehistoric Nerja Caves, where you’ll find an underworld heaven with impressive stalactite and stalagmite formations.

Only 15 minutes away from Nerja, Frigiliana invites you to get lost in its narrow streets with beautiful houses decorated with ceramic mosaics, colorful doors and pot plants. The arts and crafts shops are a lot of fun, and the food is delicious too!

You can climb to the Castle of Lizar just to take in the views towards Nerja and the ocean. You can also visit the Church of San Antonio with its intricate baroque altar and the beautiful artwork inside.

Finally, the 16th-century Palace of the Counts of Frigiliana is now a cultural center and museum, where you can learn about the town’s history and culture.


Cordoba Spain Weekend Breaks
Córdoba has many incredible attractions including the Roman Bridge, less than 2 hours from Málaga.

4. Córdoba Day Trip From Málaga

A day trip from Málaga to Córdoba is a captivating journey through Andalusia’s rich history and culture.

If you love the intersection of Roman, Moorish, and Spanish cultures, get ready to be wowed by Córdoba. The highlights of your day will start in the Jewish Quarter, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Wander through the labyrinth of streets and be drawn in by the whitewashed houses with balconies, flowers, and colorful entryways. Visit the famous Sinagoga de Córdoba and Philosopher Maimónides’ sculpture at Plaza Maimónides.

One of the most famous buildings in Córdoba is the Great Mosque-Cathedral, known locally as Mezquita-Catedral. The prayer hall features a beautiful display of recycled ancient Roman columns, among other historic artifacts.

No trip would be complete without a walk across the Roman Bridge, famously known for its appearance in Game of Thrones. Capture beautiful photos of the city from the other side.

Cordoba is a city that definitely deserves a few days to explore. Stay in one of the best Córdoba hotels and see the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos light show at night or the Caballerizas Reales Equestrian Show.


Ronda Spain best day trip from Malaga
Puente Nuevo in Ronda, Spain is a showstopper that’s one the the best Málaga day trips.

5. Day Trip to Ronda & Setenil de las Bodegas From Málaga

Combine history, impressive culture and glorious landscapes in a unique Full-Day Trip to Ronda and Setenil de las Bodegas.

Ronda, a town steeped in history, is a must-visit destination for a day trip from Málaga. Perched on a cliff overlooking a deep gorge, Ronda is famous for its Puente Nuevo – an iconic bridge connecting the old and new parts of the city.

You can walk on the outskirts of town to a path that gives you this incredible view of the bridge and waterfall underneath.

The downtown area is small enough to explore on foot. La Plaza de Toros – one of Spain’s oldest bullrings, and Mondragón Palace are both worth visiting to learn about the town’s diverse history.

Just remember to wear comfortable shoes with good tread so you can enjoy the full experience of Ronda.

Setenil de las Bodegas Day Trip From Malaga Spain
Setenil de las Bodegas is one of the prettiest Andalusia White Villages.

Setenil de las Bodegas, is one of the prettiest white villages of Spain. Known for its unique architecture, this picturesque pueblo blanco is famous for its houses built into the cliffs of the Río Trejo gorge.

As you wander through the town, you’ll find yourself walking beneath overhanging rock formations.

The place is lined with cozy cafes serving delicious foods including chorizo and jamón ibérico. Built in the rocks, there are great little shops too.

For outdoor enthusiasts, there are breathtaking natural landscapes and stunning trails in the nearby Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park.


Malaga Day Trip to Costa del Sol and Gibraltar
See views all the way to Morocco from the highest peaks in Gibraltar.

6. Málaga Day Trip to Gibraltar

A day trip to the famous rock of Gibraltar is not only close but one of the best things to do while visiting Málaga. You’ll take a trip along the Costa Del Sol stopping to see the prettiest spots along Málaga’s coastline.

With a full Nature Reserve tour, you can enjoy Gibraltar by taking the Gibraltar Cable Car to the Strait of Gibraltar and visit various other lookouts including O’Hara’s Battery, the highest point of Gibraltar.

At the Apes Den and the O’Hara’s Battery, you can have fun encountering the cheeky Barbary macaques! The monkeys are a highlight for most visitors.

Another top attraction, Saint Michael’s Cave, is the most impressive cave in Gibraltar, in part thanks to its Cathedral Cave which is now an auditorium.

And, one cannot forget Europa Point which at the very southern point of Gibraltar, offers the picturesque Europa Point Lighthouse where you can enjoy the most marvelous view to Morocco as well as spectacular views of the Mediterranean sea.

The Ibrahim-al-Ibrahim Mosque and the Shrine of Our Lady of Europe are also fabulous visits! Complete your day with lunch and shopping in hotspots like Main Street, Casemates Square and Marina Bay.


Torcal de Antequera Natural Park

7. Torcal de Antequera Natural Park

Embark on an exhilarating day trip to Torcal de Antequera Natural Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and prepare to be awed by its surreal, karst rock formations.

Torcal de Antequera offers three distinct walking tours, each promising a unique adventure. This is one of the best Málaga day trips for immersing yourself in nature.

The Green Route is perfect for beginners and families, and it is a leisurely stroll through meandering paths leading to bizarre limestone sculptures, vibrant flora and flawless panoramic vistas.

For a moderate challenge, the Yellow Route takes you on an ascend towards surreal rock formations that offer ample photo opportunities. Keep an eye out for diverse wildlife, including ibex and eagles.

For seasoned hikers, the Red Route is a must. This challenging trail leads to the highest points in the park, rewarding you with jaw-dropping vistas.

Steep ascents and descents take you to otherworldly rocks that are quite the site against the horizon.

Whichever route you choose, a day trip to Torcal de Antequera Natural Park promises an unforgettable journey, blending nature’s artistry and the thrill of exploration.


Mijas Day Trip from Malaga
The cute town of Mijas is one of the pueblos blancos that makes Andalusia so unique.

8. Marbella, Mijas & Puerto Banús

From the white-washed traditional houses of Cala de Mijas to the pristine beaches, lavish hotels and deluxe yachts in Marbella, this day trip to Marbella, Mijas & Puerto Banús has it all.

The coastal hill town of Mijas is a hidden gem along the Costa del Sol. Perched on the foothills of the Sierra de Mijas mountain range, the town offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea.

Explore the Santuario de la Virgen de la Peña, a chapel carved directly into the rocks, and then head to the Plaza for cafés and little shops.

Following that, you’ll journey to Marbella where you can take a stroll through the old town to the lush Parque Alameda. Marvel at the Dali sculpture depicting a melting clock. Have a coffee or glass of wine in Plaza de los Naranjos.

Also, the amphitheater is a sight to behold as well as the Bonsai Museum, home of over 300 Bonsai trees, some of which are over 500 years old.

Finally, a short visit to Puerto Banús will make your temperature rise with many hotspots like upscale bars and clubs, as well as an array of luxurious cars.


Best Day Trip From Malaga to Estepona Spain
Estepona is one of the most picturesque beach towns on the Costa del Sol.

9. Estepona

See one of the most charming towns on the Costa del Sol on a day trip from Malaga to Estepona. It’s easily accessible by car, and the scenic coastal drive takes approximately one hour or a bit longer on the bus, which makes a stop in Marbella. 

In the Instagram-worthy Old Town, stroll through the cobblestone streets adorned with vibrant flower pots and whitewashed buildings. The streets lined with quaint cafes, tapas bars, and lovely shops are perfect for an enjoyable afternoon.

Some beach time is a must with that golden sand and sparkling blue water. Stop for lunch at one of the chiringuitos.

They are popular seaside beach bars and restaurants that line the recently renovated Estepona Seafront Promenade. Some have lounge chairs on the beach, where you can relax.

While the biggest draw may be the beach and flower-filled old town, you can experience a taste of history at the Castillo de San Luis, the ancient fortress overlooking the town.

If you love art, check out the Ruta de Los Murales, with 60 murals painted by local and international artists. Finally, don’t miss the Orchid House, with 1,300 species of orchids, one of the largest collections in Europe.

With so much to do, or if you are a golfer wanting to spend the day on some of the best golf courses in Spain, you might want to turn your day trip to Estepona into an overnight excursion.


Final Thoughts About the Top Day Trips From Málaga Spain

With its accessibility and the wealth of attractions within easy reach, Málaga serves as an excellent hub for exploring the Andalusian region. The best day trips from Málaga Spain offer a captivating blend of history, culture and natural beauty.

Whether exploring the ancient wonders of Ronda, strolling through the picturesque streets of Mijas, or basking in the natural splendor of the Caminito del Rey, Málaga’s surroundings are teeming with unforgettable experiences.

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