7 most beautiful towns near Málaga

towns near malaga

Have you already seen everything Málaga has to offer? Don’t worry, there are many towns near Málaga really worth visiting and perfect for a 1 day trip!

Andalusia is a very diverse and unique part of Spain. Although we love Málaga, we also believe that you should always explore and look for new inspiring places. So don’t hesitate and visit the most beautiful towns in Málaga province!

We prepared for you a route of 7 towns where you can discover the wide variety of landscapes and cultures that characterized our beautiful Andalusia. 

So if you’re ready, let’s go and explore together!

Indice de la Entrada

1. Ronda

The first one on our list of towns near Málaga is Ronda, located about 100 km north-west of Málaga. It is a mountaintop town between two natural parks Sierra de las Nieves and Sierra de Grazalema. It sits right at a 100 m deep ravine called El Tajo. El Tajo divides the city into two parts: the new town (El Mercadillo, ca. 15th century) and the old town (La Ciudad, dating back to the Arab times).

best towns near malaga

The town has about 35 000 inhabitants. Ronda is one of Andalusian White Towns.

What to visit in Ronda

Without any doubts, when we think about Ronda, we think about its undeniable star: Puente Nuevo (New  Bridge). This imposing bridge was built in order to connect the two parts of the city, giving to Ronda its peculiar aspect. It’s the main landmark of Ronda and it appears in every picture of the city.

Additionally, Ronda is the city symbol of the bullfight; here this particular Spanish tradition developed, going from being a knightly preparation for wars to what we know today. Moreover, in the town there was a famous kind of bullfight called “Corrida Goyesca” where participants wore clothes dating back to the 18th century. 

Built during the 18th century,  Plaza de Toros (the bullfight of Ronda) is one of the town’s famous landmarks. In front of the building, you can stroll around the“walk of fame” of the city but here, instead of famous actors and singers, you will see the stars of important local toreros (bullfighters). 

The town marked its relevance in Spain’s history – it is the place where the bullfighting rules were developed (and are still in use today).

The Baños Árabe de Ronda are another interesting attraction that you should add in your list; thermal baths from the 13th century organized as Roman therms. They are considered the most preserved in Spain and the entrance ticket is only 3,75€

Finally, another stop to do in the center of this beautiful town is the Duchess of Parcent Square. What catch the attention here is the Church of Santa Maria thanks to its peculiar structure that includes a balcony in the main facade. 

How to get from Malaga to Ronda

Bus: From Malaga Maria Zambrano you can take the bus until Ronda. We recommend you a direct line because in this way the travel is shorter, approximately 2h and a half

Train: From the train station Maria Zambrano, you can take the train until Ronda train station. It is around 2 hours of travel and when you will get there you have to know that there’s only one train station in the city and after 15 minutes walking you will arrive to the center. 

Remember that there’s only one direct line per day, otherwise you should do different stops and the travel will get longer.

Car: Going to Ronda by car it’s faster. Take the internal way A-357 and A-367 and if there’s no traffic, in one hour and 15 minutes you will be there.

2. Nerja

towns in malaga province

Nerja is definetly one of the most beautiful towns in the Málaga province. The city is a coast town about 50 km east of Málaga and has about 22 000 inhabitants.  

The town is famous for its beautiful beaches and its pretty city center with a viewpoint called Balcón de Europa. Moreover, Nerja is famous for the caves located 4 km outside of town.

The caves have been discovered in the 20th century and inside some Neanderthal paintings were found, possibly the oldest paintings of humanity. The caves create a large complex stretching for almost 5 kilometers. What is more, one of the caves also forms a natural amphitheatre where concerts are held.

Opening hours of Nerja caves: 9.30 to 16:30 (last entry 15.30) / 9.30 to 19.00 (from June to beginning of September – last entry time 18.00)

Nerja is one of the most beautiful places near Malaga thanks also to its stunning viewpoint: El Balcón de Europa (literally Europe balcony).

It is a round plaza at the end of an avenue that provides amazing views over the coastline. By one of the railings stands the statue of King Alfonso XII, who gave the name to the balcony after its visit in 1885. Until 1882 Balcón de Europa used to be a fortress which is why there are some cannons on display today.

How to go to Nerja

Bus: going by bus it’s very easy: From the station Malaga maria Zambrano every 30 minutes there is a direct line of Alsa, that in 1h and 40 minutes will bring you to Nerja. 

Train: No trains from Malaga to Nerja.

Car: take the route A-7 and in approximately 43 minutes you will be in Nerja. 

3. Frigiliana

With a population of about 3000 Frigiliana is one of the smallest on this list of most beautiful towns in the Málaga province. It is about 71 km east of Málaga and about 6 km north of Nerja. So you should definitely consider visiting Frigiliana when in Nerja. There are multiple buses going from Nerja to Frigiliana daily from the same bus stop as ALSA. The one-way ticket is 1,15 € and the ride takes about 15 mins.

What to visit in Frigiliana

Frigiliana is one of the most beautiful White Towns (Pueblos Blancos) of Andalusia. The upper section of the town, the Mudejár neighborhood, is the oldest part of the town, famous for its Moorish architecture.

Since Frigiliana is located on a hilltop, the views from there are truly amazing; therefore we highly recommend staying at the viewpoint to enjoy the sunset. Surely the town with its narrow cobblestone streets is best to be explored on foot, make sure you don’t miss anything in the maze of winding streets!

malaga towns nearby

In August Frigiliana hosts the Festival of the Three Cultures. It is a festival organized in order to honour the three cultures that influenced bot only this town but Spain in general: Muslim, Jewish and Christian. During  the festival you can attend musical performances, follow a route of tapas and walk through various craft markets.  

How to go to Frigiliana

Bus: Frigiliana is 54 km west from Malaga and just 6 km north of Nerja; for this reason, if you can, we recommend you to visit the two cities together since from there there are multiple daily buses. The one-way ticket is 1,15 € and the ride takes about 15 mins.

In any case, if you’re in Malaga don’t worry you can take bus from there to Nerja and later change to Frigiliana.

Train: no trains from Malaga to Frigiliana. 

Car: take the route A-7 for Nerja and in 45 minutes you will get to Frigiliana.  

4. Antequera

malaga towns

Antequera is known as “el corazón de Andalucía” (the heart of Andalusia) because of its cultural and historical meaning but also because of its central position among the big cities of Andalusia: Málaga, Granada, Sevilla and Córdoba.

It’s about 50 km north of Málaga and has about 41 000 inhabitants. Antequera has a lot of different sights to offer, from old burial sites from the Bronze Age, over remnants of Roman presence, such as the Baths, to Arabic architecture.

What to visit in Antequera

Besides of walking around this historical town, there are some attractions that you cannot miss.

  • The Dolmens of Antequera: It is  an archeological site nominated World Heritage from Unesco. It is one of the best preserved examples of Megalithic architecture during the Prehistory and you can visit this precious archeological rest for free.
  • The Alcazaba of Antequera: As the Alcazaba of Malaga, the one of Antequera is the Muslim heritage that we can admire in this place. The price to visit the monument is 6€ for adults, 5€ children until 16 years and retired people and 3€ children until 6 years. 
  • El Torcal:

Nearby you can find El Torcal, a unique Natural Park Reserve with breathtaking karst landscapes. The 150 million years old limestone creates surrealistic rock formations which leaves you breathless. Stunning views, caves, narrow passages and rare vegetation make El Torcal a perfect place for hiking.

Additionally, you can visit it for free. If you want to know more, check our blog post dedicated to el Torcal.

How to go to Antequera

Bus: from the bus station Maria Zambrano, the company Alsa offers various lines to go to Antequera in only 1 h and 15 minutes, if there’s no traffic. 

Train: no trains for this line. 

Car: the shortest way is going through the route A-45 and in 45 minutes you will be in Antequera, ready to visit it.  

5. Marbella

villages around malaga

Marbella, well-known for its beautiful beaches, is the place where the rich and famous go on holidays. With a population of about 140 000 it is one of the biggest towns on this list. It is about 60 km south-west of Málaga.

This town is a famous destination all over the year, but especially during spring and summer time since it is famous for its beautiful beaches

What to visit in Marbella

Marbella is divided into two main parts: the Old Town and Puerto Banus.

The Old Town is incredibly charming with its narrow cobbled streets and flower decorations everywhere. There are a lot of shops that sell all kinds of souvenirs and local products. Moreover, you can still see the old city walls. The heart of Old Town is Plaza de los Naranjos, which, as the name suggests, is filled with orange trees. The plaza is also surrounded with multiple shops and restaurants so it’s a perfect spot to take a break and relax.

towns to visit near malaga

Puerto Banus is located 6 km west of the town center and it was built in 1970 as a luxury shopping complex. Here you can find designer shops, restaurants and other signs of luxurious lifestyle.

In the summertime the port is filled with yachts and boats. You can sunbathe going to its beautiful beaches or do some shopping all around!

How to go to Marbella

Marbella is 60 km south-west from Malaga, just 30 km more compared with Mijas and for this reason we recommend to do them together if you want to spend a full day outside the city. 

Bus: From Malaga center, go to the bus station of Alameda principal. There you will find the Avanza buses waiting for you to go. The travel will be at least 1h 10 minutes / 1 h 45 min, depending on the changes you have to do. 

Train: no trains for this line.

Car: there are two ways to go from Malaga to Marbella by car: one internal and one on the coast line. We recommend you the last one, since it’s faster (39 minutes) and additionally you will have a nice view! Take the MA-20 and then AP-7 direction Marbella. 

6. Mijas

beautiful villages near malaga

Mijas is another Pueblo Blanco of Andalusia and definitely belongs in the list of most beautiful towns in Málaga province. It is about 30 km south-west of Málaga, so it’s a perfect destinations for a one day trip. The hillside town offers an amazing view over the landscape below. Although nowadays it’s a popular tourist destination, Mijas still keeps its traditional Andalusian spirit.

However, the hillside town of Mijas (Mijas Pueblo) is just one part; other parts of the town are Mijas Costa (about 10 km away, at the coast) and Las Lagunas (a commercial area).

What to visit in Mijas

The first thing that you will see as soon as you do the first step is…donkeys! Yes, Mijas is full of donkeys in everywhere; this is one of the peculiarities of the town and one of its symbols.

After the economic boom of the 50s’, a lot of tourists who came to Mijas were surprised to see donkeys in the village. They  started taking pictures and paying the farmers for a ride. And that’s how everything starts! If you go to Mijas nowadays, you will find the famous “Burro Taxi” (donkey taxi) that you can take to explore this little village.

In any case whether you visit the town walking or “by donkey”, for sure you will be impressed by its colours…all the buildings are white and decorated with red flowers and blue flower pots. A real postcard scenario.

How to go to Mijas

Bus: Go to the bus station of Malaga Maria Zambrano (just at the back of the homonymous train station); from there you will find the line of the Avanza bus that bring you to Mijas pueblo. 

Depending on the line that you will choose, the travel will last about 1 hour or 1 h and 50 minutes…even if Mijas is very close to Malaga, by bus there are various stops to do!

Train: No trains from Malaga to Mijas.

Car: If you are traveling by car, it very easy and fast to reach the town. From malaga take the AP-7 direction Ctra. Mijas-Fuengirola/A-387. Take exit 214 from AP-7 and at the roundabout take the first exit direction Ctra. Mijas-Fuengirola/A-387. It will take you 30 minutes to go there. 

If you go by car, we recommend you to park at the Parking situated under the City Hall of Mijas, weather if you go by bus, you will already stop there.

7. Casares

towns close to malaga

Casares is one of the towns near Malaga located a little farther – about 100 km south-west of Málaga, however it’s still worth a visit. It is a small Pueblo Blanco with a population of just 4000; one of the smallest towns near Malaga.

What to visit in Casares

most beautiful towns near malaga

The town is perfect for a relaxing stroll. There are various churches and plazas you can see along the way and some buildings still retain the old Moorish style.

Some attractions that you cannot miss while visiting this small town near Malaga are:

  • The Castle of Casares: located in the highest point of the town, was a strategic point in order to control the territory and to communicate. Here you can visit the ruins of this old medieval castle.
  • Casa natal de Blas Infante: the birthplace of Blas Infante, considered the father of Andalusia is situated in this town. Nowadays it is a museum with permanent and temporary exposition and it is also the tourist info point.  
  • Baños de la Hedionda: outside the town there are these thermal baths dating back to the Roman times. There are various legends related to this site and one of them says that Julio Cesar after curing an infection in this thermal water decided to order the construction of the Baños that we can still visit today. 

How to go to Casares

Bus: Going to Casares by bus, is a long travel, compared with all the others that we have seen. From Malaga Maria Zambrano you can take the Avanza bus line and in almost 4 hours you will get there. 

Train: no trains to Casares.

Car: Don’t worry, if you’re travelling by car the trip is shorter. Also here you can choose between two ways, the internal one and the coastal one and again the second is the shorter. Take the MA-20 an later the P-7; the travel will be around 1h 11 minutes if there’s no traffic

These one are some of our suggestions for towns near Malaga that you should visit before going away. If your favourite is not in the list, or you want to share your experience with us, do not hesitate to leave a comment below. 

Enjoy Malaga!

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