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How to do Malaga on a budget

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Screenshot 2024 05 29 at 10.16.45 mrzfxh

Malaga is one of the oldest cities in the world, yet it still carries the charm and history typical of a southern European holiday destination.

The capital of the Costa del Sol has always been praised for its affordable prices but if you’re on a strict budget, you may be looking for ways to cut your costs even more. Here are some tips for doing Malaga on a budget that will leave you with some spare change.

When to visit

It goes without saying that booking a getaway during school holidays or festivities will cost you the most. Consider visiting Malaga out of season or mid-week, as opposed to the weekend. Easter is typically one of the busiest here in Malaga due to a week of processions known as Semana Santa.

The months of September-January will often see you find better deals and the weather is much milder. Visiting between February and March is also a good time to visit as you avoid peak tourist season, although there is a higher chance of rain.

Where to stay

While it’s tempting to book the cheapest place you can find, quality still matters and a horrible hotel room could ruin your stay. There are some great boutique hotel options with access to a pool and breakfast included for just 60€ a night.

Hostels are a great choice in Malaga and you can even find ones where you have a private room but other facilities will be shared. If you can get over this, you’ll save plenty of money and may even meet new friends along the way.

If your accommodation in Malaga doesn’t include breakfast, avoid paying extra for it. Local cafés offer deals for as little as 3€.

Seeing the sights

Malaga offers many activities that are free of charge. One of the most popular is the Museum of Malaga, conveniently located in the city centre. The museum houses work from Spanish artists like Joaquin Sorolla and Jose de Ribera.

Other museums with free entry include the Contemporary Art Centre of Malaga (CAC Malaga) and the Malaga Municipal Heritage Museum. For museums with an entry fee, you can often get a combo ticket that provides entry for a cheaper price than paying separately; for example, you can visit places like the Museo Picasso Malaga, the Centre Pompidou Malaga, and many other locations for as little as 28€.

There are also combo tickets for attractions such as the Alcazaba Fortress and Gibralfaro Castle, and if you’re a student (under 26) or a pensioner, you can get a discounted rate with ID. And, of course, you could simply head to the Playa la Malagueta beach to relax all day instead, which won’t cost you a thing.

Getting around Malaga

Staying in central Malaga allows you to save money on transport costs by walking everywhere, as most attractions are within walking distance. Alternatively, you can stay a bit farther away to find cheaper accommodation. There is also the Malaga city bus, which is both efficient and fast. A single ticket will cost you 1.30€ but you can buy a 10-journey ticket for 8.30€.

When travelling to and from the airport, you can either use the airport bus or hop on a transfer. If you choose to book Malaga airport transfers to your accommodation, ensure you do this ahead of time to secure the best deals.

Eating out

As with any tourist hotspot, head to where the locals go. These spots likely won’t be far but you’re sure to be served more authentic food at reasonable prices. During the day, look for the menú del día, or the menu of the day. Typically, you can get a three-course meal for less than 10€.

Where possible, shop at local markets to find the best bargains. You can then prepare your own food at your accommodation before heading out for the day and maybe purchasing the occasional snack. The top markets in the area are the Mercado del Carmen and Atarazanas Market.

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