A port city steeped in culture, cuisine, history, and most of all, exquisite style, Malaga enjoys beautiful beach weather all year long. That said, tourism in the region is becoming more sought out than ever before.
However, deciding where to stay in Malaga can be quite the challenge with just over 2,000 hotels, hostels, and other lodging options to choose from. And, with many markedly different city districts, and so little time, the decision is genuinely a tough one.
With my own travels to Malaga, I have learned to split the time between various neighborhoods, but depending on what you are looking for you may just want to stick to a single location.
In this article, I will help you decide where to stay in Malaga, Spain by looking at the best areas and the activities and accommodations available.
When to Go:
What to Do:
Best Places to Stay in Malaga
In a rush and just need the low down on the best accommodations in Malaga? Don’t worry, we got you covered with a quick look at our top picks.
- 🏆 Best Overall Hotel — Ibis Malaga Centro Ciudad
- 💎 Best Luxury Resort — Hotel Tribuna
- 🤑 Best Budget Hotel — Hotel Don Curro
- 🏨 Best Boutique Hotel — Soho Boutique Equitativa
- 👪 Best Hotel For Families — Holiday Inn Express Malaga Airport
- ⛷ Best Hostel for Solo Travellers — Feel Hostels Soho Malaga
- 💑 Best Hotel for Couples — Barcelo Malaga
The 11 Best Neighborhoods & Areas to Stay in Malaga
To aid you in your planning, I have put together a list of my favorite areas to stay in Malaga, Spain, and what makes them worth the stay!
1. Downtown Malaga (the Old City)
A vibrant old Malaga neighborhood.
If drinking and fine dining happen to be your thing, or you have a love for the oldest areas within cities, downtown Malaga is a wonderful area to stay in.
Lying on the west side of the famous Guadalmedina River you’ll find the old city and with it most of the local attractions such as the Plaza de la Merced and the Picasso Museum. Also, it’s super easy to get around thanks to taxis, buses, and metro lines.
Another great aspect of downtown Malaga is that due to the recent resurgence in tourism, most of the hotels and hostels in the area are remodeled and fully updated. And, despite being so much in demand, the prices in the area are still more than reasonable.
Seafood, bars, wineries, and microbreweries dot the old city as well. So, if you enjoy the nightlife, downtown Malaga will not disappoint.
Downtown Malaga Mini Guide
The Best Area to Stay for a Central Location in the City.
- Best Hotels – Tennessee Urban Suites • Hotel Malaga Picasso • Palacia Solecio
- Best Hostels – TOC Hostel Malaga • Feel Hostels City Center • COEO Pod Hostel
- Apartments – Studio Apartment • 2 Bedroom Apartment • 2 Bedroom Apartment
- Where to Eat – El Pimpi $, Casa Lola $$, La Alacena de Francis $$
- Where to Drink – Velvet Club, Theatro Club, ZZ Pub
- Top Attractions – Alcazaba, Picasso Museum, Gibralfaro Castle
2. Calle Larios
One of the newer and most famous areas in Malaga.
Perhaps the most currently famous and sought-after area to stay in Malaga is by far Calle Larios, or as it is known to the locals, Marques de Larios Street.
Many tourists refer to the area as something of a miniature version of downtown Malaga, just more compact and much hipper. Also, it is situated close to the port than the Old City and offers amazing views of Mediterranean vistas.
In comparison to other areas of the city, the lodging options tend to offer less space and cost more too. This is due to the district being much more commercial and modern than other areas.
The nightlife, however, is much trendier and is home to a large number of pubs and cafes. If you enjoy people-watching or partying, Calle Larios at night is one of the best areas to do so.
Calle Larios Mini Guide
The Best Area for Staying in the Heart of Malaga’s Historic Center.
- Best Hotels – Hotel Larios Malaga • Madeinterranea Suites • Hotel don Curro
- Best Hostels – Chinitas Urban Hostel • The Urban Jungle Rooftop Hostel • Malaka Room
- Apartments – 3 Bedroom Apartment • 3 Bedroom Apartment • 3 Bedroom Apartment
- Where to Eat – Balcon de las Flores $$, El Taller de Larios 10 $$, Terraza de las Flores $$
- Where to Drink – Gin Tonic, La Taberna del Pintxo Larios, Taberna Monroy
- Top Attractions – Malaga Cathedral, Monumento a Larios, Plaza de la Constitucion
3. Maria Zambrano
Easy access to the Malaga train station.
For tourists who are in a hurry, Maria Zambrano is a district to consider having a stay in. The local train station, Maria Zambrano train station, may be noisy and crowded in comparison to other city districts but it is still well worth a visit. Amenities, attractions, and transportation are a few of the perks of this bustling neighborhood.
When it comes to shopping and international cuisine, there are few better areas in the city (if any). Even the locals tend to gravitate to Maria Zambrano to do their shopping and eat. You can find just about any sort of food or drink here, novelty shops galore, and even a cinema.
Oh yeah, the area also happens to be one of the most peaceful at night in all of Malaga.
Maria Zambrano Mini Guide
Best Area to Stay in Malaga for Planning Day Trips.
- Best Hotels – Ilunion Malaga • Eurostars Malaga • Barcelo Malaga
- Apartments – 1 Bedroom Apartment • 2 Bedroom Apartment • 2 Bedroom Apartment
- Where to Eat – Restaurante El Tiburion $, Gastrobar la Santa Maria $$, Taberna Laperica $
- Where to Drink – Bar Inter Paris Paraguay, Seven Club Caffe, Pena Atletica
- Top Attractions – Jardines Picasso, Parque de Huelin, Plaza Poeta Manuel Alcántara
One of the artsiest and trendiest areas in Malaga.
For free birds, art lovers, and bohemian-spirited travelers, one of the best places to stay in Malaga is without question the district known as Soho.
Artsy, touristy, and super trendy all together, there is no better area in the city to experience art. Visual, performing, or culinary, or otherwise, Soho is always full of artistic beauty.
As you might guess, this particular area of Malaga is home to a large number of the city’s boutique hotels, hostels, and inns. Dressed up with decorative roofs, half-walls, terraces, and patios, the lodging options in the area are quite something to see.
Furthermore, an ongoing project, Malaga Arte Urbano Soho, is quickly and successfully transforming the entire area into an open-air art gallery.
Soho Mini Guide
The Best Area to Stay in For Vibrant Neighborhoods and Artistic Attractions.
- Best Hotels – Soho Boutique Equitativa • Soho Boutique Colon • Mariposa Hotel Malaga
- Best Hostel – Feel Hostels Soho Malaga
- Apartments – 1 Bedroom Apartment • 1 Bedroom Apartment • 1 Bedroom Apartment
- Where to Eat – La Antxoeta Art Restaurant $$, Las Niñas Del Soho $, Cantina Canalla $$
- Where to Drink – Gin Corner Soho, Bar-Baresi, La Terraza de Valeria
- Top Attractions – MAUS, CAC Malaga, Mercado Central de Atarazanas
5. La Malagueta
A traditional Malaga beach neighborhood.
Ahhh, what can we say about Malagueta? For those who wish to stay right on the side of the Mediterranean Sea, La Malagueta is the place to be, period. A traditional Malaga beach neighborhood, the area boasts more than just gorgeous views of the Mediterranean seaside.
Locally owned and operated cafes, pubs, and novelty shops line the shore in addition to the many lodging options in the area.
All things considered, La Malagueta is one of the most classic districts to visit in Malaga. In addition to the close proximity to the sea, there are plenty of other attractions worth checking out as well. Nearby are several ornate churches, Alcazaba Castle, and even a traditional bullfighting arena.
Due to being located so close to Costa del Sol, one of the most popular tourist regions in Spain, the cost of accommodations in the district are more than reasonable (albeit you will need to reserve lodging in advance due to the high booking volume).
La Malagueta Mini Guide
The Best Area to Stay in Malaga for a Beachside Holiday.
- Best Hotels – Gran Hotel Miramar GL • Hotel MS Maestranza Malaga • California Hotel
- Best Hostel – Terraza del Limonar
- Apartments – Studio Apartment • 3 Bedroom Apartment • 3 Bedroom Apartment
- Where to Eat – El Andaluz de la Malagueta $, El Refectorium $$$, Casa Carlos 1936 $
- Where to Drink – Camden Town Pub | Moonlight Malagueta | El Gallo Rojo
- Top Attractions – Playa la Malagueta | Mirador de Gibralfaro | Centro Cultural la Malagueta
6. Ciudad Jardin (Garden City)
A popular area of Malaga for nature lovers.
Also known as Garden City, Ciudad Jardin is probably the most popular district in Malaga for both nature lovers and sports fans as it is home to both hiking trails and one of the loveliest nature preserves around as well as the La Rosaleda Stadium and headquarters of the area’s football club.
The Garden City Trail, connecting with the Montes de Malaga Nature Preserve, Ciudad Jardin draws as many backpackers as any district in the city (if not more). Another factor that makes the Garden City area popular with backpackers is the highly affordable lodging options and friendly local residents.
Ciudad Jardin Mini Guide
Best Area to Stay for Nature Lovers and Football Fans
- Best Hotels – Hotel Humaina • Casa Monte Victoria • Zenit Malaga
- Apartments – 7 Bedroom Villa • 2 Bedroom Apartment • 1 Bedroom Apartment
- Where to Eat – Restaurante Las Golondrinas $$, El Picoteo $, Las Golondrinas $$$
- Where to Drink – Chloe Bar, Puerta Oscura, La Bernarda
- Top Attractions – Historic Botanical Garden Of La Conception, Montes de Malaga National Park
A charming little fishing village neighborhood.
For those who are looking for more of a relaxed seaside experience in Malaga, the neighborhood of Pedregalejo is as good as it gets. This charming little fishing village-oriented neighborhood is said to be one of the most unique and authentic in all of Spain.
Anyone interested in the fishing culture will enjoy the tours and experience of actually fishing with the locals from their traditional wooden boats.
Along with the culture and amazing atmosphere of Pedregalejo come plenty of phenomenal local pubs, Inns, and shops.
The neighborhood has so much charm and such a relaxed attitude (as well as good prices) that even the locals tend to spend a lot of time in the area shopping and lazing around the beach when they are not fishing.
Only 15 minutes away from downtown, the nightlife in the area is alive and well (albeit much smaller than found in other areas of the city)
Pedregalejo Mini Guide
Best Area to Stay in for Quiet Beach Days and Seafood Restaurants.
- Best Hotels – Elcano Hotel • Hotel Domus • Hotel La Chancla
- Best Hostel – La Moraga de Poniente Malaga Hostel
- Apartments – 1 Bedroom Apartment • 3 Bedroom Villa • 3 Bedroom Villa
- Where to Eat – La Galerna $, Miguelito El Carinoso $$, Restaurante Merlo $$
- Where to Drink – Bar Centro, Voc Sports Bar, NivelUno Bar
- Top Attractions – Playa Pedregalejo, Astilleros Nereo Shipyard & Maritime Museum
8. El Perchel
Located between Maria Zambrano and the Guadalmedina River.
Another splendidly charming little barrio of Malaga is located between Maria Zambrano and the beautiful Guadalmedina River (which I recommend taking a tour of on your visit).
The area is a working-class neighborhood and always has been, meaning the locals make a living from the Sea. As with Pedregalejo, the atmosphere smacks of a fishing village. El Perchel is conveniently situated, making it super easy to further explore areas of Malaga.
El Perchel gives tourists a genuine glimpse of what much of the surrounding area was like before tourism picked up. At any rate, the neighborhood is nothing like the sleek and sophisticated areas of Malaga such as downtown.
If you have extra time on your hands in El Perchel, you must have a few drinks at a local pub or try some tapas (though not too many at once!).
El Perchel Mini Guide
Best Area to Stay for a Historical Setting on a Budget.
- Best Hotels – Hotel Malaga Alameda Centro • Novotel Suites • Ibis Budget Hotel
- Best Hostel – The Lights Hostel
- Apartments – 1 Bedroom Apartment • 2 Bedroom Apartment • 2 Bedroom Apartment
- Where to Eat – D’Vinos y Copas $$, La Vina Bonita $, El Vergel Meson-Braserie $
- Where to Drink – Bar Nuestra Señora del Gran Poder, Bar La Esquinita De Emilio
- Top Attractions – Jardines Picasso, CAC Malaga, Convento de San Andreas
9. El Palo
Small town atmosphere east of the Old City.
If you find the small-town atmosphere appealing, El Palo could be just the place for you to stay while visiting Malaga. Situated just to the east of the oldest parts of the city, El Palo affords a calm and unique experience to tourists.
Backpackers and those staying longer than a few days tend to end up in El Palo due to the beautiful ocean views, beaches, and excellent seafood all steeped with that nostalgic small-town atmosphere.
For those who envision a Malaga vacation that consists of soaking up rays on a hammock somewhere along the seaside, or pounding drinks at a popping local pup, El Palo is definitely a trending area to stay.
Many of Malagas’ most pristine beaches are located in El Palo. In addition, the area is home to both a golf course and lies near the Condado Country Club and Penon del Cuervo. Quaint shore-side hotels and restaurants with seaside terraces make the neighborhood even more appealing.
El Palo Mini Guide
Best Area to Stay in For a Family-Friendly Beach Holiday.
- Best Hotels – Hotel La Chancla • Elcano Hotel
- Best Hostel – La Moraga de Poniente Malaga Hostel
- Apartments – 3 Bedroom Villa • 4 Bedroom Villa
- Where to Eat – Playa de El Palo $, Restaurante Gabi $$, Casa Manuel de la Lonja $
- Where to Drink – Anbata Irish Pub, Bar la Herradura, Los Pibes Bar
- Top Attractions – Playa El Palo
10. La Merced
One of the Trendiest Barrios in Malaga.
North of El Palo lies La Merced, far and wide one of the trendiest barrios in all of Malaga according to travelers.
Interestingly, the area gets its name from Plaza de la Merced (birthplace of Pablo Picasso). To this day, Plaza de la Merced is one of the greatest places to spend time in Malaga.
The area is normally packed with tourists and locals alike taking advantage of the many trendy restaurants, shops, and bars.
La Merced is a neighborhood that has an extremely lively vibe. From dancers and singers to musicians, the area seems to be a magnet for street performers and artsy types. Mercado de la Merced, a covered market, is said to be the best in town for fresh fruit, fish, meat, and trinkets.
Furthermore, with so many popular bars and restaurants, the nightlife is excellent. And, speaking of excellence, the tapas in La Merced are among the best in the city.
La Merced Mini Guide
Best Area to Stay in for Malaga’s Nightlife.
- Best Hotels – Hotel Brö • Palacio Solecio • LD Convento Cister
- Best Hostels – The Urban Jungle Rooftop Hostel • Feels Hostels City Center
- Apartments – 1 Bedroom Apartment • 2 Bedroom Apartment • 2 Bedroom Apartment
- Where to Eat –La Plaza Restaurant $$, Picasso Bar Tapas $, Dynamit $
- Where to Drink – El Carmen Bar, Café Bar La Merced, Rita’s Resto Bar
- Top Attractions – Plaza de la Merced, Interactive Music Museum, Museo de Vidrio
A humble neighborhood west of the city center.
One of the fastest-growing neighborhoods west of the center of Malaga is Huelin, a humble little neighborhood that’s enjoyed a growth boom due to recent tourism.
That said, the area is historically home to a tobacco factory, flour, metal mills, and other industrial businesses. Today, those same buildings house the Automobile Museum and the Russian Museum of Saint Petersburg.
To say the least, Huelin comes from a hard-working past and offers much to see for lovers of history. For example, the area is home to several other museums, including the Museo Carmen Thyssen Malaga, the Wine Museum, and the Museum of Music.
The Museum of Arts and Popular Culture is also found in Huelin. Wow. That is a lot of museums! In addition to museums and historical buildings, Huelin is said to be home to some of the most magical holiday charms in Malaga.
Huelin Mini Guide
The Best Area To Stay in for a Relaxing Beach Holiday Away from the City Center.
- Best Hotels – Huelin Beach Hotel • Hotel Solymar
- Apartments – 2 Bedroom Apartment • 3 bedroom Apartment • 2 Bedroom Apartment
- Where to Eat – Andino Gastrobar $, La Taba $, Restaurante La Princesa $
- Where to Drink – Bar Mercado de Huelin, Premier Room Huelin, London Premium
- Top Attractions – Playa de Huelin, Parque de Huelin, Museo Automovilístico de Málaga
FAQs Where to Stay in Malaga
What are the best places to stay in Malaga for first-time visitors?
If you are visiting Malaga for the first time, staying downtown offers the most convenient access to the region’s attractions, historic landmarks, and popular restaurants and services. Other fantastic options for first-time visitors include the Calle Larios and the Plaza de la Merced.
What hotels in Malaga are best for families?
Where are the best beaches in Malaga?
Located within the Costa del Sol, Malaga is surrounded by world-famous beaches. Still, the most popular coastal getaways include Playa de la Malagueta, Playa de Pedregalejo, and Paya de el Palo, which are fantastic places to stay for a relaxing beach holiday.
Where to stay in Malaga to escape the tourist crowds?
Most of Malaga’s international tourists stay in either the city’s historic center or along one of the breathtaking beaches lining the coast to the city’s east. To avoid the crowds, booking your stay in Malaga’s Huelin neighborhood promises a quiet beach holiday. Meanwhile, the city’s El Jardin neighborhood offers a less-visited community for accessing the region’s natural landmarks.
Where to stay in Malaga for nightlife?
There are several bars and nightclubs throughout Malaga’s historic city center and the famous Calle Larios. However, the best nightlife is in the Plaza de la Merced, where several Tapas bars and social hotspots line the picturesque square.
What is the best area in Malaga for couples?
Boasting colorful art museums, vibrant neighborhoods, and a picturesque beach setting for enjoying the region’s romantic sunsets, Malaga’s Soho neighborhood is the best area in Malaga for couples visiting the city. Another excellent option for couples is to stay in the quiet El Jardin neighborhood, which offers access to romantic nature walks and the city’s Botanical Garden.
What is the best area to stay in Malaga on a budget?
One of Malaga’s less-touristy neighborhoods, El Perchel, is the best area for those visiting the city on a budget. The area boasts affordable accommodation and favorite local restaurants with lower costs and is surrounded by several historic buildings and beaches to explore.
So, Where Should You Stay in Malaga?
- Downtown Malaga (the Old City) — Those wanting to experience the best fine dining, or who are interested in the history of Malaga through visiting its oldest sites should consider staying in Downtown Malaga.
- Calle Larios — Those happy to spend a bit more on their travels, should consider Calle Larios as it is more modern and trendy than the downtown area while still being in close proximity to the Old City area.
- Maria Zambrano — If you want to cover as much ground as possible in the least amount of time, Maria Zambrano’s proximity to the train station makes it an ideal place to camp so you can zip around to other areas of Malaga you want to explore.
- Soho — If you love art and culture, Soho is, arguably, the trendiest area in all of Malaga. The ongoing project to bring more art to the area also offers hours of exploration of the city streets and local culture.
- La Malagueta — If you are planning to stay on the side of the Mediterranean Sea, perhaps close to Costa del Sol, this neighborhood is ideal. Bonus points if you are looking for a more local experience and business not as heavily focused on tourists.
- Ciudad Jardin (Garden City) — If you want to catch a football game (soccer), this location is the perfect area to make your base. This area is also great for families, or perhaps couples who want different things out of their visit, as it also contains ample greenspace to explore and unwind in.
- Pedregalejo — Another seaside location, Pedregalejo carries many of the same charms as La Malagueta. For the fishers out there, this is the ideal location to go fishing with the locals and experience everyday life in Malaga.
- El Perchel — Those who want authenticity over a crafted tourist experience will love staying in El Perchel. Check out some of the local restaurants and enjoy your time among the people!
- El Palo — A plethora of beaches and a world-renown golf course can make El Palo the ideal base for those looking just to relax. The area is also popular with backpackers given its more relaxed atmosphere and affordable accommodations.
- La Merced — Very lively and very trendy! This area is really spectacular to explore as a solo traveler. Take in some of the nightlife and activities for an unforgettable visit to Malaga.
- Huelin — With an abundance of museums, this area is ideal for those who love exploring history and culture (The Museum of Music is a personal fav of mine).
Choosing where to stay in Malaga is just the start. In reality, every corner is rich in history and packed with exciting things to do. Make sure you plan ahead but also save time to explore and enjoy the moment, you will be happy you did!