Car Hire: Malaga

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Majestic. Grand. Enchanting. As you traverse Malaga’s captivating coastal city, you’ll see that these adjectives are an understatement.

Like a lady lurking coyly behind her fan, Malaga welcomes you to further discover all it has to offer. After a few seconds of stepping inside, you’ll surely admit that the course of discovery in Malaga, a city that has adamantly filled its old-world grace while weaving in a cosmopolitan vibe, is a refreshing pleasure in itself.

Vicente Aleixandre, a well-renowned poet defined the city of Malaga as “a paradise between heaven and the earth.”

Lain along miles upon miles of coastline, the region of Malaga is a sunny refuge furnished with captivating landscapes and breathtaking shores. The city’s bizarre geographical setting- nestled between two river beds and raised by the Malaga mountains- creates a barrier from the cold and generates Malaga’s characteristically fine weather.

Situated in the autonomous part of Andalucia, Malaga became the capital center of the Costa del Sol (Coast of the Sun). Established by Phoenicians who formerly named it Malaka (which translates to “fish salting place”), it is now the 5th biggest city in Spain. Its abundant history records over 3,000 years and possesses a heady fusion of Roman, Muslim, and Spanish cultures. This results in a distinct city saturated with an enticing blend of historical, architectural, and cultural displays.

Malaga is packed with parks, bars, sun-baked constructions, and narrow streets.

There is the Calle Marques de Larios, which is enveloped by enticing plazas, as well as the glittering Malaga Cathedral. Stroll through the areas of San Agustin and La Judería to feel the unusual tranquility of their Moorish-style streets. Then wander through Plaza de la Merced, where you will discover various museums and churches that show the post-Reconquista Spanish presence in Malaga. It is also the birthplace of Malaga’s most prominent son, the artist Pablo Picasso

Two museums in Malaga are built to honor his art and biography: The Picasso Museum of Malaga and the Pablo R. Picasso Foundation Birthplace Museum. Then you can travel to the Gibralfaro hills, the adored bit of Malaga, for a lesson on Spanish antiquity and culture thanks to the Roman amphitheater, the Malagueta bullring, and the Alcazaba, an 11th-century manor intricately built by the Moors.

As if these were not enough for you, you can also engage yourself in all varieties of recreational and sporting ventures such as golf, horseback riding, tennis, and watersports. A shopping journey will guide you to the old-fashioned shops spread throughout the town or to the world-class shopping in and around Plaza de Larios. For childlike pleasures, there is Tivoli World, a theme park outfitted with rides and attractions for both the young and the young at heart. 

On the other hand, all nature-lovers and natural seekers can surely capture their fill of a wide array of flora in Malaga’s diverse gardens and parks, amongst them the lovely Alameda Gardens and Jardines de la Concepción.

At sundown, another face of Malaga comes to life. It becomes a swarm of activity arranged against the backdrop of the sumptuous Mediterranean coastline.

Drink and dance the night away in the various “bares de Copas” (cocktail bars) and nightclubs that are from Malaga’s vivacious nightlife. To consume all fun-filled evenings, take a walk around the areas that surround the Plaza de Uncibay as well as the Calles (streets) Granada and Beatas, where you’re certain to discover a plethora of excellent places shattering with dancing, music, and laughter.

Whatever you prefer to do, this land of welcoming people, energetic flamenco dancers, various museums, verdant gardens, magnificent architecture, and impressive bullfighters is sure to make your Malaga travels memorable.

Top Road Trip Destinations in Malaga

Take a road trip to Malaga Spain for some enjoyment in the sun

While you’re in Malaga, make sure to take a short road trip to the mountainous settlement of Ronda, separated by the gorge of the Tajo River, where you can locate the oldest bullfighting ring in the country.

Another wonderful day trip for those who admire ancient architectural workmanship, pretty gardens, and majestic views- Gibralfaro Castle and La Alcazaba Palace.

Traversing Spain can be cumbersome, so it would be best to rent a car in Malaga. That way, you can arrive at Marbella and visit art galleries and charming bistros, the bustling city that has an amphitheater and several historic structures. Granada is also a must-see site for its splendid 9th-century palace.

The Beaches of Costa del Sol in Marbella

Huddled beaches during the summertime do not hinder visitors from experiencing a day in the sun.

During the off-season, the Marbella Spain beaches aren’t quite as congested.

Make sure to stop at the bay to fancy a day of fishing and some tranquillity and experience fresh fish or gazpacho for lunch at one of several restaurants to complement your day trip.

Gibralfaro Castle and La Alcazaba Palace

To reach Gibralfaro Castle, you’ll have to climb a little, but once you get there, the landscapes below are surely gorgeous, notably the night lights.

You can also take a tour of the Moorish fortress, La Alcazaba Palace, it’s famous for its antiquated watchtowers, splendid gardens, patios, and stunning architectural design.

Ronda Plaza De Toros

The village of Ronda is packed with several vibrant historical sites such as Plaza de Toros, the oldest bullfighting ring in Spain.

A day trip that lasts almost 2 hours west of Malaga is well worth the drive, the mountain scenes are breathtaking.

Marbella is an Artists Dream

Art galleries and shops filling the roads give Marbella its appeal and attractive character.

These are just fascinating of the attractions Marbella has to submit.

Take in a show in its amphitheater, grab some lunch at one of several Spanish bistros, and pause to enjoy the stunning view of the Marbella Spain coast.

The Alhambra Palace in Granada

Tourists and citizens alike will surely enjoy a trip to the impressive Alhambra Palace.

This enchanting old palace faces the city of Granada.

Wander around the gardens decorated with wildflowers, unwind on the patios, and take in the early 9th-century structure of one of the oldest manors in the country.


Seville is also a must-see stop when touring Andalucía. Deemed the most delicate part of the city, the barrio of Santa Cruz is home to outstanding restaurants, impressive flamenco displays, and elegant museums. There’s so much to search for in this picturesque neighborhood.

The Cathedral of Seville is another must-see attraction in Seville. Once known to be the third-largest church in the world, it is now thought to be the largest when it comes to volume.

The cathedral draws not just those on a religious pilgrimage, but several history buffs, as it is the final resting place of the remains of explorer Christopher Columbus.


Cordoba is a place where Jewish, Christian, and Islamic cultures are united with a Spanish soul. It is also home to one of the world’s most fascinating and prominent historical mosques, the Mezquita. It is a huge former mosque-turned cathedral.

It is renowned for its matchless architectural style. The Mezquita also highlights a soaring bell tower, which grants remarkable views of the Judería Quarter. When touring the Mezquita, give yourself an hour or two to savor everything.


Considered as one of the most famous Málaga day trips is Gibraltar. Situated on the southern tip of Spain, Gibraltar is an overseas state of the United Kingdom, known for its caves and monkey-studded nature reserve, as well as its shopping and culinary escapades.

Take a walk along the seafront to Europa Point Lighthouse, wherein you can view where the Atlantic and the Mediterranean meet, complete with the coast of Africa glancing over the horizon.

Take the cable car up the Rock. In just six minutes, you’ll surely reach the top of the world enjoying majestic views and the company of the infamous Barbary Apes.

Driving in Malaga

Compared to other Spanish cities like Barcelona or Madrid, driving in Malaga seems to be more relaxed. Malaga’s unspoiled coastal territory attracts tourists from all over the world. And more often than not, tourists drive through.

Despite the slower-paced road, stress-free driving conditions also characterized in Malaga, there is still lots of helpful advice and tricks that will help give you a positive travel experience, free of undesirable tension.

Driving Rules in Malaga

  • Drivers in Spain must be at least 21 years old and own a license for 1 year. An International Drivers License is also highly recommended.
  • All vehicles in Spain are driven on the right side of the road.
  • The current speed limit on city roads is 50 km/h. If the sidewalk is aligned with the road, the speed limit is 20 km/h. 30 km/h on roads with one lane per way. If the road consists of two or more lanes per way, then the limit will be 50 km/h.
  • Overtaking can only be performed on the left side of a car.
  • 4 points will be deducted from your driving license if caught not wearing a seatbelt properly, motorbike helmet, or not fixing the car seat the right way.
  • Children with a height of under 135 centimeters cannot sit in the front seat, and must always use an allowed restraint system. Use of the recommended restraint system must be held for children over 150 centimeters tall. For parents traveling with a baby in a taxi, you must carry your own approved restraint system.
  • 6 points will be deducted from your driving license if caught using the phone while driving. This penalty is also applied to drivers who have their phones in their hands while driving, even if they are not using them at the moment.
  • Blood alcohol levels must not surpass 0.5 g/l (0.25 mg/l in exhaled air).

Documents Needed While Driving in Malaga

For you to be able to drive in Spain, you must carry a full and valid driver’s license. You must also carry proof of ownership (V5C) and insurance, as well as a passport or any national identity card

Here are the other things that you must carry with you while driving in Malaga:

  • Motor insurance green card
  • Reflective jackets
  • Warning triangles
  • Another pair of spectacles (for those who drive with glasses)
  • Headlamp beam deflectors

Tips When Driving in Malaga

The thought that comes to our mind at the concept of driving on the Spanish mainland is of reckless, testosterone-fuelled, suntanned Hispanic males who perilously push you to drive your rented Fiat Cinquecento off a secluded mountain road, or into a flat riverbed 600 feet below.

OK! So maybe that’s a little tense, to say the least, but it is an opinion experienced by a lot of individuals when it is nothing that could be further from the truth. Driving in Europe is one of the most fulfilling driving activities that you add to your bucket list. Don’t forget to enjoy the magnificent view and the little to no congestion of the road in Spain.

It is common for Spanish drivers to stop in front of you without signaling. Well, if they can do it, just remember to be careful. You will see no flashing lights six inches from the back of your car, or mad motorists pulling over to demonstrate their knowledge of English curses, they will just drive by to a safe distance, (unless they are tourists as well).

But seriously, if you want to drive a rental car in Spain, particularly in Malaga, or even buy your own, there are some things that you should consider. We’ve listed some of the more relevant ones below for you to remember.

  • When driving on any motorway (Autopista), don’t get angry at drivers flashing their headlights before making an overtake. It’s the law! They are just notifying you that they are about to pass.
  • Never cross a solid white line when driving on a motorway in Spain, wait until it turns to a broken line. And when overtaking, always signal if you are pulling out and back in. The Spanish authorities are rigorously implementing this law, so break it at your own risk!
  • If you find a parking ticket placed on the windscreen of your car, don’t worry. If it’s a rental car, and you are only staying for a short holiday, it will surely be far too expensive for the authorities to track you via a rental company, so our advice is to toss it
  • You will see three types of police in Spain:
    • Municipal Police. Wearing a blue uniform, bound to the local mayor, their responsibilities involve traffic and parking violations.
    • National Police (La Policia). Wearing a black uniform. Their duties include guarding important people and buildings. They are also responsible for investigating more severe crimes.
    • Civil Guard (Guardia Civil). Wearing a green uniform. These are the boys who take your money from you if you’re caught rushing on a motorway, They are also responsible for national security.

Renting a Car in Malaga

Obtaining an affordable car rental at Malaga Airport (AGP) is easy. This is the city’s main passage to the Costa del Sol, incorporated with a wide selection of big-name operators extending hire cars to visitors. This includes Avis, Sixt, Europcar, and Hertz.

The heart of Malaga is just around a 25-minute drive away from the airport while the coastal resorts like Benalmadena and Torremolinos are just less than a half-hour drive. Nerja is an hour’s ride away while Marbella is just around a 40-minute drive south.

It’s also possible to get some awesome deals on car hire at the airport, particularly during off-peak periods, and you’ll spot desks for big-name brands between the baggage reclaim carousels 28 and 31.

Car Rental Companies in Malaga Airport

Car rental companies that can be found at Malaga Airport include:

  • Avis (tel: +34 09021 09384)
  • Europcar (Tel: +34 0902 503 010)
  • Sixt (Tel: +34 0902 49 1616)
  • Hertz (Tel: +34 0902 402 405)

Hiring a car in Malaga city center

If you wish to spend a few days in Malaga before exploring the region, you might find it easiest to explore by public transport. And then you can pick up your hire car in Malaga city center later.

You’ll locate a handful of rental companies close to Malaga Maria Zambrano station, such as Sixt, and some operators will deliver your rental car at your hotel for an extra charge.

Documents Needed When Hiring a Car

Renting a car in Malaga will only require 3 basic documents: Your passport or any ID card with your name and photo on it, a driving license, and a valid credit/debit card.

But we strongly recommend that you obtain an International Driving Permit(IDP), especially if your license is not issued in the English language.

Car Hire Insurance in Malaga

This rule depends on the country you’re traveling to, you might be legally required to purchase three types of basic insurance. These are usually incorporated in your car hire charges and contract:

  • stolen vehicle – also known as ‘theft protection’ or ‘vehicle theft cover
  • damaged vehicle – also known as ‘collision damage disclaimer’, ‘damage excess waiver’, or ‘vehicle damage cover’
  • injury or property damage sustained from a third party – also known as ‘third party cover’ or ‘supplemental liability’.

Most car hire companies impose a very high price margin, between £500 and £1,500. They might probably end up crediting you very large amounts for even small scratch marks found on the car.

You can always compromise yourself by purchasing excess compensation insurance. This implies that you can claim your excess back just in case. This is also identified as standalone car hire insurance.

It treats things not usually covered in any top-up insurance, such as tire damage or lost keys. Although you can’t usually acquire it for prestige vehicles or camper vans.

You can purchase two kinds of this policy:

  • Regular policy, which the price starts at around £3.
  • A yearly policy, which costs from around £39 – it’s usually great value for a fortnight or more.

Your car rental company will try to market you top-up insurance, diminishing your excess to zero. This is also recognized as ‘super collision damage waiver’, ‘deductible cover’, or ‘non-waiver cover’. 

This top-up coverage doesn’t come cheap. It costs around £10 a day. It includes theft, vandalism, damaged tires, lost keys, and the application of wrong fuels.

It may seem to be a poor value for money but it will surely avoid any arguments when you return the vehicle with certain damages that should automatically be covered by their policy.

Top tips for car hire in Malaga

  • The complicated terrain of the Sierra Nevada could bend the spirit of even seasoned drivers. Be ready for some challenging driving from Malaga up into the mountains, and always be observant and cautious. 
  • Locals can be quite ‘blazing’ behind the wheel. Your best bet is to keep calm and just keep on driving, as the last thing you want during your holiday is a disaster or argument on the road.
  • You have to keep two warning triangles and a reflective jacket in your car. If you don’t have these, you’ll be subject to an on-the-spot fine. So, before you start driving in Malaga, double-check your rental company has provided them.

Frequently Asked Questions

What age do I need to be able to hire a vehicle in Malaga?

You must be at least 18 years old to hire a car in Malaga and all of Spain. However, keep in mind that some car rental companies set their minimum age higher, normally at 23 or 25 years old. You will be expected to own a full driving license for a year, too. You should also keep in mind that some car rental companies may not rent to drivers over the age of 75.

What do I need to hire a vehicle in Malaga?

You must present a valid driving license, proof of identities such as a passport or ID card, and a debit or credit card when hiring a car in Malaga. You may also be required to provide a DVLA check code and extra proof of address, such as a utility bill. Make sure that you check first what you need with your car hire supplier before you start your tour.

Do I need a car hire excess insurance in Malaga?

Car hire excess insurance can be an optional purchase in Malaga, but it can be a great idea. That’s because it incorporates the high excess premium if the vehicle obtained damage in any circumstances. Without it, you may end up spending between €500 and €2,000. Excess insurance is normally available at the rental desk but obtaining it through a third-party insurer can be more affordable, so compare quotes online first.

Can I rent a car in Malaga with my debit card?

Yes, several car hire companies in Malaga accept debit cards as long as you have sufficient funds to meet their requested deposit. Some rental companies emphasize taking credit card details to include the security deposit, though, so check first with the company directly.

Is it more affordable to rent a car at the Malaga airport or off-site?

It is usually more expensive to rent a car from a rental desk at Malaga airport than off-site, though you can still obtain a great deal for on-site pick-up when you compare online in advance.

Can you rent a car in Malaga and drop it off in another city?

Yes, several rental companies allow one-way car rental between Spanish cities. You may be required to pay an additional charge to drop the hire car off at a different spot to your original pick-up point.

Can you rent a car on the same day in Malaga?

Same-day car hire is also available from the largest rental companies in Malaga. Even though it’s the same day, it’s usually still more affordable to book online than go straight to the rental desk.

What is the most popular car category?

The most popular option of the car category in Malaga is ‘Economy’. This is the next smallest car category (‘Mini’ being the smallest), and is ideal if you don’t intend on spending hours on end in the car.

The make and model of the car may alter, but if you imagine along with the limits of a Ford Fiesta, Seat Ibiza, or Peugeot 308, then this should give you a great sense of size.

‘Economy’ cars are easy to park, with great fuel economy. Generally speaking, these cars will conveniently carry three adults and one big suitcase, but families should think of going up a category to the ‘Compact’ cars to provide for a bit more space.

Can I hire a vehicle at 21 years of age in Malaga?

Yes, you can hire a car in Malaga at 21 years of age, but you should anticipate spending a ‘young driver surcharge’ if you’re under 25. Check if your rental company allows drivers at 21 years old before you book.

Final Thoughts

Malaga, the capital city of the Costa del Sol, has set itself as one of the most culturally vibrant and interesting cities in the south of Spain. As such, it should be on everyone’s list of top destinations to visit. And to obtain the most of your trip, you should hire a car in Malaga.

From its fascinating beaches to classical monuments, distinct museums, and multiple activities to explore, Malaga allows so much to its visitors. In addition to that, this city has excellent weather, making it reasonable to appreciate all year round.

While Malaga is a small and flat city, which makes it perfect for walking, if you want to traverse this city and attain the best time of your life, you will need a car. This is the reason why it is so typical for visitors to rent a car in Malaga.

Malaga’s once run-down harbor has had a makeover. Today, it’s a spot to experience a stroll and view the swanky cruise liners and yachts rolling in. The airport is a highly famous place to hire a car, and with numerous enjoyable spots within driving distance, it’s not hard to see why. To top this off, it is also the greatest preference destination to hire a car in Europe.

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Need a car hire quote?

If you would like to search for a car rental quote, you can also use the search box below.

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Take a longer road trip by doing some overnight stays, city breaks, or a driving holiday.

Search for places to stay using the search box below.