Good evening Mike. I need some help please with bus, transfer, or car rental from Malaga airport. From doing some research i’ve realised I have a really rubbish flight…but then again it was only cheap. Me and a friend need to get from Malaga airport to Marbella on Saturday night. Our flight lands at 23.45 so from looking at the timetable we will miss the last bus…and to top it all off we are going in June..does the bus not run on Saturday and Sunday until July???

I am thinking our only options are a transfer or hire a car? The prices of which are nearly the same! I think a taxi would just rip us off given the time and us being 2 young girls. We are open to suggestions on the return to the airport. The flight is at 10pm on Saturday again unfortunately…would we be able to get a train? I just can’t work out our transfer options.

I would be very grateful for some advice…there is no hurry!  Best Wishes Ny

Hi Ny   Thanks very much for writing in. Yes, it’s not so easy getting to Marbella economically if you land late in the evening.   About the special airport shuttle bus to Marbella, it runs every day of the year between Marbella bus station and Malaga airport.

Here are two suggestions:

1) Taking a taxi from the airport you can’t get ripped off because all the taxis have meters in them.  The cost does go up at weekends and arriving after 10pm during weekdays so that is going to run out around €90 for the two of you.

2) About the cost of a hire car from Málaga airport, you might find that the cost of a short car rental with all its travel possibilities works out only a little bit more than taking a taxi and is sometimes even cheaper than a transfer company. It is certainly more flexible.

Using the link above or here, take two minutes to check out the cost of renting a small  car from Malaga Airport and returning it in Marbella a couple of days later. Make a couple of trips first say to Ronda or definitely down to Tarifa to get your money’s worth. If you add your very cheap return bus return to the airport plus the bargain cost of a Gomarbella rental car, you might just have a good deal.

3) About getting back to the airport if you decide not to keep your rental car for the week, the easiest option from Marbella is the Malaga airport bus mentioned above.

I hope this helps you Ny, please feel free to write back if I can help you. Have a fantastic trip and stay in Marbella.

Best wishes Mike

PS, I didn’t suggest a horse drawn carriage to Marbella, although you can hire them from next to Cafeteria Marbella seen in the picture above. Earlier this year Cafeteria Marbella had a big facelift. I like it because I have fond memories of eating here when we first came on holiday to Marbella back in 1978. I think I had calamares or squid. Coming from Rhodesia this was very exotic.


  1. Hi Julie, thank you for writing in. You can buy all your bus tickets online using the Gomarbella online booking facility. Put in Origin – Malaga and Destination – Marbella it will give you all the timings of buses to Marbella bus station from Malaga bus station. Try to travel on any of the Direct or Express services, they don't stop between Malaga and Marbella. You can only look at timetables for the current month but it will give you an idea of how often the buses go and come back to Malaga.

    You are in good time to plan your trip but in the meantime, regarding your hotel, try the Gomarbella link below which will search all the hotels in Malaga. Have a look, make a short list and I'll be pleased to answer any questions about them as far as I can. Well done on planning ahead like that Julie! Best wishes from Marbella Mike

  2. Hi Mike
    We arrive in Malaga in mid January 2013 and want to spend a day in Marbella. I was trying to find out how to get there by bus but I can only find references to the Malaga Airport Bus. Can we get a bus from the Malaga bus station to the Marbella bus station, and can you give a link to a timetable?

    Also, can you suggest somewhere to stay in Malaga? There are so many options I am confused as we have not been there before.


  3. Hi Mike its Michelle, just checking in again for your reply to my earlier questions above about travelling by buses with children but I dont seem to be able to find it? Maybe you could direct me. Thanks so much

  4. Hi Michelle

    Thanks very much for writing in. Yes all of your five destinations can be reached by bus. The last two would best be done by bus to Fuengirola and then train up to Arroyo de la Miel where Tivoli is and then El Ranchito in Torremolinos further up the line.

    I'm in London right now, back on Thursday evening. After the weekend, I'll give you information about timetables and answer your other questions. Please come back to this page and I'll add it as a comment, it might appear further down the page but it'll be there.

    Thanks again Michelle, I look forward to sending you the information.

    Best wishes Mike

  5. Hi Mike – I would really appreciate your advice on travelling by bus during our forthcoming trip to Spain.
    We are staying in Los Amigos Beach Club, El Faro with our 3 children including a 6 month old baby. Our bus stop will be Playa Marina.

    The 5 main places we would love to visit during our stay are Fuengirola Waterpark, Fuengirola Zoo, the beach and market at La Cala de Mijas, Tivoli World and El Ranchito in Torremolinos.

    Will it be easy enough to get to each of these places using the buses? We are on a tight budget and cant afford to rent a car.

    For the latter 2 places how much travelling time should we allow?

    I have been trying to find bus timetables but have not had much luck. With 3 children we wont be able to just hop in a taxi if we miss the last bus so I would be grateful if you have a link to timetables.

    Also are the buses baby friendly? Will it be easy enough to bring a stroller on and off and store it on the bus?

    And finally do you pay on the bus or do you have to go to a ticket office?

    I know I have asked a lot of questions here and really appreciate you taking the time to respond.

    Kind regards,

  6. Hi Sue, thanks for writing in. I'm glad the Gomarbella pages are useful!

    The express bus takes the inland road and does not stop anywhere before Marbella so you are absolutely correct about the train being the best option.

    The taxis on the Costa del Sol only take four passengers so the train to Fuengirola train station will be a really economical way to move the group.

    Because Club La Costa is just outside of Fuengirola and to avoid pulling suitcases from the bus stop to Reception and save a lot of time, I would take two taxis from outside Fuengirola train station to Club La Costa. With all the money you have saved by taking the train, you can treat yourselves to this short taxi trip.

    On the way back, having sorted out where the bus stop is, to keep travel costs down you could always take the bus back into Fuengirola and then walk next door to the train station and train back to Malaga airport.

    I hope this helps you Sue, thanks again for writing in and have a great stay.

    Best wishes from Marbella


  7. Hi mike, have found your page very helpful, similar questions but would appreciate your advice. There are 6 of us arriving at Malaga airport at about 8.30pm travelling to Club la Costa in Mijas Costa, would you recommend the train to Fuengirola then the bus, or is there a better way considering the time and the size of our party and the cost? What about the express bus, or does that go out of our way?

  8. Hi Shay, check out the classified ads in Sur If you don't see your price range, then put an ad in online before you come with the the type of car you are looking for. You'll be surprised at the response and will come up with private sellers, of all shapes and sizes.

    If you need to check out any of the red tape or need answers on ownership and residence questions then I recommend phoning or emailing this Gestor, Gestimar Marbella, San Juan Bosco, 2 29602, Marbella Tel: 952824688 Email: [email protected] They are part of a bigger office in Malaga and work mornings only in Marbella. You'll probably speak to Belén who speaks good English. I use them for car ownership transfers and similar. Get the transfer of ownership done professionally.

    If you are spending all that money on a Gomarbella hire car, then thank you very much, it is most appreciated.

    I had a Vodafone prepaid card for my laptop for a trip in which we visited a number of countries. It was absolutely hopeless and I couldn't even get it to work properly in Spain. It has been the worst technological investment I have ever made. The prepaid Vodafone cards that I have contact with are expensive and inefficient. Like throwing money down a well.

    I was so fed up with Vodafone mobile service that I changed to Orange, only to find later that it has been bought by Vodafone. You can't win all the battles all the time. There is no satisfactory or economical answer to using the internet temporarily in Spain. I would stick with using cafes.

    Hope that helps you Shay, I'm just off for a week to Germany and the UK, I'll be using my daughters' wifi connections as far as possible! Best wishes from Marbella


  9. Hi Mike

    thanks for all the helpful advice I think this might be a better option than hiring everytime, this month my car is costing over €800. Since I don't know any car garages do you have any advice where to buy or even how to get someone to check a car for you?

    On a different point altogether do you have any advice on broadband. So far I've been using a Vodafone dongle which is prepaid and not a contract. This is very cheap in Ireland you can get a month for about 20€ but here it is costing me 60€ and this time I called in to get credit on the sim card and I was told there is difficulty with the service. So at the moment I'm restricted to dropping into cafes with wi-fi

    Many thanks again

  10. Hi Shay

    I'm sure you will have seen in the libreria where you buy your newspaper, a little book called (in Spanish) "Buyers' Guide to Used Cars." It's only a couple of euros and gives an idea of used car prices. I drive a ten year old Peugeot 406 diesel, I bought it five years ago to transport the grandchildren around in their car seats and carry mountains of luggage from the airport. It doesn't appear in some used car guides because the 406 has been discontinued in favour of the 407. It's a good car, solid and safe and had a list price of €2800 before it disappeared from the guides. I keep an eye on spare parts in the carbreakers up near Malaga airport although it's maintained and serviced regularly by the local Peugeot garage. Touch wood, it's not costing me anything….

    If you are thinking of leaving an English registered car parked in the street, arrange for a neighbour to move it and clean it at intervals, no problem if it's in a garage.

    Thanks very much for the "Like" Shay, much appreciated. Let me know anytime I can help. Great weather at the moment! Bring your sunglasses.

    Best wishes Mike

  11. Hi Shay

    Good question that. You could get a used run around car in good condition for anything from €1000 upwards. A medium sized car will work at around €100 for road tax paid to the Town Hall. I insure with Linea Directa, it's an online company and my insurance premium is €254. So that would work out at about €30 a month running costs. You could then opt to have regular services or just take the car for oil changes and repairs as they come up at the friendly local garage round the corner.

    I'm racking my brains about buying and owning a Spanish registered car if you are perhaps not resident in Spain. It used to be a complication. If you think the figures work out, let me know and I'll contact the gestor who does my change of ownership and specialises in car documents and things like that. If you have residency, there's no problem at all. Tell me if you'd like me to find out.

    Best wishes from along the road Shay and thanks very much for writing in.


  12. Hi Mike, we have owned a place in Elviria since 2002 and I keep wondering about the viability of keeping a car out in Spain. Initially it appeared to make more sense to keep hiring a rental car, but prices are getting dearer and I am wondering i it is time to look at buying a car. At the moment I woudl get about 8 weeks of use from car each year. Hopefully this will be more in the future. How difficult is it to get and own a car and what are the annual costs like: eg tax, insurance etc.

    Shay Farrelly

  13. Thank you so much, Mike. I'll certainly keep in touch. I had read about the open top bus tour and wondering about it, so let me know what you think once you get a chance to do it. We have used them in various cities – some have been excellent, others not so good. Your help is greatly appreciated – it takes the strain out of travelling!

  14. Hi Margaret, thank you very much for writing in. You are absolutely right about taking a taxi from the airport to Benalmadena and then back to Malaga Port especially when travelling with suitcases.

    There are very modern left luggage facilities in Estación Maria Zambrano and again this is your best option to deal with your luggage whilst you do Malaga. I have a feeling there is a shuttle bus service which takes cruise passengers to key points in Malaga including the station but I must check on that. If I'm wrong, it's still only a minimum taxi fare from Malaga port to the train station. In fact the station is so close you could walk it comfortably, again without those suitcases!

    What a great thing to do exploring Malaga on your last day. I was up in Malaga on Wednesday, I'm going to write about it in my next blog. One of the things I wanted to do was do a red open bus tour of the city, (leaving from the train station) but the day didn't work out as I hoped so I'll try again shortly.

    When you get back to the train station at the end of the day, collect your luggage and your train to the airport leaves from a nearby platform. There are trains every 30 minutes, it's a short journey and you could be checking in less than 30 minutes after picking up the luggage.

    By the time you do your day tour in October, I'll have a list of suggestions for you. It's a fantastic city to visit, there really is something for everyone. Please keep in touch Margaret or check back nearer the time for updates.

    Best wishes from Marbella


  15. Hi Mike! I would appreciate your advice regarding our trip in October. We fly into Malaga to spend one week in Benalmadena and one week cruising from Malaga. We intend to take a taxi from the airport and then probably do the same to get us back to the port of Malaga. At the end of the cruise, our return flight does not leave until 9 pm, and I expect we will need to disembark early morning. I understand there is left luggage facilities in Estacion Maria Zambrano, which would allow us to leave our luggage and spend the day in Malaga. Do you think this would be our best option and would it be reasonably easy to find it? Could we get a taxi easily to the station and is the station close to the town? Any ideas of how to spend the day? Is it easy to take the train into Malaga airport for our return flight? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.


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