The gateway to the sun-splashed Costa del Sol is a fascinating city of Moorish spires and majestic Christian churches, hugging a wide bay and harbour that are threaded by energetic fishing ports and glinting beaches alike. This is not your usual sand and sea Spanish destination. It might be surrounded by good-time resorts, but Malaga is steeped in 2,000 years of history, dotted with Roman ruins, and revered as the birthplace of one of the world’s most legendary artists: Picasso. You can get stuck into all that, if you like. Or there’s a bumping tapas and nightlife scene. Or there are always fantastic strands with umbrellas and beach bars in the vicinity. It’s a darn fun city, folks.
Airbnb in Malaga can be great place to go in search of accommodation. Whether you’re on a group trip with friends and have your heart set on the sangria bars of the Malaga Old Town or want to whisk the family away to the salt-washed beaches on the edge of the Costa del Sol, there’s bound to be a villa or an apartment that suits. This guide has all the info you need to get started and get booking.
Airbnb is legal in Spain. However, some regions – Andalusia included – now impose pretty tight restrictions on all properties that are to be listed on the platform. They shouldn’t affect you as a traveler. You can still book whatever whitewashed coast cottage or cool inner-town flat you like in Malaga. The responsibility is on hosts to ensure they’re all above board, have registered with the local authorities and fulfil the list of building regulations. It won’t hurt to check that’s all in order if you are worried – just use the contact host feature to make sure. Also bear in mind that you could be asked to pay a local tourist tax and present your ID upon check-in.
Where should I stay in Malaga Airbnb?
Malaga started life in the district that’s now known as the Old Town(1). Lots head there to find Roman relics and medieval churches. Nearby is cool La Merced(2), with its vibrant tapas food scene and markets. El Perchel(3) is a place to get a feel for the more authentic and lived-in side of the city, while wave-washed Malagueta(4) is for sampling the sandy delights of the Costa del Sol. Finally, you’ve got Soho(5) – a neighbourood scrawled in public art and dotted with creative cafeterias.
Enthralling history sights
A great food and drink scene
The best museums in Malaga are here
Far from the beach
Unfolding all around the vast Plaza de la Constitución in a grid of overshadowed streets packed with shops and cafés, the Old Town of Malaga is – as the name implies – the oldest part of the city. Remnants of a Roman amphitheatre testify to that. However, the most glorious monuments are a mix of the Moorish and the Spanish, like the muscular Alcazaba fortress and the Mudejar rises of the beautiful Cathedral of Malaga. The district also packs in the city’s finest museums – Picasso and Francisco de Goya can both be seen in a single morning. And then comes the dining and drinking. Tapas joints and buzzy cerverceria abound in these parts, so you can balance out that culture by evoking the spirit of Bacchus later in the evening.
Good access to the regional trains (to see the beaches of the Costa del Sol!)
A little gritty
Not many Airbnbs
Once a sprawling slum of old fisherman’s cottages, El Perchel retains a gritty and authentic Spanish charm that rarely fails to beguile the few visitors that pass its way. Paint-peeling, stucco-crumbling buildings that date to the 1800s and early 1900s crowd the streets, while half-ruined churches pop up here and there. Foodie spots include the local churros holes-in-the-wall and a couple of working-class beer houses. If you’re looking for a glimpse of the real Malaga, this is it!
Malagueta juts out into the Mediterranean on the southern edge of the city. On one side, it’s home to Malaga’s salt-washed port, where yachts, fishing boats and marine museums thread along the water’s edge. On the other is the bustle of the urban beach. That’s the focal point of life in the town during the warmer months; a hubbub of volleyball players and sunbathers and swimmers. The crème-de-la-crème of the Airbnbs here will have views of the waves and a location right on the palm-dotted seafront promenade.
Watched over by the hallowed birthplace of Picasso himself, the Plaza de la Merced anchors this stylish district just to the north of the Old Town. It’s a tad quieter than its near neighbour but no less immersive. The vibes are distinctly local and hipster, with sangria bars and mezze restaurants spilling out from under the plane trees and the porticoes by the bucket load. Depart the plaza and you’ll discover fizzing nightlife spots and creative food kitchens serving fusion tapas, along with the Mercado de la Merced, a gourmand’s dream come true!
The star of Soho has risen and fallen in recent decades. In the 50s and 60s, the district by the port was a sought-after place for sea-view condos. Then it was abandoned. Now it’s being revitalised again with a huge urban arts project and all sorts of start-ups and creative agencies. Everywhere you look there’s a graffiti mural or a thought-provoking piece of public sculpture work. Cafés and roasteries, beer bars and theatres – they’re all now joining the party, too. Oh, and Soho isn’t too far from the beach, which is another plus for Airbnbs in these parts.
There’s real pizzazz in this colourful, bright, and bold flat near Carreteria Street on the northern fringes of the Old Town. Metallic light fittings and blue-painted Spanish tiles mingle in the interiors to create somewhere at once modern and traditional, while mod cons run throughout – there’s a complete kitchen with an oven, a large double bed on a mezzanine and a cosy lounge with flat-screen TV.
Whoever said you have to venture to the dusty sierras of inland Andalusia to get a taste of the region’s more traditional side? Just take this authentic townhouse. It’s a symphony of all things southern Spain, with terracotta patios dotted with blooming plants and orange trees running into an interior of whitewashed walls where books – is that a Don Quixote? – piled high above crooked pianos. Character and charm abound!
Spend your family evenings in sharing tasty Spanish tapas under the gaze of the great Moorish Alcazaba, all thanks to the fantastic roof garden that tops off this luxurious Airbnb. With three bedrooms and space for eight guests, it’s perfect for medium-sized groups. What’s more, you get plenty of creature comforts, from a fitted kitchen to air conditioning to a dedicated BBQ grill.
The windows of the small lounge space in this seven-bedroom flat open to reveal stunning views of the Mudejar towers of Malaga Cathedral and the city’s Old Town in the distance. Closer to home, you’ll have the bumping nightlife of La Merced to get through. Meanwhile, the pad itself is simple but efficient, with capacity enough for groups of up to 13 and a décor that’s toned down and clean looking.
With the Picasso Museum and the tapas joints of La Merced just outside the door, you’ll be enthralled by the location of this lovely couples’ duplex. That is, if you can persuade yourself to leave. A rooftop terrace solarium with come-laze-on-me sunbeds and a shared pool with views across the Malaga skyline might make it harder than you think!
Probably. Airbnbs in Malaga have a reputation for being just a little easier on the travel budget than their hotel counterparts. You’ll often find that nightly rates in apartments or townhouses are pleasantly cheap, even during the height of the Andalusian high season, which runs from May to September. In addition, you can look forward to cutting costs even further by making use of Airbnb features like self-catering kitchens and free parking.
The one thing you won’t get with an Airbnb is the same high level of service that’s offered in a hotel. And boy does Malaga have some great hotels! If you’re keen to be pampered and looked after from check-in to check-out, you might prefer a stay somewhere like the Hotel Barceló Malaga. Chic rooms with huge bedspreads are on offer there, along with a rooftop pool that gazes across the ancient skyline of the town. Nice.
Malaga is a surprising hit of Roman archaeology, surrealist art, Mudejar architecture and Andalusian culture on the edge of the Costa del Sol. Book your Airbnb today to get exploring this fantastic city.