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IS YOUR SHIP DOCKING AT MALAGA CRUISE PORT? Then you’re in for a treat!
Malaga Cruise Port is located in the heart of Malaga on the Costa del Sol, which is known for its sunny weather, beautiful beaches, and rich cultural heritage. It is without a doubt my favorite part of Spain.
It is one of the busiest ports in the Mediterranean, welcoming thousands of tourists every year. It has state-of-the-art facilities and offers a wide range of services to cruise passengers, including restaurants, shops, and tour operators.
So let’s take a look at everything you need to know before visiting Malaga, from the best shore excursions to the best way to get around.
- Malaga Cruise Port overview
- Malaga shore excursions
- How to get around
- Facilities and Amenities
- Top things to do in Malaga from a cruise ship
- Tips for Cruisers in Malaga
- Frequently Asked Questions Malaga
- What are some things to do in Malaga when arriving by cruise ship?
- Can you get around Malaga without a car?
- Can you visit Alhambra from Malaga cruise port?
- Is Malaga worth visiting?
- Which cruise lines stop in Malaga?
- Do any cruise ships depart from Malaga?
- What beaches are near Malaga cruise port?
- Is Malaga cheap or expensive?
- What is the best time to visit Malaga?
- Popular Spain guides
Malaga Cruise Port overview
The location of Malaga Cruise Port, on the edge of Malaga’s old town, makes it an ideal starting point for exploring the city’s rich cultural heritage, beautiful beaches, and vibrant nightlife.
Where do ships dock at Malaga Spain?
Most ships dock at the El Palmeral Terminal of Malaga Cruise Port, located just outside the city center. It is the most exclusive terminal in the Mediterranean Sea, there has made significant investments in its facilities in recent years to provide comprehensive turnaround and transit services for passengers.
The port’s cruise piers span a total of 1,350 meters, allowing it to accommodate cruise ships of any size from all around the globe just like Barcelona Cruise Port.
Larger cruise liners dock in the eastern area of the port, while smaller ships dock at the inner basin near the Palm Grove waterfront, which is only a five-minute walk from the cathedral.
How far is Malaga Centre from the cruise port?
Malaga Cruise Port is conveniently located just 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from the city center, making it easy to explore Malaga’s many attractions in a short amount of time.
Below I’ve included a map of the cruise port and the most important attractions.
Malaga shore excursions
Granada and Alhambra
Malaga is definitely a beautiful city, but I have to admit that exploring Granada and Alhambra is even better. On this shore excursion, you get the opportunity to immerse yourself in the royal extravagance of the Alhambra palace complex with an experienced guide.
Walk straight past the long lines in the crowded entrance hall with a priority access pass into vast courtyards, winding walkways and richly decorated chambers. Marvel at the beautiful architecture inspired by Moorish and colonial styles and the impressive Generalife Gardens.
If you’re a history buff like myself, this one is a must!
🌟 My top pick >> Guided tour of Granada and Alhambra from Malaga Port
Panoramic Buggy Tour with Wine Tasting
For wine lovers, I recommend this exciting and highly-rated shore excursion that takes you on a journey through the beautiful Malagan countryside and the picturesque village of Comares.
Starting from the cruise port, you will be taken on a panoramic buggy tour through the winding roads and scenic landscapes of the region. Along the way, you will stop at a historic cellar not usually open to the public where you can sample some of the finest wines of the Costa del Sol and learn about the winemaking process.
It’s the perfect excursion for wine lovers and those who want to experience the natural beauty in a fun and unusual way.
🍷 Check price & availability >> Panoramic Buggy Tour with Wine Tasting
Photoshoot in Malaga
A photoshoot with OhMyGoodGuide is a unique and personalized shore excursion that allows you to capture your memories of Malaga in a fun and creative way.
Starting from the cruise port, you will be taken on a guided tour of the city’s most beautiful and iconic landmarks, accompanied by a professional photographer who will capture your best moments. If you like to do some research you can choose your own locations, I recommend the old town.
The photographer will guide you through the city and provide you with tips on how to pose and make the most of your photoshoot. This excursion is perfect for couples, families, and solo travelers alike.
📷 Check price & availability >> Photoshoot with a professional photographer
How to get around
The best part about docking in Malaga is that you can easily get around on foot, by bike, bus, train, taxi or as part of a shore excursion.
Can you walk into Malaga from the cruise port?
Yes, the city center of Malaga is walkable from the Malaga Cruise Port. It is approximately a 15-minute walk from the port to the edge of the old town.
To give you an idea of the distances you can walk from the cruise terminal, to the Alcazaba, to the Picasso Museum and to Malagueta Beach in about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Is there a shuttle bus from Malaga Cruise Port?
Yes, there is a wheelchair-accessible shuttle bus service available from Malaga Cruise Port. It is operated by the port authority and provides a convenient and affordable way for cruise passengers to travel between the port and the city center.
The shuttle bus service runs every 15-20 minutes throughout the day and operates between the port and the Plaza de la Marina at the edge of the historic center.
There is also a solar-powered train you can take for €3.00 to the same stop.
Malaga Cruise Port is well-connected to the city’s well-developed, affordable, and efficient public transport system.
The city has an extensive network of buses that cover most of the city and its surrounding areas, including the airport. The buses are modern, clean, and air-conditioned, making them a comfortable and convenient way to travel around the city, with line 14 running from the port.
Malaga Metro is another convenient way to travel around the city, with two lines that connect the city center with the outskirts of the city. The closest stop to the port is Ataranzas.
The city’s main train station, Malaga Maria Zambrano, is located just a short distance from the port, making it easy for visitors to travel to other parts of the city and beyond.
Hop-on Hop-off bus
The hop-on hop-off bus in Malaga is a popular and convenient way to explore the city’s main attractions at your own pace. The bus tour covers the most popular sights and attractions in the city, including the Cathedral, the Alcazaba, and the Picasso Museum.
The tour is available in multiple languages and provides audio commentary that explains the history and significance of each attraction. The hop-on-hop-off bus allows you to get off at any of the stops along the route and explore the area on foot, before getting back on the next bus to continue the tour.
The buses run at regular intervals throughout the day, and visitors can purchase a ticket that is valid for 24 or 48 hours.
🚌 Check price and availability here >> Malaga shore excursion hop-on-hop-off bus
How to get to Malaga Cruise Port from the airport?
There are several ways to get to Malaga Cruise Port from the airport:
- Taxi: Taxis are readily available at the airport, and the journey to the port takes approximately 20-30 minutes, depending on traffic. The cost of the journey is around €20-€25.
- Train: The Malaga Airport train station is located just outside the terminal building, and there is a train service that runs to Málaga Centro Almeda. From there, you can take bus 14 or walk to Plaza de la Marina for the shuttle.
- Bus: You can take city bus A to the entrance of the port, which takes around 30 minutes.
- Private Transfer: There are several private transfer services available that can take you directly from the airport to the port. These services can be pre-booked online, and prices vary depending on the number of passengers and the type of vehicle.
Facilities and Amenities
Muelle Uno is a popular area of the Malaga port that has been transformed into a modern and vibrant shopping and leisure destination. The area is located at the end of the port and offers stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea and the city’s skyline.
Muelle Uno is home to a wide range of shops, restaurants, cafes, and bars, making it a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. The area features a modern design with open spaces, fountains, and sculptures, creating a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere.
The shopping options include both local and international brands, offering a variety of products such as clothing, jewelry, and accessories. The restaurants and bars offer a range of cuisines, from traditional Spanish tapas to international dishes.
Restrooms and Other Facilities
There are several public restrooms located throughout the port, including accessible facilities for visitors with disabilities.
The port also has several ATMs and currency exchange booths where you can withdraw or exchange money, free WiFi, as well as a tourist information center and a 24/7 concierge including personal shoppers.
Top things to do in Malaga from a cruise ship
Just like in Cartagena Cruise Port, cruisers in Malaga are spoilt for choice with so many exciting things to do close to the port. From historical castles and ruins to natural attractions and cultural venues, there is something for everyone.
The most famous of Malaga’s historic sites is the Alcazaba, a Moorish castle that dates back to the 11th century. It is one of the best-preserved examples of Moorish architecture in Spain. You can explore the castle’s towers, courtyards, and gardens while taking in stunning views of the city and the sea. Definitely a must on any Spain Bucket List.
Another must-see historic site is The Roman Theatre, an ancient amphitheater that dates back to the 1st century BC. It was discovered in 1951 during the construction of a new building and has since been restored and opened to the public. The theater is located at the foot of the Alcazaba fortress and was originally built to hold up to 2,000 spectators.
One of the most striking landmarks in Malaga is the bullfighting arena, also known as the Plaza de Toros de la Malagueta. The bullring was built in 1874 and has a seating capacity of over 9,000 spectators.
Today, it is used for bullfighting events during the summer months and is also open to visitors who want to learn about the history and culture of bullfighting in Spain.
Other historical sites worth visiting include the Cathedral of Malaga and the Castillo de Gibralfaro, a fortress that sits atop a hill and boasts some of the best views in the city.
Beaches and natural attractions
Malaga is also known for its beautiful beaches and natural attractions. The most popular beach near the cruise port is Playa de la Malagueta, which offers a wide range of amenities, including restaurants, bars, and water sports.
Other beaches worth visiting include Playa del Palo, Playa de Pedregalejo, and Playa de la Caleta. For those who prefer nature, the Montes de Malaga Natural Park is a great place to hike, bike, or simply enjoy the stunning views of the Mediterranean.
Arts and culture
Malaga is also home to many cultural and artistic venues that are worth exploring. The Picasso Museum is a must-visit for art lovers, with a collection of over 200 works by the famous painter. The Carmen Thyssen Museum is also worth a visit, with a collection of 19th-century Spanish art.
Other venues include Centro Pompidou Malaga, the Malaga Museum of Fine Arts, and the Cervantes Theatre, which hosts a wide range of performances throughout the year.
Centro Pompidou Malaga
Centro Pompidou, a contemporary art museum located just outside the port, is one of my personal favorite attractions in Malaga. The museum is an offshoot of the famous Centre Pompidou in Paris and features a wide range of modern and contemporary art exhibitions, including works by famous artists such as Picasso, Miro, and Chagall.
The museum is housed in a striking glass cube building and features a range of interactive exhibits, workshops, and events that cater to visitors of all ages. The museum also has a rooftop terrace that offers stunning views of the city and the port.
Tips for Cruisers in Malaga
Here are some additional tips and a little summary of what we’ve covered in this article.
- Pack for the Weather: Malaga has a Mediterranean climate with hot summers and mild winters. It is important to pack appropriate clothing for the season. I didn’t realize just how HOT it actually gets during the summer months, I think it was well above 40 degrees C when I was there in August. So lightweight clothing, sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat are essential. In the winter, be sure to bring a jacket and an umbrella.
- Book Shore Excursions in Advance: Malaga is a popular cruise destination with many shore excursions available. To avoid disappointment, I recommend you book your excursions in advance. My favorites are this guided tour of Granada and Alhambra and this Buggy Tour with Wine Tasting.
- Use Public Transportation: Malaga has an excellent public transportation system that is easy to use and affordable. The city has a bus and train network that can take you to all the major attractions.
- Try the Local Cuisine: Malaga is known for its delicious seafood, tapas, and wine, so please sit down in a local restaurant and indulge in some tasty treats. One of my favorites is La Barra de Zapata right in the historic center. Malaga Central Market is also a great place to sample local delicacies.
- Visit the Alcazaba: The Alcazaba is a Moorish fortress that dates back to the 11th century. It is my favorite attraction in Malaga and offers stunning city views. I recommend visiting early in the day if possible to avoid crowds.
- Take a Walking Tour: If you don’t book a guided shore excursion, I recommend joining a walking tour to get to know the city quickly and discover some hidden gems you might not get to see on your own.
Frequently Asked Questions Malaga
What are some things to do in Malaga when arriving by cruise ship?
If you have the time, I recommend walking from the terminal, there are plenty of shops, stalls with souvernirs and handmade goods, and restaurants along the way. You will also pass by Muelle Uno, Centro Pompidou, a lighthouse, and a beach.
Malaga is a city full of history and culture, with plenty of things to do for visitors arriving by cruise ship. Some popular attractions include the Alcazaba, a Moorish castle located in the city center, the Picasso Museum, and the Cathedral of Malaga. You can also enjoy the beaches, take a stroll through the historic center, or explore the local food scene.
Can you get around Malaga without a car?
Yes, it is very easy to get around Malaga without a car. As mentioned above, Malaga has a well-developed public transportation system that includes buses, trains, and taxis. The city center is relatively compact and can be easily explored on foot.
There are also several bike rental services available for those who prefer to explore the city on two wheels. The Malaga Metro is a fast and convenient way to travel to the outskirts of the city. The bus system is also extensive and covers most of the city and its surrounding areas.
Can you visit Alhambra from Malaga cruise port?
Yes, it is possible to visit the Alhambra from the Malaga Cruise Port. Alhambra de Granada is located only 1 hour and 30 minutes away from the Cruise Port. Just make sure to get back with time to spare, or even better, join a shore excursion. It is covered by Viator’s worry-free policy, guaranteed on-time return to your ship.
Is Malaga worth visiting?
Yes, Malaga is definitely worth visiting! Located on the Costa del Sol in southern Spain, Malaga is a vibrant and beautiful city with a rich history and culture. The city boasts stunning architecture, beautiful beaches, and a lively atmosphere that attracts visitors from all over the world.
If you have some more time, Malaga is also the perfect base from which to explore other Andalucian highlights such as Ronda, Granada and Marbella.
Which cruise lines stop in Malaga?
Malaga Cruise Port is a popular destination for cruise lines all over the world. The port is located on the Costa del Sol, which is known for its beautiful beaches, warm weather, and vibrant culture.
Cruise lines that visit Malaga include:
- MSC Cruises
- Royal Caribbean
- Norwegian Cruise Line
- Costa Cruises
- Princess Cruises
- Celebrity Cruises
Do any cruise ships depart from Malaga?
Yes, there are several cruise ships that depart from Malaga, Spain. Malaga is a popular port of call for Mediterranean cruises and many cruise lines include it in their itineraries.
Some of the cruise lines that operate from Malaga include Royal Caribbean, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, and Princess Cruises.
What beaches are near Malaga cruise port?
There are several beaches located near the Malaga Cruise Port, including Playa de la Malagueta, Playa del Palo, and Playa de las Acacias. From the ship, there’s only a 5-minute walk to reach the sand.
Is Malaga cheap or expensive?
Malaga can be considered a relatively affordable destination in comparison to other popular cities in Spain. The cost of living in Malaga is generally lower than in Madrid, Barcelona or even San Sebastian.
Coming from Norway, I find the prices of food, drinks, and accommodation reasonable, especially if you avoid the most touristy areas.
What is the best time to visit Malaga?
The best time to visit Malaga, Spain is during the months of April, May, October and November. During these months, the weather is warm and sunny, but not too hot or crowded.
I love visiting Malaga during these shoulder seasons when it is around 23-25°C (68-77°F), which is perfect for exploring the city and lounging on the beach.
Additionally, you can avoid the peak tourist season, which is during the summer months of June to September when the temperatures can be very high and the crowds can be overwhelming.
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