A white and blue building in Malaga, with purple flowers in the foreground

Málaga Solo Travel Guide: Best Hostels, What to Do, & More

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Málaga is an amazing place for all solo travelers – from people who are traveling alone for the first time to experienced solo travelers on their hundredth trip. It’s a safe, beautiful city of friendly locals, coastal views, and sunshine. Málaga isn’t just for laying on the beach and partying though. There’s plenty of art, history, and culture packed into its vibrant historical center.

With my guide, you’ll be ready to have a blast solo traveling Málaga. See the best hostels to stay at, how to navigate the city, activities to do alone, and tips for staying safe.

Best hostels in Málaga for solo travelers

The Urban Jungle Hostel

Plants surrounding a stairwell in the Urban Jungle Hostel Malaga

The Urban Jungle Hostel was recommended to me by other travelers I met in southern Spain. And after checking out its highly-rated reviews, I booked my stay in its eight-bed mixed dorm. The Urban Jungle ended up being one of my favorite hostels that I stayed at in Spain.

Solo travelers who want to meet other people will have a blast here. The hostel does a fantastic job of setting up social activities – everything from bar crawls to themed dinners. Their rooftop is also a natural gathering place, where you’ll find people chatting, chilling, and working.

Read my full review of The Urban Jungle Hostel here.

TOC Hostel Málaga

TOC Hostel Málaga is a popular place to stay that has shared dorm rooms and private rooms. It’s more of a hostel-hotel hybrid, so it’s not the most social option. If you prefer to have time to yourself, TOC Hostel offers clean, chic facilities that feel like an upscale and luxurious upgrade from your typical hostel. There’s also the option to pay a bit more for a continental breakfast.

COEO Pod Hostel

COEO Pod Hostel is the perfect option if you’re tired of sharing a space and looking for privacy. The pods are small and narrow, but they contain everything you need: a comfy bed, space for your bags, and a small vanity that can double as a desk. While you might think that a pod-style hostel wouldn’t be very social, COEO does a great job of providing common areas and organized activities to bring travelers together.

How to get around Málaga


The interesting sights and buildings in Málaga are within walking distance of each other, so walking is your best (and cheapest) mode of transportation for sightseeing. They’re all located in or around the historic center of the city, which is pretty compact.

Málaga is an extremely easy and enjoyable city to walk too. The sidewalks are in good shape, and the city itself is beautiful. Being located in southern Spain, the weather is also pleasant all year round. It gets an average of 300 days of sunshine a year, and it has one of the warmest winters in Europe.


Because the popular attractions are so close to each other, biking between them is a bit overkill. However, renting a bicycle is a great way to get to the nearby beaches and explore the areas surrounding the city center. From the center, you can cycle east or west – both directions will take you to beaches, bridges, beach restaurants, and seaside views.

There are several places in the city to rent a bicycle: bike2malaga, Malaga Bike Tours, and E-bike Málaga. You can ask them for a map and suggested routes. If you aren’t comfortable cycling alone, many bike rental companies also offer cycling tours.


Your best public transportation option for getting around the city is the bus, which is operated by Empresa Malagueña de Transportes (EMT). You can download the EMT Málaga app (iOS and Android) to see the bus routes and schedules and buy a ticket.

A ride is 1.40€, which you can pay by cash, contactless card, or via the app.


The metro connects Málaga’s city center to the neighborhoods in the northwest and southwest, so you most likely won’t need to take it. But if you do, there are only two lines, Line 1 and Line 2, making it easy to navigate.

Purchase the single one-way ticket (billete ocasional) – it’s a rechargable paper ticket that can hold up to nine trips. A one-way trip costs 1.35€. Plus, there’s a small 0.30€ fee for the ticket.


Taxis are a safe, but more expensive, way to travel. It’s easy to hail a taxi from the road – just make sure you get into an official, licensed taxi. They’re white with a diagonal blue line on the side of the car, and they’re metered.

Things to do in Málaga alone

Enjoy the magnificent art museums

Art lovers will have a wonderful time wandering the art museums of Málaga. The most famous one is the Picasso Museum Málaga (Museo Picasso), where you can discover everything from his early artwork to some of his most famous pieces.

For contemporary art, Málaga has quite the selection. If you’re on a budget, the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, or CAC Málaga, offers free entry. The Carmen Thyssen Museum Málaga (Museo Carmen Thyssen Málaga) specializes in Spanish paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries. Housed in a colorful glass cube named El Cubo, the Centre Pompidou Málaga is the first branch of the Parisian modern and contemporary art museum. You can get free admission starting at 4 PM on Sundays.

Go on a free walking tour

Free walking tours are my favorite way to quickly get to know a new city. Plus, they’re cheap and the tour guides usually provide local tips and recommendations. Explora Málaga runs a free, tip-based tour of the city twice a day, in both English and Spanish. If you plan on seeing the Alcazaba, they also do a free tour on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Sample local food at Atarazanas Market

One of my favorite things to do alone is to wander food markets and food halls, even if I don’t end up buying anything. Luckily, Spain is full of indoor and outdoor markets filled with produce, meat, seafood, and restaurants. In Málaga, you’ll find it all at Atarazanas Market (Mercado Central de Atarazanas), a small but bustling market that occupies an old Arab shipyard. Besides trying the delicious food, you can’t miss the beautiful, enormous stained glass window at the end of the hall, which shows some of the city’s main attractions.

See the Málaga Roman Theatre

The Málaga Roman Theatre (Teatro Romano de Málaga) dates back to the first century. Despite how old it is, a significant amount of it has survived, including the seating, stage, and entranceway marble floor. The theatre sits at the foot of the Alcazaba, so it’s best to visit both at the same time.

Seeing the theatre only takes a few minutes, since you can view it from the street. It’s more of a quick stop than a site that you tour. However, if you’d like to go inside, entry is free.

Tour the Alcazaba

Courtyard and fountain inside the Alcazaba in Malaga

The Alcazaba of Málaga is a beautiful fortress built during the Muslim-ruled kingdom of Al-Andalus. Constructed on a hilltop overlooking the city, it’s impossible to miss. A ticket only costs 3.50€, and you can buy a discounted joint ticket to visit both the Alcazaba and Castle of Gibralfaro.

Although the Alcazaba offers guided tours for a bit more, I recommend skipping it since there’s a free audio guide.

Walk the walls of Gibralfaro Castle

At the top of Mount Gibralfaro stands Gibralfaro Castle (Castillo de Gibralfaro). It was built in the 14th century to protect the Alcazaba and was once considered the most impregnable fortress on the Iberian Peninsula. It’s a long and steep walk up to the castle, but the climb is worth it. You can walk its walls to get unobstructed, 360-degree views of the city and the coast.

It’s best to combine your visit of the Gibralfaro Castle with the Alcazaba, since the two are next to each other and you can save a few euros by getting a joint ticket.

Have a beach day

Costa del Sol, the seaside region in Andalucia that stretches across southern Spain, is known for its coastal towns and beautiful beaches. Málaga is surrounded by many of these beaches, which can be easily accessed by foot or public transportation.

Grab your towel and pack a bag for the perfect solo beach day. Playa de la Malagueta is the closest to the city center. From the Roman Theatre, it’s about a 25-minute walk. Walk farther east and you’ll come across Playa de la Caleta and Playa de Pedragalejo. Both are great options if you find Playa de la Malagueta too crowded.

See the Málaga Cathedral

Even if you’ve already seen a lot of cathedrals in Spain, the Málaga Cathedral (Catedral de Málaga) might still deserve a visit because of its interesting architectural details. The first is that two towers were planned for the cathedral, but only one was completed. The second is that its rooftop features a series of unique domes, which you can see by climbing up a narrow staircase of about 200 steps. The cathedral is open every day, although hours vary.

Get in touch with nature at La Concepción Historical Botanical Garden

Eight kilometers away from the city is La Concepción Historical Botanical Garden (Jardín Botánico Histórico La Concepción). Over 150 years old, the garden started as a series of smaller estates that were joined together. In 1990, the Málaga City Council purchased the estate. And after four years of renovation, it was opened to the public.

Now, it’s a vibrant oasis that boasts the “best-preserved subtropical landscape garden in Europe.” It takes about 50 minutes to get there by public transportation. You can take the number 2 bus, get off at the last stop, and walk 15 minutes to the garden entrance.

Wander the Centro Histórico

If you decide to stay where most travelers do, you’ll base yourself in Málaga’s historic city center. I absolutely loved this area of pedestrian-only streets, filled with restaurants, bars, and colorful shops. It’s incredibly lively during the afternoon and evening, as tourists walk around and people dine on the streets. There’s really no agenda here – simply stroll the winding streets and see what you find!

Take a walk in Málaga Park

Málaga Park (Parque de Málaga) is a beautifully manicured green space that provides a peaceful escape from the city. You’ll find fountains, a wide variety of flowers and plants, parrots, and much needed shade. It’s a lovely place to swing by on a walk or sit in with a book.

Is Málaga safe for solo travelers?

Málaga is extremely safe for solo travelers, including female solo travelers. It’s actually one of the safest cities to live in Spain. While violent crime against tourists is rare, be aware of petty crime – specifically, pickpocketing. Because Málaga is a tourist city, pickpocketing can happen in crowded areas and public transportation. It doesn’t happen as frequently as in Madrid or Barcelona, but it does happen, so this is the number one thing you should watch out for.

It’s safe to walk around alone during the day and night. The historic center of Málaga, where most sightseeing attractions are, is a busy area with a lot of foot traffic. However, at nighttime, you should still use your common sense and stay away from dark or sketchy-looking areas.

Practice all the precautions that you’d normally take in any foreign country and you shouldn’t run into much trouble in Málaga.

Safety tips

  • Keep your wallet, cellphone, and any valuables in a zippered pocket or bag, and be particularly aware of your belongings when in a crowded area.
  • Don’t carry more cash than you need.
  • Leave your passport and extra cash or cards locked up in your accommodation.
  • When walking alone at night, be alert of your surroundings and avoid dark streets.
  • When going out, don’t leave your drink unattended and take a taxi home if you’re drunk.

More resources for solo traveling Spain

How to Solo Travel Malaga