From Malaga to Granada: recommended itineraries and connections between the two cities

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Emma Lira
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Thinking aboutAndalusia one of the first images that comes to mind is that of the splendid Alhambra in Granada. Immediately afterwards the thought flies to the long beaches of golden sand and the nightlife, a Spanish term that we all use in Italian to indicate pure fun. Making reality what the mind shows us in fragmented images is simple: it will be enough to organize an itinerary that connects it moresca Granada with the spa Malaga and its beaches.

In this article you will find our tips for visiting both Malaga and Granada distance and main links between the two cities and, while moving between one and the other, possible routes to see the hinterland with its beautiful villages and the most important coastal towns, just as we did in the case of the Malaga-Seville combination.

Distance between Malaga and Granada

Between Malaga and Granada there are 131 kilometers, which can be traveled by car in about 1 hour and 30 minutes via the A-92. The road is smooth and runs through the hinterland.

Why visit Malaga?

Malaga is the capital of the Costa del Sol and its sunny beaches make it a popular tourist destination, especially in summer. The fervent cultural life of Malaga combines with its main monuments: the city is able to offer tourists both entertainment and history, art and architecture. We talked about it extensively in the article what to see in Malaga.

Malaga also has an extra point in its favor if you are planning a tour in Andalucia: an important international airport with various air connections between Malaga and Italian cities. We talked about this in the article flights to Malaga.

Among the main attractions of Malaga we find:

  • La Malagueta Beach, practically in the city center, this beach is among the most popular in Malaga and the Costa del Sol. It offers all the services you can imagine and the night is the scene of unforgettable parties and events;
  • la Malaga Cathedral, built on the ancient Aljama Mosque at the end of the 84th century, today it preserves the orange patio and the structure with columns. Its 'unfinished' facade is remarkable with only one tower, the north one, XNUMX meters high. The south tower, never finished building, has meant that the church also became renowned as La Manquita (La Monchetta);
  • theAlcazaba, an imposing fortress of Arab origin with doors, towers, courtyards full of greenery and gardens;
  • il Picasso Museum, a must if you are in Malaga and you love this multifaceted artist born in Malaga;
  • Plaza de Toros, one of the largest bull arenas in Andalusia;
  • Roman Theatre, testimony of the Roman presence in the city, these ancient ruins were discovered in the XNUMXs and today have been brought to light and enhanced.

Malaga deserves it a two day stay in which to alternate the pleasures of the sunny city beaches with the visit of the main monuments and places of interest in the city. Spending a night in one of the hotels in Malaga will allow you to discover the Malagueña nightlife for which the city is renowned. If you really don't have time to stay overnight, I still recommend that you dedicate it to it at least a full day.

Advice on where to sleep in Malaga

Why visit Granada?

Miguel Alto viewpoint

Granada is one of the most famous cities of Andalusia thanks to the Arab presence that over the centuries has changed its structure and conditioned its soul. Its monuments (first of all the Alhambra!) But above all the air you breathe in the streets of the historic center attract every year thousands of tourists, making it a very busy city but no less fascinating.

Although the list would be longer, among the monuments and must-see places in Granada we find:

  • Alhambra, certainly the undisputed protagonist of the city. Built between 1200 and 1300, this complex apex of beauty in Andalusian architecture has been a World Heritage Site since 1984. It covers an area of ​​over 100.000 square meters with palaces, patios, Moorish towers and magnificent gardens. The red stone combines with the colors of the azulejos, the green of the luxuriant vegetation and the blue of the enchanting water features.
  • Albayzin, one of the districts of Granada with small streets full of small shops and famous squares such as Plaza de San Miguel Bajo and Plaza Larga. Certainly worth seeing in the neighborhood of Albayzin the Baños Arabes and the Miradór de San Nicolás from which to observe the city in all its splendor.
  • Sacromonte, a hilly neighborhood with typical white houses and caves, las cuevas, where the gypsies lived. To see the Cueveas del Sacromonte Museum.
  • Cathedral de la Encarnacion, built in the sixteenth century, has a Baroque façade and elegant Gothic-Renaissance interiors with imposing columns and an impressive high altar.
  • Royal chapel, houses the bodies of Isabella and Ferdinando di Aragona, Giovanna la Pazza and Filippo I in a magnificent early XNUMXth century Gothic style mausoleum.
  • Madraza, the former seat of the University of Granada from the 1400s. The Mudejar decorations and colors of this splendid building will leave you speechless.

For some time now they are finally there air links from Italy to Granada. Unfortunately at the moment there are few and the two main airports to reach Andalusia from Italy remain Malaga and Seville.

Look for a flight to Granada

The city of Granada (with its beautiful surroundings) deserves a stay of 3 days, but if that's not possible, consider spending minimum two full days in the city, one of which will be almost entirely dedicated to the Alhambra.

Advice on where to sleep in Granada

Connections between Malaga and Granada: bus and train

As regards the public transport, Malaga and Granada are well connected viabus: la ALSA line connects the Malaga bus station (Paseo de los Tilos, 21) with the Granada bus station. There are over 20 daily routes. The bus and the fastest way to reach Granada from Malaga by public transport. The journey takes 1 - 1 hours depending on the departure time, but I recommend you read our Andalucia by bus page to find out more about the tickets and the duration of the trip.

ALSA cars also connect thereMalaga airport with the bus station of Granada: in the latter case, the journey takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Currently they do not exist direct train connections between Malaga and Granada. The only railway solutions involve changes in intermediate towns or train-bus combinations, bringing the duration of the journey to over 4 hours. Read our Andalucia by Train page to find out more about tickets and journey times.

By car: can it be done?

Sure! We recommend hiring a car in Malaga and venturing on the road to discover unmissable secret corners of the central region of Andalusia.

Tips for car rental in Malaga

Itineraries between Malaga and Granada: recommended stops for an on the road

 The fastest journey from Malaga to Granada by car it is the one along the A-92, which allows you to reach the Moorish city par excellence in about an hour and 30 minutes.

However, we want to suggest two alternative routes that allow you to discover other towns along the way that certainly deserve to be visited.

1) Malaga - Nerja - Frigiliana –Salobreña - Granada

In total there are about 170 kilometers for about 2 hours and minutes 30 of travel to do in two days.

  • Starting from Malaga, the first stop on this route is Frigiliana, one of the most famous pueblos blancos in the area. You will travel along the coast road, the A-7, to Nerja in about an hour, then climb north for about 6 kilometers until you reach Frigiliana. This beautiful country is considered one of the most beautiful towns in Andalusia: the white houses with red roofs, the labyrinth of small streets in the old town, the hills and the Mediterranean Sea in the distance. A show that will leave you speechless. Don't forget to taste the local wine and honey produced in the area… an even sweeter memory to take to Italy. For more details, read our article on what to see in Frigiliana.
  • In the late afternoon return to the coast and reach Nerja where you can stay overnight in one of the many hotels. Nerja is a coastal town famous for its wonderful beaches. An ancient fishing port, Nerja is located on a promontory from which it is possible to enjoy a wonderful view. The beaches of Nerja are many, but there is also the famous Cueva de Nerja not to be missed and absolutely visit if you love caves.
  • The next morning you can take a dip in the sea and then leave for Salobreña, a town about 30 minutes from Nerja. Brackishña is a Moorish town in the province of Granada dominated by his alcazar imposing and characterized by white houses not far from the sea. The main beach of Salobreña, equipped and suitable for families, is La Guardia Beach, a particular beach because it is interrupted in the middle by the promontory called Peñon di Salobreña. I advise you not to leave Salobreña too late in order to arrive in Granada in the evening: between the two cities there is about an hour's journey.

2) Malaga - Velez-Malaga - Alhama de Granada - Granada

This is the second recommended itinerary to cover the distance between Malaga and Granada: the route is 142 kilometers. The total travel time is 2 hours and minutes 40. With the two stops planned, perhaps one in the morning and one in the afternoon, it is possible to do the entire itinerary in one day and arrive in Granada in the evening.

  • Departing from Malaga, you will travel along a stretch of coast along the A-7 and then reach the first stop, Vélez-Málaga, in about 40 minutes. Velez-málaga is the main town of the hilly-mountainous area called The Axarqued. If you love nature, you will love this area of ​​Andalusia and the path that winds its way through the hinterland between Malaga and Granada. The tower of the Castle towers over the city and offers a beautiful view to the sea, the Palace of the Marquis of Beniel it dates back to the beginning of the seventeenth century and is in the mannerist style. The San Sebastian neighborhood it is the most characteristic district.
  • From Vélez-Malaga head north to Alhama of Granada. If you have time for a further stop, the small village of Viwillow it has a beautiful old town and is famous for Embalse de Viñuela, a lake where you can practice water sports or take a refreshing swim. Continuing you will pass close to the Zafarraya gap, a splendid pass at about 900 meters above sea level between the mountains of Alhama and Tejeda. In the village of Zafarraya, however, among the somewhat shabby houses are the ruins in the open of a very old church: if you can't find it, ask the inhabitants… there isn't much else to see! About an hour after your departure from Vélez-Málaga you will reach Alhama de Granada.
  • Alhama of Granada it's a little gem nestled in a gorge carved by the Alhama River. In an area rich in almond and olive trees, the river creates natural pools and the area is famous for thermal waters since ancient times. Next to Spa, reachable with a short detour from the A-402 along a truly surreal road, there are a couple of free pools where you can take a nice regenerating hot bath. The Balneario, on the other hand, hides some exceptionally preserved Arab baths, but they can only be visited during the times when there are no treatments (usually from 14pm to 16pm). After your bath, reach the center and stroll through its alleys, hoping to find the churches and palaces open, or asking the tourist office when guided tours of the town are held. You can also reach the caves carved into the rock known by the name of The dungeons, or simply observe from above the canyon on which the town stands, looking out at the mirador which is located behind the Iglesia del Carmen. In the late afternoon you leave for Granada which you will reach in just over an hour of travel. The city of the Alhambra will welcome you at sunset with all its charm.

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