When you arrive to Malaga or you want to visit the nearby places using public transportation, you are likely to encounter one of the main hubs, so here is some information to get to know them better:
The airport of Malaga (AGP)
The airport is on the south-west part of the city, connected to the center with a train and direct airport bus, which are very affordable. Also, there are several taxies all the time, it not challanging to get into the city center, or from the city to the airport. Malaga Airport (AGP) is the fourth busiest airport in Spain, after Madrid-Barajas, Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca, with more than 15 million passengers per year.
The airport has three terminals, but they are technically one building opened to each other, so you can’t get lost or get confused easily here. The arrivals is on the ground floor and the departures is on the first floor. There are several escalators and elevators that connect the two floors.
The airport is not too big, after checking in and passing the security it’s fairly easy to find the boarding gate. For domestic destinations such as the Canary Islands you might need to go to a gate on the ground floor, but that should be not challenging since there are big, easy to read signs pointing to the right direction.
When you arrive to the Malaga airport and you step out the building, you find taxis on your right, buses in front of you and if you want to take the train to the city, you have to go to the left where you will find the train station next to the airport building. To buy train tickets you can use the vending machines at the entrance. They have English and several other languages available, but that doesn’t mean they are easy to use. But don’t worry, after the initial confusion you will figure out how to use them. To buy the train tickets I suggest using your bank card or change, because the ticket vending machines doesn’t give you bills back, only change. That means, if you buy a train ticket for 2.5 euro and you pay with a 50 euros bill, you will end up with 47.5 euro worth of coins. If you want to feel like you just hit the jackpot in Las Vegas, you can try it, it’s kinda funny.
The train station of Malaga (Maria Zambrano / Vialia)
There are two kind of train lines around Malaga, the long distance and the short distance lines. You can get on both of them at the main train station, which is in the center. The train station has two names. Officially it’s called María Zambrano station, but it’s also hosts shopping mall, which goes under the name Vialia Centro Comercial. So if you hear the name Vialia, don’t be confused, that is also the same train station. To confuse you even more, the name of the railroad company is Renfe, so sometimes people incorrectly refer to the train station as Renfe as well.
As you enter the train station on the main entrance, you will find the ticket offices on your left-hand side, where you can buy tickets to the long distance trains. When you solicit a number in the queue you can select that you want attention from an English speaking employee, which can make your life much easier if you don’t speak Spanish.
Malaga has a short distance train network too, it’s called Cercanias. It connects Malaga and some other nearby cities and villages. These lines are under the train station, so after you entered the building on the main entrance, you need to go downstairs on the left-hand side. To the short distance trains you can buy tickets from vending machines. They have English language option and when you figure out how, they are pretty easy to use. I suggest using change or bank card to buy the tickets. If you want to know why, check it at the description at the airport, I explained it there.
The short distance trains have several stations around Malaga, so you don’t necessarily have to get on or off at the main train station, use the station which is the closest to you.
The bus station of Malaga
I guess the city hall has run out of names when it came to the bus station. The airport has a name, the train station also has a name, but the bus station doesn’t have any special name, it’s just the bus station. The bus station is next to the main train station, you can find long distance buses here to explore the country more. If you are looking for long distance or international buses, you can find those here as well.
The short distance trains from Malaga only go to the west and the north, if you want to visit the northern side of Andalucia, you will need go by car or by bus. When you enter the building using the main entrance you will find the information points in front of you and left hand side the cashiers where you can buy tickets. To make it as confusing as possible, there are several bus companies available with different destinations, timetables and prices. All of them has their separate cashiers, so you need to go find the right cashier to buy the right ticket to the right bus.
When you buy tickets, usually you have two options, fixed date/time or flexible tickets. If you visit the country side and you are not sure when do you want to come back, I suggest buying the flexible ones, especially because as far as I experienced they don’t cost more than the normal fixed time tickets.
There is another, smaller bus station in Malaga that you can use to get on/off some of the long distance buses. It’s called: Estación de Muelle Heredia and it’s near to the port right under the fair-wheel.
At this bus station you have less options when it comes to destinations, but if you are in the city center and you don’t want to walk to the main bus station, this is clearly a good option for you. Here it’s also less likely to get English help or information.