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Hiring a Car in Malaga, Spain: What You Need to Know

Hiring a Car in Malaga, Spain: What You Need to Know

If you’re thinking about hiring a car in Malaga whether you plan to hire from the Malaga airport or from the city center, this article will help you understand everything you need to know about the rental process.

Renting a car in Malaga is easy and convenient, and allows you to enjoy some of the best day trips in the area with more flexibility and usually at a lower cost.

I have visited the beautiful city of Malaga three times now and explored the region of the Costa del Sol and Andalusia even more. I have had some great experiences with car hire in Malaga and have learned a bit along the way as far as what you need to know before you go.

Hiring a car is a great option whether you want to get out to the rural areas for a Spanish retreat or you want to go beach hopping for a week.

Can Foreigners Hire a Car in Spain?

Yes, foreigners can very easily hire a car in Spain.

If you are visiting Malaga and you have a UK or EU driver’s license or your driver’s license is from one of the countries on this list, you can hire a car in Spain without any problem.

If your driver’s license is from the USA, Canada, or another country that is not on that list, then you will need to have an international driver’s permit. If you are from the US, you can get this via AAA either online or in person (in person is much easier and quicker).

If you are from Canada, you can check the CAA website for more information on getting an international driver’s permit.

A few other requirements are that you must be over 21 years old to rent a car in Malaga. If you are under 25, some car rental companies may refuse you or they may charge a higher insurance fee.

In addition to a driver’s license, you will also need a credit card to rent a car. You cannot rent a car in Malaga with a debit card, it must be an internationally accepted credit card like a Visa or Mastercard.

views of malaga from the top of the alcazaba

If you have a rental car, you can drive up to this viewpoint in Malaga rather than hiking up to it!

Can You Drive a Rental Car to Other European Countries?

Do you have plans to take the car from Malaga to Gibraltar or Portugal while you are visiting?

It’s best to check directly with the rental car company to ensure that you can drive it across borders. Many car rentals in Europe allow for inter-European travel as long as the rules and regulations for driving on your license aren’t different in that other country.

Is it Worth Hiring a Car in Malaga?

If you are planning to spend more than a long weekend in the area, then it is absolutely worth renting a car in Malaga.

If you are only here for a quick few days to enjoy the sunshine on a city break, then you probably don’t need to rent a car. The public transportation network in Malaga is good enough to get around for a few quick days.

However, if you are visiting Malaga and the Costa del Sol for a week or more, you will want to book a hire car.

A hire car in Malaga will allow you to easily start your trip from the airport. You will be able to get to tons of different beaches in Malaga with ease. You will have control over when you leave and how long you stay somewhere (which you wouldn’t have if you were relying on local trains and buses, of course).

view of a bridge in ronda which you can get to with a hire car in Malaga.

If you hire a car in Malaga, you can drive to the beautiful hilltop town of Ronda, pictured here.

Is it Safe to Rent a Car in Malaga?

Malaga is a wonderfully safe and easy place to drive.

Parking is readily available around the beach areas. Most hotels along the beach have ample parking.

The roads are very well signposted. You can use apps like Waze to get clear directions in English and even find the best places to park. And then the app will save your parking spot in case you forget.

The quality of the highways and local roads is incredibly high. There are few if any potholes around and you never really need to worry about ice or inclement weather since you’re in one of the sunniest places in Europe.

The only thing you may want to be aware of, if you plan to take trips from Malaga and drive inland is that the roads can be very windy. If you go to towns like Ronda or head to the Caminito del Rey, you will likely have to take it slow along these mountain pass roads.

If you are used to driving these types of roads it’s no problem, but if you are not used to driving tight curves along the edges of cliffsides, you may feel very uncomfortable doing so and it is not particularly safe for other drivers if you are going too slowly around these roads. It’s best to book a tour to those places instead.

caminito del rey near Malaga.

Caminito del Rey is well worth a visit if you are based in Malaga. It’s one of the most beautiful hikes in the area.

Road Rules in Malaga

There are a few road rules that you will need to be aware of if you plan to get yourself a hire car in Malaga. These rules are specific to driving in the entire region of Andalusia.

  • All drivers must be at least 18 years of age
  • Any child smaller than 135 cm (4’4″) must be in a car seat or adapted seat
  • Children under 12 have to sit in the backseat
  • Seatbelts must be worn by all passengers in the front and back seats
  • The tolerated alcohol limit for drivers is 0.05% or 0.25 mg/l (one very small glass of wine or beer)
  • Priority is given to those already in a roundabout

You should also check that your rental car is outfitted with two traffic triangles and reflective vests which are required by law to be in all vehicles driving in Spain and must be used in the event of an accident.

If you are worried about speeding or want to be sure of the speed limits, the basics are:

  • 120km/h on motorways
  • 90km/h on single-carriageway roads
  • 50km/h in cities where there are two or more lanes going in each direction
  • 30km/h in cities where there is only one lane in each direction
  • 20km/h in towns where signposted

Of course, always pay attention to what the signs around you say, as this may differ when coming into local towns or cities around Andalusia.

There are speed cameras around Andalusia that work to catch people where they are most likely to be speeding (just off of motorways or on straight areas of motorways). If you use the Waze app, it will tell you when you are approaching a speed camera.

hills and white houses with blue skies above.

If you want to get to some of the pueblos blancos or white towns around Andalusia, it’s best to have a hire car.

Parking in Malaga

If you are worried about finding parking with your rental car in or around Malaga, then keep these parking rules for street parking in mind.

  • Blue lines indicate that you must pay for parking at a nearby parking machine or meter.
  • Yellow lines mean that those spots are reserved for handicapped access, you must have a sign in your front window to indicate this.
  • You can usually park in free parking places for up to two hours during the day and for an unlimited amount of time from 8 pm to 8 am.

If you would prefer to park in a parking garage, you will find these in most cities around Andalusia (but they are less likely to be in the smaller towns that you may want to visit with your rental car).

You can expect to pay about €10-15 per day (£8-13 GBP / $11-16 USD) for this type of underground parking. This is the safest option for longer-term parking if you plan to leave the car for a few days somewhere.

woman in the center of a plaza with colorful trees.

If you plan just to hang out in downtown Malaga, you don’t need a car to enjoy the city and nearby beaches.

Cheap Car Hire Malaga Airport

Hiring a car in Malaga is incredibly affordable. Check the best prices here.

In many places in Spain, you tend to pay more in the summer months than you do at other times of the year. But because there is so much competition for cheap car hires at Malaga Airport, you can get a bargain at most times of the year, even in the middle of the busy summer period.

If you plan at least a few months in advance, you can get a cheap car hire in Malaga for about €20-30 per day (£17-26 GBP / $21-32 USD). If you are looking at really peak times, you book at the last minute, or you are only renting for a few short days, you may pay a bit more like €35-50 per day (£30-45 GBP / $37-55 USD).

This price usually includes unlimited mileage/kilometers, theft protection, third-party coverage, and collision damage waiver. This is the price for a compact car that seats up to five people and can fit about 3-4 pieces of large luggage in the rear. Check the prices for larger vehicles here.

views of a city below while up along a fortress wall with blue skies and forest.

The hills and towns around Malaga are worth exploring if you get yourself a hire car.

What’s the Best Car Rental Company in Malaga?

If you are renting from the airport, then Wiber, Record Go, and Solo car rental are the three best options for renting a car in Malaga.

These three companies consistently have the best reviews, the best options available, and some of the best prices. You can expect nice vehicles, excellent customer service, and an easy pick-up and drop-off so that hiring a car in Malaga doesn’t take up more of your holiday than it needs to.

If you want to rent from downtown Malaga, Enterprise is the best option. They have the largest fleet of cars in the downtown area which makes their prices the most competitive.

They also have some of the best customer service and the nicest cars available. Interestingly, if you rent from Enterprise at the airport, you will pay quite a bit more. You’ll still get great service, but they are one of the most expensive hire car options at Malaga Airport.

woman sitting on top of a wall with the views of a city below.

The hike to the top of the Alcazaba in Malaga are wonderful, but it’s a lot quicker to get up there with a hire car!

Renting with Discover Cars

I have been using Discover Cars to rent cars around the world for the last few years and I find them to be the best option. If you want to check the best prices across all of the car rental companies available, then this is where you’ll find the best price.

The thing that I really appreciate about Discover Cars is that they clearly state exactly what is included in your car rental and they also usually list what isn’t included in the rental so that you know what you will need to pay for when you arrive to pick up the car.

You can, of course, check the prices directly with the car rental companies after you find the best ones on Discover Cars. Some car companies promise that if you book directly with them, they will beat the best-listed price on the internet.

So if you find a better price on Discover Cars, you can then call the rental car company directly and ask for a better price. Check the prices on Discover Cars here.

views of Malaga.

Beautiful Malaga on a sunny day.

Tips for a Car Hire in Malaga

  • Be sure to check how much fuel the car has before you leave the rental office. You will have to return it with the same amount of fuel as it has in it at the start of the rental.
  • I always like to take photos and a quick video of the car before I start the rental so there is dated evidence of how the car looked before you rented it. I have never had a problem with car hire companies in Spain, but I have in other countries, so it’s always good to be cautious.
  • If you are used to driving in cars that gauge miles per hour rather than kilometers per hour, it may take a day or two to get used to it. That’s why I highly recommend using Waze even if you know where you’re going. It will tell you if you are speeding, if there are police around, or if you have any stoppages ahead.