If you want to know how to get to Marbella, this article will answer your questions, especially when trying to get to Marbella from in and around Malaga.
Getting to Marbella is easy and affordable. Whether you are coming from the Málaga airport, downtown Málaga, or further afield, you can reach beautiful Marbella.
There are a lot of reasons to come to Marbella. It is close to some of the best beaches in the Costa del Sol, and it has fantastic restaurants, fun activities to do, great shopping, and chic beach clubs and boutique hotels, too.
Marbella has made a name for itself in this region of Spain as being a little bit fancier, a little bit more upmarket than nearby Málaga or larger coastal cities like Alicante.
The reputation is not misplaced. All you have to do is check out the yachts moored in Puerto Banus or take a stroll along the main street of the Old Town to see the cute boutiques and price tags amidst them to understand it.
But fear not, Marbella is accessible for all budgets. It has everything from hostels and pensiones (local guesthouses) to top resorts and boutique hotels and everything in between to suit your travel style and budget.
But first, we need to figure out how to get there.
Where is Marbella?
Marbella is located in the Costa del Sol area of southern Spain in the autonomous community of Andalucia and the region of Málaga.
The town is located right on the coast of the Mediterranean which means there are plenty of wonderful beaches to explore.
What is the Nearest Airport to Marbella?
The closest airport to Marbella is the Málaga Airport.
You can fly directly to Málaga Airport from most hubs around Europe. If you are coming from North America, you may have to fly into Madrid Airport and then take a shorter flight or a train from Madrid to Málaga.
Málaga Airport is about 45 minutes away from Marbella and there are a lot of transportation options between the airport and Marbella to choose from.
If you are flying from the UK you may find it easier to fly into Gibraltar Airport. It has more direct flights from Heathrow as well as more options from other UK airports outside of London. Check all flight prices and options on Kiwi.com here.
From here you can walk into Spain and you are only 50 miles (80km) from Marbella. Most transportation options are on the Spain side of the border.
This is a slightly easier option for UK nationals because you do not need to prove as much when crossing the land border into Spain as is sometimes requested when flying directly into the country.
Always check the latest requirements on the UK government website.
How to Get to Marbella from Málaga Airport
The Málaga Airport is definitely the closest airport to Marbella and it is also very easy to get from the airport to Marbella.
You have a few options depending on whether you want to hire a car in Málaga or not and whether you want to save money or splurge.
Hiring a Car
Hiring a car is definitely the easiest and most straightforward way to get from Málaga Airport to Marbella.
Read our full guide to hiring a car at Málaga Airport.
Depending on what time of year you are visiting Marbella, you can usually get a hire car on Discover Cars for between €35-50 ($37-53 USD/ £30-43 GBP) per day including insurance coverage. Check the prices and book on Discover Cars here.
To get to Marbella from the airport by car take the N-340/A-7 highway. Follow signs for Marbella. For ease, I prefer using apps like Waze or Google Maps to get the quickest route to my destination.
Waze also allows you to mark where you parked your vehicle which is handy if you have to find street parking.
Taking the Bus
If you do not want to hire a car, the bus is the easiest and cheapest way to get from Málaga Airport to Marbella.
The bus runs roughly every 30 minutes. It takes 40-45 minutes to reach the Marbella bus station depending on whether you take the normal bus or the express bus.
You can prebook your tickets if you would prefer or you can pay for the ticket on the bus. The normal bus costs €6.15 ($6.60 USD/ £5.35 GBP) and the express bus, which is only 5 minutes faster, costs €8.50 ($9.17 USD/ £7.40 GBP).
When you come out of the airport, follow the signs for the buses. There are two bus stops right next to each other and they are clearly labeled for which destination each will go to.
The bus to Marbella is run by Avanza and you can book tickets for the bus or check the timetable here. It will take you to the Marbella bus station, so if you have a lot of luggage, you’ll still need to grab a taxi from the bus station to your hotel.
There are almost always taxis waiting at the bus station in Marbella, so there’s no need to organize one beforehand unless you are arriving late. Many hotels may be able to organize one for you if you are arriving outside of normal hours.
If you want to get there quickly and don’t want to wait for the bus, you can take a taxi directly from Málaga Airport to your hotel in Marbella.
There are airport taxis that you can use. When you exit the terminal, head to the right, and the line for the taxis will be directly in front of you. There will be signs pointing to the location of the taxis.
Airport taxis in Málaga are metered, so the price will vary depending on how far away your hotel is, whether it’s late at night or early morning, or if there is traffic, etc. You can expect to pay anywhere from €60-80 ($64-86 USD / £50-70 GBP).
Airport taxis from Málaga Airport accept cash (Euros only) or credit/debit cards. You do not need to have cash on you to take an airport taxi to Marbella. Just be sure to let the driver know that you want to pay with card before you start driving to ensure that the driver you get in with has a card reader.
You can also check ride-hailing apps like Uber, Cabify, or Free Now to get a better price from the airport. There is a separate pickup location for these apps and they are clearly marked both by airport signage as well as on the app when you see the pickup location.
For the pickup location of Uber in Spain or other apps, walk straight out of the terminal and cross the street at the crosswalk. There is a parking lot here where drivers pull into in order to pick up ride-hailing users.
If you are traveling with a group, the whole family, or just a whole lot of luggage from Málaga Airport to Marbella, you may need more than just a taxi.
How to Get to Marbella from Málaga City Center
If you are planning to visit Marbella as a day trip from Málaga or you started your trip in this beautiful city and will now be spending a few days in Marbella, getting between the two cities is very easy.
Driving from Málaga to Marbella
If you are driving, it takes just over an hour to reach Marbella.
The highway is the quickest way, but there is a coastal road if you want to have a fun road trip and stop off at different beaches along the way.
Follow the MA-22 road until it curves inland and then to get back to the coastal road, head for La Cizaña and then continue on the coastal road until you reach Torremolinos. From here, follow the A-7 all the way to Marbella.
It’s definitely not the fastest way and may take you all afternoon if you want to keep stopping at beautiful beach towns like Fuengirola and La Cala de Mijas along the way.
Taking the Train
There is not a direct train between downtown Málaga and Marbella, but if you want to take the train some of the way, you can take the train to Torremolinos.
From here there are regular buses from Torremolinos to Marbella.
This is an ideal option if you want to enjoy a few hours on the beach in Torremolinos or explore the town and have lunch here. You can find a place to store your luggage using the Bounce App, and then enjoy a few hours in this stunning Costa del Sol beach town before heading to the bus.
You can book train tickets at the train station in Málaga. The trains run very regularly throughout the day. Bus tickets can be purchased at the bus station. Check the bus timetable here.
Take the Bus
The Malaga to Marbella bus is very easy and affordable. In my opinion, it’s the best way to get there if you don’t have a rental car.
The bus that goes from Málaga Airport to Marbella actually starts at the bus station in Málaga.
So you can hop on the bus at the bus station and then in about one hour you’ll arrive at the Marbella bus station.
There are taxis at the bus station and for about €10 ($10.80 USD / £8.70 GBP) you can get from the bus station to the old town with your luggage.
How to Get to Marbella from Gibraltar Airport
If you plan to fly into Gibraltar Airport and then make your way to Marbella from here, it isn’t particularly straightforward.
Although it is not as close as the Málaga airport, it may be cheaper to fly into or easier for you if you are from the UK.
Rent a car
There are only two car rental companies at the Gibraltar Airport, Avis and Autos Aguirre. This means you definitely want to pre-book your hire car before you arrive to the airport so that you don’t arrive only to discover that there are no hire cars available.
You should have no problem hiring a car with them and driving it to Marbella from here. Just be sure to double-check with the rental company to make sure they know you will be driving it into Spain.
It takes just over an hour to drive to Marbella, just remember you’ll have to do a border crossing from here almost immediately upon exiting the airport.
If you are happy to walk across the border, there are more car rental options once you arrive on the Spain side. Check the Discover Cars website for the best options.
Airport taxis are few and far between at the Gibraltar airport and unfortunately, they cannot take you all the way to Marbella. In fact, they can’t even take you beyond the border.
The only real option is to walk across the border. It is about a 10-minute walk from the airport to the border (obviously a taxi is a better option if you have a lot of luggage).
Once at the border, you walk through immigration to be stamped into Spain and then you walk through customs where you will be asked what you are bringing into Spain.
Once you get to the other side, there are almost always taxis waiting to drive you anywhere along the Costa del Sol that you would like to go, including to Marbella.
The cost of a taxi to Marbella is about €100, but always ask before you get in to see if they will use the meter or if they will charge you a flat rate. You should be able to pay with either cash or card, just be sure to ask the driver before he sets off.
If you want to pay in cash, there is an ATM once you get through the customs area on the Spain side of the border where you can take some Euros out. Alternatively, you can exchange Pounds for Euros at Gibraltar Airport, but this is definitely not the way to get the best rate.
The easiest way to get from Gibraltar Airport to Marbella is to organize a transfer service before you arrive.
Just as with the taxis, you must cross the border into Spain before the driver can pick you up, but it is an easy process and you will be able to get straight into an air-conditioned vehicle once through customs.
Autos Luxury Estepona can meet you at the border with a car service with a very nice fleet of vehicles. The prices reflect the level of service and quality of the cars.