How to Travel from Malaga to Granada by Train, Bus, and Car

Malaga cathedral
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In the Spanish region of Andalusia, the cities of Malaga and Granada are only 93 miles (149 kilometers) apart. From Malaga, Granada can easily be reached in less than two hours by train or car, and in two hours by bus.

  Time Cost
Train 1 hour, 10 minutes from $36
Bus 2 hours from $8
Car 1 hour, 45 minutes 93 miles (149 kilometers)

Malaga is best known for its proximity to the beautiful beaches on the Costa del Sol and many visitors to Andalusia like to take in a little Spanish history with their beach time. That's why Granada, one of Spain's best-preserved Moorish cities, is an excellent choice when looking for a day trip from Malaga.

If you are determined to get to Granada on your own rather than booking a day trip with a tour operator, you'll need to weigh your options between the train, bus, and driving a car. Although there is no direct route from Malaga to Granada by train, a new high-speed train option on Renfe offers a route to Granada with a stop in Loja and only takes approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes.

The bus remains the cheapest and most flexible option to get from Malaga to Granada, with 18 buses a day. The road from Malaga to Granada passes through a good portion of the stunning Costa del Sol, so a self-guided road trip is an excellent opportunity to visit some of Andalusia's famous beaches along the way.

Barring transfers, all routes take about the same amount of time, give or take. Figuring out the best way to travel between these two cities comes down to your schedule. If you're flexible, the train is the best way to travel, but if you've got plenty of free time and don't want to waste any of it waiting for a train or bus, driving is an excellent way to see more of the Spanish coast and countryside.

By Train

There are no direct trains from Malaga to Granada. However, in 2022, Renfe debuted a new high-speed train option, which takes approximately one hour and 10 minutes with a stop in Loja. It will cost approximately $36 for a round-trip fare. However, Renfe does sometimes offer discounts, and depending on seasonality, it may be possible to get a one-way ticket for as low as $8.50.

By Bus

The best way to get from Malaga to Granada by public transport is by bus. However, you'll first need to go to the airport to catch it. Because more international flights fly to Malaga than Granada, many people intending to visit Granada make use of the regular ALSA bus service between the Malaga Airport and Granada Bus Station. Buses run about every half hour from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. This means you'll have a lot of wiggle room and won't have to wait more than 30 minutes for the bus.

To get from the airport from Malaga's city center, which is about seven miles (11 kilometers) away, you can either take a 20-minute cab ride or hop on the underground metro and take the C1 line to the airport, which should only take about 35 minutes.

By Car

Granada is located to the northeast of Malaga, but you'll spend the majority of this journey traveling along the coast. If you don't make any stops, the trip shouldn't take you any longer than two hours. However, there are some nice beaches along the way worth visiting like Playa de Maro and Calas Torre del Pino, so remember to factor beach time into your schedule if you plan to check it out.

To get to Granada, you'll take the A7 west for 89 miles (143 kilometers) until you pass by the town of Motril. You'll use the right two lanes to take the exit onto A44, where you'll stay for another 34 miles (55 kilometers). Eventually, you'll take Exit 128, which will take you into Granada and you can follow the signs for the city center.

What to See in Granada

Granada's Moorish roots go back to the year 711 and the Alhambra is the main attraction, an impressive Moorish palace leftover from Spain's period of Islamic rule. With geometric details defining its Muslim aesthetic, the palace's design is grand and impressive. Keep your eye out for the calligraphy, written in Arabic script, that fills the walls of the palace from floor to ceiling. A must-see, the Generalife is the palace's quintessential Islamic garden. This style of garden is defined by its use of flowing water throughout and is unique in all of Europe.

Although Granada's Moorish history is everywhere, there are still many landmarks that tell the story of the Reconquista, the Christian effort to drive the Moors out of Spain. For example, the Granada Cathedral was built on top of a mosque and mixes both Gothic and Renaissance styles.

It's possible to see Granada and return to your accommodation in Malaga in a single day, but you may want to consider spending the night. The city offers a number of fine hotels like the Hotel Palacio de Santa Paula, Autograph Collection and the Parador de Granada, both of which are housed inside historic convents.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How do I get from Malaga to Granada?

    From Malaga, Granada can easily be reached in less than two hours by train or car, and in two hours by bus.

  • What is the fastest way to get from Malaga to Granada?

    The fastest way to get from Malaga to Granada is by high-speed train on Renfe, which makes one stop and takes approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes.

  • What is the cheapest way to get from Malaga to Granada?

    The bus remains the cheapest and most flexible option to get from Malaga to Granada, with fares around $8.

Article Sources
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  1. Sur. "High-speed train service between Malaga and Granada has launched today." April 4, 2022.