How about a no hassle, worry free weekend that’s easy to plan? And for that matter, let’s keep the total price under $100 (excluding transportation). That was the very plan on a recent trip I made with Lauren, my old friend from the U.K.
Sprawled out on couches in my sunny flat in Madrid, we flipped through bad Spanish television (it’s painfully bad) and for no real reason decided to get away for the weekend.
In less than 15 minutes, we picked a town, booked a bus ticket and made hostel reservations. In the end, the trip was an utter success and we returned back to Madrid sun-kissed and bronzed. (Me, yes. Lauren, lobster-red)
We also made it back well rested and content with that feeling that comes from little else than spending several days laying on a sandy beach. Details can come later, first here’s how to get from Madrid to Malaga.
Ok wait step one…get to Spain. But from there, it all couldn’t be easier. From the capitol of Madrid, you can take the ALSA bus straight south to the coast, where you will find one-hell-of-a-beach-town and crystal blue Mediterranean water. Now if a 6 hour bus ride on what amounts to a very clean, Greyhound bus does not sound appealing, you can always opt to travel by train, plane, or of course, rental car.
Malaga, Spain is the birthplace of Pablo Picasso and one of the most popular destinations for travelers visiting Spain. That being said, it does sometimes get passed over (I had been skeptical too) because it’s well known and “touristy”. Malaga may seem like one you can skip after reading the guide books, but you shouldn’t. I mean just look at these pictures!
Although other towns throughout Spain may have more character or history – even able to avoid the hordes of fanny-pack and polo wearing tourists – don’t miss out because Malaga has a lot to offer.
Where to Stay: Our quick search online luckily pulled up The Melting Pot Hostel. A simple beach hostel with everything you want and at 8 euros a night, you really can’t beat this place. Also there’s free breakfast until 11am (coffee and tea, sliced bread, jam, fruit). Tip: Book here using HostelBookers for the lowest price.
We got into town at the central bus station and didn’t quite know how to get to our hostel, but after asking around at the bus station it was easy. You can walk from the central bus station to a well-known road called, Alameda Principal. This street is packed with restaurants and also has several bus stops. You want to take bus #11 (which runs from 6.30 to 23.00, every 6 minutes, and every 45mins at night) and get off at Paseo del Pintor Joaquin Sorolla-Bellavista. The bus actually stops right in front of The Melting Pot. (cost 1.20 euro)
Best Beach: The best beach in Malaga is located in the eastern zone and if you’re staying at The Melting Pot Hostel, it’s less than a 15 minute stroll along the waterfront. Standing by the two lane road along the water, the Paseo Marítimo de Pablo Ruiz Picasso, simply walk east (away from the city-center) until you see a worn out hotel sign and stairs on the right.
Must See: You have to walk up the camino de Castillo de Gibralfaro. High atop a hill near the center of town you can see an old, crumbly castle. This is the Gibralfaro and even if you have no interest in history, the winding, uphill walk offers stunning views of the entire city, port, and skyline. From the street called Paseo de Reding start climbing up the ramps and follow the crowd to the top. The stroll will take about 30 minutes and is fairly steep so wear comfortable shoes. Tip: Check the expected sunset times and start the walk up an hour before. You want to be at the very top when the sun starts to set.
During this budget excursion, we purposefully avoided anything remotely touristy. Hell we avoided doing really anything other than roasting in the sun and maintaining a steady buzz. With the cost of the hostel (24 euros – 8euro x 3 nights) and a budget of 50 euros for food and drinks for the 3 days/nights. It was close but I came in just under budget: $97.78 (excluding transportation).
Getting There: Book your bus tickets online with ALSA or Movelia. Buses leave from the Atocha – RENFE station and you can take the metro straight to the bus station.