Where to stay in Malaga for first time: 4 Safe areas

Finding where to stay in Malaga as a first-time visitor can be a headache. That’s why, in today’s article, I will help you to find the safe places to stay in Malaga for first-time visitors.

I will share with you what I believe are the best and safest areas to stay in Malaga for first-timers and tourists, along with a helpful map and areas to avoid. I’ll also share where I stayed in Malaga and recommend some of the best hotels in Malaga for various budgets.

Málaga is a popular tourist destination and the second-most populous city in Andalusia after Seville. It is a gateway to the Costa del Sol, which is known for its beautiful beaches, sunny weather, and golf courses.

Málaga has a rich history, with influences from various civilizations, including the Phoenicians, Romans, Moors, and Christians. It has a well-preserved historic center with landmarks that reflect its diverse cultural past.

The city is home to numerous attractions including the 11th century Alcazaba fortress built by the Moors, Gibralfaro Castle, the Cathedral of Málaga (La Manquita)

Málaga is the birthplace of the famous artist Pablo Picasso. The Picasso Museum in Málaga showcases a significant collection of his works.

The local cuisine in Málaga includes delicious seafood, traditional Andalusian dishes, and sweet wines. The city’s markets, such as Atarazanas Market, offer a variety of fresh produce and local products.

The city has an international airport, Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport, making it easily accessible for tourists. The city also has a well-developed public transportation system.

Is Malaga safe to visit?

Malaga, like most of Spain, is generally safe to visit. However, as in any popular tourist destination, it’s recommended to remain vigilant and keep an eye on your belongings in crowded places and tourist attractions, as petty crimes and scams can occur.

Malaga has a lively nightlife scene, and areas like the city center and the Malagueta beach are usually safe. But, it’s essential to be cautious, especially when consuming alcohol, and walking alone to avoid being poorly lit at night.

The city has hot and dry summers, so it’s crucial to stay hydrated and use sunscreen. Be prepared for occasional rain in the winter months.

Where to stay in Malaga for the first time?

The best and safe areas to stay in Malaga for first-timers and tourists are Centro Histórico, La Malagueta, Soho, and El Perchel. These areas offer a wide variety of accommodations and tourist amenities for all budgets and needs.

Centro Histórico is the most popular area to stay in Malaga for the first time. It is the heart of Malaga, offering a rich historical experience with landmarks like the Malaga Cathedral, Alcazaba fortress, and Picasso Museum. You’ll find charming narrow streets, lively plazas, numerous shops and restaurants. 

La Malagueta is a perfect base  if you enjoy a seaside atmosphere. You’ll have easy access to the beach, the Malagueta Bullring, and a variety of seafood restaurants.

Soho is known for its vibrant and artistic atmosphere. You’ll find street art, contemporary galleries, and a trendy vibe. It’s a great area for those interested in modern culture and the arts.

El Perchel is a good location for those who want to stay close to the train station. It is a traditional neighborhood with a local feel. As in any train station, it can be crowded, so just be mindful of pickpockets and avoid walking alone last night.

While the majority of central Malaga are considered safe for tourists, it is recommended to avoid Palma-Palmilla and Los Asperones. They have been associated with higher crime rates in the past.

During my trip to Malaga, I stayed in the historic center at the AC Hotel Málaga Palacio by Marriott. It was located in an unbeatable location, close to everything including the beaches, the train station, and major attractions. Good base to explore the city. My room was clean with a balcony and great views.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Malaga for first-time travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the safe areas to stay in Malaga first time
Map of the safe areas to stay in Malaga first time

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Malaga, especially for first-time visitors. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Malaga have been carefully selected by me from well-known and secure booking sites such as booking.com, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. 

If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

4 Safe areas to stay in Malaga for first-timers and tourists:

1. Centro Histórico

Centro Histórico (Historic Center) is an excellent base for first-timers and tourists who want a well-rounded experience, with easy access to major attractions, shopping, dining, and vibrant nightlife. 

You’ll be within walking distance of key landmarks such as the Malaga Cathedral, Alcazaba fortress, and the Picasso Museum. The beaches such as Malagueta, Playa de la Caleta, Pedregalejo, and Playas del Palo are also a short taxi/bus ride away.

The historic center is characterized by narrow winding streets, picturesque squares, and a blend of Moorish and Spanish architecture, creating a charming and romantic ambiance.

Centro Histórico offers a plethora of shops, boutiques, and traditional Spanish restaurants. You can easily indulge in shopping for souvenirs or enjoy authentic local cuisine.

Best places to stay in Malaga Centro for first-timers:

Luxury ($$$): Vincci Selección Posada del Patio, 5-star hotel in central Malaga, within walking distance from AVE high-speed Train Station, the Cathedral and Picasso Museum. Easy to explore the city on foot. Taxi rank can be found at the front door. It has a rooftop pool, a fitness center, parking, and wonderful buffet breakfasts. 

Mid-range ($$): Vincci Larios Diez, popular 4-star hotel located on the main shopping street – Calle Marqués de Larios in the heart of Malaga, close to everything. Easy distance from La Malagueta, La Caleta Beach and Jorge Rando Museum. It has a 24-hour front desk, delicious breakfast, and a terrace. Soundproofing window is great as central Malaga can be quite noisy. 

Budget ($): Hotel Don Curro, 3-star hotel centrally located in Malaga Centro, 5 mins walk from important landmarks such as Picasso Museum and Málaga Cathedral, 10-15 mins walk to Alcazaba Castle and the beaches. It has  air-conditioned rooms, 24-hour front desk, and good breakfast.


2. La Malagueta 

La Malagueta is an excellent choice for those who prioritize beach access, a more relaxed atmosphere, and proximity to the Malagueta Bullring. 

La Malagueta Beach has a white sand and crystal clear water, where you enjoy seaside activities, sunbathing, walks along the promenade, or try different traditional Andalusian dishes at numerous beachfront seafood restaurants.

Best places to stay in Malaga in La Malagueta for first-timers:

Luxury ($$$): Gran Hotel Miramar GL, 5-star beachfront hotel located in the 20th century building near La Malagueta Beach. The hotel has  a children’s pool, a seasonal miniclub, and comfortable family rooms.

Mid-range ($$): Hotel MS Maestranza Málaga, 4-star beach hotel located in an excellent position, next to the bullring and Alameda Gardens, within walking distance from Malagueta Beach and Center Pompidou. Also close to  The Alcazaba and Gibralfaro Castle. Easy access to buses for services to Málaga Airport. Plenty of shops and restaurants nearby.

Budget ($): Fantásticos Lofts Malagueta, 3-star accommodation in a great location, near to the beach, Cathedral, Alcazaba, and the port. Good base for a beach holiday, 10 mins walk to the city center. Many local restaurants and bars can be found in its surroundings.


3. Soho

Soho is a good area for those who appreciate modern art, trendy atmospheres, and a central location that’s not far from both cultural attractions and the beach.

Soho is known for its contemporary and artistic atmosphere. You’ll find numerous street art installations, galleries, and creative spaces that contribute to a modern and trendy ambiance.

If you have an interest in contemporary art and cultural events, Soho is the perfect neighborhood. It hosts various art exhibitions, events, and festivals throughout the year.

Soho offers a mix of trendy boutiques, design shops, and eclectic dining options. It’s a great place to explore unique and stylish places to shop and eat. It also has a lively nightlife scene, with hip bars, lounges, and clubs.

Soho is well-connected to public transportation. It has numerous bus routes, and the Málaga-Centro-Alameda train station can be found on the edge of this trendy neighborhood.

Best places to stay in Malaga in Soho for first-timers:

Luxury ($$$): Only YOU Hotel Málaga, 5-star hotel centrally located on Alameda Principal between right at the end of the main shopping street and the beginning of the promenade by the port, close to the beach, Port of Malaga and Malaga Cathedral. 

Mid-range ($$): Soho Boutique Colón, 4-star hotel in Soho, close to San Andres Beach, Malaga Museum, Malaga Train Station and Jorge Rando Museum. Easy access to the train station and within walking distance of all the sights.

Budget ($): Tandem Soho Suites, a sustainable apartment on a quiet street, 15 mins walk from Malaga Train Station, 10 mins walk from Malaga Park. They have good size rooms with comfy beds.


4. El Perchel

El Perchel is a residential neighborhood located east of the city center that offers a more local and close proximity to the city’s main train station, Málaga María Zambrano Train Station. 

María Zambrano Train Station is the main railway station in Malaga and one of the busiest train stations in Spain. It is part of the wider transportation hub that includes the bus station and a shopping center.

The station is well-connected to the airport and various destinations in Spain, including Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Valencia, and many others. High-speed AVE trains also operate from this station, providing fast connections between major cities.

The adjoining shopping center, Vialia, offers a variety of shops and dining options. You can find everything from clothing stores to cafes and restaurants.

Best places to stay in Malaga in El Perchel:

Mid-range ($$): Ilunion Málaga, 4-star hotel conveniently located only 5 mins walk from Maria Zambrano Train Station which has direct line to the airport, 10 mins walk from the historic center. It has an outdoor swimming pool, paid private underground parking, and very good breakfast. 

Mid-range ($$): Hotel Guadalmedina, 4-star modern  hotel situated in front of  the Center of Contemporary Art, a short walk from the Maria Zambrano Train Station. Good base for those who want to stay near the train station for easy access to Málaga Airport and the rest of the Costa del Sol.

Budget ($): Hotel Zeus, 2-star family-run hotel located between the main railway station and the historic center. 10 mins walk from major attractions such as the famous Cathedral and Picasso’s birthplace.


In conclusion, Centro Histórico, La Malagueta, Soho, and El Perchel are the best places to stay in Malaga for first-timers and tourists. These are generally safe areas to book hotels, but it’s always essential to take standard precautions, take care of your belongings, and be aware of pickpockets and scams.

You can continue reading about other destinations in Spain in these articles:

There you have it, my recommendations for the most popular and safest neighborhoods that you can stay during your first trip to Malaga. I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful.

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that, at absolutely no additional cost to you, I'll earn a small commission if you click through and purchase something I've recommended. I only recommend products that I use myself or firmly believe in. Thank you!

Leave a Comment