A city steeped in history, home of the espeto and birthplace of Pablo Picasso, Málaga is rapidly emerging as the next best cycling destination in Spain. Málaga is teeming with cyclists of all disciplines and has a rich cycling culture that has been cultivated over many years.
Just coming into land at the airport is enough to see why Málaga is so popular. With its diverse terrain of hills, mountains and flat coastal roads, and a mild climate that graces the region for over 300 sun-drenched days a year, Málaga is the ideal destination for Cycling Tours in every season.
This article will cover a few of the key considerations for any cyclist’s trip to Malaga;
- Where to cycle
- Where to eat
- Where to sleep
- What to see
- How to get to Málaga
- How to find us in Málaga
We hope you enjoy the guide, and we look forward to welcoming you to Málaga soon!
Where to cycle
Málaga’s smooth roads surrounding the city and beyond offer endless opportunities for road cyclists. One of the most iconic local climbs, el Puerto del León (also featured on our Classic Climbs of Málaga cycling tour) serves as the perfect warm-up ride before heading out into the heart of the region or along the coast. This climb offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside and impressive mountains behind the city.
If you fancy a flatter ride, simply take old national road (N-340) that runs through the centre of Málaga out east, and follow it all the way to Nerja (and beyond if you’re up for it!). There and back counts for an approximately 100 km ride that sticks to the curves of the coast like glue. Once in Nerja, enjoy a snack, ice cream or a spot of lunch at the Balcón de Europa overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, before heading back home to Málaga.
Other routes explore the Montes de Málaga, Sierra de Ronda, the Axarquía region, Antequera, Granada and the Costa del Sol. One spectacular ride that heads inland, northbound and away from the coast, is the El Torcal Loop. Topping out at around 100 km and 1,800 m in elevation, this demanding but incredibly rewarding ride will take you up to the millennia-year-old rock formations of the El Torcal Natural Park before sweeping back down towards Málaga.
For gravel and mountain biking, the first place you should be looking to explore are the Montes de Málaga. Montes translates as “hill” or “small mountains”, and as the name suggests, this semi-mountainous terrain sitting just north of the city offers a snakes-and-ladders network of crisscrossing trails, climbs and descents. Part woodland, part rugged wilderness, it is important to stay on designated trails as even those who know this area sometimes get lost as GPS can fail. As with any roads and trails that run through parkland, the Leave No Trace principles apply: avoid disturbing wildlife and pick up all litter.
Where to eat
Whether its traditional Andalusian, international or fusion cuisine, Málaga’s offer of food and drink is ever-expanding. Here are our favourite spots when you fancy a pick-me-up, lunch, dinner or sweet treat.
Kima Coffee – Calle Carretería, 51
Not far from our Eat Sleep Cycle Hub on Calle Carretería, Kima Coffee is a hole-in-the-wall spot offering superb speciality coffee, beans and some sweet snacks. Calle Carretería itself has recently been refurbished and is now mainly pedestrianised, making it super easy to coast right to the door and lean your bike up outside.
Mia Coffee – Calle Vendeja, 9
In their new location in the Soho district, Mia Coffee offers delicious speciality coffee, beans, baked goods and good vibes. There is no outdoor seating, but there are benches in the squares nearby, so if you have your bike, a take-away (para llevar) might be the best option.
Santa Coffee – various locations
Santa Coffee is a reliable “chain” coffee house offering great coffee, beans, backed treats and light lunch options. Most locations have outdoor seating making it easy to ride up and order a quick café con leche before the ride.
Eat Sleep Cycle Málaga – Calle Carretería, 100,
We might specialise in bikes, kit and services, but where would we be without our mini Marzocco coffee machine. Drop in for a coffee for €1! Made with love and specialty beans from a local Málaga roastery.
Lunch & dinner
Recyclo Café & Shop – Plaza Enrique García-Herrera, 16
Recyclo serves delicious, locally sourced food with great vegan options, with good coffee, good beer, non-pretentious tasty and healthy food. Grab a table outside if it’s sunny and head inside in the evenings where they often have a live DJ or musician performing.
El Pimpi – Calle Granada, 62
El Pimpi is one of the most iconic and historic eateries in the city with traditional dishes and local specialties including tapas, fish and meat dishes, as well as vegetarian options. Best for an evening meal. If you want to sit inside, you’ll probably need to book, but the first-come-first-served system for outdoor tables generally moved quite fast.
Varo – Calle Andrés Pérez, 20
Varo has a buzzing, playful interior, good beer, great wine and a large selection of tapas and small dishes, great for sharing. Try and to get there early to make sure you get a table.
Anchoita El Pana – Plaza del Teatro, 3
Simple and delicious Venezuelan street food dishes with vegetarian options: arepas, cachapas, tequeños, tapas, juices, smoothies and more. Indoor and outdoor seating, friendly service and great music to accompany the laid-back vibes.
It would be a sin to visit Málaga and not try out the beachfront chiringuitos. These are restaurants and bars dotted along the promenade (beside the N-340) that offer all kinds of fresh fish and seafood (grilled and barbequed), of which the local speciality is espeto (sardines and other fish cooked on an open fire). Delicious and generally pretty cheap to be enjoyed with a cold beer in the sun.
Casa Mira – Calle Císter, 8
Casa Mira offers delicious ice cream, hochata, iced coffee granizados, outdoor seating in a charming square and right by the cathedral. Queuing works using a ticket system (grab one by the side door in the square).
Lucciano’s – Calle Córdoba, 1
Lucciano’s sells delicious ice cream on a stick, in a tub or on a cone in a stunning shop. Indoor and outdoor seating available, or alternatively, take a stroll towards and port and find a bench to enjoy the view.
Kalúa Helados – Plaza Uncibay, 8
Kalúa offers artisan ice cream, smoothies, shakes and cakes. All take-away, no outdoor seating here, but there are chairs and benches in Plaza Uncibay.
Where to sleep
NH Málaga – Calle San Jacinto, 2
Located in the centre of Málaga, NH Málaga is a sanctuary of peace & quiet just 800 m from Málaga Cathedral and the Picasso Museum. Rooms at NH Málaga are soundproofed, air conditioned & have parquet floors. Kick back & relax by the rooftop pool and enjoy an aperitif at the hotel bar.
More than cycling
For those calmer rest days, there is an inexhaustible list of things to do and in and around Málaga.
In the city
Museums and galleries
The city has several museums and galleries that are well worth a visit if you’re in the mood for an afternoon of art and culture: The Museo Carmen Tyssen Málaga (permanent and temporary exhibitions from the Carmen Tyssen collection), the Pompidou Centre (in the multi-coloured building known as ‘The Cube’, right on Muelle 1 by the port), the Russian Museum (temporary exhibitions of art and more by Russian artists), the Automobile and Fashion Museum, the Málaga Museum (the history of the city told through maps, photographs, paintings sculptures and artifacts), the Picasso Museum (works by Pablo Picasso), among others.
The Alcazaba of Málaga is a historic symbol of Moorish conquest and a significant architectural and historical landmark. Towering over the city centre and port, it comprises a fortress and palace dating back to the eleventh century and exquisite gardens. There’s normally no need to book tickets, so head up and enjoy panoramic views of the city, the port and the Mediterranean Sea.
Perfect for an evening stroll, the remodelled dock known as Muelle Uno is a clean and buzzing promenade lined with shops, restaurants and often market stands selling local artisan products. Enjoy views of the port at sunset and walk right to the end of the pier for stunning vistas back across the La Malagueta beach and the nearby hills of Málaga.
Ronda, Córdoba, Granada
We highly recommend taking a day or weekend trip to one of the nearby towns or cities if you have the time. Ronda, Cordoba and Granada are no more than an hour and a half away by car or coach, and are three of the most beautiful locations in Andalucia.
- Ronda is a small town and is a great place for a day visit. Its dramatic gorge, the impressive Puente Nuevo (New Bridge) and historic bullring are definitive must-sees.
- Córdoba is a magical city full of colour, flowers and steeped in history, with its iconic Mezquita (mosque) and Jewish quarter, a testament to the numerous cultures to inhabit its winding streets, past and present. You’ll need at least two days here to really soak everything in.
- Finally, Granada’s Alhambra Palace and the white-washed Albaicín neighbourhood are its biggest attractions. Often milling with tourists (it’s not hard to see why!), we recommend visiting for at least two days in the off-season if possible. If you have the means to take your bike with you, Granada offers even more incredible routes and climbs, including the colossal Pico del Veleta, Spain’s fourth highest peak and part of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
El Caminito del Rey
El Caminito del Rey is a narrow wooden walkway that clings to the sheer cliffs and rock faces of the El Chorro Gorge, a breath-taking natural ravine carved out by the turquoise waters of the Guadalhorce River. It is around 60 kilometres northwest of Málaga, some 7.7 kilometres (4.8 miles) in length and takes between three and four hours to complete. Please bear in mind you need to book tickets online before arrival, especially if you’re visiting in peak holiday seasons.
Getting to Málaga
Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport serves as a major gateway and has superb connections with most major cities in both Spain and Europe, with dozens of international flights each day. Oftentimes, off-season tickets into Málaga are very reasonable. A taxi to the city centre takes around 20 minutes and will cost in the region of €30.
Alternatively, Spain’s high-speed railway network connects Málaga to other major cities like Madrid and Barcelona, and Málaga’s María Zambrano train station is also conveniently located in the city centre.
Driving is also a good option for visitors already based in Spain and European. If travelling by car, you can access Málaga via the A-7 coastal motorway or the A-45 motorway from other Spanish cities – make sure to watch out for the tolls!
The Eat Sleep Cycle Cycling Hub, Málaga
Málaga is also the home of our Malaga Cycling Hub. This city is a gateway to Andalucia, Portugal and beyond and our benchmark for culture, food, good vibes and amazing riding. For us, Málaga is the place to be, it’s a buzzing city that’s full of life and we’re proud to be part of Málaga’s journey as an up-and-coming cycling destination.
Come and see us, grab a coffee and let’s talk cycling!
Book your place on a Málaga cycling tour
If this has got you inspired to travel to Málaga, then why not view our cycling tours in Málaga and check out the trips and packages we have available. If you’re planning to travel here and don’t want to worry about bringing a bike, get in touch with our Málaga Hub and talk to us about our Málaga Bike Hire service to rent top-quality, fully-serviced road, gravel and mountain bikes.
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