1. Cordoba

Only 48 minutes away by train, Cordoba is a popular choice for day trips from Malaga. Given its Roman and Islamic history, it's easy to see why. Direct trains from Malaga to Cordoba run up to 20 times a day, arriving at Cordoba Central station. From there, it's only a 20-minute walk through the wonderful Victoria Gardens to La Mezquita. This spectacular 8th-century mosque-turned-cathedral should be top of the list for any day trip to Cordoba. But don't miss visiting the Roman Bridge, the ruins of the 10th-century Medina, or the grounds of the beautiful Alcazar, a Moorish palace dating from 1328.

2. Marbella

Marbella is surrounded by 17 miles of pristine beaches, backed by the stunning Sierra Blanca mountains. Needless to say, don't forget your swimsuit and camera. It's worth visiting the Museo del Grabado Español Contemporáneo and the Museo Ralli, which have works by Dali, Picasso, Miro, and other Spanish artists. Spend a couple more hours getting lost in the cobblestone streets and Moorish buildings of Casco Antiguo, Marbella's picturesque old town. Malaga to Marbella is a pretty 45-minute bus journey tracing the coast. It's operated by Avanza between Malaga and Marbella's central bus stations.

3. Torremolinos

If you want a fun, action-packed family day outside of Malaga, aim for Torremolinos. Home to Aqualand Torremolinos, Crocodile Park, and La Bateria Park, Torremolinos is a hotspot for exciting family activities. There's also Carihuela Beach, with its long promenade, and the Molino de Inca landscaped gardens. It only takes 15 minutes to go from Malaga bus station to Torremolinos on the Avanza bus service, which is perfect if you want to go on a day trip from Malaga.

4. Ronda

Ronda is a medieval hilltop town that's been divided into two parts by a deep gorge since Moorish rule in the Middle Ages. The impressive Puente Nuevo stone bridge connects the two, offering amazing views over the entire area. Plaza de Toros, an 18th-century bullring, is a local icon in the new town, while the 14th-century Moorish Mondragon Palace dominates the old town. Just outside Ronda are the Roman ruins of Acinipo. The fastest train from Malaga to Ronda is 1h 33m, running from 06:45, with the last train leaving Ronda at 17:13.

5. Nerja

Nerja is best known for the caves dotting this pretty beach town's coastline. These caves are home to unusual stalactites and stalagmites, subterranean lakes, and prehistoric paintings. They even occasionally host concerts. Above ground, Nerja is a top choice for beach day trips from Malaga. Its coastline is a blend of sandy beaches and rocky coves. The aptly named Balcony of Europe, Nerja's clifftop promenade offers great views. If you want an even better vantage point, hike up the Cliffs of Maro-Cerro Gordo. Nerja is one hour by bus from Malaga Bus Station. Alsa buses run this route throughout the day, from 07:00 to 23:00.

6. Frigiliana

Often tacked onto a visit to Nerja, Frigiliana is well worth a day trip in itself. It's the quintessential white-washed Spanish village, clinging onto a hilltop. You could spend hours wandering the winding cobblestone streets and ceramic-tiled alleyways. You'll stumble upon plenty of charming shops, cafes, and bars along the way. There's also a fascinating ancient Moorish fortress. The Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara y Alhama Natural Park is also nearby, if you'd like to cool off in nature. The easiest way to reach Frigiliana is on the one-hour Alsa bus to Nerja, then a 10-minute local bus up to the hill to Frigiliana's town centre.

7. Tarifa

Tarifa is cool, fun, and outgoing. Sounds like quite the dream, right? A direct Avanza bus service from Malaga gets you to Tarifa in 2h 30m. The first bus goes at 07:30, with the last one coming back at 21:45. So, get up early, pack your swimsuit, and look forward to a full day of swimming, sunbathing, and just about every kind of aquatic activity imaginable. As well as its beautiful beach, Tarifa has a fascinating old town, with its medieval Moorish town wall still standing. And it's arguably the best place on the coast to find delicious local seafood.

8. Seville

Seville has countless amazing architectural landmarks. But you should certainly start with the Alcazar Moorish palace, the ceramic-tiled Plaza de España, and the Seville Cathedral, the largest Gothic church in the world. Sniff the scent of orange trees along the winding streets of the Jewish Quarter. Try Seville's famous gazpacho at any one of the hundreds of tapas bars, and catch a flamenco show in Seville's famous Triana district. Day trips from Malaga to Seville by train take just 1h 50m each way, on direct Renfe services from Malaga-Maria Zambrano station. The first train is at 06:45, and the last train back from Seville to Malaga leaves at 21:35.

9. Granada

The main attraction in Granada is the Alhambra palace and the neighbouring UNESCO-listed Generalife Gardens. Set against the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada mountains, the amazing Alhambra justifies a trip on its own. But the beautiful Moorish architecture doesn't stop at the palace. Wind your way through the city's labyrinthine Arabic Quarter to find much more. Or visit the historic Roman neighbourhood of Sacromonte, known for its unique cave dwellings. Malaga to Granada by train takes 2h 45m. The Alsa bus from Malaga to Granada is better for day trips, taking just 90 minutes each way.

10. Antequera

An ancient hilltop hideaway, Antequera makes for another wonderful day trip from Malaga by train. It's the location of important ancient burial mounds and a Moorish fortress. There's also the dramatic limestone formations of Torcal de Antequera natural reserve and the face-shaped Peña de los Enamorados mountain. The scenic Malaga to Antequera train journey is part of the fun, too. First, take a mainline train from Malaga Maria Zambrano station to Antequera Santa Ana station. Then, change onto a regional train to Antequera Ciudad station. Including transfer time, the total journey should take just over one hour. Renfe operates both routes, which run from 08:00 to 17:00 daily.

Ready to start planning your trip? Browse train times, routes, and more trip ideas on our website. We've got a variety of affordable tickets, discounts, and special offers for day trips from Malaga by train or bus. Don't wait any longer – start putting together your own idyllic southern Spanish holiday!