Have you been wondering how to get from Malaga to Barcelona? I’ve got you covered!
This coastal voyage is one of Spain’s most delightful travel experiences, offering the allure of sun-soaked beaches, historic landmarks, tantalizing cuisine, and vibrant cultures.
Whether you prefer a scenic train ride, a quick flight, or an adventurous road trip, there are plenty of options to make your journey enjoyable and unforgettable.
I spent over a month living in Barcelona with my daughter, and we enjoyed going on lots of weekend trips. We now return to Spain whenever we can to see new places.
Here are the most practical, cost-effective, and exciting ways to journey from Malaga’s sunny shores to Barcelona’s bustling metropolis.
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How to Get from Malaga to Barcelona: An Overview
The Spanish train network’s high-speed AVE Malaga to Barcelona service is renowned for its comfort and efficiency. Flights offer the fastest commute, while buses and car journeys allow for flexible pit stops and scenic routes.
If you have hired a car, I recommend this option with overnight stops on the way. If not, you could get there quickly via plane or enjoy the scenic views of the train route.
|Mode of Transport||Travel Time||Cost|
|Flight (Direct)||1.5 – 2 hours||€30 – €150 (one-way) – GET YOUR TICKETS|
|Train (AVE)||5.5 – 6 hours||€40 – €120 (one-way) – GET YOUR TICKETS|
|Car||9 – 10 hours||Varies (fuel, tolls, etc) – CHECK HIRE CAR PRICES|
|Bus||13 – 16 hours||From €40 (one-way) – GET YOUR TICKETS|
|BlaBlaCar||9.5 hours+||€30 – €50 – VIEW AVAILABILITY|
THE BEST WAY: Flying from Malaga to Barcelona
If time is of the essence, a Malaga to Barcelona flight might be your best bet. Various airlines like Vueling, Ryanair, and Iberia offer direct flights from Malaga Costa del Sol Airport to Barcelona El Prat Airport, with a flight time of just over an hour.
Flight prices can vary significantly depending on the season, demand, and how far in advance you book. However, you can usually find some excellent deals, with prices starting at around €30 for a one-way ticket. Be sure to keep an eye out for cheap flights from Malaga to Barcelona to score a great deal.
Use the Box Below to Find the Cheapest Flights for Your Dates:
Malaga to Barcelona Flight Schedules:
The Ave Train from Málaga to Barcelona – 5 Hours, 47 Minutes
Renfe, the Spanish rail service, offers AVE high-speed trains that make travelling from Malaga to Barcelona a swift and comfortable affair. Trains depart from Málaga-María Zambrano station and reach Barcelona Sants station, situated in the heart of Barcelona, ensuring easy access to the city’s highlights.
The journey takes approximately 5 hours, 47 minutes, but the comfortable seating and onboard amenities like Wi-Fi, power outlets, and a cafeteria make the time fly. The spectacular views ensure a visually pleasing journey as the train glides through Spain’s diverse landscapes.
There are around four direct trains daily, allowing you to select a departure time that suits your schedule. The fares vary from €40 for Básico fare (second class) to around €120 for First class. Booking in advance can get you the best prices.
Interrail and Eurorail Passes
Interrail (for European residents) and Eurail (for non-European residents) passes offer a cost-effective and flexible way to experience the Lucerne to Geneva route and beyond. There are different types of passes available. T
The global pass covers 33 European countries, suitable for those planning extensive travel across Europe.
This can be flexible (e.g. 7 days within a month) or continuous for 15 days to 3 months. The one-country pass is ideal for focusing on a single country.
The Road Trip: Driving from Malaga to Barcelona – 9 Hours, 32 Minutes
There’s a certain charm in hitting the open road, driving along Spain’s beautiful highways, with the freedom to stop and explore at your leisure. If this resonates with you, renting a car for your Malaga to Barcelona journey would be a great choice.
The quickest route is via the AP-7 and A-7 highways, a distance of about 1000km that can be covered in approximately 9-10 hours without stops.
Along the way, you’ll traverse diverse landscapes, including the coastal views of Costa del Sol and Costa Brava, and the rural countryside of Catalonia. Car rental services are plentiful in both cities, and prices start around €30 per day, not including fuel or toll costs.
Hiring a Car in Malaga
In Malaga, there are plenty of car hire services available. You can choose from a range of vehicles to suit your preferences, whether you’re looking for a compact city car, a comfortable family car, or a luxury model to cruise in style. The offices of car rental companies are usually conveniently located, with many situated right at Malaga Airport for easy pick-up and drop-off.
Some popular car rental companies in Malaga include:
Stop Ideas When Driving from Malaga to Barcelona
You may want to plan stops along the way to rest, eat, and explore some fascinating cities and landmarks between these two vibrant cities. Here are my top recommendations:
Murcia: About 4 hours from Malaga, Murcia is a vibrant city known for its university, excellent food, and beautiful Baroque cathedral. The city is also close to some excellent beaches if you want to take a detour for some sun and surf.
Valencia: Around 7 hours from Malaga, Valencia is Spain’s third-largest city and offers a perfect mix of city, sun, and beach. It’s renowned for its City of Arts and Sciences, with futuristic landmarks including a planetarium, an opera house, and an interactive museum. Don’t forget to try paella in the city where it was born.
Granada: Approximately 1.5 hours from Malaga, Granada is a city rich in history and culture. It is home to the famous Alhambra, a stunning Moorish fortress with stunning gardens and beautiful architecture. View our full guide to visiting Granada with kids >>>
BlaBlaCar: – 9 Hours, 32 Minutes +
BlaBlaCar is a popular ridesharing service in Spain that connects drivers and passengers travelling in the same direction. This service offers a unique opportunity to meet locals or fellow travellers while reducing your travel costs.
Trips from Malaga to Barcelona and vice versa are common. The prices usually range from €30 to €50.
It’s a great way to save money and make friends during your journey, but remember it relies on the availability of drivers making the trip.
Bussing it from Malaga to Barcelona – 15 Hours, 30 Minutes
Buses are a good option to get from Malaga to Barcelona if you are on a budget. ALSA, the main bus company operating this route, offers comfortable coaches with amenities such as reclining seats, free Wi-Fi, and entertainment systems.
The journey takes approximately 13 to 16 hours, so if you’re not in a rush and can manage the long hours, this option might be the one for you.
Overnight buses are also available, so you can sleep through most of the journey. Prices for a one-way ticket start from around €40.
Read More – Best Hotels in Barcelona Near the Cruise Port
Read More – The Best Barcelona family hotels
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Sylvie Simpson is the founder of European Cities with Kids. For the past 6 years, she has been travelling all over Europe whenever she has the chance, both solo, for work and with her daughter. Sylvie is on a mission to help people make the most of city breaks in Europe with kids and helps over 50,000 readers per month plan and make the most of their trips in Europe with kids.