Malaga vs. Alicante

Choosing between Malaga and Alicante is like picking between two jewels of Spain. Both cities promise sun-soaked fun, but each has its unique flair. Malaga lures you with its rich historical tapestry, while Alicante enchants with its own blend of old and new. Intrigued? The magic of these cities lies not just in their beaches, but deep within their soul.
Malaga vs. Alicante

Table of Contents

Hey there, fellow traveler! So you’re torn between Malaga and Alicante for your next Spanish getaway, huh? Trust us, it’s a delightful dilemma to have. Ready to dive into the captivating qualities that set each destination apart? Keep reading!

History & Culture

Let’s kick off this journey with a quick chat about the history and culture of Malaga and Alicante. If you’re the kind of person who loves to peek behind the curtain of a destination, learning about its roots and cultural quirks, then you’re in for a treat.

Malaga is like a living history book. Founded by the Phoenicians, it’s one of the oldest cities in the world. Picture yourself walking down streets that have witnessed the footsteps of ancient civilizations like the Romans and the Moors.

The city’s art scene is a big deal, too. Ever heard of Pablo Picasso? Yep, he was born here. That gives you a sense of the artistic atmosphere that wraps around Malaga.

On the other hand, Alicante is a charming blend of old and new. The city has Roman origins but has also been influenced by other groups, like the Moors and the Christians. The vibe is different, a bit more laid-back and modern compared to Malaga. Alicante offers a youthful spirit and a mix of styles in its architecture, as it’s a hub for students and young professionals.

So, what makes them different but equally special? Malaga impresses with its deep historical layers and vibrant arts scene. You’ll feel like you’re walking through a timeline of world history. Alicante, meanwhile, feels like a breath of fresh air with its blend of traditions and a forward-thinking attitude. The city embodies a youthful spirit that’s super inviting.

In summary, whether you’re drawn to the deep-rooted history and artistic vibes of Malaga or the fresh, young energy of Alicante, both cities offer an abundance of culture to sink your teeth into. Now, what piques your interest more? Time to decide!

Attractions & Activities

Alright, let’s move on to something that pumps the adrenaline – attractions and activities. Whether you’re an adventurer at heart or someone who loves to soak in the beauty around you, both Malaga and Alicante have something tailored just for you.

In Malaga, if you’re a fan of history, the Alcazaba fortress is a must-visit. This ancient fortress provides a panoramic view of the city and tells tales of the past. Another gem is the Picasso Museum, where you can delve deep into the artworks of the famous painter who was born in this very city.

For nature lovers, Montes de Malaga Natural Park is an ideal spot for hiking and offers breathtaking views of the Andalusian countryside.

Alicante is no slouch when it comes to attractions either. The Castle of Santa Bárbara dominates the city skyline and offers panoramic views that are hard to beat. And if you’re an art aficionado, the Museum of Contemporary Art houses some of Spain’s modern masterpieces.

Nature enthusiasts should not miss out on the Canelobre Caves, a network of caves located about 24 kilometers (approximately 15 miles) from Alicante, boasting impressive stalactites and stalagmites.

So, to sum it all up, Malaga is your go-to spot if you have an appreciation for history and art. Alicante, on the other hand, stands out with its mix of historic sites and natural wonders. Both cities offer you a well-rounded experience but in their own unique way. Now, imagine the selfies and memories you could capture! Which background fits your style?


Time to get your feet wet, literally! We’re talking beaches – those sandy stretches where you can kick back and soak up the Spanish sun. Malaga and Alicante offer different takes on the quintessential beach experience.

Malaga’s most famous beach, La Malagueta, spans around 1,200 meters (approximately 0.7 miles) and is just a short walk from the city center. The sand is dark and the waters are calm, making it a prime spot for a relaxing swim. La Caleta, another Malaga beach, is more for the folks who prefer a less crowded, more serene setting.

Alicante’s Postiguet Beach is iconic, with golden sands stretching over 900 meters (roughly 0.5 miles). It’s located right in the heart of the city. Another spot worth noting is Almadraba Beach, perfect for those who are into water sports like windsurfing and sailing.

To wrap it up, Malaga offers you a more traditional beach experience with its dark sands and calmer waters. Alicante brings a different energy, with golden sands and more opportunities for water sports. So, what’s it gonna be? Are you ready to dip your toes into the warm sands of Malaga or catch a wave in Alicante?

Eating, Drinking & Nightlife

Hey, foodies and party animals, this section is for you! Let’s talk about the flavors and fun you can find after the sun goes down in Malaga and Alicante.

Malaga offers a food experience steeped in tradition. Imagine yourself in a cozy tapas bar, munching on classics like “gambas al ajillo” (shrimp with garlic) or “espeto” (grilled sardines). The city is especially known for its fresh seafood, thanks to its coastal location. Tapas hopping is an experience in itself here, offering a varied taste of Andalusian cuisine in small, flavorful bites.

In Alicante, the culinary scene has a more modern twist. Yes, tapas are a thing here too, but you’ll also find sushi bars and vegan eateries blending in seamlessly. Local dishes like “arroz a banda” (a type of paella with fish) show off Alicante’s special take on Valencian cuisine.

When it comes to drinking, Malaga is famous for its sweet wine, often enjoyed as an aperitif. The city’s historic bodegas offer a laid-back setting to sip on local varieties. Alicante, on the other hand, is a paradise for lovers of white wine, especially those fond of the crisp “Marina Alta” variety.

Now, let’s talk nightlife. Malaga’s night scene is a lively mix of traditional flamenco bars and modern dance clubs. Alicante offers a more youthful vibe, featuring a variety of bars and clubs that play the latest hits and offer dance floors to show off your moves.

In summary, if you’re all about traditional food and a cozy drinking atmosphere, Malaga is your jam. But if you’re looking for a more eclectic dining experience and a vibrant party scene, Alicante has got you covered. So, where will you be toasting to your awesome vacation?


Ready to shop till you drop? Both Malaga and Alicante have their own shopping scenes that are worth exploring. Let’s see what each city offers to fill up those shopping bags.

Malaga is a treasure trove of traditional Spanish goods. You can find hand-painted ceramics, local olive oil, and artisan leather products. The city is known for its historic shopping street, Calle Marques de Larios, where you’ll find a mix of high-end stores and charming boutiques.

Alicante, on the other hand, is a haven for modern shoppers. Avenida Maisonnave is the main shopping street, housing international brands and large department stores like El Corte Inglés. The city also boasts several shopping centers like Plaza Mar 2, which offers a wide array of both local and international brands.

While both cities have local markets, Malaga’s Mercado Central Atarazanas is an architectural marvel where you can shop for fresh produce and spices. Alicante’s Mercado Central offers a more modern shopping experience, with its glass exterior and wide aisles filled with fresh produce, meats, and cheeses.

So, if you’re into traditional, authentic finds, you might prefer the shopping scene in Malaga. If modern malls and brand-name shopping are more your style, Alicante has got you sorted. Either way, you’re going to need an extra suitcase!


Looking for a comfy place to rest your head? Malaga and Alicante both offer a wide range of accommodation options, but let’s dive into the details to see what suits your needs the best.

In Malaga, if it’s luxury you’re after, the city doesn’t disappoint. Hotels like Gran Hotel Miramar or the Parador de Malaga Gibralfaro offer opulent rooms with ocean views. For budget travelers, Malaga’s historic district features charming hostels and guesthouses, each with its own Andalusian flair.

Alicante also offers a range of luxury hotels like Hospes Amerigo, but what sets it apart are the vacation rentals along the coastline. These rentals often come with amenities like private pools and are perfect for large groups or families.

Both cities offer mid-range options as well. In Malaga, the Soho district is filled with boutique hotels that offer a stylish yet affordable stay. In Alicante, the area around the central market has numerous mid-range options, often including breakfast and a city view.

In summary, Malaga tends to offer a more traditional range of hotels with a touch of Andalusian culture. Alicante, on the other hand, specializes in vacation rentals and has a broader selection for larger groups. Where would you feel most at home?

Family-Friendliness & Children’s Activities

Traveling with the fam? No worries! Both Malaga and Alicante are known for their family-friendly vibe, but each has its own unique way of keeping the kiddos entertained.

Malaga is a city where family time thrives. The city features parks like Parque de Malaga, where paddle boating and picnics are popular. The Interactive Music Museum is another hot spot, where kids can play instruments and learn about musical history. Educational yet fun!

In Alicante, family activities often center around interactive experiences. The MARQ Provincial Archaeological Museum offers workshops for kids, allowing them to become little archaeologists. Alicante also has several adventure parks that offer zip-lining and obstacle courses suitable for older children.

Both cities have easily accessible public transportation, making it convenient for families to get around. High chairs in restaurants are a common sight, and many establishments even offer kids’ menus.

To wrap things up, Malaga leans more towards educational and relaxed activities, perfect for families who love learning together. Alicante offers a blend of education and adventure, ideal for families with a zest for life. So, where do you see your family having the most fun?

Getting There & Getting Around

Okay, you’re sold on visiting, but how do you actually get to Malaga or Alicante? And once you’re there, what’s the best way to see all the sights?

Getting to Malaga is often through Malaga-Costa del Sol Airport, located 8 kilometers (about 5 miles) from the city center. Alicante is served by Alicante-Elche Airport, which is about 10 kilometers (around 6.2 miles) from downtown.

For getting around Malaga, the city offers an extensive bus network and a metro system that makes navigation easy. Taxis are readily available and bicycle rentals are also an option. Alicante, on the other hand, is well-served by trams and buses. The city also has a bike-sharing program, ideal for short distances.

In both cities, renting a car can be a good idea if you’re planning to explore the surrounding areas. Parking is relatively easier in Alicante, especially if you’re staying outside the city center.

In summary, both Malaga and Alicante are easily accessible by air, have convenient public transportation, and offer options for car rentals. Malaga is compact and easy to explore by bus or metro, while Alicante provides a bit more flexibility with its tram system. So, how do you envision yourself getting from point A to point B?


Weather can make or break your vacation, right? Both Malaga and Alicante offer sunshine and blue skies, but each has its unique climate charms. Let’s see how they stack up.

Malaga is well-known for its subtropical Mediterranean climate. Summers are hot and dry with temperatures soaring up to 95°F (35°C) in July and August. Winters are mild, usually hovering around 60°F (16°C). You’ll find the most rainfall from November to January, but it’s usually just a light shower here and there.

Alicante also boasts a Mediterranean climate, but it’s slightly more arid. This means that while summers are equally hot with temperatures around 93°F (34°C), they tend to be less humid. Winters in Alicante are mild too, with average temperatures of 55°F (13°C). Rainfall is scarce, especially during the hot months of June, July, and August.

If you’re a beachgoer, both cities offer fantastic options almost year-round. However, if you prefer less humidity during your sunbathing sessions, Alicante might be a better fit. On the other hand, if you enjoy a balmy evening stroll, Malaga’s mild winters could be the deal-maker.

In summary, both Malaga and Alicante promise sunny, warm climates. Malaga has slightly more humidity and rainfall, while Alicante is a bit more arid. What’s your weather sweet spot?


Safety is important, no matter where you go. Both Malaga and Alicante are generally safe cities, but there are some differences worth noting.

Malaga’s main tourist areas are pretty safe during the day and night. However, like any city, it’s smart to stay alert in crowded places to avoid pickpocketing. Alicante also enjoys a reputation for being safe but does have a slightly higher rate of petty theft in certain areas, particularly near beaches.

Unique to Malaga, the local police have an online alert system, which can notify you about any safety concerns in the city. Alicante, on the other hand, has an effective neighborhood watch program, particularly in residential areas.

Now, let’s talk about something other than crime. Both cities have well-maintained public spaces, which means fewer tripping hazards and well-lit streets. This is particularly handy when you’re exploring the cities at night.

To sum it up, both cities are generally safe with minor differences in crime rates. Malaga has a handy online alert system while Alicante has an active neighborhood watch. Either way, standard precautions are always a good idea.


Ready to talk numbers? Let’s compare the cost of visiting Malaga and Alicante to see which one is lighter on your wallet.

In Malaga, a mid-range meal for two might cost around €60 (about 71 US dollars). Accommodations like mid-range hotels often charge around 181-232 USD per night. A single bus ticket costs about €1.30 (roughly 2 US dollars).

In Alicante, you can expect to pay a bit less for food, with a decent meal for two costing around €50 (about 60 US dollars). Accommodation here is also slightly cheaper, with mid-range hotels costing around 151-186 USD per night. Public transportation is more or less the same, with a single bus or tram ticket priced at €1.45 (about 2 US dollars).

Both cities offer various options for shopping and entertainment. However, Alicante has a lower overall cost of living, which could make your stay a bit more economical, particularly if you’re looking to dine out frequently or plan a longer stay.

So, in the end, Malaga is a bit pricier, especially when it comes to dining and accommodation. Alicante offers a more budget-friendly experience without compromising on quality. Where does your budget feel most comfortable?

Which Is Better – Malaga or Alicante?

You’ve journeyed with me through a detailed look at Malaga and Alicante, assessing them on multiple fronts. Now, it’s time to decide which one trumps the other based on what matters most to you.

In terms of history and culture, Malaga offers a rich, multifaceted experience with its subtropical climate and unique local traditions. Alicante, while also rich in culture, tends to be a bit more arid and offers a slightly different, yet equally compelling, historical backdrop.

If you’re a culture enthusiast who loves exploring the past, Malaga could be a more intriguing option for you.

When it comes to attractions and activities, Malaga has a lot to offer in terms of diverse experiences. Alicante doesn’t fall short either, but it does offer a less humid environment, making outdoor activities more pleasant for some. So, if you’re into history and the arts, Malaga might be your go-to, whereas Alicante would suit those who prefer a more outdoorsy experience.

Moving onto beaches, both cities offer stunning coastlines, but Malaga has slightly more rainfall. Alicante’s beaches are just as beautiful but tend to be a bit less crowded. If you’re looking for a more laid-back beach experience, Alicante may be the better choice for you.

When it comes to eating, drinking, and nightlife, both cities have vibrant scenes. Malaga tends to be a bit pricier, especially for dining and accommodation. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly culinary experience, Alicante could be your city.

Speaking of accommodation, Malaga offers a range of luxurious options but at a higher cost. Alicante provides good quality lodging as well but is generally more economical. For a more upscale experience, you might lean towards Malaga, but for budget-conscious travelers, Alicante wins.

Finally, in terms of family-friendliness and children’s activities, both cities have much to offer. However, Alicante’s slightly lower cost of living could make it a more economical option for families looking to stretch their budgets.

So, when should you choose Malaga over Alicante? Opt for Malaga if you’re keen on rich culture and diverse attractions, and don’t mind paying a bit extra for a luxurious stay. Choose Alicante if you’re looking for a less humid climate, quieter beaches, and a more budget-friendly experience. Both cities have their unique charms; your perfect destination is the one that checks the most boxes for you.