Malaga University Spanish Courses

Malaga University Spanish Language and Culture Courses

Malaga University

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How Does the Malaga Public transport System Work?

In this article we’ll have a look at all the public transport services available in and around Malaga city. As a Spanish language student at Malaga University, you will be studying in the Pedregalejo/El Palo district in Malaga. Therefore, this article will focus on public transport systems that get you to and from those areas.

Overview of Malaga transport

Malaga is a well-connected city. Within the urban area and in the nearby suburbs, Malaga’s city buses, commuter trains and the city-bicycle hire service will take you efficiently from point A to B. Malaga is also currently testing its new Metro lines, although these are not open to the public yet.

On a national scale, Malaga connects to Madrid, Barcelona, Seville and many other major Spanish cities via long-distance trains and coaches. Internationally, Malaga links with the outside world through its busy international airport.

Malaga Airport

Malaga Airport, also known as Pablo Ruiz Picasso Airport, is located just 8 kilometres from Malaga city. Malaga has flight connections to around 60 foreign countries. It is easy to get direct low-cost flights from major European cities to Malaga, in particular during out-of-season periods. Flight prices to Malaga tend to rise during July and August, Easter, Christmas and European school holiday weeks in November and February, although you can usually beat high season prices if you book flights well in advance.

You can get from Malaga Airport to Malaga city centre on city buses and/or the commuter train. (For step-by-step journey instructions from the Airport to the University, scroll to the end).

Malaga city buses

Malaga’s transport consortium, EMT, runs all of Malaga’s city buses. There are about 50 lines that run all across Malaga. You’ll find the most relevant bus lines for Malaga University language students listed below, and it is also very easy to check timetables and routes in English or Spanish on the EMT website.

The busiest central city bus routes operate every few minutes, from early morning until about midnight. After midnight, there are night buses, recognised by the letter ‘N’ in front of the bus line number. Almost all of Malaga urban buses are air-conditioned.

A single bus ticket within the Malaga urban area costs 1.30€. You can also buy a 10-journey ticket for 8.30€ or a monthly bus pass for 39.95€. With your student card and valid ID, you can also get a 27€ monthly student bus pass. None of the passes are valid for the airport bus, however, which costs 3€ one-way.

Useful bus lines for language students at Malaga University:

For step-by-step journey instructions, scroll to the end of the article.

City Bicycles “Malaga Bici”

The Malaga Bici company is a city-bicycle rental/borrowing service. This means that there are bikes available for borrowing (if you use one for less than 30 minutes) or cheap rental (longer than 30 minutes). You can pick up the bikes from several different self-service points throughout Malaga centre, and return them at any of these depots after use.

To use the service, you must first register with Malaga Bici, giving them your personal details and credit card number. You can either register online in English or Spanish, or at one of the bike pick-up stands. You need to have a credit card for the registration, because this will act as a guarantee if you do not return the bike.

The first 30 minutes of use of a Malaga Bici city bike is free. So you can easily pick up and leave bikes in stands every 30 minutes, if you are nipping in and out of places in the centre, and this will not cost you anything. From 31 minutes onwards, the cost is 0,017€ per minute. If you wish to use the bike for longer periods of time, you can simply buy credit worth 5€ or 10€ at a time.

The city bike stand closest to the Malaga University Language Campus in El Palo, is found on Paseo Reding. You can get there on Bus 3 or 11 from El Palo. See this map for all the bike stations in Malaga. (The blue and yellow symbols show how many bikes are available, blue meaning available, yellow not available and grey meaning not in use).

When you pick a city bike up from the bike stand, you’ll see that some bikes are in service and some are not – a red light on the bike stand (known as a “derbi”) means that a bike is not in service, and a green light means that it is free to use. Bikes can be returned to any of the stands around the city - you do not have to return a bike to the same stand where you picked it up.

Malaga commuter trains

Malaga city centre is connected to nearby towns and to Malaga Airport by RENFE commuter trains, known as “Cercanias” trains in Spanish. The trains run from the final stop, the Malaga-Centro Alameda Station on Alameda Principal, and/or the Maria Zambrano station, which is also the main railway station.

Some of the interesting or useful places that you can reach by commuter train, either along the Malaga coast, or inland in the Malaga province, are:

The commuter trains along the coast run from 05.20 to 23.30 h. Tickets for the coast train line are priced by zones, from zone 1 to 4 - see the zone map here. The ticket price varies depending on how many zones you cross, from 1.75€ to 3.55€. For example, from Malaga-Centro Alameda to the Airport, the cost is 1.75€, because the train only crosses Zone 1. (For step-by-step journey instructions for taking a train and a bus, from and to the Airport, scroll to the end of the article).

For all Malaga province commuter train services, prices and timetables, visit the RENFE Commuter Trains website.

Long-distance trains

You can travel to Malaga very easily from Madrid, Barcelona and Seville by AVE, Talgo and RENFE long distance trains. The trains all arrive at the Malaga María Zambrano railway station. Depending on the time of day and the type of train, the Madrid-Malaga train journey time is from 2 h 35 min to 4 hours. You can travel from Barcelona to Malaga in about 5-7 hours, and from Seville to Malaga in under 2 hours. Single tickets are available from Madrid and Barcelona from 60€ upwards, and Seville from 20€ upwards. For long-distance train tickets in English, visit the Renfe website.

Long-distance buses and coaches

You can travel to destinations within the Malaga province by bus too. Marbella is a popular destination, but cannot be reached by train from Malaga. You can get there on the local Malaga-Marbella Portillo bus service.

You can also travel to further away national destinations by coach from Malaga. The journey times are long (for example, Malaga-Madrid is between 6-9 hours, sometimes with changes), but the prices are cheap (Malaga-Madrid about 25-30€). For long-distance coach tickets to all national destinations, visit the Alsa website.


Malaga taxis are white, and they have a yellow “Taxi” sign on the roof, accompanied by a green light that is lit if the taxi is free. Taxis are found all around the city, and can be hailed straight off the street, unless you are within 50 metres of a taxi station. At Malaga Airport, taxis can be found just outside Arrivals in Terminal 3. You can also call a taxi in the Malaga area – two popular companies are UniTaxi, Tel. (+34) 952 32 00 00 and Radio Taxi Malaga (+34) 697 488 962.

A taxi within Malaga city limits runs on a meter, but outside the city, the taxis rely on flat fairs by zones. For example, a transfer from Malaga Airport to Malaga University’s location in El Palo would consist of a flat fee and a meter fee. This would mean approximately 20€ for the airport fee, plus any luggage supplement fees, and once the taxi hits the city centre, you would have to add the on-meter cost from the city centre to the University at around 11-14€, depending on traffic and the time of day. So you could pay between 30-40€ for a trip from the Airport to the University. Within the city centre, a short trip might cost you anywhere between 7-15 euros. When in doubt, it is always best to ask a driver for an approximate fee before getting in. It is advisable for students on a small budget to use public transport as much as possible, as going around on taxis can get expensive.


From Malaga Airport to Malaga University’s Language Building in El Palo:

Option 1: Bus + Bus + Walk

Journey time: 37-55 minutes, depending on traffic

To travel from Malaga University in El Palo to the Airport, simply reverse the process.

Option 2: Commuter train + Bus + Walk

Journey time: 42-65 minutes, depending on traffic

To travel from Malaga University in El Palo to the Airport, simply reverse the process.

From Malaga University Language Building in El Palo to Malaga City Centre Journey time: 20 minutes

From Malaga City Centre to Malaga University Language Building in El Palo Journey time: 20 minutes