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Getting the most out of Malaga and the Costa del Sol - the Coast of the Sun - means more than simply taking in the glorious amount of sunshine the region enjoys. To really experience the Costa del Sol and its capital Malaga, car hire is a must.
How else will you discover some of Spain's most captivating history, its most striking architecture, its best golf breaks, its most charming seaside resorts, and some of the best shopping on the coast? And all within a 110-mile stretch of sun-drenched Spanish shoreline and inland beauty.
Malaga city itself is a rich centre of culture and history. Many hours can be spent shopping, strolling around the castle and port, or being inspired at the museum dedicated to the city's most celebrated artist son, Pablo Picasso. The city acts as the perfect gateway to the treasures that lie in the surrounding region.
Car hire from Malaga Airport (AGP) is good value and will make your adventures around the Costa del Sol more comfortable and much easier, as the limitations of public transportation could curb your plans. Car hire in Malaga could also save on the cost of a transfer to your chosen resort.
And there are a host of varied and tempting resorts to choose from, including tourist centres such as Torremolinos, Fuengirola and Benalmadena, ancient farming towns like San Pedro, the charismatic marina town of Estepona, celebrity hotspot Marbella, and ultra-exclusive Puerto Banus, with its mega yachts, designer boutiques and a rather large slice of bling.
Ronda, the birthplace of modern bullfighting, is worth an inland tour by car, as is the whitewashed village of Mijas. The historical Moorish city of Granada, which sits at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, can be reached from Malaga within two hours. The Rock, otherwise known as Gibraltar, is also less than two hours away by car to the south of Malaga.
Golf is a serious hobby in this region - it isn't nicknamed the Costa del Golf for nothing. Many holidaymakers choose to enjoy this outdoor pursuit and rent a villa or time-share apartment in the centre of the action, so a car is an ideal way to get around.
Malaga Airport is a competitive car-hire location in Europe with a vast fleet of cars of all makes and models. Pre-booking is advised to secure the best prices and the widest range of vehicle types.
You will need to show the credit card you booked with.
Remember to drive on the right.
At the petrol station, gasolina sin plomo is unleaded petrol and gas-oil (or gasóleo) is diesel.
Parking you car in Malaga can be a pain, so stick to clearly advertised municipal car parks to make things easier.
There is a fast motorway network with toll booths and, as the N roads that snake along the Costa del Sol can be slow, using the motorway is often advisable. Have change to hand for the tolls.
Car hire in Malaga is among the cheapest in Europe. Compare prices now using the TravelSupermarket tool.
Further savings can also be made by shopping around for car hire excess insurance.