How to Get from Málaga to Granada by Train, Bus and Car

Málaga is not only a fabulous destination in its own right but is also an excellent base for day trips to other destinations in Southern Spain. Amongst these is Granada, one of the jewels in Andalucía’s glittering crown.

But what is the best way of getting from Málaga to Granada? Remove the guesswork with my guide to travelling between Málaga and Granada.

three beautifully carved islamic arches providing views of houses on hillside

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Your travel options at a glance

  • Distance: 80 miles
  • Quickest journey: By train. 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Cheapest journey: By bus. 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Most flexible option: By car. 1 hour 30 minutes

How I did it and my recommendations

My most recent visit to Granada was part of a Southern Spain itinerary, staying for three nights.

On my first visit to Andalucía, I visited Granada as a easy day trip. Although this is easy to do from Málaga, Granada is more than the Alhambra Palace and deserves at least a few days. But if a day is all you have, grab it with both hands.

For travelling from Málaga and Granada, it’s a toss-up between bus or train.

I went from Málaga to Granada by bus. At the time, this was the only direct service and the most cost-effective option. Bus services between the two cities are fast and frequent but Granada’s bus station is a bus ride from its historic centre.

There are now slightly faster direct train services between the two cities, but these are infrequent and more expensive. On the plus side, Granada’s train station is more conveniently located.

Joining a group tour is an excellent option if you are planning just a day trip from Málaga. Not only will this maximise the available time but it will also include ticket reservations for the Alhambra.

dog lying on stone steps leading  to whitewashed buildings seen on a trip from Málaga to Granada
A street in Sacramonte, Granada

Taking the train from Málaga to Granada

The good news is the direct train from Málaga to Granada makes the journey in as little as 1 hour 20 minutes. The bad news is that these direct services are infrequent. When I last checked there were only three trains a day.

Indirect trains are also available, requiring a change of train at Antequera Santa Ana. Some of these train itineraries require a long transfer time.

However, you could build Antequera into your Spain itinerary. It has dramatic rock formations, ornate churches, a Moorish fortress and dolmens dating back to 1800 BC.

Train services

Spanish trains are run by the national rail operator Renfe.

Renfe trains are amongst the best in Europe. They are clean and comfortable and have storage spaces for luggage, usually on the racks above your head and at the end of each car. Air-conditioning, free wifi and power sockets usually come as standard.

There are two classes of travel: Standard or Turista (2nd class) and Comfort or Turista Plus (1st class). Within these travel classes, three fare types are on offer on the high-speed AVE trains:

  • Básico (Basic): The cheapest fare for travel in Standard class.
  • Elige (Choice): A semi-flexible fare. You can choose between Elige (2nd Class seat) or Elige Comfort (1st class seat).
  • Premium:  The most flexible fare. For this, you get a Comfort (1st class seat) with the option to add an at-seat meal if available.

In my experience, Standard class on Spanish trains is more than adequate.

Buying train tickets

I recommend booking your train ticket from Málaga to Granada in advance. These are popular destinations and prices usually increase the closer you get to the time of departure.

Booking your train ticket through Renfe, the national rail operator, gets you the best prices. However, the Renfe website can be a little glitchy. On more than one occasion it refused to recognise major destinations for me and it can be a little picky about non-Spanish credit and debit cards.

For a hassle-free experience, I use Omio for Spanish train travel. You will pay a small booking fee but it’s a clear booking engine and a lot less stressful.


Where is the train station in Málaga?

Trains for Granada leave Málaga’s Maria Zambrano station which is located a mile southwest of the Old Town. There is a second station –  Málaga Centro Alameda – but this only serves the C1 line to Fuengirola and the C2 line to Álora.

Where is the train station in Granada?

Granada has a small railway station that is located in Avenida de Andaluces, in the heart of the city. It’s a 20-minute walk from Granada Cathedral on the edge of the Albaicín. 

two people walking down a set of stone steps between pretty whitewashed buildings
The Albaicín in Granada

Taking the bus from Málaga to Granada

Alsa operates frequent bus services between Málaga and Granada. The more direct buses take 90 minutes.

Many of the buses between Málaga and Granada also stop at Málaga Airport.

These buses are very comfortable. A one-way non-flexible fare can cost as little as €8. Expect to pay more for a fully flexible fare.

You can check bus times and book your ticket on Alsa’s website here. I don’t recommend using Omio to book your bus ticket as they only offer the more expensive flexible fares. Alternatively, buy your ticket at the bus station.

Where is the bus station in Málaga?

Málaga bus station is located at P.º de los Tilos, s/n, 29006 Málaga. This is close to Málalga’s main railway station (María Zambrano).

From Málaga’s Historic Centre, it’s a 20-minute walk. If you are setting out from the Soho district it should only take you ten minutes on foot.

Where is the bus station in Granada?

Granada Bus Station is on the Carretera de Jaen, about two miles north of the city centre. You will need to take the number 33 bus from outside the bus station via Gran Via.

Buses leave every 15 minutes and the journey takes between 10 and 15 minutes. You can buy your ticket from the driver.

Driving from Málaga to Granada

For the ultimate convenience and flexibility, drive from Málaga to Granada.

Following the main A92 road, this journey will take you around 1 hour and 30 minutes.

view of the rooftops of granada through keyhole shaped window
The rooftops of Granada

Joining a day tour

For a stress-free day trip to Granada from Málaga, take a day tour.

Someone else takes care of all of the arrangements, you benefit from the knowledge of a local guide and it is affordable. All you have to do is relax and enjoy the day.

Day tours to Granada from Málaga include your tickets to the Alhambra Palace (this is an excellent way to bag a reservation if tickets are sold out on the day that you wish to visit).

There is an added bonus. The loneliness of the solo traveller is a real thing and day tours are one of the best ways of meeting other travellers.

Here are a few day tours from Málaga to Granada that are worth considering:

Granada and the Alhambra from Málaga

This 10-hour tour has been highly rated by other travellers and includes a guided tour of the Alhambra Palace and free time to explore Granada’s old city centre. Tickets for the Nasrid Palaces, Alcazaba and Generalife Gardens are included.


Private Alhambra Tour from Malaga

If you prefer a private tour, this six-hour excursion should tick the boxes. Alhambra entrance fees and a tour with a professional art historian are included.


marble and gilt courtyard at alhambra palace
Patio of the Lions, Alhambra

Find out more!

If you want to discover more about Málaga, take a look at these articles I have written about this sunny city, from what to see to where to stay:

To get the lowdown on Granada, here are a few articles from my most recent visit to this gem of a city:

Happy travels!

bridget coleman the flashpacker 2

About Bridget

Bridget Coleman has been a passionate traveller for more than 30 years. She has visited 70+ countries, most as a solo traveller.

Articles on this site reflect her first-hand experiences.

To get in touch, email her at or follow her on social media.

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