The distance from Madrid to the Costa del Sol region is about 375 miles (604 km). The easiest way to get from Madrid to the Costa del Sol is with a direct, one-hour flight to the transport hub of Malaga. You can also opt to make the six-hour drive, with the possibility of stopping in a number of historic Spanish cities along the way. Train and bus options are also available.

Once you’ve arrived in Malaga, you can travel by private transfer (or bus) to the beach towns on the coast, including Fuengirola, Marbella, and Estepona.

The Costa del Sol is a great place to relax. If you’re looking to explore both Madrid and the Costa del Sol, plus other exciting Spanish destinations like Barcelona and Valencia, you can do that with our family-friendly 15-day or 16-day itineraries.

By Flight

Duration: 1 hour

Flying is the fastest and easiest way to get from Madrid to the Costa del Sol. In order to reach the Costa del Sol, you can fly into Malaga Airport. Malaga is served by frequent direct flights from Madrid, with most fares costing under 100 euros. Flights are operated by Air Iberia and Air Europa.

By High-Speed Train

Duration: 2-3 hours

Spain’s state-owned train operator is called Renfe. Renfe frequently runs high-speed AVE trains from Madrid’s main train station (Puerta de Atocha) to Maria Zambrano Station in Malaga. 

You can buy train tickets at the station, but if you purchase them in advance you'll avoid paying an additional booking fee at the station.

By Private Transfer, Rental Car, or Rideshare

Duration: 6 hours, more with stops

The fastest route from Madrid to the Costa del Sol runs along highway A4, and takes about 6 hours. This route includes tolls—they can be paid via machine using your credit card, or via cash to a tollbooth attendant. If you have time for sightseeing, there are many interesting places you could stop off along the way. Among these are the historic cities of Toledo, Cordoba, and Granada.  

With a private transfer, you can get a ride directly from your hotel in Madrid or from Madrid Airport to your preferred destination on the Costa del Sol. If you prefer to self-drive, a number of major rental car companies exist in Madrid. 

Rideshare companies like BlaBlaCar offer long-distance rides from Madrid to Malaga. If you are staying further along the coast, you may find someone traveling directly to Marbella, or even to one of the smaller resort towns if you are lucky. Prices vary, and be aware of Spanish public holidays when booking your rideshare—this may affect availability.

By Bus

Duration: 6-7 hours

ALSA runs buses every 1-2 hours from Madrid’s Estacion Sur (South Station) to Malaga.

Bus tickets can be purchased on ALSA’s website, or from their ticket office at the station. The online fare usually includes a small processing fee. Booking in advance is recommended, as buses do occasionally sell out.

ALSA buses are typically clean and comfortable, with air conditioning or Wifi sometimes provided onboard.