Marbella is a very easy place to reach from across Europe and the rest of the world. As a leading tourist destination, Marbella and the rest of the Costa del Sol is well served by a range of budget and premium airlines, with regular flights coming in from across the globe.
The main international airport for Marbella and the Costa del Sol is Malaga airport. This is a large airport which saw over 15 million international passengers come through in 2022 and boasts 256 routes. Malaga airport is just over 50km away from central Marbella and the journey takes around 30 minutes by car.
However, if the flights or times don’t suit you to travel into Malaga, you have four other airports to choose from to reach Marbella. Gibraltar airport is just over 77 km from central Marbella and takes just over an hour by car. A little further afield you have Granada airport 166 km away from Marbella center and an hour and a half drive, Jerez airport 180 km away and Seville airport just over 200km away. All these airports are viable options to travel into Marbella for your next holiday. In this article, we’ll be telling you everything you need to know about each airport to make your next trip a breeze.
Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport (AGP)
Malaga Airport is the gateway to the Costa del Sol and the third busiest airport in Spain. It is also the closest airport to Marbella by some way, just 50.3km away from central Marbella. When you’re looking at flight options to travel to Marbella, Malaga airport is definitely a good place to start.
It had a record year in 2023, with nearly 21 million people using the airport between January and November, jetting in from across Spain and the rest of the world. There are frequent flights and numerous routes into Malaga and the most popular routes come from the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, France and Italy. With over 250 routes available, you’re unlikely not to find a convenient option between where you live and Malaga airport!
The airport has some great shops, bars and restaurants to enjoy, if you have some time to kill. There’s also a service for anyone with reduced mobility to offer assisted traveling through the airport. Please note that you need to request this at least 48 hours before you fly and you can find out all the details of how to do that on the AENA website.
Traveling between Malaga airport and Marbella is very easy, whether you want to use public transport, or fly and drive. There are regular, direct buses from Malaga airport into Marbella bus station, which are a very affordable option. These work really well if your flight arrives after 8am and before 10pm, as there are one or two buses per hour during those times. Tickets can be bought just outside arrivals, from a central ticket office, or online. You can check times and book tickets on the Avanza bus website.
There are also taxis at the airport and you can organize a private airport transfer, so you have a driver waiting for you at arrivals, ready to whisk you directly to your vacation rental in Marbella. We can arrange your private transfer for you. Get in touch with us to book by emailing email@example.com or calling +34 951 386 045.
There are also Bolt and Uber services available on the Costa del Sol, but they are limited, so not as convenient as in other parts of the world.
If you’re holidaying in Malaga city, Torremolinos, Benalmadena or Fuengirola, you also have the option to take the train, but unfortunately the train line doesn’t extend as far as Marbella yet.
If you’re planning to hire a car, there are seven hire car companies operating out of Malaga airport. But please note there has been a shortage of hire cars in recent years, so we’d definitely advise booking your car before you leave and then picking it up from the airport on your arrival. You can book a hire car on our website.
Gibraltar International Airport (GIB)
The second closest airport to Marbella is Gibraltar International Airport, at just over an hour’s drive. It is a much smaller airport, but is still a very popular option with tourists visiting the Costa del Sol. 2023 was a good year for Gibraltar Airport as well, with an 8% increase in passengers in the first half of the year through commercial airlines, plus the highest number of private aircraft in its history. Currently, you can fly into Gibraltar from Bristol, London Gatwick, London Heathrow and Manchester.
Gibraltar Airport is 77.4km away from central Marbella and so is a good option if flight times coming into Malaga don’t suit you. It is also very popular with visitors to the Western Costa del Sol, such as Sotogrande and Estepona. If you’re booking a vacation rental in Estepona, then Gibraltar Airport is particularly interesting, as it’s under 50km away.
If you fly into Gibraltar Airport, you can also take the opportunity to visit this fascinating place, as part of your holiday in Marbella. It’s a very interesting place, with a unique cultural identity and some excellent things to do and see. This British enclave features British policemen and the classic red telephone boxes and post boxes, with a great climate, duty free shopping and a blend of Spanish and British cultures. Some of the highlights of a day trip to Gibraltar are; visiting the caves, taking a tour of the World War 2 Tunnels and riding the cable car to the top of the Rock to experience amazing views and get up close to the famous Barbary macaques who call the place home.
If you arrive at Gibraltar Airport and want to travel to the Costa del Sol, the best thing to do is to cross over the border on foot and then continue your journey from the Spanish side. It’s only a short walk across the border. You can have a taxi or private transfer pick you up from the Spanish side of the border, or you can rent a car, either from Gibraltar, or from La Linea in Spain.
There is also a bus service from La Linea Bus Station to Marbella Bus Station which starts at 7.45am and ends at 8.30pm, with buses every hour, apart from 1 and 2pm and 5 and 6pm.
Federico García Lorca Granada-Jaén Airport (GRX)
While Granada’s airport is certainly not the closest to Marbella, it does have its advantages!
Granada’s airport is a good option if you are flying into Marbella from the rest of Spain and you want to take the opportunity to visit the Alhambra. There are a total of nine destinations served by this airport, including Barcelona, Bilbao and Madrid in Spain, Palma in Mallorca and Tenerife. The only non-Spanish destination is Paris.
The airport is under 30 km from the famous Alhambra, a stunning example of Moorish architecture, with beautiful gardens. It’s the most visited monument in Spain and so if it’s on your bucket list, you can roll it into your holiday to Marbella, by flying into Granada and then hiring a car.
It is 166 km from Granada airport to Marbella center and it will take you just over an hour and a half to drive.
Jerez Airport (XRY)
Jerez Airport is 180 km from central Marbella and takes around two hours to drive. Obviously, this is not particularly close, but if you want to visit the home of sherry as part of your trip to Marbella, it could be a good option.
There are flights from Barcelona, Gran Canaria, Madrid, Palma and Tenerife into Jerez. Some of our holiday rental guests who are planning a multi-centre holiday to explore Spain, find Jerez a convenient airport to choose.
Jerez has a number of amazing sherry producers which you can visit, as well as some incredible flamenco shows, and a vibrant, beautiful and historic center. It is also close to Cadiz, so it’s easy to visit both towns on your way to Marbella.
This airport is also a good choice if you want to explore the beautiful beaches between Cadiz and the Costa del Sol and make the most of this stunning Atlantic coast.
Hiring a car from Jerez airport is the only way to travel to Marbella. Hiring a car also gives you the most flexibility to explore the beautiful area between Jerez and Marbella. You can hire a car on our website.
Seville Airport (SVQ)
Seville Airport is an international airport, with 70 destinations covered, which handled 6.7 million passengers in 2022 and is in the top 10 busiest airports in Spain. It is over 200 km from Seville Airport to Marbella, so not exactly close. However, if you’re traveling from Europe and North Africa and want to explore one of the most famous cities in Andalucia, then Seville could be a good option.
Seville is a beautiful city, full of culture and history. It is famous for its Easter celebrations and April feria, which is a celebration of flamenco and a really amazing party. There are lots of historic buildings and beautiful architecture, a great tapas scene and of course plenty of great places to see flamenco dancing. Even the horses dance in Seville and that’s quite a sight!
You’ll need to hire a car to get from Seville to Marbella and it will take you around 2 and a half hours to get there. You can drive via an inland route to enjoy the stunning countryside, or via the coastal route to visit the towns of Jerez and Cadiz, and the beautiful seaside towns along the Atlantic coast, such as Chiclana, Conil and the surfing mecca of Tarifa. That’s certainly not the quickest route, but it’s a beautiful drive and there are some wonderful places along the way.
Another interesting transport option is to arrive in Marbella by helicopter. You can fly into Marbella’s Heliport, which is located in Nueva Andalucia’s golf valley. This is really close to central Marbella and Puerto Banus and a great way to arrive in style from short haul destinations.
We hope this has helped you to plan your journey to Marbella.
Wherever you’re traveling from, Vacation Marbella can help organize private transfers and car hire for you, to make arriving in Marbella a breeze. Check out our guest services section to find out more about how we can make your holiday to Marbella even more special, or contact us to discuss your needs and let us help you find the perfect holiday rental.