A Travel Price Comparison for Spain Malaga vs. Barcelona for Food, Nightlife, Music, and Beaches

Should you visit Malaga or Barcelona?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Malaga and Barcelona. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Malaga

Malaga is a friendly, welcoming, and historic port city. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. It's also known for nightlife, live music, and food.

Barcelona

Barcelona is a laid-back, historic, and cultural city. With plenty of activities and things to do, it's a huge city that draws plenty of visitors. You'll find world class beauty here as well. And you can't forget about the shopping, museums, and nightlife.

How is Malaga different from Barcelona?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Is Malaga or Barcelona better for Food?

Both Malaga and Barcelona offer a number of unique restaurants to choose from.

Eating is part of the travel experience when you visit Malaga. Head to any of the local food markets and seafood shops to try local cuisine. Also make sure you try tapas and a filling Andalusian breakfast.

Many restaurants in Barcelona have been singled out for their culinary prowess. With easy access to fresh produce, there are many food markets around town. You'll also find great fresh local dishes at the many restaurants. Make sure you try the paella, croquettes, and Jamon Iberico.


Is Malaga or Barcelona better for Nightlife?

Both Malaga and Barcelona are comparable when it comes to partying.

Malaga is a world class party destination. The city has some of the most active nightlife in Europe. There are plenty of opportunities to party in Malaga and you'll find the most vibrant nightlife in the Centro Historico.

Barcelona is a destination that you simply have to visit at least once for nightlife. The city offers an amazing nightlife at a much more affordable price than many places in Europe. There are beach parties, boat parties, and bars that stay packed late into the night. The city also hosts many street fiestas and music festivals.

Is Malaga or Barcelona better for Music?

Both Malaga and Barcelona offer a variety of live music venues.

The music scene in Malaga is very popular with diverse venues. The city has venues that offer pop, rock, blues, soulful, and more. Some of the most popular include ZZ club, Clarence Jazz Club, and Velvet Club.

Barcelona is a world class music destination. Popular music venues include Tablao de Carmen, Razzmatazz, and Jamboree.

Is Malaga or Barcelona better for Beaches?

Barcelona provides a better beach experience than Malaga.

Barcelona offers stunning beaches that attract visitors from around the world. The city features long sandy beaches where you can soak up the Mediterranean sun right in the heart of town. Popular beaches include Bogatell Beach, Barceloneta Beach, and Nova Icària.

Malaga is a good spot to see the beach. There are some nice beaches around Malaga, but for the best options you'll have to travel further outside of the city.

Is Malaga or Barcelona better for its Old Town?

Visitors enjoy the old town areas in both Malaga and Barcelona.

There are many historical things to see in the old town of Malaga. The city's old town is compact and small, making it a fun place to walk. There are historic buildings, museums, churches, and squares, as well as many restaurants and shops.

The old town of Barcelona is one of the most recognized in the world. Dating back 2,000 years the Gothic Quarter remains a hub of life and activity. It's fun to explore the wandering streets or people watch in one of the plazas. There are also many fascinating boutique shops and restaurants.


Is Malaga or Barcelona better for Shopping?

Barcelona is generally considered to be a more popular shopping destination.

The abundance of shops in Barcelona make it a world-class shopping destination. Head to Portal De L’Angel, Rambla de Catalunya, or Passeig De Gracia for some of the city's best shopping districts.

Malaga is a great destination for shopping. There are a number of shopping areas in the city with both local boutiques and name brands.

Is Malaga or Barcelona better for Families?

Both Malaga and Barcelona are family-friendly destinations.

Malaga is a family-friendly place to visit. The city has castles that you can explore as well as a waterpark.

Barcelona is a very family-friendly place to visit. Check out the Magic Fountains Show near Plaça d’Espanya, wander through the aquarium, or sample some chocolate at the Chocolate Museum. There are also many great parks and playgrounds around town.

Is Malaga or Barcelona better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Both Malaga and Barcelona are popular destinations for backpackers.

With so many budget-friendly offerings, Malaga is extremely popular for backpackers. From an endless supply of hostels to plenty of opportunities to meet other backpackers, this is a very backpacker friendly area.

Barcelona is a mecca for backpackers and budget travelers. There are many hostels around town, each with its own personality. Many of the hostels also organize activities or dinners for guests so it's easy to meet other travelers.

Is Malaga or Barcelona better for Students?

Malaga and Barcelona are both good destinations for students and younger travelers.

Many students visit Malaga. The city has many opportunities to learn Spanish. It's also an affordable city with a young population and a lively atmosphere that appeals to international students.

Barcelona is a very popular port city for students. This is a popular study abroad destination and you'll find international students from around the world. It's a beautiful city with plenty to see and do.


Is Malaga or Barcelona better for Public Transit?

While Malaga and Barcelona both provide public transit, overall the system in Barcelona is considered to be better.

Barcelona has a world-class public transit network to take passengers everywhere in the city. There's a metro, bus, and tram system that navigates the city.

Malaga has a few public transit options. There is an efficient bus system as well as a light metro system.

Is Malaga or Barcelona a more walkable city?

Malaga and Barcelona both are comparable when exploring on foot.

Malaga is a very walkable port city. It has a very compact and walkable historic center with most of the tourist attractions easily accessible on foot.

Barcelona is very walkable. The city is more spread out than some other major European cities, but there are many plazas and outdoor areas that are fun to explore on foot. The city has designed "superilles," which are areas where car traffic has been directed around pedestrian-friendly plazas so visitors can explore, relax, or play.

Malaga and Barcelona: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Good music scene
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Cons
  • Less attractive beach
  • Less popular for shopping
  • Public transit not as usable
Pros
  • Good music scene
  • Popular beach
  • Good for shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good public transit
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty


Should I spend more time in Barcelona or Malaga?

How long in Malaga or Barcelona?

Both Malaga and Barcelona have a number of activities to choose from. You can spend a similar amount of time exploring either.

The ideal length of time for a trip to Malaga is 3-7 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Barcelona is 3-7 days.


  • How many days in Malaga or Barcelona? Ideal Length of Stay
    Malaga 3-7 
    Barcelona 3-7

One day in Malaga or Barcelona?

You'll find nightlife and live music around the port city of Malaga. Visiting the old town is also a must. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Barcelona is a bustling city that offers something for everyone. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

A weekend in Malaga or Barcelona?

You'll find live music and food around the welcoming destination of Malaga. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. A weekend is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. This port city offers a variety of activities to choose from.

Barcelona is a great place to explore. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.


Five days in Malaga or Barcelona?

You'll find food and scuba diving and snorkeling around the beautiful port city of Malaga. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. If you have five days, this port city makes for a great vacation. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. Most people head to the area for the nightlife. Five days should give you a good understanding of everything this port city has to offer.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Barcelona. For many, it makes a great getaway for five days. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. With all of its activities, you can easily fill five days here. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

A week in Malaga or Barcelona?

Malaga is a popular choice for travelers. One week here is typical. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Malaga, one week is sufficent for most. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

Barcelona is a bustling city that offers something for everyone. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. If you have one week, this is a great place to go. This would be the perfect place to spend one week, as it has just the right amount of activities.

Which city is cheaper, Barcelona or Malaga?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Malaga is €106, while the average daily cost in Barcelona is €123. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Malaga and Barcelona in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Malaga 54
    Barcelona 75
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Malaga 108
    Barcelona 150

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Malaga 25
    Barcelona 15

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Malaga

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Malaga:

  • Private Airport Transfer: from Malaga to Malaga Airport (AGP): $17
  • Transfer from Malaga Airport to Costa del Sol Hotels (Any Hotel): $17
  • Transfer from your Hotel to Malaga Airport (Departure Transfer): $17
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Malaga Airport (AGP) to Malaga City Center: $20
  • Private Departure Transfer from Malaga City Center to Malaga Airport (AGP): $20
  • Malaga Airport (AGP) to Malaga - Arrival Private Van Transfer: $20
  • Malaga to Malaga Airport (AGP) - Departure Private Van Transfer: $20
  • Private Airport Transfer: Malaga Airport (AGP) to Malaga: $21
  • Malaga Airport (Costa del Sol) Private Arrival Transfer: $24
  • Malaga Airport (Costa del Sol) Private Departure Transfer: $24
  • Arrival Private Transfer Business Car Malaga airport AGP to Malaga: $26
  • Departure Private Transfer Business Car Malaga City to Malaga airport AGP: $26

Typical Local Transportation prices in Barcelona

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Barcelona are as follows:


  • 10 Trip Metro Ticket
    7.80
  • Airport Bus
    5.00
  • Metro
    2.10

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Barcelona

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Barcelona:

  • Ultra - Barcelona Private Transfer from City Centre to Barcelona Cruise Port: $9.41
  • Ultra - Barcelona Private Transfer from Barcelona Cruise Port to City Centre: $9.41
  • Ultra - Barcelona Private Airport Transfer city centre to El Prat Airport BCN: $9.41
  • Airport Transfers: $20
  • Private Departure Transfer from Barcelona City Center to El-Prat Airport (BCN): $24
  • Private Transfer from Barcelona City to Barcelona Airport: $27
  • Barcelona Airport Transfers: $27
  • Barcelona Airport Transfer: $28
  • Private Transfer from Bcn City Centre to Bcn Cruise Terminal: $29
  • Barcelona Private Transfer from City Centre to Cruise Terminal: $29
  • Private Transfer from Barcelona City Centre to Barcelona Cruise Terminal: $29
  • Barcelona Private Transfer from City Centre to Cruise Terminal: $29

Is it cheaper to fly into Malaga or Barcelona?

Prices for flights to both Barcelona and Malaga change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Malaga 27
    Barcelona 27
Typical Food prices in Malaga

Some typical examples of dining costs in Malaga are as follows:


  • Breakfast for 2
    8.00

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Malaga

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Malaga.

  • Sardines Espetos Cooking Workshop: $73
  • Malaga Food Tour - Do Eat Better Experience: $86
  • Sardines On Skewers Cooking Class in Malaga: $111
  • Malaga Sunset Cruise and Restaurant Dinner: $112
  • Málaga Swim Cruise with Tapas Dinner and Flamenco Show: $128
  • Malaga Catamaran Cruise with BBQ Lunch and Port Restaurant Dinner: $146
  • Malaga Market Visit and Cooking Class in Malaga Countryside House: $149

Typical Food prices in Barcelona

Some typical examples of dining costs in Barcelona are as follows:


  • Hot Cocoa & Churro
    4.15
  • Sandwich
    1.70
  • Baguette & Horchata
    3.80
  • Tapas on the beach
    8.28
  • Gelatto
    2.50

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Barcelona

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Barcelona.

  • Live from Potato Gnocchi Online Cooking Class: $23
  • Live from Barcelona to China: Potato Gnocchi Online Cooking Class: $23
  • Barcelona organic dinner in a beautiful rooftop garden: $35
  • Paella Cooking Experience + Boqueria Market Tour: $48
  • Interactive Spanish Cooking Experience in Barcelona: $49
  • Hands-on Brunch Cooking Class with Bottomless Mimosas!: $50
  • Born district food tour and tasting in Barcelona: $51
  • Street Food Tour & Gothic Quater Sightseeing with Local Expert: $52
  • Barcelona Street Food Tour: Local Market & Gothic Quarter with Expert Guide: $52
  • Tasty Barcelona Street Food Tour With Local Market Visit: $59
  • Skip the Line: Flamenco Show and Dinner Ticket: $62
  • 2-Hour Bites & Flavors Private Food Tour: $66

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Malaga 25
    Barcelona 27
Typical Entertainment prices in Malaga

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Malaga are as follows:


  • Entrance to Castillos
    7.10
  • Concert
    31

Tours and Activities in Malaga

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Malaga are as follows:

  • Alcazaba de Málaga and Teatro Romano Walking Tour in Spanish: $4.98
  • Skip the Line: Picasso's Birthplace Museum Entrance Ticket: $4.98
  • Walking Tour of Malaga's Historic Center: $7.46
  • Skip the Line: Centre Pompidou in Malaga Ticket: $11
  • Skip the Line: Museo Picasso Malaga Entrance Ticket: $11
  • Museo Carmen Thyssen de Malaga Entrance Ticket: $12
  • Skip the Line: Malaga Automobile and Fashion Museum Entrance Ticket: $14
  • 1.5-Hour Roman Theater and Alcazaba Castle Walking Tour: $16
  • Skip-the-Line Malaga Cathedral Tickets with Tour: $18
  • Malaga Segway Castle Tour: $22
  • Adventure City Game with Augmented Reality: $23
  • Fast and Curious segway tour (30min): $26

Typical Entertainment prices in Barcelona

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Barcelona are as follows:


  • Picasso Walking Tour and Museum Pass
    42
  • Souvenir Gaudi Book
    8.55
  • Admission to Museo Picasso
    6.00

Tours and Activities in Barcelona

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Barcelona are as follows:

  • A Culinary Audio Tour of El Born by VoiceMap: $5.50
  • Self-Guided Tour with Over 100 Sights: $5.67
  • Private Barcelona Ghost Tour: Gothic Quarter Exploration Game: $7.45
  • Museu de la Xocolata Admission Ticket: $7.46
  • History Museum of Catalonia Skip-The-Line Ticket: $9.08
  • Skip the Line: Erotic Museum of Barcelona Admission Ticket with free souvenir: $9.95
  • Skip the Line: Human Bodies - Entrance to the exhibition Ticket: $9.95
  • Skip the Line: History Museum of Catalonia & Rooftop Access Ticket: $9.95
  • Guided Tour at Catalonia's Royal Academy of Medicine: $10
  • Guided Tour at Barcelona's Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts: $10
  • IDEAL Frida Kahlo, the Life of an Icon Ticket: $10
  • Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum Entry Ticket: $10

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Malaga 18
    Barcelona 14

Sample the Local Flavors in Malaga

Also in Malaga, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Malaga Nightlife - Pub Crawl Tour with Skip-the-line Club Access: $26
  • Frigiliana Small-Group Hike and Wine Tasting Tour from Malaga: $49
  • Muscatel Winery Tour and Wine Tastings from Malaga: $75
  • Malaga Tapas and Wine Tour: $81
  • Flamenco, Tapas and Wine Tour: BEST OF Málaga in one evening!: $108
  • Private Ronda Wine Tour with Tapas Including a Visit to Ronda: $404
  • Ronda Private Full Day Wine Tour with Tapas: $406
  • Malaga Shore Excursion: Panoramic Buggy Tour with Wine Tasting in a Historical Cellar: $481

Sample the Local Flavors in Barcelona

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Barcelona:

  • Estrella Damm Brewery Guided Tour with Tasting: $9.08
  • Generation Pub Crawl in Barcelona: $19
  • Barcelona Pub Crawl: $20
  • Wine Tasting Experience in Barcelona: $22
  • Opera Samfaina: Food and Wine Tasting Interactive Experience in Barcelona: $26
  • Wine tasting & tapas: $39
  • Barcelona Guided Local Wine Tasting Tour: $44
  • Wine Tasting near Sagrada Familia: $47
  • Home Food and Wine Tasting with Wine Lover: $51
  • Fun Wine Tasting in Barcelona with a Sommelier!: $53
  • Spanish wine tasting in a historic building with a Sommelier: $54
  • Food Tasting Tapas and Wine Tour: $62


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Malaga and Barcelona, we can see that Barcelona is more expensive. And not only is Malaga much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Malaga would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Malaga and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Barcelona would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Barcelona than you might in Malaga.

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Malaga vs. Barcelona Travel Comparison

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