A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Portimao vs. Malaga for Nightlife, Beaches, Families, and Couples

Should you visit Portimao or Malaga?

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 Portimao and Malaga. 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.

Portimao

Portimao is a dramatic, active, and scenic coastal city. You'll find world class beauty here as well. And you can't forget about the nightlife, scuba diving and snorkeling, and beaches.

Malaga

Malaga is a friendly, welcoming, and historic port city. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. Other popular activities here include live music, food, and scuba diving and snorkeling.

Portimao and Malaga: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Impressive beauty
Cons
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Less walkable
Pros
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Very walkable
  • Impressive beauty
Cons
  • Less attractive beach
  • Less family-friendly
  • Less popular with couples


How is Portimao different from Malaga?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Malaga and Portimao. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Is Portimao or Malaga better for Nightlife?

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

Portimao offers plenty to do in the evening. The city's nightlife scene is mostly found around Praia da Rocha. It's a compact area that makes it easy to hop from bar to bar on foot. Particularly during the summer months you'll find plenty of parties and all night activities that draw a crowd. Sunset boat parties are also a popular activity in the area.

Malaga has a colorful and one-of-a-kind nightlife scene. 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.

Portimao
Malaga


Is Portimao or Malaga better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

You'll find places where you can go scuba diving or snorkeling in Portimao and Malaga.

There are many scuba diving and snorkeling spots near Portimao. The best water conditions are during the summer months but this is also when the beaches are crowded and swimmers can kick up a lot of sand. There are a variety of vendors where you can book snorkeling or diving trips in the area.

Malaga has a few good snorkeling spots. Water temperatures are mild enough for diving or snorkeling near Malaga. For the best diving, head to Cala del Canuelo Beach. Closer by, Penon del Cuervo Beach offers diving and snorkeling as well.

Portimao
Malaga

Is Portimao or Malaga better for Beaches?

Portimao provides a better beach experience than Malaga.

Portimao offers stunning beaches that attract visitors from around the world. The stunning beaches are a major draw to the area. They are sandy and feature a backdrop of dramatic red cliffs. The most popular beach in town is Praia da Rocha, which can get crowded during the summer months, but it is quite large so you should still be able to find a spot. The strip behind the beach is lined with shops, bars, restaurants, and a casino. If you want to avoid some of the crowds you can make the walk down to Praia do Vau. Families often enjoy Praia de Alvor, which has a boardwalk that leads to Ria de Alvor nature reserve.

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.

Portimao
Malaga

Is Portimao or Malaga better for Shopping?

Both Portimao and Malaga are good shopping destinations.

Many visitors go to Portimao to go shopping. It's the second largest city in the Algarve so you'll find several large and modern shopping centers including Aqua Portimão.

Plenty of visitors enjoy shopping while in Malaga. There are a number of shopping areas in the city with both local boutiques and name brands.

Portimao
Malaga

Is Portimao or Malaga better for Families?

Families may find more to do in Portimao than Malaga.

With a huge array of activities for kids, Portimao is very family-friendly. Kids will love the wide range of activities available near Portimao. They can kayak through caves, see an underwater world snorkeling, learn to surf, visit waterparks, explore nature parks, and more. There are activities that the whole family can enjoy, making this stretch of coastline the perfect option for those traveling with kids.

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

Portimao
Malaga


Is Portimao or Malaga better for Couples?

While Malaga and Portimao are both popular destinations, overall Portimao is considered to be a more popular choice.

Portimao is fantastic couple's destination with fun and romantic activities. This beautiful stretch of coastline offers unique beaches and stunning outdoor activities. It makes a wonderful honeymoon destination for couples who enjoy adventure, pampering, and romantic resorts. There are great restaurants as well as places to relax or activities for thrill seekers.

Malaga is a nice destination for couples. It has a beautiful coastline and a rich history that makes it unique.

Portimao
Malaga

Is Portimao or Malaga better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

While Portimao and Malaga are both good for backpackers, overall Malaga is more popular.

Malaga is a very popular port city to visit for backpackers. From an endless supply of hostels to plenty of opportunities to meet other backpackers, this is a very backpacker friendly area.

Plenty of backpackers visit Portimao. Most people think of high end resorts when they think of the Mediterranean coast, but there are a couple of hostels available for backpackers. You should also consider transportation options. While buses are available, many visitors prefer to have access to a car so they can experience the outlying regions. The good news is the area in general is not particularly expensive so you can enjoy a touch of luxury at a lower cost.

Portimao
Malaga

Is Portimao or Malaga better for Public Transit?

Both Portimao and Malaga offer public transit options.

Public transit is generally limited in Portimao. There are local buses around town but many routes don't run on weekends.

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

Portimao
Malaga

Is Portimao or Malaga a more walkable city?

Malaga is more walkable than Portimao.

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

Portimao is generally not a very walkable coastal city. While there are some nice walks along the coastline, the city is fairly large and spread out with many resorts located far from the center of town.

Portimao
Malaga


Should I spend more time in Malaga or Portimao?

How long in Portimao or Malaga?

Both Portimao and Malaga have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Malaga than Portimao.

The ideal length of time for a trip to Portimao is 2-4 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Malaga is 3-7 days.


  • How many days in Portimao or Malaga? Ideal Length of Stay
    Portimao 2-4 
    Malaga 3-7

One day in Portimao or Malaga?

Many travelers enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling and shopping when visiting the destination of Portimao. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

The beautiful port city of Malaga offers shopping and nightlife. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

A weekend in Portimao or Malaga?

Portimao is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. Don't miss the beaches, as that's what most people do. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Malaga is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring. Take your pick from the many activities offered around the area.

Five days in Portimao or Malaga?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Portimao. Don't miss the beaches, as that's what most people do. Most people come for the beaches. Five days may feel like too much time here unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Malaga is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. It's no surprise that nightlife is why people visit. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Malaga, five days is sufficent for most. The entire area has lots to do.

A week in Portimao or Malaga?

Travelers enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling and shopping when visiting the stunning destination of Portimao. This coastal city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

Malaga is a great place to explore. It's no surprise that nightlife is why people visit. It is common to spend one week here. Visiting the old town is also a must. One week is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Malaga has to offer. This port city offers something for everyone.

Which city is cheaper, Malaga or Portimao?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Portimao is €121, while the average daily cost in Malaga is €106. 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 Portimao and Malaga in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Portimao 62
    Malaga 54
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Portimao 124
    Malaga 108
Compare Hotels in Portimao and Malaga

Looking for a hotel in Portimao or Malaga? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Portimao


Hotels in Malaga


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Portimao 30
    Malaga 25

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Portimao

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Portimao:

  • Transfer Portimão - Alamos Golf (Portimão) Pending: $36
  • Transfer Praia da Rocha - Alamos Golf (Portimão): $36
  • Transfer Portimão - Alto Golf Pestana (Alvor): $36
  • Transfer Praia da Rocha - Alto Golf Pestana (Alvor): $36
  • Faro Shared Transfer to or from Portimão: $38
  • Faro Private Transfer to or from Portimão: $44
  • Transfer Portimão - Boavista Golf (Lagos): $52
  • Transfer Praia da Rocha - Boavista Golf (Lagos): $52
  • Transfer Portimão - Balaia Golf (Albufeira): $62
  • Transfer Praia da Rocha - Balaia Golf (Albufeira): $66
  • Faro Airport Private Transfer to or from Portimão/Praia da Rocha: $88
  • Airport Transfer: $94

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

Is it cheaper to fly into Portimao or Malaga?

Prices for flights to both Malaga and Portimao 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
    Portimao 36
    Malaga 27

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Portimao

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

  • Portimão - Food Tour: $96

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

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Portimao 33
    Malaga 25

Tours and Activities in Portimao

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

  • 2 Hours Portimão Walking Tour: $20
  • Benagil Caves Tours: $25
  • 1 Hour - Express tour to Benagil Cave: $28
  • Tour to Benagil caves and others: $31
  • Morning Caves Expedition Tour from Portimao: $35
  • Benagil Boat Tour with Local Guide: $35
  • Benagil Caves Tour from Portimao: $37
  • Sunset Benagil Tour - relax your vacations: $37
  • Benagil Cave and Marinha Beach Boat Tour from Portimao: $37
  • 2.5-Hour Cruise to Benagil Caves From Portimão: $37
  • Magical Benagil Cave Cruise: $38
  • Algarve Jeep Safari tours: $38

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

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Portimao 24
    Malaga 18

Sample the Local Flavors in Portimao

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Portimao:

  • Portimão & Carvoeiro: Algarve Wine Tour in a VW T2 Van: $57
  • Algarve Wine Tour of Two Wine Estates: $72
  • Algarve wine tour of two wine estates and lunch at hystorical town of Silves: $112
  • Algarve Wine Tour and Mountain Discovery With Lunch at Mountain Top: $144
  • Alentejo Wine Tour from the Algarve: $207

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


When comparing the travel costs between Portimao and Malaga, we can see that Portimao is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in Europe, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.


When is the best time to visit Portimao or Malaga?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Portimao or Malaga in the Summer?

Both Malaga and Portimao are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. The summer months attract visitors to Portimao because of the beaches, snorkeling, and the family-friendly experiences. Also, the beaches, snorkeling, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Malaga this time of year.

In July, Portimao is generally around the same temperature as Malaga. Temperatures in Portimao average around 25°C (78°F), and Malaga stays around 25°C (77°F).

In July, Portimao usually receives less rain than Malaga. At this time of the year, Portimao gets 1 mm (0 in) of rain, while Malaga receives 2 mm (0.1 in) of rain.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Portimao 25°C (78°F) 
    Malaga 25°C (77°F)

Should I visit Portimao or Malaga in the Autumn?

Both Malaga and Portimao during the autumn are popular places to visit. The shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to Portimao this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Malaga for the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area.

Portimao is around the same temperature as Malaga in the autumn. The temperature in Portimao is usually 19°C (67°F) in October, and Malaga stays around 19°C (67°F).

Portimao usually gets more rain in October than Malaga. Portimao gets 67 mm (2.6 in) of rain, while Malaga receives 54 mm (2.1 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Portimao 19°C (67°F) 
    Malaga 19°C (67°F)

Should I visit Portimao or Malaga in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Portimao and Malaga. Many travelers come to Portimao for the shopping scene. Also, many visitors come to Malaga in the winter for the shopping scene and the cuisine.

In the winter, Portimao is around the same temperature as Malaga. Typically, the winter temperatures in Portimao in January are around 11°C (52°F), and Malaga is about 12°C (54°F).

In January, Portimao usually receives around the same amount of rain as Malaga. At this time of the year, Portimao gets 78 mm (3.1 in) of rain, while Malaga receives 83 mm (3.3 in) of rain.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Portimao 11°C (52°F) 
    Malaga 12°C (54°F)

Should I visit Portimao or Malaga in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Portimao as well as Malaga. Many visitors come to Portimao in the spring for the beaches and the natural beauty. Also, most visitors come to Malaga for the beaches and the natural beauty during these months.

In April, Portimao is generally around the same temperature as Malaga. Temperatures in Portimao average around 15°C (60°F), and Malaga stays around 16°C (60°F).

Portimao usually gets around the same amount of rain in April as Malaga. Portimao gets 38 mm (1.5 in) of rain, while Malaga receives 40 mm (1.6 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Portimao 15°C (60°F) 
    Malaga 16°C (60°F)

Typical Weather for Malaga and Portimao

Portimao Malaga
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 11°C (52°F) 78 mm (3.1 in) 12°C (54°F) 83 mm (3.3 in)
Feb 12°C (54°F) 72 mm (2.8 in) 13°C (55°F) 75 mm (3 in)
Mar 14°C (56°F) 39 mm (1.5 in) 14°C (57°F) 59 mm (2.3 in)
Apr 15°C (60°F) 38 mm (1.5 in) 16°C (60°F) 40 mm (1.6 in)
May 19°C (65°F) 21 mm (0.8 in) 19°C (66°F) 24 mm (0.9 in)
Jun 23°C (73°F) 8 mm (0.3 in) 22°C (72°F) 13 mm (0.5 in)
Jul 25°C (78°F) 1 mm (0 in) 25°C (77°F) 2 mm (0.1 in)
Aug 26°C (78°F) 4 mm (0.2 in) 25°C (78°F) 5 mm (0.2 in)
Sep 24°C (75°F) 14 mm (0.6 in) 23°C (74°F) 15 mm (0.6 in)
Oct 19°C (67°F) 67 mm (2.6 in) 19°C (67°F) 54 mm (2.1 in)
Nov 15°C (58°F) 86 mm (3.4 in) 15°C (60°F) 115 mm (4.5 in)
Dec 12°C (53°F) 94 mm (3.7 in) 13°C (55°F) 102 mm (4 in)


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Portimao vs. Malaga Travel Comparison

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