Book your hire car with Gomarbella & Spain now and Then

Thursday, 31 December 2009

Hire Car from Malaga train station to Marriotts Marbella

Dave wrote to me:

Hi Mike,

I am going to Marriotts Marbella tomorrow December 26th. I am flying from Singapore to Barcelona and travelling by train to Malaga. I have a few questions:

1. I want to rent a car at the Malaga train station. How far is the train station from Malaga Airport?

2. Do you have directions from Malaga train station to Marriotts Marbella by car?

I also need also information such as:

a) Do I need pay a ticket for car rental when I go out of Malaga train station in my hire car?
b) How do I fill up in gas stations, is it self service or there is an operator?

3). I will arrive in Malaga around 8 pm, is it safe to drive at night?
That's all the information I need.
Thanking you in advance.
Best regard, Dave

I wrote back to Dave

Hello Dave

First of all Happy Christmas. It's 8pm on Christmas Day, the 25th will be over by now for you in Singapore.
1) Malaga train station is approximately 13kms from Malaga airport.

2) I checked on Google Maps, driving directions putting in Malaga Train Station as point of departure and Marriotts Marbella as the destination and if you take the A7 then the AP7 toll road (around 4 euros) it is 49kms and if you follow the A7 all the way it is 55kms. I would take the second option because you just stay on the A7 and you don't have to leave it to get on the toll road (AP7) and then get back onto the A7. To get to Marriotts Marbella it is less complicated.

It is very wet and black night at the moment and I think it would be a good idea to add a GPS onto your car hire option especially as you will be driving at night. Remember if you haven't done it already, you can book a car at a very reasonable price through the Gomarbella car hire section and pick it up from Malaga train station. As soon as you book I will get an email confirmation.

a) Leaving Malaga train station with a hire car you won't need to pay anything. You will be given a ticket or a code to pass through the barrier.

b) About 95% of the gas stations in the province of Malaga are self service. Be careful you are putting petrol in, gasolina, or diesel, gasoil, depending on what your hire care uses. Your tank should be full. When you are putting in fuel after 10pm at night, most fuel pumps in Spain are in Prepago which means Prepayment. You need to tell the cashier how much you are putting in and pay before you refuel the car.

3) I don't think the roads will be very busy at that time of the evening, probably about 9pm by the time you get on the road, but take care if it is raining and just drive slowly. Remember my GPS recommendation and bring this street address with you.

Marriotts Marbella address is:

Marriotts Marbella Beach Resort
Calle de Cádiz, KM 193
29604 Marbella

Tel: 952 76 96 00

Get the hire car office to set up the GPS and programme it with the destination.

I hope you have a good stay David, thanks for your contact and best wishes

(By the way, if you are planning to use local buses from Marriots Marbella this link might be useful.)

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

A Weekend in Oporto

Before setting off on a car trip from Marbella I like to walk out onto the terrace with my TomTom to check the distance and how long it will take.

This time however, on my journey to Oporto in northern Portugal my departure point was Malaga airport where I had just arrived back from London. My wife picked me up from the far end of the first floor departure level, a very easy collection point in the late afternoon and we set off to spend the first night in Sevilla in the conveniently situated Los Bormujos apartments on the Portugal side of Sevilla.

The distance from Marbella to Oporto is 956 kms and 9hrs 30min but from Malaga airport it took 2hrs 20 mins to the other side of Sevilla that evening and then an unhurried 9 hours the next day into Portugal through the Algarve and then turning north up the excellent IP1 highway running from south to north.

The service areas up the IP1 toll road are cleaner and better maintained than in Spain and the food is excellent. The only toll on the journey was from the Algarve all the way to Oporto and this worked out at just under €30 each way. Money really well spent.

Our TomTom miraculously took us right into the heart of Oporto to the very door of the Villa Gale Hotel. We missed the hotel's underground parking entrance and had to do a circuit but once we had located the sign it was easy.

The highlight of the trip for us was meeting up with our friends, Paul and Wendy Wright. They had flown into Vigo in Spain an hour to the north a few days earlier, hiring a car through gomarbella car hire at Vigo airport and then driven down to meet us in Oporto.

We had a quick look around Oporto, taking in a red open bus tour and a boat trip on the River Douro. It's a most interesting city, too much to take in on such a short stay but we'll go back perhaps in February to have a better look around. The picture you see is looking back towards the city. Our Vila Galé hotel is up and over the skyline across the River Douro.

It took us 11 hours to get back to Marbella. Despite being the beginning of October it was hot and we stopped often to rest. The next time we go back there I am thinking of taking the high speed AVE train from Malaga to Madrid and then flying with Ryanair to Oporto. The February 2010 flight to Oporto from Madrid shows up as costing €2.99 taxes and all! Join us?

Monday, 5 October 2009

Car Hire Vigo Airport

Paul Wright wrote in with account of his experience using the gomarbella car hire picking up his rental car from Vigo airport in the north of Spain.

We booked our hire car using the easy 3 step booking facility on your website and were pleased to find a very reasonably priced option with Alamo Car hire at just £16 per day! On arrival at Vigo airport last week, the car hire kiosk was easily located just outside the arrivals exit and the staff were very friendly and helpful. The car was located a short distance from the main terminal in a multi storey car park.

We were very pleased with the 'budget' range car especially as it was a brand new, sleek black Seat Ibiza TDI. Apparently the largest of the 'small' cars we had selected. It was very sporty and, being diesel, very economical too! A small car with a very big feel! I am pleased that we decided to opt for a SatNav as that made driving in Spain and Portugal so much easier. I would recommend anyone to go to the extra expense as it makes life so much easier and our drive in to Vigo was a very pleasant experience as we could enjoy the fantastic views without having to worry about finding our way!

We booked a hotel in the old town of Vigo near the Port and had a wonderful holiday there. Our plan was to make short excursions each day to various places of interest in Galicia. The most interesting was of course Santiago de Compostelo - about 90 minutes drive from Vigo in our hire car. We took the coastal road and stopped at various small towns along the way. The seafood was delicious!

Towards the end of our trip we decided to go a little further afield by driving to Porto in Portugal. Suprisingly this was not as far as we thought using the motorway and we arrived within just an hour and a half. What a great time we had in that colourful city located on the edge of the River Duoro.

We returned our hire car without incident although I should mention that Vigo airport is a little confusing. Hire cars need to be returned to the other side of the airport to the public car parking. One needs to look out for the signs at the main roundabout by the entrance and take the correct exit. The hire cars are located at the next exit to the main public car park entrance and, although its clearly signposted, you do need to look out for it!

Footnote: Paul Wright is a good friend of ours and runs a successful online jewellery sales company. For great designs at very reasonable prices and a first class service try him! We buy his jewellery and he hires his cars through Gomarbella! Paul and his wife Wendy drove down to meet us in Oporto, we had driven up through Portugal to see them.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Calahonda Bus Stops

Kathleen: (June) "I wonder if you can help us. We will be arriving in Malaga airport in September. Can you please advise which will be the best way to get to Club Marbella apartments in Sitio de Calahonda as we are not sure about train and bus travel on the Costa del Sol? Thanks a lot."

Mike: (June) "Hi Kathleen, thank you for writing in to Gomarbella.

The quickest and easiest way to get to Club Marbella in Calahonda from Malaga airport is to take the train from the Malaga airport train stop to Fuengirola train station. There are three trains every hour and the train timetable hardly varies all year round.

The Fuengirola bus station is only 200 metres away from the Fuengirola train station and you can then take the bus which travels between Fuengirola to Marbella and get off at the Calahonda bus stop.

You will find information here about the Fuengirola bus station and check here for information about all the bus stops between Fuengirola and Marbella and also a schedule for that bus service. You will see the Calahonda stop on the list.

Club Marbella is in Calahonda just under a kilometer from the main road. Coming from Fuengirola you must get off at the first of the three Calahonda bus stops . This is the main entrance to the Calahonda urbanisation and right next to the main road there is a taxi rank. Club Marbella Crown Resort is at the top of a long hill which stretches up from the main road and I recommend you treat yourself to a minimum taxi fare to arrive cool and collected at the resort Reception!

Check out the above Kathleen, look at the timings and please let me know if I can help at all with any questions you might have. Best wishes from Marbella and I look forward to hearing from you. Mike"

(June) "Hi Mike, Thank you so much for your reply, which is most helpful. I will contact you nearer to our departure date to see if you have been able to sort out the bus stops. In the meantime, thank you again for your prompt reply, Kath"

Kathleen: (August) "Hello again Mike, As we shall be arriving at Malaga in a couple of weeks time, I wondered if you had been able to find anything more about the correct bus stop nearest to Club Marbella. Kath"

Mike: (September) "Hi Kath I went out on my motorbike yesterday to have a close look at the Calahonda bus stops which I must have passed a 1000 times in the last 30 years.

If you look at the picture above you will see the taxi rank at the main entrance to Calahonda. I took this picture from the pedestrian bridge over the A7. The Calahonda main bus stop is actually just to the left of the picture, just after the pedestrian bridge. The red car is travelling towards Marbella and the sea is behind me.

The main Calahonda bus stop is the next one after the Doña Lola Macdonalds stop travelling from Fuengirola towards Marbella. When the bus stops at the Doña Lola bus stop, start moving to the exit and press the stop request bell. It was called Las Postas but in fact now, on the new bus shelters at the bus stops between Fuengirola and Marbella most of the names have been removed!

From the Doña Lola stop, if you look at the curve of the road going towards Marbella, the main Calahonda stop is just around the curve to the right.

Hope this helps you Kath, let me know how things go. Best wishes from Marbella, Mike"

Footnote: Saturday 26th September.

Kath: Hi Mike, We have just returned from Calahonda where we had a super holiday. We found the bus service really good to and from Fuengirola train station and also made our own way to Marbella for a day trip, then on to Puerto Banus by boat. Thank you, again, for your help. Kath

Mike: Thank you very much Kath for taking the trouble to write back and let me know how things worked out. I am going to dedicate this page to you because thanks to your contacts, I am sure that it will help other bus travellers to Calahonda. Here's to your next visit!

PS: You can now do online bus ticket reservations through the gomarbella reservation system.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Parking Sur Malaga Airport

It was good to see the family car parked next to the Parking Sur car collection office facing the exit gate last night after getting back from a four day trip to London.

Normally we use the Malaga airport to Marbella bus station bus service to get to Malaga airport and back but this time we needed the car at the airport so I completed the online booking form and booked the car in at Parking Sur. I got an almost immediate confirmation reply email. This is unusual for Spain where the reply ethic is not strong.

Coming from Marbella we came off the A7 onto the road from Torremolinos to Malaga and then swung off to the right as if we were going to go over the bridge next to the San Miguel factory. Halfway round the left hand curve we turned off to the right and followed the signs to the Parking Sur premises just past the Malaga airport to Fuengirola railway line bridge.

Together with two other parties who had also just arrived we were driven in the Parking Sur courtesy bus to the departures level at the airport. From driving into the parking site to arriving at Malaga airport departures level at T2 it would only have taken 15 minutes at the most.

After a very smooth Monarch flight back home to Malaga yesterday I realised that I didn´t have the Parking Sur phone number. The Malaga airport information office in arrivals gave me the information in seconds. I phoned the 24 hour mobile telephone number and in less than five minutes the Parking Sur shuttle bus had picked us up and taken us back to the car park.

Some information:

Parking Car Sur
Tel: 952 23 28 91
Mob: 669 803 702
Mob: 691 323 095


2009 Parking rates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
1 year 700 euros
Month 90 euros
Day 5.50
Car wash 20 euros

Our charge for four day's hire worked out to be 22 euros exactly.

In the picture above you see the cheerful, welcoming Parking Sur team on duty that evening. I do recommend their short and long term parking services.

Update: 30/8/2012 We are still with Parking Sur. It's a great service, we just drive in, as I am putting on the handbrake the Parking Sur representative is walking out and taking down our registration. We leave the keys in the car, he puts our bags in the van and we are off. No fuss, the car is always returned clean. We do use the airport bus to Marbella but if we are on late night Easyjet return from Gatwick in winter, the last bus will have gone.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Marriotts Playa Andaluza from Malaga Airport by bus and taxi

Marriotts Playa Andaluza in the distance
“Hi Mike, I've been reading your blog for past many weeks. Excellent blog and very useful site. I've been helped greatly by the information on the site. I've got one quick question. Me, my wife and 5 year old son will travel to Malaga from London in January for 5 days. We'll stay at Marriott's Playa Andaluza. We are planning to take the bus from Malaga Airport. I've got two questions:

A) How much the taxi would cost from Marbella bus station to Marriots Playa Andaluza and where would be get a get taxi from?

B) If we decide to go by bus instead and take the Marbella to Estepona bus then at what stop do we get down. I've got the list of stops between Marbella and Estepona from your website. Sam"

“Hi Sam Thank you very much for checking into Gomarbella and for reading the blogs! Have a look at this blog and the other one on Marriotts Playa Andaluza which also tells you how to travel all the way from Malaga Airport to the resort by public transport.

Check out this link which gives you information about the bus stops between Marbella and Estepona  and you'll see that the Isdabe bus stop is the closest to Marriotts Playa Andaluza in the Estepona area. because of the proximity of the pedestrian overpass next to that bus stop. I took the photo above standing on the overpass at the Isdabe bus stop. You can see Marriotts Playa Andaluza in the distance on the right hand side of the photo just above a flat topped building. The surface for pulling a suitcase is good all the way.

It must be at least 800 metres to the complex from the Isdabe bus stop and the overpass. If your son is feeling tired at that stage after your plane flight to Malaga and then the bus journey to Marbella, he won’t feel like walking!

I have just phoned the Marbella taxi company and they said that the day tariff for a taxi to to Marriots Playa Andaluza from Marbella Bus Station is €25 on a week day and before 10pm. After 10pm, over a weekend or on a public holiday it will be €3 or €4 more. (18/03/2012) If you take the Estepona bus on from Marbella as far as San Pedro de Alcantara bus stop,  the taxi fare 
 to Marriotts Playa Andaluza will be €10 on a week day and a couple more euros after 10pm and at weekends and public holidays.  

With all the money you will save on the airport bus to Marbella you can treat yourself to a taxi from Marbella to Marriotts Playa Andaluza on your first day. When you are settled in then use the bus to get up and down the coast during your stay and even all the way back to the airport on departure. Mike"

“Hi Mike Thanks for your response. Very useful. I was just looking through again the list of bus stops from Marbella to Estepona and comparing it with the Google map. I thought PLAZA ORTIZ may be the nearest stop to Marriott Playa Andaluza. Or have I got my geography completely wrong?

Thanks again for wonderful blog and the extremely useful website. Sam”

“Hi Sam Thank you for your reply and your kind words. Much appreciated.

Try getting Google maps up and typing in atalaya-isdabe you should see the name near the sea. This is the Atalaya hotel in the Isdabe Urbanisation. Your bus stop is at the end of the orange section of the road, just past the A7 sign. Over the road is the Centro Comercial Diana. Marriots Playa Andaluza doesn't show up but it is just to the left of the Atalaya Hotel. The bus stop is the Isdabe bus stop.

I hope you have a good trip, the weather is very changeable at the moment, warm, cold, windy so bring something warm to put on as well!

Best wishes from Marbella Sam and thanks again for your contacts. Mike.”

Riviera del Sol by bus and train from Malaga airport

Can I get from Malaga Airport to Riviera del Sol by bus and train?" wrote Vince.

I wrote back: “Hi Vince, Catch the train from Malaga airport train station to Fuengirola train station. There are three trains every hour on the C1 route to Fuengirola so there is no need to run once you have got your suitcases. The ticket machines on the Malaga airport station platform accept notes up to €20 and give change or you can buy your ticket from the ticket office on the platform. If you are travelling in a group or with your family, let the ticket seller know and you get a discounted price.

It's a journey of just under 45 minutes and then you only have to trundle your suitcase for less than 200 metres between the Fuengirola train station to the Fuengirola bus station a block away.

If you check the Fuengirola Bus Schedule on the Costa del Sol buses page you will s
ee there are almost two buses every hour on the Fuengirola to Marbella route. When you buy your ticket at the bus station, ask for  Riviera del Sol bus stop, one of the bus stops between Fuengirola and Marbella. I hope they have cleaned it up since I last checked it out. I doubt it.

This photo shows the Opencor shop next to the roundabout at the Riviera del Sol main entrance. The bus stop on the main road is about 200 metres away behind me to my left. You can just see the top of the first taxi in the rank right next to the roundabout. You are nearly there! 

Here is a recent blog about how Jennifer will travel from Malaga Airport to Riviera del Sol.

Best wishes Vincent and thanks very much for using Gomarbella Mike

PS: You can now do online bus ticket reservations through the gomarbella reservation system.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Malaga Airport to Benamara

Kat: “Hi Mike I was hoping you could help me with some information please? I have booked an apartment in Benamara and I am planning on getting a bus from Malaga airport to Marbella bus station then a taxi from there to the apartment. Do you think this is the best way to get there and back? I am familiar with the Costa del Sol but unsure of the exact location of Benamara. Many thanks, Kat.”

Mike: “Hi Kat, Thank you very much for checking in to

Yes, with all the money you save by taking the Malaga airport to Marbella bus, you can treat yourself to a taxi. I am guessing but it could be around 20 to 25 euros. Benamara is about halfway between Marbella and Estepona. The taxi will go past Puerto Banus, past San Pedro and then it has to overshoot Benamara, do a U turn about a kilometre beyond Benamara and then come back towards Marbella before turning off right towards the sea to Benamara.

The A7 through San Pedro is being closed from mid September 2009 for about 15 months whilst the tunnel is being built and for this reason it will be simpler to take the taxi from Marbella rather than travelling on to San Pedro and taking a taxi from there.

Here are all the bus stops between Marbella and Estepona and your Benamara bus stop will be El Pilar. You can get up and down the coast easily by bus without having to take a taxi again. Always use the footbridges!

I hope this helps you Kat, let me know if I can help any further. Best wishes from Marbella, Mike"

PS: You can now do online bus ticket reservations through the gomarbella reservation system.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Malaga airport winter bus schedule

David wrote to me: "I am travelling to Marbella on the weekend of 2-5 April 2009. Can you tell me if the winter schedule timetable for the bus from Marbella bus station to Malaga Airport listed on your website is for Sundays as well as a weekday timetable? Thanks!"

I wrote back to David: "Hi David, thank you very much for writing in to

Yes, the airport bus service runs every day of the year. I use it a lot when visiting my two grandchildren in London and often use it to get to the airport on a Friday and then come back to Spain on Sunday returning from the airport to Marbella on the airport bus late on a Sunday.

The winter schedule for the bus from Marbella bus station to Malaga airport ends at the end of June and starts again at the beginning of October.

Best wishes from Marbella, David and have a good trip and thanks again for your contact. Mike"

PS: You can now do online bus ticket reservations through the gomarbella reservation system.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Malaga airport train timetable

Gail: " Hello Mike, Are there any buses from Malaga Airport to Fuengirola in March please?" (2009)

Mike: "Hi Gail, Thanks very much for checking in to

There isn't a bus direct from Malaga airport to Fuengirola bus station, you would have to go all the way into Malaga city to the Malaga bus station then catch the bus from there all the way back past Malaga airport, stopping all the way along before getting to Fuengirola.

But there is a great train service from the Malaga airport train stop to Fuengirola train station, it runs every 30 minutes from 6 in the morning to midnight.

Look here at the timetable of trains from Malaga airport to Fuengirola train station. You will see that the first train of the day leaves Malaga airport at 05.34 then at 4 and 34 minutes past the hour. The last train at 22.34. There is one later train during the summer months.

Does that help Gail? Let me know if I can help at all with other information.

Best wishes for your trip to Fuengirola and thanks again for writing. Mike Drury"

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Dunnes Stores Fuengirola

Dunnes Stores shown here in the picture is on the outskirts of Fuengirola just out of town off the A7 autovia where it rings Fuengirola on the Marbella side. Very conveniently situated with covered parking it's right between the Miramar commercial centre out of sight to the left of the photo and the Parque Miramar shopping centre at the end of the road on the left in the picture.

If you are driving towards Dunnes Stores Fuengirola from the Marbella side, exit the A7 at the first Fuengirola sign and at the roundabout turn left under the road. At the next roundabout turn right. Dunne's Stores Fuengirola is the first shop a little further along on the left.

It has a great range of reasonably priced children's and adults' clothes, shoes and fashion accessories and is packed everyday with British shoppers looking for good quality clothing at knockdown prices.

Right next door to Dunnes Stores Fuengirola is DM Brico, a well stocked hardware shop where the assistants will actually come to you and ask if they can help. Next door again is Lidl with great South American wines at giveaway prices and selling a range of bargain food, drink and household items again with plenty of free covered car parking.

A magnet for discerning Costa del Sol shoppers, just inside the store is a great little cafeteria which caters for expatriates needing anything from a full English breakfast through to carrot cake or good and inexpensive tapas and drinks.

New stock arrives every Thursday to fill the shelves and the home furnishing department is a must for good quality sheets and towels. The childrens' department in Dunnes Stores Fuengirola is second to none with colourful and practical garments.

Dunnes also have branches in Fuengirola town centre, Coin, Vélez Málaga and Malaga and all of them are definitely worth a visit.

If you've got this far you are probably wondering why I am suddenly writing about shopping centres. Well I get most of my shirts, long trousers, summer shorts, polo shirts, gym T shirts not to mention trainers from Dunnes. Like I said, it's good quality, cheap, the coffee's good and there's a great hardware shop next door. Dunnes has great stuff for the grandchildren too. I got bored yesterday morning and wandered outside and took the photo from the pedestrian footbridge over the A7 next to Dunnes. Happy shopping!

Contact details:

Dunnes Stores Fuengirola Commercial Centre

Hiper Andalucia
Avda La Depuradora, s/n
29650 Mijas Costa

Tel: + 34 952 47 80 00

Dunnes Stores Fuengirola Town Centre
C/ Jacinto Benavente 2
29640 Fuengirola, Spain

Tel: + 34 952 197 109

Dunnes Stores Malaga City
Avenida Aurora 25
29002 Malaga, Spain

Tel: + 34 952 369 499

Dunnes Stores Coin
Commercial Centre La Trocha
Carretera Cártama KM 1,
Coin, Malaga

+34 951 315 068

Dunnes Stores near Vélez Málaga
Avenida Juan Carlos I s/n
29740 Velez-Malaga,

Tel: + 34 952 542 488

Saturday, 8 August 2009

La Colina taxis

Paul: "Hi, I hope you can help. I am traveling to Malaga airport on 22 June but only going as far as La Colina. We will miss the last train and I was wondering which would be better, 2 taxi's (How much?) or a transfer. I have 6 people travelling 3 adults and 3 kids."

Mike: "Hi Paul Thank you very much for checking in to I have just phoned the taxi company Unitaxis Tel: + 34 952 333 333 at Malaga airport and the girl gave me the cost of a taxi from Malaga Airport to Torremolinos. By day it is € 15 and after €17 after 10pm and over weekend and on public holidays, it is €17.

There is only one taxi price even though Torremolinos is very big and La Colina is about the closest point in Torremolinos to the airport.

I wouldn't bother with a transfer. There are always countless taxis waiting right outside arrivals. You will need two taxis to move the group of 6. Here are the train timetables from Malaga airport in case you want to return to Malaga airport from the La Colina train stop or use the train whilst you are in La Colina.

I hope that helps you Paul, please let me know if I can help. Best wishes from Marbella, Mike"

Paul: "Mike thank you so much for your reply. I know over here in Dublin taxi drivers make a big deal about doing short runs from the airport. Is it the same there?

Mike: "Actually taxi prices here are carefully controlled. All destinations on the Costa del Sol are contained in a book which each driver carries. To avoid too many prices for Torremolinos which is so close to Malaga airport, they must have come up with a blanket fee covering the whole Torremolinos municipal area. It is just bad luck in that sense that La Colina is so close to the airport. The taxi associations will have covered themselves by fixing one fee for the whole locality. But the taxi drivers will take you without argument or fuss. They have to because every taxi carries a complaints book! If you have any problem at all at any stage just ask for a receipt for the fare, post it to me or email me the details and I'll follow it up.

Check the fare when you get into the taxi because what the girl quoted me may not coincide exactly with what you are actually charged on the ground and I wouldn't want you to get into an argument about a fare price which I got over the telephone. The fare might even be less. Not more.

It's not such a short run actually and you will be in the taxi for a little while. If you catch the train back from La Colina train stop to Malaga airport train station you won't even notice the cost of the train tickets.

I hope that helps you Paul, have a great holiday. The weather is really good down here. Warm during the day and lots of sun."

Paul: "Thanks again Mike. Your knowledge and help has been fantastic. Enjoy the sun, as I send you this mail the rain is pouring down in Dublin."Best of luck and thanks again."

Friday, 7 August 2009

Marriotts Playa Andaluza

Entrance to Marriotts Playa Andaluza
Bernetta wrote to me: " I am arriving at Malaga Airport on Sunday at 4:15. I am travelling to Marriott's Playa Andaluza. Can I take public transport to get there or at least close?"

I wrote back: "Hi Bernetta, Thank you very much for writing in. Yes you can travel all the way by public transport to Marriotts Playa Andaluza in Estepona.

Take the airport bus from Malaga airport to Marbella bus station. You catch the bus just outside arrivals.   You buy your tickets from the transport office just outside arrivals until 20.00 after which you buy them on the bus. Here is the timetable for the bus from Malaga airport to Marbella Bus Station.

From Marbella bus station it's about 12 kms to Marriots Playa Andaluza which is on the other side of San Pedro de Alcantará. You can catch the bus which travels from Marbella bus station to Estepona and get off at the Isdabe bus stop which is the nearest stop to Marriotts Playa Andaluza. Here is a list of all the stops between Marbella bus station and Estepona.

It's around 800 metres from the Isdabe bus stop to Marriotts Playa Andaluza. You will arrive on the mountain stide of the bus stop and need to cross the footbridge over the A7 and then trundle your suitcase down to Marriotts. If you would like to look at the distance check through on the other Marriotts Playa Andaluza blog.

Here are two alternatives to the bus journey if you are not feeling energetic after your journey; 1) Take a taxi from Marbella bus station to the resort, or 2) Take the bus from Marbella as far as the San Pedro de Alcantará bus stop and then a taxi from there to Marriotts Playa Andaluza. You'll save about €15 by taking a taxi from the San Pedro de Alcantara bus stop. You'll the updated taxi costs on the other Marriotts Playa Andaluza blog.

Once you are at the resort, you'll see the welcoming entrance gates in the photo above, you can easily use the coastal bus service for exploring up and down the coast.

Bernetta please check out all the information and then write back if I can help you at all.

Best wishes from Marbella for your stay and thanks again for your contact. Mike Drury"

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Macdonalds Doña Lola bus stop

Kevin wrote to me:

"To reach the Macdonalds Dona Lola resort by bus which bus stop do I need from your excellent list of bus stops between Marbella and Fuengirola?

I wrote back to Kevin:

" Hi Kevin, thank you very much for your kind words.

The bus stop you need is the Garu Calahonda bus stop. It's the next one after the Riviera del Sol bus stop travelling from Fuengirola to Marbella. I took this photo from the footbridge over the A7 / CN340. You will see the Doña Lola sign on the sea side of the road. The Macdonalds Doña Lola resort is about 150 metres from the Garu Calahonda bus stop.

The traffic coming towards the bridge is travelling from Marbella to Fuengirola and the traffic travelling in the other direction is going to towards Marbella. There's a great little bar called Al-Alcasur at the bottom of the footbridge on the sea side of the road. If you are pulling your suitcase, or coming back from shopping in Fuengirola from the Fuengirola bus station, just stop there, have a cold beer and a plate of fish, enjoy the pines, the noise, the smells and just relax a while. You're in Spain, take it easy, that's why you're here.

Have a great trip and use the pedestrian overpass bridges at all times! The traffic on the A7 is lethal.

I hope you have a really good visit to Macdonalds Doña Lola. The weather is brilliant at the moment. (This was back in December of 2008)

Best wishes from Marbella Mike"

P.S. The next stop is the Las Postas Calahonda main bus stop with a taxi rank right next to it.

PS: You can now do online bus ticket reservations through the gomarbella reservation system.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Malaga airport to Marriotts Marbella by bus

Bernetta wrote to me: "I am arriving at Malaga Airport on Sunday at 4:15 I am travelling to Marriotts Marbella. Can I take public transport to get there or at least close?"

I wrote back: "Hi Bernetta, thank you very much for checking in to

Yes, you can take public transport all the way to Marriotts Marbella. I would start with the Malaga airport bus to Marbella. You will just miss the 16.30 bus but the next one at 18.30 is well worth waiting for, the cost is less than €4.50.

Then from Marbella bus station to Marriotts, you can either take the bus which runs from Marbella to Fuengirola and get off at the Pino Golf bus stop closest to Marriotts or you can take a taxi all the way from Marbella bus station to Marriotts if you are tired from travelling.

Here is a link about getting from Marbella bus station to Mariotts Marbella with a lot of information including the airport bus times and the schedule for the coastal bus to Fuengirola which I mentioned above. You will also find a list of bus stops between Marbella and Fuengirola.

Bernetta, check it all out and then please write back especially if there is anything you are not sure of.

Best wishes from Marbella and thanks very much for your contact. Mike"

PS: You can now do online bus ticket reservations through the gomarbella reservation system.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Los Boliches train stop to Aparthotel Ronda 4

Maddy wrote to me: "Hi Mike, I have just read someone else's question and your answer, it seems quite straight forward from Malaga airport to Los Boliches train station, I just wanted to know if we can walk to the Ronda IV apartments (two young fit people with suitcases) and how long it would take or whether it might be better by taxi? Many thanks, Madeleine"

"Oh, just one more question, how long do you think it might take to walk it?"

I wrote back to Maddy:

"Hi Maddy

It's good to know you are fit and willing to walk! Long may that be.

One route from Los Boliches train station would be to walk down towards the Fuengirola Paseo Maritimo and then turn left and it is a very pleasant short walk. The weather is great at the moment, warm during the day and cool at night. It will be a nice stroll with the sea on your right, tempting smells of frying seafood, sea breezes and the promise of a cold beer or two at the end. About 12 minutes pulling a suitcase I calculate. Longer if you stop for a beer or sangria on the way.

Here is a link with a map showing Ronda IV apartments in relation to the Los Boliches train stop.

If you look at the map you will see the railway line apparently disappearing under a wider road, the Malaga airport train stop to Fuengirola train station rail line actually goes overhead at that point. You will see the road called Avda Jesús Santos Rein. Los Boliches station is where the "Av" is, closest to the river.

You could also actually walk back along that road until it merges with Avda de Las Gaviotas and then drop down to the Ronda IV. That wouldn't take more than 10 minutes.

I think between the two routes, I would choose to walk along the Paseo Marítimo along the beach, just to get an early taste of your beach holiday!

Have a great stay Maddy and thanks very much for your contact. Mike"

The address of Aparthotel Ronda IV is:

Aparthotel Ronda 4
Paseo Marítimo 96
29640 Los Boliches
Fuengirola Málaga

Tel: + 34 952 660 716

Monday, 3 August 2009

Economy car rental Malaga airport

Justin wrote to me to say: "Mike, I need to rent a car from Monday 22nd June until Monday 29th June. Pick up and return at Malaga Airport, economy car ideally and 2 drivers. I need to pick the car up at 15:00 and return 22:00. Do you have anything available and can you give me an idea of prices, in £ sterling if possible. Many Thanks, Justin"

I wrote back: "Hello Justin, I had a look at my Cartrawler car rental search engine for Malaga airport car hire and in the economy range (that's one up from the mini range) came across a Toyota Agya for 161.98 pounds for the seven days. This is a four seater.

There was also a Ford Fiesta five door for 168.83 pounds for the seven days. The Fiesta is a five seater

Adding on an extra driver comes to a maximum of €20 for the seven days, it is around €3.20 per day to a maximum of €20.

To find these deals and also to have look at the mini range, click through to and fill in the dates and times on the car rental search engine box and Cartrawler will automatically find you the best car rental deal available at Malaga airport.

Best wishes from Marbella, Mike

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Marbesol hire car pick up Malaga Airport


I wrote back to Joan:

"Hi Joan thank you very much for writing in again and especially for using Cartrawler. Marbesol is one of the car hire and rental companies at Malaga airport that is most used by the Cartrawler rental and hire car search engine.

I checked with the Marbesol car hire office at Malaga airport and they confirmed that you will be met by a Marbesol representative just outside the baggage retrieval area automatic exit door before you enter the public waiting area. Just look for the Marbesol sign held by the representative.

You´ll be taken in their mini-bus to the Marbesol car hire offices which are right at the entrance to the airport and you'll pick up your car there.

If you are using a GPS to get back to the airport you´ll need the address of the Marbesol offices at Malaga airport:

Avda García Morato 50
Edif. Checkpoint Malaga Airport
29004 Malaga

Tel: + 34 952 233 507

Out of interest the Marbesol fuel return policy is pick up half full, return half full. There is a garage right next to the Marbesol car depot so it's very easy to top up the tank if needed.

As you drive out of the Marbesol office, go anticlockwise around the roundabout keeping to the right with the big San Miguel factory on your immediate right before you swing right to pick up the A7 down the coast.

March will be a great month to come out in. With the heavy February rains behind us and all the reservoirs on the Costa del Sol full for the first time in as long as I can remember, the countryside will be stunning especially with all the rivers running.

I hope that helps you Joan and don't hesitate to ask for any more information.

Best wishes from Marbella Mike"

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Tango in Marbella

World renowned tango teacher Eduardo Tapia fourth from the left in the back row was giving his last tango class on his tour of Spain before returning to Buenos Aires back in May this year.

Well known Costa del Sol tango teacher Graciela Heredia fourth from the right in the back row organised the class held at the Argentinean restaurant El Teleuche on the road to Benahavis.

Tango in Spain is big and there is a milonga at least once a week somewhere on the Costa del Sol.

If you are looking for information on tango classes and milongas in the area, let me know in the contact box on this page.
By the way, have you spotted me in the group?

Friday, 31 July 2009

Excursion to Gibraltar

Chris was staying this summer at the Cortijo Blanco Hotel and asked for suggestions about a day´s excursion to Gibraltar with her children. They were going by bus. I wrote back to her:

"Hi Chris, a day out in Gibraltar makes a fantastic excursion. Take bottles of water for the children as you go because it will be a long day and they´ll need to keep drinking. When you get to the La Linea bus station in the morning, book your seats to come back in the afternoon. Try and get the earliest bus down to Gibraltar to give you more time in the cool of the morning.

Go on a week day rather, many of the shops shut on a Saturday afternoon. You can pay in pounds or euros. Try to keep some pounds just for your excursion to Gibraltar because if you change your pounds into euros in Spain and then back into pounds in Gibraltar at today´s exchange rate, it will be a painful experience. Keep an eye out for any electronic goods that you might be after, they are normally well priced compared to Spain and you can sometimes bargain the price down.

Just on the other side of the border after the Gibraltar passport control you can pick up a taxi or a bus. The Route 9 bus which runs every 10 minutes Monday to Friday from Gibraltar airport at the frontier and it takes you to the Market Place at the bottom of Main Street. The Route 3 bus which runs every 20 minutes Monday to Friday takes you from Gibraltar airport at the frontier right the way across Gibraltar to Europa Point on the other side of the Rock.

It's not difficult to get around Gibraltar without a car. Basically you start at the bottom from Market Garden and walk up Main Street to the top where you will find the cable car ticket office. On the way up there are all sorts of shops. Not long after leaving the bottom of Main Street Sacarello's Coffee House is a good place to stop and have a coffee. It´s an institution in Gibraltar and you can ask any local Gibraltarian to direct your there. It's one street down to the right from Main Street.

At the top of Main Street take the cable car ride from its start at the Gibraltar Botanical Gardens. The Rock of Gibraltar cable car takes you to the top of the Rock which the children will enjoy. The views are great and on a clear day you can see the little flat topped houses across the straits in Morocco, the Mediterranean sea on one side and the Atlantic ocean on the other.

Next to the cable car is the Wildlife Park which is stocked with exotic animals that have been imported into Gibraltar and siezed by Customs. I haven't seen it myself but am told by animal lovers it worth visiting. A Rock Tour by taxi or mini bus isn't expensive and is a quick and easy way of seeing nearly all there is. The tour will take you around Gibraltar and the includes St Michael's Cave which is an enormous natura grotto and the Ape's Den amongst other sights. The guides are licensed and give a great commentary on the way around. You will find more taxis and Rock Tour guides as you walk up Main Street.

The Gibraltar museum is worth visiting and has a great audio visual show about the origins of Gibraltar from 200 million years ago. It´ll also give you a good chance to rest your legs along the way. The Tourist Information office is about half way up Main Street in Gibraltarand you can pick up maps and brochures there.
Out to sea there are boat cruises and dolphin watching trips around the Bay and you can get their contact details from the tourist information office also although maybe the cruise will have to wait for your next trip!

I hope this gives you a taste of Gibraltar Chris and that you have a fun day out! Keep an eye on the time and your possessions and leave time to get back to the bus.

Best wishes from Marbella and thanks again for your contacts Chris,
Mike Drury"

PS: Important Update: 6/03/2012 Rowland Warren has just written in to say there are NO left luggage lockers at the La Linea bus station. I went down to La Linea to take another photo, which you see above, of the interior of the bus station and the left luggage lockers have gone,
replaced by closed ticket office windows which will probably never be used. Rowland said however that there are Left Luggage facilities across the border at the arrivals building of Gibraltar airport. The Left Luggage office was unmanned, but is adjacent to a manned information desk where, having explained situation, they were quite happy to accept his bag  after scanning and examining his passports. Please read the full description in the Comments section below.  

Thursday, 30 July 2009

A beach in Marbella

Come on down to the beach in Marbella today. Everybody's taking it easy. The sun's hot and the sea's refreshingly cool.

Bring your watermelon and cool drink and picnic on the beach or feast on sizzling fried prawns in garlic washed down with cold white wine or sangria in a chiringuito nearby.

Out at sea the windsurfers are gliding up and down the coast. In the distance you'll hear the buzzing of jet skis rented from Funny Beach past the fishing port.

White T shirted beach security personnel patrol the beaches or cycle up and down the Paseo Marítimo while the lookie lookie men sidle cautiously along with their trays of Rolex watches, latest CDs and designer sunglasses.

Just another perfect day on the beach, or is it?

12/04/2011 Yes, come on down but be careful with your possessions. On Sunday, our good friend Rosemary, a long time streetwise Marbella resident was taking things easy on Yellow Beach next to the Restaurant La Pesquera just along from the beach in the photo above and had her bag stolen from right next to her feet while she was reading the newspaper. It happened incredibly quickly and as she said, she wasn't even asleep! She lost the usual things of course, car keys, driving licence, apartment keys, mobile phone and identity card.

At the Marbella Comisaria she had to wait for three hours until 10pm
whilst the police on duty seemingly just chatted, to make a statement necessary for insurance and to get it signed. Others waiting to make similar reports were furious at the delay. The report took only 10 minutes to do once she got in and she was asked why she had put her bag down on the sand.

Rosemary is now going through the routine of replacing everything and changing locks. The thieves had made calls to Africa on her mobile which she is going to have to pay for. She found out later that a colleague had had a bag stolen on the same day from the same beach.

So if you're on holiday, be warned, n
ever leave your bags unattended on the beach whilst you swim and make sure someone in your group is keeping a very close eye on everything. Don't take your valuables to the beach, the theft will take place in seconds right under your nose and you won't get any sympathy from the policeman on duty when you make your statement.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Lux Sevilla Burmujos self catering apartments in Seville

The Luxsevilla Bormujos tourist apartments are a great place to stay in Seville if you have a car. Situated just off the motorway to Huelva and Portugal, take the Gines, Bormujos exit Nº 6. If you need to fit in a bit of shopping in Ikea in Seville, the Luxsevilla apartment complex is only five minutes away on the other side of the A1 E49 motor way.

If you are picking up your hire car from the Santa Justa train station the complex is exactly 7kms from the Sevilla station. Pick up your car, drive to Luxsevilla Burmujos, park right outside, unpack in the air conditioned apartment, do your shopping next door, shower and change and you are ready to do the city.

In the pic you see the entrance to the building. The reception is on the first floor reached by a glass sided lift or stairs. I took a much better photo of the first floor area where the swimming pool and restaurant are but lost it! Next time I go I'll retake it.

We´ve stayed there twice now. The first time two years ago we needed quick access to Sevilla's old town for an early morning seminar and last night we stayed overnight after the Bruce Springsteen concert in the Sevilla Olympic Stadium rather than drive back to Marbella at 2am in the morning.

It's fantastic value, 55 euros all in including breakfast and a comfortable airconditioned apartment complete with a fully equipped kitchen. As a base to explore Sevilla or stop over on the way to Portugal, you won't do a lot better. The Luxsevilla Bormujos apartments have unlimited street parking outside. If you´ve ever tried to find overnight parking in the old town in Seville near your hotel, you'll appreciate how valuable this is.

There is a Dia supermarket right next door for any self catering grocery needs and the Luxsevilla apartments back onto the big Megaocio leisure centre. If you prefer to eat onsite the Piazza San Mateo restaurant is on the same first floor level as the apartments. The telephone number is the same as the Luxsevilla Burmujo complex Tel: + 34 901 380 000

Back on the gomarbella webcam terrace this afternoon I pointed my GPS at Avenida Secoya in Bormujos in Sevilla to check distances and saw that the complex is exactly 246kms from Marbella, that's 2hrs 31mins driving time routed through Malaga although we took the route through Los Barrios on the way back.

Here's the address Luxsevilla Bormujos,Avda del Barrillo, s/n, Bormujos, 41930 Sevilla Tel: + 34 901 380 000 or Tel: + 34 954 48 67 40 For good value for money, easy parking and access to Sevilla I really recommend it.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Fly Blue boat cruise from Marbella Puerto Deportivo to Puerto Banus

On their way home to Brisbane Sharon and Daniela Knight had an action packed two day stay with us in Marbella managing to fit in the Fly Blue Catamaran boat cruise from Marbella Puerto Deportivo to Puerto Banus on their last afternoon.

Here's the timetable of sailings

From Marbella Puerto Deportivo the Sky Blue catamaran leaves at 11.00, 12.00, 13.00, 14.30, 16.00, 17.30 and 18.30.

From Puerto Banus the Sky Blue catamaran leaves at 11.30, 12.30, 14.00, 15.30, 17.00, 18.00 and 19.00.

During July and August there are two extra sailings, from Marbella Puerto Deportivo to Puerto Banus at 22.30 and 18.30 and from Puerto Banus to the Puerto Deportivo in Marbella, at 22.00 and 23.00.

Of course the sailings depend on good weather and a number of other conditions so my advice is to phone + 34 663 827 986 for information before you sail. You can use this number to make reservations or simply email Fly Blue on

After you have had a good look around the Old Town in Marbella, rather than take a taxi or a bus to Puerto Banus, why not do it in style on the Sky Blue catamaran?

A return boat cruise ticket will cost you 15 euros and 8 euros one way which is cheaper than a taxi and a return boat cruise ticket for children is 8 euros and only 5 euros one way.

Get your tickets at the entrance to the Puerto Deportivo in Marbella from the little stand on the pavement and the boat leaves from the outer wall of the port. In Puerto Banus you get your ticket on the boat right outside the Red Pepper restaurant. In the picture above you will see the new Sky Blue catamaran waiting to leave Marbella port. The dramatic back drop to Marbella is provided by the La Concha moutain. On the left of the picture you'll see the very popular Skol apartments.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Hertz car rental email address and telephone number at Malaga airport

Back in January this year I had this exchange with Daniel from Canada:

Daniel: "I'm looking for the email address of the Hertz car rental office at Málaga airport but I can't find it anywhere. Do you know where I can find this information? Thank you."

Mike: "Hello Daniel, I picked up your email yesterday while visiting my grandchildren in London yesterday and so on my way back through the airport last night I walked down the long ramp from arrivals to the Hertz division in the Malaga airport car hire section.

I stood in line to get the information and at the Hertz desk itself I was given the web address of the Hertz car rental department at
Málaga airport as I haven't checked it yet but you should be able to find the email address on the site. Best wishes from Marbella, Mike"

Daniel: "Hello Mike, I tried the web address for the Hertz car hire at Málaga airport you sent me but unfortunately it doesn't work. Thank you for your help anyway, I appreciate it."

Mike: "Hello Daniel, I should have tried it myself before I sent it to you. I asked the fellow to repeat it three times. I have just tried it too and it didn't work. Anyway I looked up the central Hertz number in the Spanish Yellow Pages and after getting the run around with recorded voices and extensions I managed to found a live voice and a live operator.

The agent gave me the telephone number of the Hertz desk at Málaga airport as 95 223 30 86 and so I phoned them and the girl there gave me the email address as Obviously the guy behind the desk last night had no idea about email addresses.

Try that and see if you get through to them. Best wishes Mike"

Footnote: I didn't hear back from Daniel but I imagine he managed to make contact with the Hertz desk at the airport. At least I hope so.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Malaga Airport to Estepona Bus Station

Aarti wrote in to ask. "Please could you tell me what buses go from Malaga Airport to Estepona? I will be arriving at Malaga airport in mid June, also what are the ticket rates?"

I wrote back to say: "Hi Aarti, the easiest way to get to Estepona from Malaga airport is to take the dedicated Malaga airport to Marbella bus. Remember to look in the timetable at the column showing the winter departures column from the airport. This one way ticket on the bus costs just under €4.50 per person for the 45 minute journey.

To catch the Malaga airport bus to Marbella you come out of arrivals, turn right and about 50 metres along the pavement you will see the bus stop. You buy your tickets as you get on the bus.

When you get to the Marbella bus station, take the bus to Estepona, check through here on the Costa del Sol bus page for the Marbella Bus Schedules. Look for the MARBELLA - ESTEPONA route.

The ticket will be less than five euros so y
ou can get from Malaga airport to Estepona by bus and have a cup of coffee in the Marbella bus station all for less than 10 euros!

I hope this helps you with your planning Aarti, have a good trip." Mike

PS: You can now do online bus ticket reservations through the gomarbella reservation system.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Hospital Costa del Sol

Back in March 2009 the Hospital Costa del Sol was one of the most visited pages on Gomarbella. Most visitors were medical staff from the middle and far east and were writing to Gomarbella to check on the local Costa del Sol hospital in response to a scam involving false job offers. The hospital had received so many enquiries that the personnel department stopped responding to emails.

A so called Doctor Luis Xavier was offering would be employees fantastic contracts to relocate to Spain to the Costa del Sol hospital and for the sum of 800 euros paid in advance would process all the necessary paperwork.

I responded personally to about 50 medical staff who had written to me from outside Spain to assure them that the whole thing was a complete scam. Quite a few near victims wrote back to thank me and to say that they had been on the point of giving up their present jobs and moving to Spain!

Update: 15/08/2010 There's a big new wing being built right now coming out from the left of the building above.

I kept in touch with the personnel department at the hospital about the fraudulent job offers and even contacted the editor of the English edition of the Sur in English newspaper to spread the story more widely but there wasn't much interest in the story.

Curiously enough I get most enquiries about genuine job opportunities on the Costa del Sol from nursing staff in the UK so I was interested to read today in the Health and Beauty section of the Sur in English newspaper that Spain has only 536 nurses per 100 000 of the population. This does not compare well with the EU average of 808 nurses per 100 000 of the population. In Andalucia there are only 430 per 100 000 and in the province of Malaga this figure drops to 355 nurses per 100 000 of the population.

The big regional Costa del Sol hospital just down the road from the Gomarbella offices where I go now and again to be tuned up is spotless and appears to be very well staffed and maintained. There is a big building extension programme underway right now just where the car park in the picture is.

If you are planning to move to Spain to work in the state medical system, remember that you will need to speak Spanish!

Friday, 24 July 2009

Plaza Mayor train stop

This is the Plaza Mayor train stop. If you haven't been to the enormous Plaza Mayor recreational centre just below the Malaga airport flight path, it's definitely worth a visit. Plaza Mayor is right next to the train stop, just over the pedestrian crossing in the picture.

Combine it with an outing to Ikea in Malaga and you will have have a very good day out. In the background you will just see Ikea's blue roof. This gives you an idea of how close Ikea is to the train stop.

The trains travelling from the main María Zambrano train station in Malaga city and passing through Malaga airport train station travelling towards Fuengirola train station arrive at Plaza Mayor and leave from Plaza Mayor three times every hour.

From Plaza Mayor to Malaga airport the train journey time is 4 minutes. You will find a complete train timetable for the journey between Malaga airport and Fuengirola here and you can check timings for the first and last trains along the route.

I've never visited Ikea by train, normally I call in on my way back from the airport by car but I recommend avoiding going to Ikea on a Saturday evening. It's a favourite destination for lots and lots of local dwellers and will really be packed!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Car Hire at Malaga Airport

With Malaga airport in the background the cars approaching on my right are leaving the airport and heading for Malaga city. They will cross the road bridge behind me and then swing back under the bridge to head east to Malaga and destinations beyond such as Antequera, Nerja and Granada.

You can see car rental companies and long term airport parking buildings to the right of the picture. Malaga airport control tower is just visible in the background.

The cars on the lower road leaving the airport to my left are tucked in just below the big San Miguel beer factory and will turn off to the west along the coast to Torremolinos, Fuengirola, Marbella, Estepona and Algeciras.

UK papers are reporting car hire clients facing last minute cancellation of their pre-booked car rental reservations so that the car hire company can then re-rent the car at a higher price.

My own guess is that in most cases any cancellation of car hire reservations by the car rental companies is due to a genuine shortage of cars. Car hire companies in Spain are facing a 10% drop in tourism overall and just haven't renewed their car hire fleets this year.

It is more likely to be the small independent car rental company who runs out of cars and finds it easier to cancel a reservation at the last moment than to make the effort to honour it even if it means losing money.

The good news is that all of the bookings made through the Gomarbella Cartrawler car rental booking engine this summer have been honoured. The car rental companies who work with Cartrawler simply cannot afford to be out of line.

My advice to travellers for a trouble free start to your holiday on the Costa del Sol is to book early and do it through the Gomarbella Malaga airport car hire booking engine. It works worldwide too!

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Wi Fi access in San Pedro de Alcantará

Cynthia stayed at the Hotel Cortijo Blanco next to San Pedro de Alcántara and asked me for help getting to the hotel from Malaga airport and especially which was the Hotel Cortijo bus stop.

Once we had sorted that out, she asked about internet access in the area. I phoned the Hotel Cortijo Blanco Tel: + 34 952 780 900 and the duty receptionist said that they didn't have wi fi access for guests in the hotel but added that
there was free wi fi public access in the Plaza de la Iglesia which is the church square in the centre of San Pedro de Alcántara.

I went down to San Pedro to check it out. Sure enough on the far side of the square about 30 metres from the church is the Bar Bistro El Vecino. It looked like a good place to hang out and eat even if you weren't carrying your laptop. I spoke to Audrey who was behind the bar and she told me that El Vecino is open 7 days a week. They have an Italian cook serving good food cooked on the premises with a great wine selection.

Getting back to the wireless internet access, Audrey will give you the internet access code and you can connect for free. I asked the client in the picture for permission to take his photo. What a great way to keep in touch with your empire back home with a glass of good wine sitting next to your laptop and a pizza on its way!

Here are the details:

Bar Bistro El Vecino
Plaza de la Iglesia Nº 2 Bajo
San Pedro de Alcántara

Tel: + 34 637 506 496
Tel: + 34 661 328 782

Friday, 10 July 2009

Third World are playing on the Coast

This weekend Thirdworld are coming to the coast - Sunday 12 July to be precise - they are famous for their hit "Now that we've found Love". They will be playing at Puro Beach located in Laguna Village next to the Kempinski in Estepona - it should be a beautiful setting for a bit of reggae!

Jonathon, my nephew is going with Jax his wife and they will be reporting back to us how their first show went - so watch this space.

Here are dates and details of how to get tickets:

July 12 - Puro Beach
Tickets @ Puro Beach

July 14 - Sala Vivero, Malaga
Tickets @ Sala Vivero

July 15 - Plaza de Torros, San Roque
Tickets @ Discos Grammy, Algerciras

Ticket hotline. 633 327 722

Tickets from €20

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Malaga Airport to Gibraltar

Edit wrote in yesterday to say; "I will arrive at Malaga airport at 16:30 pm. From Malaga airport the bus leaves every 30 minutes to go Malaga bus station. My question is, what is the bus schedule for Gibraltar?"

I wrote back to say; "Hello Edit, There are two ways to get to Gibraltar by bus. The
first option I have set out is to travel from the airport to Malaga bus station, this is the service which leaves every 30 minutes and then take a bus all the way to La Linea bus station right on the frontier of Gibraltar. The second option is to take the airport bus to Marbella bus station and then another bus from there to La Linea.

Option 1: If you look at the link below you will see that the last bus of the day from Malaga bus station to La Linea on the border with Gibraltar is at 17.15. If you take a taxi from Malaga airport to Malaga bus station (€20) you might just make the last bus to La Linea but if your plane is late and you have to wait for luggage, you won't get there in time for the 17.15 bus leaving Malaga bus station for La Linea. Check through here to find the timetable of all buses leaving Malaga Bus Station.

If you are travelling on a Sunday then there is no hurry because the last bus to La Linea leaves at 19.15 and you can catch the L19 bus from the airport to Malaga bus station. There are two buses from the airport to Malaga bus station every hour and the L19 bus leaves from just outside the arrivals area.

Option 2: The other alternative is to take the special airport bus to Marbella. Here is the schedule of buses. Note that the summer service starts from 1st July and ends at the end of September.

If you get the 17.30 bus summer schedule bus from Malaga airport to Marbella bus station, (45 minutes) you will be in time for the 18.30 service from Marbella bus station to La Linea bus station. Here is information about the Marbella bus station and you will find a link to the timetable of all buses out of Marbella on this page. Look for MARBELLA - LA LINEA. Again there is a later service at 20.45 if you are travelling on a Sunday.

Here is the information about La Linea bus station again and you will see how close it is to the border with Gibraltar. The picture above is taken from just in front of the La Linea bus station and the border is just at the end of the row of flags. You can see a great little cafeteria to have a drink in just over the road.

Please look at the two alternatives Edit and let me know if you have any difficulties with the connections or timings. Given your arrival time at Malaga airport, I think the trip through Marbella may be the best for your needs.

Best wishes from Marbella and thanks again for your contact. Mike"

PS: You can now do online bus ticket reservations through the gomarbella reservation system.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Malaga airport to Estepona

Carol wrote in this week: "Hi Mike, is there a direct public bus service from Malaga airport to Estepona? If not what is my best option arriving on a Sunday afternoon and how much will it cost me?

I wrote back to Carol saying: "It's easy to get to Estepona from Malaga airport. First take the special bus from Malaga airport to Marbella bus station. At the moment it costs just under €4.50 one way.
Travelling in June, you will need to look at the column for winter departures from the airport. If you are travelling in July, look at the summer departures column.

Then when you get to the Marbella bus station after you get your luggage off the bus from the airport buy your ticket for Estepona from the ticket office in the Marbella bus station. There is an electronic board announcing departures in the departures hall and the board gives you the number of the bay where the bus is standing so you just look for the Estepona bus and also check on the windscreen before you get on. Here is a list of bus schedules for the route, look for the MARBELLA - ESTEPONA bus schedules. In June of 2009 this journey costs €2.58.

If you are getting off at an intermediate stop before Estepona, like Paula who has just written in, then this
list of bus stops between Marbella and Estepona will be useful. Tell the ticket office clerk where you are getting off because it might be a little cheaper if your intermediate stop falls in a different zone. As you get on the bus tell the driver where you are getting off.

YOu will see that there are two buses every hour and so for less than €10 you will get all the way to Estepona from Malaga airport.

Check out all the information above and timings and compare them with your arrival time too. If anything doesn't make sense or you need some extra information, write back to me on the blog contact form below.

Best wishes from Marbella Carol and Paula and thanks again for your contact" Mike

Update 09/10/10: There is now a direct bus service connecting Malaga airport with Estepona bus station. Check across on the Costa del Sol buses page for details.