Book your hire car with Gomarbella & Spain now and Then

Friday, 18 July 2008

Marbella Bus Station

I took my son-in-law Chris looking fit and tanned up to the bus station this morning to catch the special Marbella to Malaga Airport bus. He was flying back to London. We got his ticket and as we put his bag onto the bus I was delighted to bump into Raquel, seen in the middle of the picture. She was also bussing to Malaga airport and then flying on to Barcelona. Raquel is an former travel agent student of mine.

Quite a lot is written in the local press about the Marbella bus station and the CTSE Portillo bus company that operates it. One recent article mentioned that at night the lights above the taxi rank in front of the building weren't working. Another mentioned the state of the toilets. My impression was that first thing in the morning the bus station looked clean. There was however no paper in the gent's toilets and I am sure there would have been none in the ladies' so if you think you might need a pit stop at the Marbella bus station before your onward journey best to bring your own loo paper.

Twenty nine ago when I travelled by bus up to Málaga periodically to renew my registration with the British Consulate to get a certificate which was essential in those days for my work permit, I would have to wait until the bus I was going to catch to Malaga had left Estepona. The Estepona bus station would then phone Marbella to say how many empty seats there were on the bus. The travellers in Marbella could then buy their tickets to Fuengirola or beyond. Once the bus had left Marbella, the number of empty seats would be phoned through to Fuengirola and so on all the way to Málaga. Times have changed.

I have had a good week replying to visitors to the Costa del Sol. Rulette from Holland wrote in to the
"Spain Now and Then" blog to ask about the Santa Marta bus stop near Bena Vista, so I popped down there to check it out and put up a page for her. Then you will see my correspondence in the comments section with Vivian, who is coming to visit her sister in Torrenueva and who asked about the nearest bus stop and through helping her I found out that the Unicasa bus stop is actually called Torrenueva on the ground.

Sarah is somewhere in Europe right now backpacking her way down to the Grangefield Oasis Club 2 km inland from Riviera del Sol and asked if she would need a hire car or if she could get to Oasis Club from the Riviera del Sol bus stop on foot. (Yes and no.) Last summer Mike Dusswaldt wrote in from the USA to say his daughter Melissa would be staying at Riviera del Sol and I have been meaning to put up this information ever since about the Riviera del Sol bus stop. Check out my impressions of how things are at the Miraflores bus stop!

I never thought there would be such interest in the
list of bus stops between Estepona and Marbella, followed by the list of bus stops between Marbella and Fuengirola and then finally the list of bus stops between Fuengirola and Torremolinos.

The bus page to watch which is climbing in Google's rankings is my
Bus and Train Questions section. It is starting to overtake the Costa del Sol bus schedules page little by little.

Shortly I will be bringing my bus travellers recommendations for car hire. Quite a few visitors to the Costa del Sol, take the bus from the airport to their destinations and then hire a car for a few days in a row. I'll be adding my recommendations for day excursions too!

Please contact me for any information through the
¨Spain Now and Then¨comments box at the bottom of the page. The system works very well. I don't get to see your email address and neither do the spammers. Other readers can share our interchanges. My reply to you will be emailed automatically through the system. I like to have a name to write to if possible even if you make it up!


Anonymous said...

Hi there

I'm going to La Linea around 4th/5th Aug.I understand from your site that I can catch the bus from Malaga Airport to Marbella and from there another bus to La Linea.My worry is that I might miss the Marbella to La Linea bus. Do you know the timetable for that period which I'm going which I understand is peak summer,in which case,I'm worried I might not get a seat. IF I do miss the bus or not get a seat,is there another bus company other then Portillo that operates the same route and if not I might have to catch a taxi and do you know how much that might set me back? What if I just catch a taxi from Malaga Airport to La Linea. How much would that cost me? I'm also trying to figure how much time I would need if my flight lands at Madrid T1 to connect to a domestic flight to Malaga from T2. If the flight lands at 0800hrs, do you tink I would make it for the domestic flight to Malaga at 0940hrs at T2? Thank you for your kind help.


Mike Drury said...

Hello Gisela

Thanks for writing in to gomarbella. About your connection in Madrid, is your luggage booked through to Malaga from where you are flying from or are you changing airlines in Madrid? If you are changing airlines for the Madrid to Malaga route you will have to retrieve your luggage when you land and then check it in again before you fly on to Malaga which will take up precious time. If you are with the same company all the way to Malaga and don't have to handle your luggage, you should have enough time for your transfer between the two terminals. I suggest you check that part of your journey with your travel agent.

If you are with two different airlines flying into and out of Madrid, let me know the details and I will check my friendly travel agent because it is a good distance between T1 and T2

If you take off from Madrid at 9.40am you will be on the ground in Malaga by 10.30am and you'll have 45 minutes to get your luggage and be outside for the 11.15am a airport bus to Marbella. If you miss that the next one is at 12.00 midday and will get you into Marbella bus station at 12.45pm.

The next bus to La Linea from Marbella leaves at 15.30 and the one after that is 18.30 and the journey takes 1 hour 30 minutes. As soon as you get to the Marbella bus station, book your ticket for La Linea. You could then check your luggage into the the luggage lockers at the bus station and walk down into Marbella to have a look around for a couple of hours to pass time. There is a possibility that by the time you travel, the Portillo bus company's online bookings system will be working so you will be able to book ahead before you leave home. Write to me again a week before you leave and I will check this for you.

If there is a problem with catching an onwards bus to La Linea, (which I doubt very much) a taxi from Marbella bus station on a week day to La Linea will cost 76 euros, so you have a backup there. I am guessing but I would say a taxi from Malaga airport to La Linea is going to cost at least 120 euros.

In summary the connections at Marbella bus station look good both price and timewise. The only bit of your journey which looks a little tricky at this stage is the T1 to T2 change. I would need a couple more details to check or you could ask your travel agent if you are using one.

I hope this helps Gisela and that everything goes off well. Feel free to write again at any time if I can help you. Best wishes from Marbella for your trip.


Anonymous said...

Hello Mike

Thank you for your reply. At present, I'm not able to confirm if I'd be flying on different airlines or not. I'm trying my level best to fly with the same airline coz I know that will save me a lot of hassle but that will also cost me a fair deal. I'm still shopping around for the best deal.

I'm flying in from Singapore. Yep, a long way off :) I'm basically flying there just to be with my boyfriend who will be there on a company project for the whole month of August. I have a few options in terms of airlines namely Thai Airways, Lufthansa, Air France and British Airways. Due to cost and timing factors, it's a bit of a challenge in picking the best deal but I know I'd have to decide on one at the end of the day.

I will only have one carry-on. No checked-in luggage. Am used to travelling light. Currently, am looking at flying with Lufthansa, the most costly of all my choices, all the way from SIN-AGP transiting at DUS provided I depart SIN on 4th Aug. If I depart SIN 3rd Aug, that option is not available and I might choose to do SIN-FRA-MAD and catch a flight from MAD to AGP. The flight would land at MAD 1005hrs. In this case I think I'd catch an Iberia flight at 1155hrs to AGP. That would be T4 wouldn't it and that's much further than the rest of the other terminals?

Another option would be to fly on Air France all the way to AGP which cost also or stopping at MAD which gives me a choice of airlines to connect to AGP like Spanair, Air Europa or Iberia. The 0940hrs timing I mentioned was either the Spanair or Air Europa timing. Thai Airways' timing to MAD is good and it's one of the cheapest but it's not a daily flight unfortunately. It would have been my 1st choice if it were a daily flight. British Airways / Qantas is reasonable in price but the connection to AGP at LGW doesn't give me much allowance time from the time I land at LHR to get to LGW. If my flight out of SIN is delayed, that would mean I can kiss goodbye to my LGW-AGP connection. BA is famous for delays out of SIN. I should know coz I used to fly with them for 14 years !!! :)

Now you see why I'm in a kinda fix. Cost and timing is a challenge so I'd have to find the best deal. Besides, I won't know the exact date, either 3rd or 4th Aug, I'd be departing SIN till my boyfriend can confirm it on his end which would most probably be like late this month. He's flying in from the States. If I depart SIN on the 4th, I'd have more choices. My plan is to depart SIN the same date my boyfriend is departing the States and try and meet him at AGP on the same arrival date.

Thank you once again for all your help. I will write to you again once I have concrete news. I hope it's soon. Take care.


Anonymous said...

Hi Mike,
I'm travelling to Marbella with a group of people arriving at Malaga airport at different times. It looks like the easiest way for us to get to our accomodation is to catch the special malaga airport to marbella bus service, however our accomodation is in the Albarizas/Lomas de Pozuelo region, which is a fair distance (approx 5km) east of the Marbella bus station.
Q: Is there a bus service from Malaga airport that stops closer to this part of Marbella (East)?
Or is our best option to get to Marbella bus station and then walk, catch another bus, or taxi to our destination?
Thanks in advance,

Mike Drury said...

Hi Josh

Thank very much for checking into gomarbella. Yes, you are absolutely right about taking the bus from Malaga airport to the Marbella bus station for the first part of the journey.

I live in the Las Albarizas area, which is just up from the fishing port and a taxi to my place from the bus station is 5.50 euros during the day on weekdays. You can walk it in 20 minutes (I have done it also with walk on sized cabin baggage) or you can take a bus. It's about 2 kms from the bus station. So all that to say if it's Las Albarizas, it's very accessible.

I think your accommodation though is probably going to be in the Las Lomas del Pozuelo urbanisation which is about 3kms further away from where I live. There is a bus stop on the main road just next to the entrance arch to Marbella which is where the road to Las Lomas takes off and goes inland. Las Lomas is about 2.5kms along this road, uphill, downhill on the way back and without a bus you would need to walk this distance. A taxi from the bus station to Las Lomas would probably be about 10 euros and would take four passengers maximum. The first time you arrive, I would suggest a taxi. With what you save on the airport bus, you can well treat yourself to it.

I have just checked on the local bus services to see if the Las Lomas area is served but I can't find a bus for that area. I'm in London right now but I will be back in Marbella on Friday and I will check it out then. Is there anyway you can let me have the approximate address of where you will all be? Las Lomas is a good place to stay, villas around a swimming pool and very attractive.

Let me know and I will check it out this weekend and let you know the name of the bus stop.

Best wishes Josh and let me know


Anonymous said...

hi mike

gisela here again. how have you been? i have narrowed my search down to this : i'll be flying thai airways via bkk to madrid and from madrid i'll connect on spanair to malaga. i'll arrive madrid 0800hrs. i'm intending to book the connecting flight that departs madrid at 0940hrs to malaga.

would i have enough time to transfer from madrid t1 to t2 to catch my spanair flight? and do i have to clear immigration and do the transfer landside or can i do the transfer airside say by walking or by travellators or bus? i'll be having only hand carry. no checked-in luggage. and i intend to check-in online on spanair's website for both sectors, if it's possible, to save time.

on my return leg, from malaga to madrid, i have a little concern. the flight departs malaga 0730hrs. that would mean i'll have to leave la linea kinda early like say 0500hrs? i'd have checked-in online for that, so i'll save some time. i guess the only way to get to malaga from la linea at that time of the morning would be by taxi right? any other way coz i doubt the bus commences that early. how much would that cost me? how long would the taxi ride take?

i'm departing sin on 4th aug monday. yup, 3 days from now. very rushed i know. i wished it weren't but i had no choice as i had to await confirmation on my boyfriend's end and it sure has been frustrating and frankly, right now, i don't even know for sure when he'd be departing la linea himself. it's either 26th or 27th aug but i had no choice but to book my departure 26th as thai airways don't fly on 27th aug. i hope to hear from you soon. very sorry to rush you like that. thank you mike.


Mike Drury said...

Oh hi Gisela, nice to hear from you and to know that love has conquered all logistical problems.

I have just got back from London this morning myself but I´ll print your email and take it down to our friendly local travel agent just now and run it by them regarding the transfer in Madrid. I'll post a comment tonight so you can have the answer on that right away.

For your return, I fear it will have be a taxi. I´ll check the cost of a taxi from La Linea and let you know. At 5.00 in the morning I would allow one hour fifteen minutes from La Linea to the drop off at Malaga airport but make it an hour and a half to have a little margin.

The weather's great, warmish but I guess you are used to that! I'd better get off on my rounds, talk later Gisela.


Mike Drury said...

Gisela hi, I have just got back from our local travel contact.

Yes, you will have enough time to make the change between T1 and T2 which are adjacent. The only problem might arise if your incoming flight is late landing in Madrid.

She said that the fact that you are booking both sectors with Spanair is positive though because if you do miss your flight to Malaga, they will automatically put you onto the next one.

About the immigration, yes, you will have to go out through passport control, landside, then come through security and passpor control once more in T2.

I'll check on the taxi cost tomorrow and get that off to you.

My wife and I stopped off in Singapore in September 2006 and really enjoyed it. Clean, great architecture, friendly people and the airport, wow! So quiet, clean and state of the art. We were really impressed by it. I think you will find that Malaga is a lot noisier but hey, welcome to Spain.

I hope all your connections go off just fine Gisela and best wishes for your trip. It sounds like the break will do you a lot of good.


Anonymous said...

hi mike

am travelling to sabinillas. To get there from Malaga airport without hiring a car, is getting bus from airport to marbella, then bus from marbella to estepona, then taxi from estepona to sabinillas possible and practical

AussieJustin said...

Hi Mike,

What is the easiest way to get from Fuengirola to Mijas Pueblo? Is there a good bus service that runs between the two towns or should I take a taxi? Do you have a rough idea of the price differences?
Thanks for your help.

Mike Drury said...

Hello Justin, thanks for writing in.

I phoned the taxi company in Fuengirola just now and the girl said that from the centre of Fuengirola to the centre of Mijas, the fare would be 14 euros by day and 16 euros at night.

I checked on the Portillo bus fare and it is 1.15 euros for the same journey. Have a look at the Fuengirola bus schedules on to give you an idea of the frequency of the buses.

You asked about a good bus service. If you are on holiday and timings are not critical, then the Portillo bus service is a good, economical and social way of getting around on the coast. If you need to commute to work or get to a specific event or function, you should take an earlier bus to make quite sure!

I hope that helps you Justin, let me know if I can help you further.

Best wishes


Stephan1985 said...

Hi Mike,

A friend and I are vacationing in Puerto Banus at the moment.

Our flight is leaving at 9 AM from the airport in Malaga and since we're both students, we find it a little expensive taking a taxi all the way.

The earliest bust leaves from the bus station in Marbella at 7:15 AM and we've to be in the airport at 7 AM.

Could you recommend an alternative way of public transportation in order to get there?

We're well aware that we might have to drive with a taxi some of the way.

Best regards


Mike Drury said...

Hi Stephan, it looks as if you are in luck with a combination of a taxi and the train to get to Malaga airport.

The first train out of Fuengirola leaves at 6.30am. It's a journey of 32 minutes and you will be pulling into the airport train station at 7.02am. Departures is one level up but the train station is so close you'll be going through security by 07.15 if your boarding cards are printed already.

I phoned the local taxi company Taxisol Tel: 952 77 44 88 and the girl told me that on a weekday at 6 in the morning a taxi from Puerto Banus to Fuengirola train station will cost €39 and over a weekend, €46.80.(March 2011) I'm assuming that you mean Puerto Banus where the boats are but if you are staying out of Puerto Banus which covers quite a big area, then I suggest booking a taxi just to make sure.

Make a note of the number because the girl said if there aren't any taxis on the big roundabout, if you phone, they'll send a taxi within a couple of minutes.

Ideally you leave Puerto Banus at 5.30am, it's a 30 minute journey to Fuengirola at that time of the morning, leaving you a good margin of 30 minutes to buy your ticket from one of the machines or from the ticket office which should open well before 6.30am and maybe get in a coffee as well.

My train schedule from Fuengirola to Malaga will come up on Google easily, it shows 6.30am for the first train but just to make 100% sure I checked on the Renfe Cercanias Malaga train site putting Sunday 19/3/11 as a test date.

It came up with times valid from 10-01-2011 until 30-06-2011

ORIGIN: FUENGIROLA Departure time: 06.30
DESTINATION: AIRPORT Arrival time: 07.02

Date of journey: : 19-03-2011

The train journey should cost less than €5,I haven't done it for some time but I am always surprised how cheap it is.

I hope that suits your budget Stephan. Sorry about all the rain but hopefully if you are somewhere in the heart of Puerto Banus you won't even notice it.

Have a good trip back and best wishes from up the road. Thanks very much for using Gomarbella.


Stephan1985 said...

Hi again,

Thank you very much for your help! :D


Mike Drury said...

Hi Stephan, you're very welcome, party on till the very last moment! Mike

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike
I was going to try and get up to the Refugio de Juanar to try a bit of hiking (for the first time) All the signposted walks seem to start from near the car park near the hotel, but I am not too confident about simply getting on a bus to Ojen and hoping for the best. Do you know which is the best bus to take and where to get off or is there one that actually stops at the Refugio de Juanar hotel.

Martin said...

P S - Also there is a walk to the ruins of Los Monjes which starts at a small power plant right next to a little urbanization which is up the road to the mountains from the marbella bus station. have you any idea whether any buses that go up there. Not a straightforward question, sorry, but I see from your profile that you like trekking!! I've not tried yet. I.m just trying ton think of a few more healthy pursuits. I'll let you know iyf i like trekking after the event

Mike Drury said...

Hello Martin

It's good to be talking about trekking on the Marbella Bus Station page! I think we are talking about the same place, Los Monjes.

If you look for Arroya de Guadalpia Norte in Google maps and then scroll out a little you will see it is just above the Marbella bus station. Going up the Arroya de Guadalpia Norte toward the mountains, you'll see a litle bit of road without a name which leads off it and then stops. Walk down this short stretch of road and then take the path on the other side of the stream which leads off into the valley into the mountains.

Follow this path up it will be in shade for a lot of the way. Once you get above the refuse line, it's very pleasant and leads up the river, crisscrossing it until you get to the little ruined chapel. Just a bit further on up the river there are some pleasant firs where I camped with a group of children at least 30 years ago. It will have water in it with the recent rains and there are a couple of pleasant pools to sit beside.

You can walk back down the same path or take another path which leads off from right in front of the chapel and brings you out above the Cascada de Camojan urbanisation, getting back to your starting point by keeping to the roads at the foot of the mountain. It'll be a good hour's walk to the chapel, and another hour and a half back to the starting point if you take the second path home. This path was my very first walk into the mountains after leaving Zimbabwe and I can still remember the smell of the pines to this day. You'll get some views on this second path or just leave it for another day and go back down the same way.

The L2 bus which runs every 30 minutes on a weekday chugs away from the Marbella bus station and stops at Huerto del Prado, Hotel and then the Hotel Don Miguel before going back through the Xarblanca urbanisation and then heading back down to Marbella past the Las Cancelas urbanisation. I would get out at the Hotel Don Miguel or Las Cancelas urbanisation. The distances from the Marbella bus station and the foot of the mountain are not great however and you might just choose to walk up to your starting point off the Arroya de Guadalpia Norte rather than wait for the bus.

I hope that helps you Martin, have an enjoyable walk. Please let me know if you still have a desire to continue trekking after this route!

Make sure you take at least a litre of water with you.

Best wishes Mike

Mike Drury said...

Hi Martin

This is the reply to your question about walking from the Refugio de Juanar de Ojen. I've just tried to phone them to see if they have any guest transport available for guests Tel: 952 88 10 00 but right now there is a massive telephone problem along the Malaga coastal strip and I can't get through. Basically the Parador is about 5kms off the Ojen to Monda bus route into the mountains and I don't even know if the Portillo bus would stop along the route for you. If you do get to the Parador, walk into reception and ask for the walking routes map that they give to guests. There are a number of very pleasant paths leading off from the car park. Take water with you for these walks. More than once I've helped an exhausted out of form walker who started out from the Parador on what seemed a jolly walk under the Andalusian sun.

If you don't get to the Parador to start with, then take the Portillo bus from Marbella bus station as far as Ojen. Almost right next to the first bus stop on the left as you come into Ojen, right next to the petrol station, there is a path which leads off up the mountain to Juanar, the peak with a cross on it which you can see from the coast. Say to any villager, "Juanar!" pointing up to the mountains and they will indicate the path to you which will lead out of the village, through the vegetable patches and then up the mountain through pines and overhangs passing under the motorway some distance above the village. It's a good two and a half hours and you will come out on a road above the Parador. There is no traffic on this stretch of road, it's protected by a chain a little lower down. The Parador is 15 minutes to your right. Ten to fifteen minutes to your left is the Mirador de Juanar, a lookout point with views up and down the coast.

You can actually walk back down to Marbella from here, rather than return to Ojen. It's just under two hours at a gentle pace downhill and you come out next to the Marbella cemetery. It's a very well defined path. You can then walk down to La Cañada another 30 minutes and take a bus or a taxi from there. Getting back into the urban sprawl after being in the mountains is always a shock.

I would take an early bus to Ojen and allow yourself a whole day for a relaxed walk. If you decide against continuing once you get to the top, walk down to the Parador, have a cup of tea and then catch a lift down or Reception will get a taxi for you. If you are going strong, then walk back down to Marbella down the front of the mountain.

Coincidentally I've just been in contact with Marco of and I hope to do a walk with him soon.

I've also got lots more suggestions waiting for you Martin.

Best wishes and take at least two litres of water for this walk.


Martin said...

Hi Mike

Thank you for your very detailed response, which is saved ready for when I am fit enough for the Juanar and La Concha walks. After my first effort, I have visions of me being airlifted or carried from the mountains.

I thought I would start with something easy (to warm up for a mountain trek later in the week) and two of us walked the beach walk (which is now open all the way) from the West side of San Pedro to Marbella fishing port and back. A long walk but totally flat. That was hard work and we nearly made it but settled for a beer in Puerto Banus on the return, neither of us could move nor contemplate a hike ever again and we took a taxi home.

I'm told the Los Monjes walk is not too hard but the others are staying on the back burner until I can do the beach walk without feeling so sorry for myself. .



Mike Drury said...

Hi Martin

Well done on getting out there. I'm always surprised at how soon the human soul can recover hope and optimism and be ready for more punishment so it won't be long before you are ready to go again. With the summer coming up, early morning starts are the way to go.

That was a very respectable distance. More than 15 kms I think. I live just near the Marbella fishing port so I should have come down to hand you water bottles and cheer you on. You will find the Los Monjes walk a lot easier although there is nowhere to stop for a beer. Tell me when you feel ready and I will be pleased to walk it with you as long as we can get off before the heat builds up.

At the end of September, my daughter and I are going to walk for a week northwards from Sevilla along what is known as the Via de la Plata. It ends up in Santiago de la Compostela, the finishing point for the Camino Francés also known as the Camino de Santiago. It's not really a pilgrimage for us as much as an experience to share. All that to say I will also have to put in a few kilometres over the summer to get myself tuned up.

Thanks again for writing back Martin and good on you for getting going.

Best wishes


Anonymous said...

Hi Mike, Thank you so much for all the valuable information you provide. I have several questions.
1. Could you recommend a hotel that is within walking distance of the bus station, old town and the beach? Is there such a hotel? If I had to choose two of the three I would choose the beach and old town and then could cab to the bus station.
2. We will be in Marbella October 16-21 with the 18th and 19th being the weekend. Is it better to visit Granada and the Alhambra on a weekday or the weekend? How about Gilbratar?
3. I know I need to buy tickets ahead of time for the Alhambra but overall how busy will Marbella be in October? Will the buses be full? Will the bus schedule to Gibraltar and Rondo be the same in October as is posted now?
Thanks again for all the information. Nancy

Mike Drury said...

Hi Nancy, thank you for writing in. I am glad Gomarbella is helpful.

1) The hotel that I would recommend is the Hotel San Cristobal. It's an older hotel with a great situation. I have stayed here when our apartment overflows even though I live only 10 minutes walk away! There is a cab rank right in front of the hotel for a minimum fare to the bus station. If you would prefer to spend a litle more money on your accommodation then try the Hotel El Fuerte right on the beach and two blocks from the old town. If it's just a place to put your head down then Hotel San Cristobal.

Oh, on Thursday evenings at Hotel El Fuerte there is a free flamenco show. Check this at reception whether you stay there or not. Get there early, settle into your armchair, get some drinks and peanuts and enjoy the show!

2) Definitely do your Granada and Gibraltar excursions during the week. You should be able to book the excursion at the hotel reception but if you would like reserve well in advance, let me know and I'll send you the email address of our friendly travel agency. Getting out of Gib as a foot passenger can be problematical because of the Spanish customs border guards go slow actions. If you go on an organised excursion, they will wait for you. The public bus to La Linea on the border with Gib will not wait.

Yes, the timetables to La Linea and Ronda will not change. Nancy check in with me in late August or early September and I'll tell you the latest. Check in anytime!

I hope this helps you. Well done on planning ahead. Best wishes Mike