The Costa del Sol covers a huge area (more than 100 miles across, not to mention the vast inland region) so I’d most definitely recommend hiring a car for your stay to get the most out of your trip. There’s simply so much to explore and you might find that you’re somewhat limited by public transport.
Most major international car hire firms are represented at Malaga airport. (If flying into Gibraltar but staying in Spain, in Sotogrande for example, it's better to hire a car in your destination town.) These companies will often send staff members to the arrivals halls to pitch for business and most are reputable, but only go for a name you recognise.
There are also many local, smaller, independent companies in all of the resorts. These tend to be cheaper and more flexible than those at the airports. Having said that, the Costa del Sol has some of the cheapest car hire rates in Europe, but compare prices of different firms before you agree.
I’d strongly suggest you book a car before you arrive, especially in the summer and during national holidays, as demand can often outstrip supply - bear in mind the Costa del Sol’s population can swell by up to six times in peak season! Remember to book 'extras', like child seats, well in advance too. To help you to plan, compare prices using the Simonseeks booking tool above, and read our money-saving guide on .
Note that most insurance policies don’t cover the first 250 euros of any damage and you will be obliged to fill/half fill the car with petrol before you return it, depending on the contract.
Don’t forget that hire cars with air conditioning are a “must” during the summer months. Also, if hiring online, you will have to show the credit card you used when you booked it when go to you collect the vehicle.
There are 23 car hire companies at the airport, but only 10 of them are located in the three terminal buildings. These include: Auriga Crown (www.aurigacrown.com), Autos Lido (www.autoslido.es), Avis, (www.avis.com), Europcar (www.europcar.es), Goldcar, (www.goldcar.es/en), Hertz (www.hertz.com), Record, (www.recordrentacar.com), SIXT, (www.sixt.es), and Solmar (www.solmar.es).
The offsite car hire companies are mainly located on the Avenida Garcia Morato which runs parallel to the airport.
If flying into Gibraltar and staying in Sotogrande, I’d recommend using a car hire company such as Bruno’s (www.brunoscar.com) in La Linea, on the Spanish side of the border, to avoid queues and bureaucracy.