The Costa del Sol is served by two main airports: Malaga and Gibraltar. Malaga, of course, is by far the largest and most convenient for most international flights, unless you’re staying in Sotogrande.
Malaga’s much-lauded Terminal 3 was officially opened by the King and Queen of Spain in March 2010. With floor-to-ceiling glazing, stainless steel columns and sleek marble floors, it’s significantly brighter, lighter and more contemporary in design than the much older Terminal 2, which previously served most flights from overseas. There’s also a much better selection of shops (including high street clothes stores and gourmet food/souvenir boutiques), a bigger duty free, and five more bars and cafés.
You’ll most likely arrive in T3 if you're on an international flight but you'll still collect your luggage in T2 and it’s a bit of a trek. Those with mobility difficulties might like to ask for assistance before they disembark the plane.
Remember to adjust your watches - Spain is one hour ahead of GMT all year round.
Getting to your destination
Malaga airport is 10.6km from the city centre. There are (normally) twice hourly buses from the airport to the city and to the resorts (Nerja, Marbella etc). Buses start 8am Monday-Saturday; and from 10am on Sundays and Bank Holidays. An average single fare is less than two euros anywhere. Check www.ctsa-portilla.es for timetables.
I find it easier to get the train if I’m heading into the city of Malaga or Benalmadena as they have their own stops on the line (C1). The airport is one of the stations on the line which goes from Malaga to Fuengirola. Check the timetable at www.renfe.com/viajeros/cercanias/malaga. A single ticket is 1.50 euros to Malaga/Benalmadena.
For Nerja, get the train to Malaga's Maria Zambrano station and either then get a bus or taxi to the resort. For Estepona, Marbella and Sotogrande, you can get the train to Fuengirola and then get a coach from the bus station to your destination, or get a coach directly from the airport.
There is always a steady stream of taxis lined up outside arrivals at Terminal 3. Naturally, prices will vary on where you want to go, but the 15km ride to Benalmadena, for instance, will cost around 30 euros on average.
British Airways, easyJet and Monarch have routes to and from Gibraltar.
There are no taxis from Gibraltar airport to Sotogrande, it’s best to cross the border into Spain (a two-minute walk) and get a taxi on the Spanish side, where you’ll find plenty of willing cabs. It costs about 30 euros to get to Sotogrande Marina.