Like the higgledy-piggledy lines on a Picasso canvas, the downtown of Malaga crisscrosses between Mudejar spires and cobbled plazas, streets brimming with chili-scented tapas bars and wide beaches spilling into the sea at La Malagueta. Beyond that are sands, sierras and buzzing resorts to explore. This guide takes a look at some of the best spots and most enthralling types of villas in Malaga to get you excited about that escape to the Spanish coast.

What is the range of villas in Malaga like?

There's not one single type of villa in Malaga. Homes that fringe the shimmering beaches, perch on the wild sierras and huddle between the Moorish relics of this region can cover a whole load of categories. Just 3 popular options are listed below.

Villas in Malaga with a pool

Lazing by the poolside is what many a sun seeker heading Spain's way will be after. The villas in Malaga can oblige, with oodles touting their own private place to take a splash. If you don't want to fork out loads, there's also usually a range of smaller apartments and condos that share pools in and around the major resort centres.

Family villas in Malaga

Being the gateway to the Costa del Sol, with adrenaline-pumping water parks like Aquamijas and the snapping Crocodile Park of Torremolinos up its sleeve, Malaga is unsurprisingly packed with plenty of villas suited to family travellers. They typically have large self-catering kitchen-diners, bigger gardens and multiple bedrooms with twin beds and ensuite masters.

Villas in Malaga right by the sea

One of the great joys of holidaying in this corner of the Costa del Sol is just how close to the Mediterranean Sea that villa in Malaga can get you. Some abodes are literally steps from the beaches, which means you could be first out to the sands of Torremolinos come morning and last off the palm-shaded coves of Mijas Costa come evening.

Areas in the city to look for villas in Malaga

If you're keen to be right in the midst of Malaga city itself, with Picasso's paintings and the old Moorish citadel next door, use this guide to the urban core of the place.

The Malaga old town for real immersion

Few districts in Spain ooze the same historicity and character as the Malaga old town. Once Moorish, it's topped with Renaissance spires and clings to the high walls of the Gibralfaro Castello and the aged Alcazaba. Cafés, cantinas and tapas joints fizz within, while the villas here tend to be small, tight-knit townhouses with plenty of heritage.

Villas by the sea in La Malagueta

The closest place to Malaga's downtown to get your taste of Spanish sea and sun La Malagueta. It's a classic vision of a Costa del Sol playa, with sparkling, gold-flecked sands and glistening shore waters backed by high-rises. A couple of euros gets you a lounger for the day, while rows of fish shacks and seafood bistros crowd the promenade behind.

Malaga's own Soho

Heading south to the artsy district of Soho means feeling the more modern pulse of Malaga. This is where the hipster brunch joints and the creative eateries make their home, along with avant-garde museums like MAUS and its collections of urban street art.

Find villas in Malaga vicinity that are right by the beach

In the hub of the Costa del Sol, it's hardly a surprise that many villas meet the Med just steps from where the waves roll in. To find them, you might just have to venture a little further from the town centre.

Consider villas in Mijas Costa

The 7-mile stretch of coast known as Mijas Costa is what links the fringes of Malaga to the start of chic Marbella. It's packed with villas and home rentals of all sorts, many with private pools or panoramic decks overlooking the sandy beaches. To its back is the fascinating pueblo blanco of Mijas itself, where art galleries and whitewashed cottages clutch the sierras.

Closer to the Castillo in La Caleta Beach

The sandy stretch of La Caleta is located just below the outline of the great Moorish castle and medieval fort of Malaga. It's a dark-hued bay that buzzes with life from morning till night. The setting near the old town keeps things lively, though it's secluded enough to host fully-fledged villa rentals with sea views.

On the promenades of Torremolinos

Palm-peppered walkways line the 5-mile stretch of beach that makes Torremolinos a perennial favourite for holidaymakers who don't want to stray too far from the main gateway to the Costa del Sol at Malaga. Villas here are often perfect for families, particularly given the closeness to attractions like Aqualand Torremolinos and the vertigo-inducing Benalmadena Cable Car.