Mediterranean Motorway Malaga: A-7 versus AP-7

The Mediterranean Motorway (Autopista del Sol) connects all the major tourist centres along the Costa del Sol.

Getting by car from Malaga airport to any of the resorts of the western Costa del Sol, there are basically two ways of travelling the Mediterranean Motorway: Either along its toll free motorway (A-7) or the toll road (AP-7).

We´ll have a look at advantages and disadvantages of both, as well as prices depending on season.

The Mediterranean motorway AP-7 (E-15) in the province of Malaga has a length of 105 km and consists of two segments: Malaga-Estepona and Estepona-Guadiaro. This toll road runs almost parallel to the old coastal road N-340 and A-7.

Mediterranean Motorway Malaga AP-7
Mediterranean Motorway Malaga AP-7

Mediterranean Motorway Malaga: A-7 versus AP-7

Lets have a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of the toll free motorway (A-7) and the toll road (AP-7).

A-7

The A-7 is a very busy highway and with high density of vehicles. This is due to the fact of being located directly on the coast and linking all coastal municipalities.

The N-340 towards Torremolinos
The N-340 towards Torremolinos

Since in many sections the A-7 is actually the old national road, there are many areas with just two lanes and narrow curves that force to slow down to 80 km / h.

Another major drawback is the driving quality. There are numerous exits from housing developments with a very short or no acceleration lane. And often the driver of the right lane is forced to sudden braking due to reckless incorporations.

In fact, this section is particularly notable for its high accident rate.

This applies especially to the section between Fuengirola and Marbella which we personally don´t consider a very relaxing stretch to drive.

In the picture the N-340 in Mijas. This curve has the highest accident rate of the entire N-340.

In addition, there is a strech radar, the speed limit is 80km/h. Do you want to know where are all the Speed Cameras in Malaga?

The N-340 in Mijas.
The N-340 in Mijas. This curve has a high accident rate.

The section Estepona – Guadiaro has a large number of roundabouts and also presents sections with limitations in speed of 80 km / h.

AP-7

In the AP-7 obviously these disadvantages do not exist. The driver can enjoy a much more fluid and pleasant journey to the Costa del Sol municipalities.

However, both by distance and by travel time, there is no significant difference between the two motorways.

Mediterranean Motorway AP-7, Costa del Sol
Streetview of AP-7 at the height of Marbella Golf Club

On the other hand, stress-free travel and without congestions on the AP-7 has its price.

It varies considerably depending on the season. Thus, leads many drivers to continue opting for the A-7, which especially in summer is completely saturated by a huge number of vehicles.

traffic jam in Puerto Banús
Typical summer traffic jam in Puerto Banús

After this popular municipality begins to de-congest traffic a little more towards the western Costa del Sol.

Especially after Estepona the landscape begins to be more scenic. With sections of the old N-340 running along the sea and less housing developments, a treat for your eyes with the landscape and the nearby Rock of Gibraltar.

AP-7 Marbella
This Google Street view of the AP-7 was taken in July 2021, to give you an idea.

Rates Mediterranean Motorway Malaga – Autopista del Sol 2022

Rates Mediterranean Motorway Malaga - Autopista del Sol

There are two types of toll rates on the AP-7: The normal fare applies in the months of October to May, except Easter (which counts as high season).

The special rate applies in the months of June, July, August, September and Easter.

Tolls can be paid in cash, by credit or debit card, and Via T, which allows the driver to pay the toll without stopping.

Let’s have a look at the toll prices for 2022:

Airport to Marbella: Normal rate: 4,80 € Special rate: 7,85 €

Airport to Estepona: Normal rate: 8,10 € Special rate: 13,15 €

Airport to Manilva: Normal rate: 9,10 € Special rate: 14,85 €

The first section of his toll road begins before reaching Fuengirola and has a length of 30 km.

This section is the one that corresponds on the A-7 / N-340 to the most difficult and congested stretch on the Costa del Sol.

So, although a somewhat higher disbursement in summer, if you prefer a stress-free driving, we recommend taking during high season the AP-7 towards Marbella and Estepona.

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