The coastline of Malaga, Spain is known as the Costa del Sol for a reason — this is a place that sees an average of around 300 days of sun per year. There’s nothing that goes with sun better than sand and sea, and fortunately, this stretch of coastline is also blessed with some of the country’s finest beaches. Here are ten of the best beaches in Malaga:
Chullera Beach is a 700 m, mainly stony beach, set amongst attractive rocky outcrops on the border between the Malaga and Cadiz provinces in Manilva municipality. The beach’s well-known clear waters are ideal for swimming, snorkeling and spearfishing. The beach has one chiringuito (Spanish-style beach restaurant) that serves simple meals and hires out sun loungers. A laidback spot ideal for relaxing, it can become busy with families in summer.
- Getting there: Best reached from Malaga by car. Follow the AP-7 and take exit 153. Driving time is around just over an hour.
- Tip: At the western end of the beach is a ruined watchtower dating back to the Nasrid dynasty, which ruled the area from 1230 to 1492. It is worth a visit!
Located in the town of Estepona, the main beach by the same name is long and wide. Stretching around 4 km from the port in the south-west to beyond the town in the north-east, most of the beach is sandy, although some parts have some shingle, especially towards the north-eastern end. An attractive promenade runs all the way along the beach and beyond with many chiringuitos to choose from.
- Getting there: Take a bus from Malaga or drive a car. Follow the AP-7 and take exit 155. Journey time is about an hour and 10 minutes.
- Tip: First of all, Estepona is one of the prettiest towns on the Malaga coast and it is worth taking an hour or two to stroll around the narrow streets of the old town. Secondly, El Paraíso at the south-western end of the promenade is the pick of the chiringuitos. They offer excellent fish and seafood dishes with friendly service.
Marbella is known as a playground for the rich and famous. Located 20 mins drive from here is Puerto Banús, the port where the millionaires tie up their yachts when they come ashore. Alongside it comes the sand and shingle beach by the same name. Backed by a long promenade, it is a great spot to sit and watch the glamorous visitors to one of the Costa del Sol’s most famous tourist towns. There are plenty of chiringuitos, but prices tend to be inflated.
- Getting there: Easily reached from Malaga by bus or car. To drive, follow the AP-7 and take exit 184. Journey time is around 50 minutes. From Marbella, Puerto Banus is a short drive away.
- Tip: Marbella is one of the most expensive spots on the Costa del Sol. If you don’t want to spend lots of money, choose where you eat and drink carefully.
A rising star of the Malaga coastline, Cabopino has become a popular destination over the last few years — yet somehow it still never feels overcrowded. The beach is a 1.5 km long strip of fine sand protected by dunes at one end. The dune section is also a nudist beach, so this is the place to head for naked sunbathing. There are several chiringuitos and other amenities at hand.
- Getting there: Can be reached by car from Malaga (takes under one hour) or from Marbella (in 15 minutes). Buses also run from Marbella or Fuengirola.
- Tip: The Artola Dunes on this beach have now been declared a national monument. You definitely want to check them out.
Fuengirola is actually a 7 km stretch of sand divided into seven beaches. Most sections have a full complement of chiringuitos, shops and amenities, and there are also ample opportunities for all kinds of water sports. The beachfront promenade at Fuengirola is the longest in Spain.
- Getting there: Reachable from Malaga by bus or car. To drive, follow the A7. Journey time is around 30 minutes.
- Tip: Fuengirola can be very popular in summer and during holidays, and it can be difficult to find a parking space.
Torremolinos is one of the oldest and best-known resort towns on the Costa del Sol and is blessed with a long, sandy beach that stretches for 7km. The stretch of sand is further categorized into 6 beaches, all of which are equally popular. With a wide range of hotels and eating options available, those looking for peace and seclusion may find it overdeveloped. Remember, this is a beach destination for those who prefer somewhere not lacking in conveniences, entertainment and nightlife.
- How to get there: Torremolinos can be reached from Malaga by bus or car in around 25 minutes.
- Tip: To escape from the tourist hordes, head north from the main strip to El Calvario and discover a part of town that is more authentically Spanish.
The most beloved Malaga beach among malagueños, La Malagueta is easily reached on foot from the centre of the city. The beach is a strip of sand just over 1 km in length and is a great place to come and mix with the locals; although in summer, it can be a challenge finding a spot to sit down. Indisputably, it is one of the best Malaga beaches without the need to leave the city.
- Getting there: Can be reached on foot from the city centre in around 10 minutes. It is also possible to drive or take public transport.
- Tip: La Malagueta has a children’s play area, making it ideal for families with small kids.
This small beach hidden in a cove near the resort town of Nerja is a favourite with locals ‘in the know’. The beach is rough dark sand and shingle, but the water is usually calm and clear as well as full of fish — making it one of the best spots along the coast for snorkelling. Kayaks are available to rent, allowing you to explore the alluring craggy coastline from the sea. Many consider this to be one of the best beaches in Malaga.
- Getting there: Best reached by car from Nerja, a short drive of only a few kilometres along the N-340.
- Tip: Fishing is banned in the area, resulting in the abundant marine life found here.
Nerja has some of the best beaches in the province and two are good enough to make this list. Burriana is the most popular and with its 800 m strip of sand, clear waters and dramatic mountainous backdrop, it is easy to understand why. Pedalos, kayaks, jet skis and the like can all be rented on the beach, and the promenade backing the beach offers a wide selection of places to eat.
- Getting there: Burriana Beach is reached from Nerja by descending a steep flight of stairs known locally as ‘cardiac hill’. Another option is to take a short drive in a car or taxi.
- Tip: The most famous place to eat is Restaurante Ayo. The paellas there are considered by many to be the best in town.
Bil-Bil is a small dark sand beach located near the town of Benalmádena, around 12 km west of Malaga city. The beach takes its name from the distinctive Arabic-style castle located nearby, one of the most recognizable buildings in the town. The beach is backed by a promenade and there are many options for food.
- Getting there: A 10-minute drive or 30-minute walk from the centre of Benalmádena. Alternatively, a 30-minute car journey from Malaga city.
- Tip: Stay until sunset to see the castle lit up at night. You might also want to visit the tallest Buddhist stupa in Europe while in Benalmádena.
From the ostentatious glitz of Marbella to the low-key vibe of Estepona, from the 7km of hotels and resorts at Torremolinos to the hidden cove of Maro or the nudist beach at Cabopino, Malaga has beaches for all tastes. And perhaps one of the best things about the Costa del Sol is that the weather is warm enough for a beach holiday almost all year round, the perfect excuse to visit some of the best beaches in Malaga.