Costa del Sol translated as Coast of the Sun, is well-known for its incredible beaches, cliffs, bays and dunes, and its warm and mild temperatures all year round.
If you’re looking for a beach holiday, you won’t regret choosing Malaga because you have plenty of coastal towns and villages to choose from. Whether you love a lively atmosphere or a quiet spot, Costa del Sol is the place to be.
In this blog post, not only will you discover beautiful beaches in Malaga, but secret and off the beaten path beaches across Costa del Sol that only the locals know about.
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Best beaches in Malaga and Costa del Sol
Beaches in Malaga City
Playa de la Caleta
Between La Malagueta Beach and Pedregalejo Beach, you’ll find La Caleta, 1 kilometre long beach that is characterised by its dark sand and moderate swells.
This beach has plenty of small green places that are ideal to protect yourself from the high temperatures and the sun.
Within La Caleta you can find fitness areas and playgrounds, rent a sunbed and beach umbrella as well as pedal boats and have food at the chiringuitos (traditional fish beach restaurants).
How to get to La Caleta Beach
To get to La Caleta Beach, you can take buses 32 towards Mayorazgo or 11 towards El Palo. Alternatively, you can go for a walk to the beach from the city centre as it’s only an 18 minutes walk.
Playa La Malagueta
La Malagueta is the most popular beach in Malaga as it’s located a few minutes from the heart of the city.
Although it’s a beautiful beach, bear in mind that it gets very busy during the summer months. Tourists and locals that live close by choose La Malagueta because of its convenient location.
In La Malagueta beach you can find chiringuitos, a lovely promenade, and green spaces and it’s within a short walking distance of Muelle Uno, Malaga’s port which has a wide range of local and international restaurants and shops.
This beach is the perfect option to combine sightseeing in Malaga and relaxing in a day.
How to get to La Malagueta Beach
If your accommodation is in the city centre, the best way to get to this beach is to walk. If not, the beach is very accessible by public transport from other parts of the city.
Travelling by car? Malaga has many free parking slots even in the city centre, but it isn’t easy to find one. Also, you need to watch out for gorrillas, these are illegal parking lot attendants that will watch your car in exchange for a tip. However, you don’t need to give them any money.
If you want a safe option, you can pay to park at Muelle Uno or Central parking as these two are very close to La Malagueta.
Playa de la Misericordia
If you want to go to the beach where most locals go, then you must visit La Misericordia. I remember visiting this beach with my family every weekend when I was a kid, so I have a soft spot for this beach.
This 2 kilometres long beach is surrounded by a lovely promenade with beach restaurants, a cycling road, and green spaces with benches and playgrounds.
It’s also next to two great places to visit: Parque del Oeste, a lovely park with statues, an artificial lake with ducks and swans and other amenities, and the Automobile Museum.
TIP: If you’re going into the sea, be careful with your towels and beach umbrellas as once a day the “Melillero”, a high-speed vessel passes and makes the tide rise very quickly. You don’t want all your belongings to be wet.
How to get to La Misericordia Beach
You can easily travel from Malaga city centre to La Misericordia by public transport. Take buses number 3 7 or 15, or alternatively, you can also get the metro towards Palacio de Los Deportes and then walk to the beach.
If you’re travelling by car, there are many parking slots, including free ones, however, it isn’t easy to find one during the summer months, especially on Sundays when most families spend the day at the beach.
If you’re looking for a beautiful beach within Malaga, Pedregalejo is your best choice. This beach received the Q Quality Seal in 2018 and it’s located between two other stunning places, the Baños del Carmen and El Palo Beach.
It’s also a busy beach during the summer months because of the proximity to the city and the numerous beach bars and restaurants that are very well-known for delicious fish and seafood dishes.
If you go to Pedregalejo Beach and you love fish, then you must try espetos, Malaga’s traditional dish which consists of sardines on skewers that are placed on a small barbeque made in a little boat – just designed for roasting sardines and other fish and seafood.
How to get to Pedregalejo Beach
You can get to Pedregalejo by bus or metro. Buses number 3 and 11 will leave you next to the beach.
If you’re travelling by car, it’s only an 11 minutes drive from the city centre. There are a couple of public and private parking slots around the Pedregalejo neighbourhood. You can always try to park on one of its streets, but it’s a busy area during summer.
Peñón del Cuervo
If you’re looking for the most beautiful beach in Malaga, then Peñón del Cuervo is the one for you. This unique beach gets its name from the rock emerging from the water that divides the beach into two areas.
It’s a tranquil beach situated on the outskirts of Malaga which is also protected because of the numerous endangered plant species you can find there.
There are no restaurants or bars around this beach which makes it a perfect beach for anyone who wants to be immersed in nature and avoid the hustle and bustle of the city.
Moragas, nighttime parties with bonfires, take place on this beach during the summer months.
How to get to Peñón del Cuervo
This beach is less accessible by public transport than other beaches in Malaga. However, you can take bus number 11 which will leave you close to the beach.
Another recommended way to go to this beach is by bike as there are ample cycle paths that are part of the Senda Litoral and the Gran Senda de Málaga.
If you’re driving to Peñón del Cuervo from Malaga city centre, it takes about 17 minutes if you go via N-340.
Beaches in Torremolinos
Guadalmar beach is situated between Malaga and Torremolinos, and it’s characterised by being tranquil and having surrounding unique vegetation that attracts many birds – it’s indeed the main route for birds migrating to and from Africa and Europe.
This sand is dark and there are moderate swells, and there are a few amenities such as a couple of beach bars, a free car park, toilets and showers.
Guadalmar Beach is the type of beach you want to visit if you don’t want to go far from Malaga and enjoy the tranquillity. However, you also need to know that a part of this beach is for nudists. This is the only authorised nude beach near Malaga.
Guadalmar beach is also recommended as an LGTB destination.
How to get to Guadalmar Beach
From Malaga city centre, take the number 5 bus from Alameda Principal to Rogelio Oliva, which will leave you next to Hotel Guadalmar at only a 3 minute walk from the beach.
If you’re driving to the beach from Malaga city centre, you can take the MA-20 highway or Valle-Inclán avenue and the MA-20.
Playa Los Álamos
Los Alamos Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Costa del Sol. It’s lively and fun because of all the different activities you can do on and near this beach – from water sports to a good selection of beach bars and restaurants.
The beach has golden sand and moderate swells, and an extensive promenade that goes all the way from Los Alamos to La Carihuela Beach. This is the perfect place to go for a walk on a winter sunny day too.
If you love relaxing with an atmosphere, I highly recommend getting an umbrella beach at La Palapa Beach. The vibe is quite good – music and delicious food while you enjoy a day on the beach with your loved ones or friends.
During the summer nights, Los Alamos becomes a place for parties in the many well-known beach clubs where locals also dance bachata and salsa. On top of this, you can also find bonfires and late-night parties on the beach.
How to get to Los Alamos Beach
Los Alamos Beach is very accessible by car and public transport. The cheapest and fastest option is driving to Los Alamos because it’s about a 10 to 15 minutes drive from Malaga city centre.
However, if you don’t drive, you can take the cercanías train route C1 to Los Alamos station which takes 17 minutes, or the number M-110 bus which takes about 20 minutes.
Playa La Carihuela
One of the best beaches in Costa del Sol is La Carihuela. This 2 kilometres long beach is full of charm and activities to do for all types of travellers.
While La Carihuela is home to many beach bars, restaurants and shops that fill the beach and promenade with tourists from all over the world, it keeps the charm of the typical Andalusian fishing village that used to be.
The beach is characterised by its dark sand from its volcanic origins and calm waters, which makes it an excellent beach to visit with family and children.
How to get to La Carihuela Beach
If you’re travelling by public transport, you have two options: bus or train.
For the train, take the “cercanías” route C1 to El Pinillo station which takes 27 minutes and walk for 17 minutes to arrive in La Carihuela.
For the bus, take the number M-110 bus which takes about 40 minutes.
Travelling by car is the fastest option as it’s only a 20 minutes drive from Malaga city centre. The only disadvantage of driving there is finding parking.
📌 Related blog: A Local’s Guide On Best Things to Do in Torremolinos
Beaches in Benalmadena
Playa Arroyo de la Miel
Arroyo de la Miel beach, also known as Los Melilleros Beach, is the busiest beach in Benalmadena due to its central location which attracts tourists and locals.
The beach is surrounded by many international restaurants, parks such as Parque de la Paloma and souvenir shops which is great if you also want to explore the town of Benalmadena.
How to get to Arroyo de la Miel Beach
If you drive from Malaga city centre, take the A-7 Mediterranean motorway. The drive takes between 30 and 40 minutes depending on the traffic.
If you’re using public transport, the best way to reach this beach is by bus. Take the M-110 bus from Terminal Muelle Heredia which takes about an hour. The bus leaves you next to the beach.
Playa de Carvajal
Playa del Carvajal, located on Benalmadena’s border with Fuengirola, is a popular beach on the Costa del Sol.
Carvajal beach was awarded the Blue Flag Award in 2021, and it’s well known for its dark sand, pebbles and calm sea which is why many tourists and locals choose this beach to visit with family and children.
The beach is well-equipped with plenty of amenities such as sunbed rentals, showers and toilets, and you can enjoy a wide range of water sport activities. On top of this, Carvajal beach is very clean and safe as lifeguards continuously monitor the coast.
How to get to Carvajal Beach
From Malaga city centre, take the A-7 towards Fuengirola. The journey takes approximately 45 minutes.
If you’re using public transport, you can take the cercanías train (route C1) towards Fuengirola from María Zambrano and walk for about 8 minutes. The duration of this journey is 45 minutes.
📌 Related blog: 9 Incredible Things to do in Benalmadena
Beaches in Fuengirola/Mijas
Playa de Calahonda
Calahonda beach is located between Fuengirola and Mijas. It’s characterised by its beautiful golden sand crystal blue clear waters and moderate swells.
The beach isn’t surrounded by a promenade which makes it more unique and natural than other developed beaches. Calahonda is also the beach for you if you love scuba diving!
Although it isn’t as popular as other beaches on Costa del Sol, it can get busy on weekends.
How to get to Calahonda beach
From Malaga city centre, take the A-7 towards Fuengirola-Mijas. Depending on the roads you choose, it’ll take you between 40 to 50 minutes.
Unfortunately, Calahonda beach isn’t very accessible from Malaga city centre, and it’ll take you a while to get there.
📌 Related blog: Top Things to do in Fuengirola
Beaches in Marbella
Playa Puerto Banús
Puerto Banús Beach, situated between the luxurious Puerto Banús Marina and Río Verde Beach, is an excellent beach awarded the Blue Flag.
The beach has beautiful golden sand and calm waters which make it a good beach to visit with family. Puerto Banús beach is also close to a wide range of top-notch restaurants that are worth checking.
How to get to Puerto Banús Beach
The fastest way to get to Puerto Banús beach is by car which will take you approximately about 50 minutes.
Alternatively, if you don’t drive, take the L-302 Avanza bus to Puerto Banus.
Playa de Cabopino
One of the best beaches in Marbella is Cabopino Beach. Although this beach has gained more popularity over the years, it’s a virgin beach where you’ll always find a quiet spot.
Cabopino is within the Artola dunes, a nature preserve declared a Natural Monument in 2001. Here you’ll find breathtaking dunes and unique vegetation that will make you feel immersed in nature.
The beach is close to many incredible beach bars and restaurants, and you can rent sunbeds and beach chairs too.
Cabopino is the beach to go to if you’re looking for a relaxing day at the beach sunbathing, swimming in the sea and eating in a traditional chiringuito.
Something you must know is that you’ll also find part of the beach for nudists.
How to get to Cabopino Beach
Cabopino is about 45 kilometres from Malaga, and the easiest way to access this beach is by car. Take the N340-A7 westwards towards Marbella. Once you get closer to Marbella, you should be able to see the exit for Cabopino as it’s clearly signposted.
If you’re using public transport, you can get L-302 or M-320 Avanza buses from the police station in Malaga. They normally take about an hour.
Playa de Nagüeles
Nagüeles beach, also known as “Golden Mile”, is one of the prettiest beaches in Marbella.
Its golden sand, crystal blue and shallow waters, and vegetation make it a unique beach in Costa del Sol. This beach has a wealthy reputation, so don’t be surprised if you came across a celebrity.
Nagüeles beach is also surrounded by some of the best restaurants and hotels in Marbella.
TIP: If you’re looking for other beaches in Marbella known for their luxurious atmosphere, then you must go to Nikki Beach.
How to get to Nagüeles Beach
To get to Nagüeles beach from Malaga, you can take the AP-7 or A-357 and A-355, and the journey will take you between 50 minutes to 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Unfortunately, this beach isn’t easy to access from Malaga with public transport as you’ll need to take several buses and walk.
Beaches in Estepona
Playa La Rada
La Rada is Estepona’s main beach located next to the town centre, so there’s no doubt why this beach attracts many tourists and locals.
The beach is known for its more than 2 kilometres long grey sand and calm sea. Due to its excellent location, you can enjoy eating in one of the many beach bars and restaurants in Estepona that serve traditional fish dishes.
It’s also a great beach to visit if you’d like to explore Estepona’s beautiful Old Town and other attractions such as the Orchidarium.
How to get to La Rada Beach
The best way to get to La Rada Beach is by car. You can take the AP-7 (which is faster but has tolls) or the A-7. The car journey is 1 hour and 20 minutes without traffic.
La Rada Beach is difficult to access from Malaga city centre using public transport. You’ll have to take a few buses and the total journey can take you up to 3 hours.
Beaches in Rincón de la Victoria
Playa Rincón de la Victoria
The east coast of Malaga is less popular than the west, and this is the case with Rincón de la Victoria Beach.
On this side of Costa del Sol, you’ll find fewer tourists but more locals and national holidaymakers. So if you want to immerse yourself in a more Spanish atmosphere, visit this beach.
This 7 kilometres long beach has incredible crystal clear and shallow waters, and plenty of amenities for everyone. The beach also has public toilets, a lifeguard service and shadow spaces for those who don’t like sunbathing.
📌 TIP: If you’re looking for another relaxing beach around Rincón de la Victoria, check out Benagalbon Tower beach.
How to get to Rincón de la Victoria Beach
To get to this beach by car, take the A-7 to La Cala del Moral. The journey takes 25 to 30 minutes without traffic.
If you’re travelling by public transport, the only way to get to Rincón de la Victoria Beach is by bus. Take bus number M-261 from Malaga bus station which will leave you right next to the beach.
Beaches in Nerja
Playa El Salón
To the right side of the beautiful Balcón de Europa, you’ll find Playa El Salón, a small cosy beach with coarse dark sand.
El Salón beach is a popular beach option for many Spanish holidaymakers that stay in Nerja as well as locals, so it gets very busy during the summer months.
Despite getting busy, it’s a great beach to spend the day on as you can easily visit it on a day trip to Nerja, and unlike other beaches in Nerja, El Salón beach has soft sand, so you don’t need footwear.
The beach only offers a sunbed service and a small kiosk which is open all day. Also, you aren’t far from Nerja town centre to enjoy some traditional food.
How to get to Playa El Salón
If you’re using public transport, take the ALSA bus towards Nerja from Malaga Port, and if you’re driving, take the A-7 towards Nerja.
You may find it difficult to park close to Nerja town centre, so you can try to park a bit further for free at the end of the streets Calle del Puente Viejo and Calle del Ingenio.
📌 Related blog: Is Nerja Worth Visiting? – 10 Best Things to do in Nerja
Burriana is considered one of the best beaches in Nerja, and this is reflected in the numerous times that this beach has been prized with the blue flag year after year.
It’s characterised by its crystal clear waters and golden sand, but one of the reasons why it’s a popular beach in Nerja is because of the many amenities you can find near Burriana. You can do anything from renting a paddle boat and relaxing to jet-skiing.
The beach promenade also offers a good variety of international and local restaurants and shops. A great place to have food is Restaurante Ayo which is nationally known for its delicious wood-fired paellas.
How to get to Burriana Beach
To get to Burriana beach from Malaga by car, take the A-7 motorway towards Nerja. The journey takes around 50 minutes.
If you’re using public transport, take the ALSA bus towards Nerja from Malaga Port, and once you arrive at Nerja, Burriana beach is approximately a 14 minutes walk.
Playa de Maro
This is one of the best hidden beaches near Malaga that will make you feel like you’re in paradise – calm sea, crystal clear water, and beautiful vegetation that surrounds the beach area.
Maro Beach is only a few kilometres from Nerja town centre, but it’s hidden in the Acantilados del Mar nature reserve.
This beach is for you if you love water sports. There are plenty of water activities you can do in Maro – snorkelling, scuba diving and kayaking are among the most popular ones.
There is a small beach chiringuito but besides that, you won’t find any other food options, therefore, you must pack some snacks and food with you.
📌 TIP: Maro Beach is very popular among locals and even tourists now, therefore, if you’re looking for quieter beaches, check out Las Alberquillas beach and El Cañuelo beach.
How to get to Maro Beach
Not very far from Nerja, Maro Beach is about a 40 minutes drive. This beach isn’t very accessible via public transport. However, if you’re using public transport, take the ALSA bus towards Nerja from Malaga Port, and once you arrive in Nerja, you can take a taxi or go on an 18 minutes walk.
Conclusion of the best beaches in Malaga
Although there are many incredible beaches in Malaga city, there are also quiet beach towns near Malaga that are worth visiting.
If you visit Malaga or any Costa del Sol town in the summer, you’re going to see more crowds, however, travelling off-season offers a different experience. You can enjoy beautiful walks on the beach promenade or a relaxing meal overlooking the sea.
After seeing all these incredible beaches, which Malaga beaches are on your list?
If you have any questions about visiting Malaga and Costa del Sol beaches, drop me an email and I’ll be very happy to help you.
P.S. Do you know anyone who’s travelling to Malaga? Share the post with them.
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Top things to do before visiting Malaga and Costa del Sol
- Book accommodation in Malaga or Costa del Sol. This hotel guide will tell you the best hotels for all budgets.
- Have a look at this Malaga food guide to indulge yourself in eating the best typical food and sipping cocktails on the best rooftops.
- Are you planning to visit other nearby Andalusian destinations? Check out my blog about the best day trips from Malaga.
- Rent a car to travel with ease around Malaga and Costa del Sol.
- Book travel insurance, this is a must for any trip!
Frequently asked questions about beaches near Malaga
Does Malaga have good beaches?
Absolutely! Malaga has good beaches with great amenities like restaurants, public toilets and hammocks. Depending on the area, you will find sandy or less sandy beaches, but all of them are suitable for everyone to swim.
Is Malaga a beach holiday?
Although Malaga can be considered a beach holiday, there are plenty of things to do in Malaga apart from spending your time at the beach. Malaga is also a great destination for sightseeing as the city is home to many interesting museums, historical buildings and parks.
Is Malaga old town near the beach?
Malaga Old Town is very close to La Malagueta Beach, Malaga’s main beach. It approximately takes 15 minutes to walk there, so you can easily walk from the old town to this beach.