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A comprehensive guide to the best beaches on the Costa del Sol

The Costa del Sol is a well-known holiday destination that receives millions of international tourists every year. It is no surprise that the southern part of Spain is so popular, as the literal translation of the coast´s name is ¨Coast of the Sun¨. With more than 325 sunny days per year, the Costa del Sol is a great destination all year round

Apart from the delicious food, friendly Spanish people and the rich culture, there is another reason why the Costa del Sol is so popular amongst travellers all over the world: the beautiful beaches and the Mediterranean sea. With more than 125 beaches on a coastline that stretches out over 161 kilometres, it can be challenging to pick the perfect destination for your holiday in Spain.

This guide will therefore tell you all there is to know about the best Costa del Sol beaches; from the facilities to the locations. Whether you are looking for the craziest beach parties or rather a family-friendly holiday, the south of Spain caters for all tastes. We selected the best Costa del Sol beaches to help with your selection process. 

Playa de Burriana (Burriana Beach), Nerja

We are starting off this beach guide with one of the most popular and well-known beaches on the Costa del Sol: Burriana Beach in Nerja.  The fine, golden sand and the large variety of chiringuitos (little restaurants or beach bars) help to explain its popularity. The beach is approximately 800 metres long and 40 metres wide and can be found at the bottom of Calle Filipinas. At the promenade, you will find a large variety of shops and restaurants. On the beach, you can use the showers and toilets, play areas and volleyball courts. Furthermore, you can rent sunbeds, jet skis and kayaks. 

A highly popular activity on this beach is sea kayaking, a great way to explore the surrounding beaches, including Maro beach (below), which is a must-visit. After doing water sports activities it is nice to take a break and eat some food; the paella at Restaurante Ayo is very well-known and will cost you only a couple of euros. Don´t worry if you don´t like this typical Spanish dish as there are many alternatives available at the beach. Additionally, if you fancy looking further afield there are more than 300 restaurants in Nerja there is always one that will satisfy your cravings

We recommend going to the beach by car or by taxi, as access to the beach is via a hill known as ¨Cardiac hill¨. Walking down should not be a problem, however, the way back up is a different story. 

Check out some excellent holiday accommodation in the Burriana Beach area

Playa Malapesquera / Playa Torrebermeja, Benalmadena

Playa Malaspequera (also called Playa Torrebermeja) is one of the most popular beaches in Benalmadena. It's a regular winner of the Blue Flag award; a world-renowned eco-label trusted by millions around the globe that represents a commitment to both people and the environment. The central location and large green areas draw large amounts of people to this beach, especially during the summer months. Shaded areas are a great option, especially when you need a break from the burning Spanish sun.

The beach is approximately 700 metres long and 50 metres wide and is popular amongst all age groups. It offers various spaces for sports activities such as volleyball and football. The neighbouring Puerto Marina offers services such as dolphin-watching tours and buffet restaurants.

Playa Malapesquera is also a good option if you enjoy (water) sports; there are sports areas and you can rent equipment like kayaks and paddle boards. On the beach, you can also rent sun loungers and parasols and of course make use of the toilets and showers. Reaching the beach is easy, especially by foot and from Benalmadena centre, it is a 10-minute walk. 

Check out our rentals in the Benalmadena Puerto Marina area. 

Playa de Cabopino (Cabopino Beach), Marbella

The popularity of Playa de Cabopino has been growing over the past decades. The fine golden sand and the calm, clean water, makes it the perfect family destination. The beach is 1,500 metres long and 25 metres wide.

As on many beaches, you can rent sunbeds, parasols, boats, jet skis and even go on a dolphin-watching trip. There are also many bars and restaurants along the beach. 

Reaching Playa Cabopino is very easy as there are bus stops near the beach and parking available if coming by car. There's a good selection of bars and restaurants near the beach where you can enjoy a good lunch for a reasonable price. Despite the popularity of the beach, you'll find a good spot relatively easily. 

There are nudist parts of Cabopino Beach and it´s popular amongst the gay community. 

Check out our selection of holiday homes in the Cabopino area

Playa de la Carihuela, Torremolinos

Playa de la Carihuela is the largest beach of Torremolinos and definitely one of the most popular ones. Swimming conditions are ideal as the water is clear and shallow. The length of the beach is approximately 2,100 metres and the width is 40 metres. The beach is popular with families and couples.

The promenade running along the beach is a great spot for a drink or to grab a bite to eat but is also used for cycling or running. You can rent sunbeds, parasols and water sports equipment and there are also public toilets, showers, play areas and disabled access. 

Access to the beach is very easy from the centre of Torremolinos, you can get there by foot, car or even bus. Parking, however, can be difficult in the summer months. 

Check out a selection of holiday rentals in the La Carihuela area. 

La Malagueta, Malaga

It is hard to miss Playa de La Malagueta, as the ¨Malagueta¨ sculpture can be found at the beginning of the beach. Due to the central location (just a stone´s throw away from the city centre), this is a popular beach amongst the many tourists visiting Malaga city. 

The beach is approximately 1,200 metres long and 45 metres wide. There are various green areas with palm trees, so if you want to take a break from the sun you can do so. Sunbeds and parasols can be rented and there is a great selection of places to eat; have some fish at one of the chiringuitos at the beach. A typical dish from Malaga is the espeto, grilled fish on a skewer. Look for one of the grills that are usually shaped like a boat. 

As the beach has such a central location, it is easy to reach by walking or public transport by one of the many buses that stop at the Paseo del Parque, which is only a couple of minutes away from La Malagueta. You can walk via the park next to the Paseo or take a stroll along the harbour (Muelle Uno) and you'll be there before you know it. Finding a free parking spot is practically impossible, especially in the summer months. 

The great thing about Malaga is that the city centre is very easy to reach; from Malaga airport, you can take the train that will take you to the centre in just 12 minutes. We like using Skyscanner as a tool to find the best flights. Find the best flights from the United Kingdom to Malaga airport.

Have a look at one of the holiday homes in the Malagueta area.

Playa de la Rada, Estepona

Playa de la Rada is the centrally located and the most popular beach in Estepona. With a length of 2,630 metres, this long beach offers loads of space. 

This beach has also received the Blue Flag award. With the many things there are to do in this area, you will not get bored easily. For example, have some typical fried fish (pescaíto frito) or take a stroll through the town of Estepona.

Showers, toilets, sunbeds and wheelchair access are all available. Furthermore, the beach has several leisure activities such as play areas and trampolines for children. Renting a pedal boat is also possible. 

Playa de Maro / Maro Beach, Nerja

Playa de Maro, also called Maro Beach, is a real gem on the Costa del Sol. Many people consider this beach their favourite, for good reasons. The incredibly clear water, idyllic scenery and marine life explain why this beach was chosen as the best beach of Andalucia in 2013 by Antena 3, a Spanish television channel.

The beach is approximately 500 metres in length and 20 metres in width. The beached has a wheelchair access, sunbed rentals and a kiosk. 

As mentioned earlier in this article, Maro Beach is great for sea kayaking. The route between Maro and Burriana is perfect as it is not too difficult and gives you a great view of the coastal area. Due to the clear water and abundance of fish, the beach is also perfect for snorkelling and diving. The Mediterranean sea is perfect for these types of activities, as it is calm and clear.

We recommend getting to the beach by car, as there is parking available. In the summer months, it might be necessary to park a bit further away from the beach. 

Check our selection of holiday rentals in the Maro area.

Playa Las Viborillas, Benalmadena

Playa Las Viborillas in Benalmadena is not a very well-known beach, but this does not detract from its beauty. It is small, secluded and has the appearance of a tropical island. You are definitely in for a surprise when visiting this piece of paradise. 

The lush vegetation and the cliffs that hide this beach from the road contribute to the feeling you are on a Caribbean island. The sea is calm which makes this a good location for a family trip. 

Toilets and showers are available and umbrellas and sunbeds can be rented. Wheelchair access is unfortunately not available on this beach, as the only way to go down is via a staircase. This is also the case for the nudist beach next to Playa Las Viborillas, Playa Benalnatura

Have a look at our holiday homes in the Benalmadena Torrequebrada area

Playa Torreblanca / Carvajal, Fuengirola

Playa Torreblanca can be found on the border of Fuengirola and Benalmadena, as a part of Benalmadena's Playa Carvajal. The good thing about this beach is that even though it is very popular, it doesn't get so crowded that you can't find a good spot. 

You will find restaurants next to the beach with both national and international cuisine, so there is always something that will suit your taste.

The promenade next to the beach offers many opportunities for sports activities like jogging and skating. You will also find several shops here. Playa Torreblanca is a great place to have fun with the whole family. The beach is located further away from the city centre than other beaches, but this does not make it a less popular option. 

Showers and toilets are available, as well as sun loungers and play areas. You can also rent kayaks and pedal boats.

Check out our selection of holiday rentals in the Torreblanca area

Playa Benajarafe, Velez-Malaga

Playa Benajarafe can be found in Velez-Malaga, approximately 25 km away from Malaga capital. The beach has a length of 1,600 metres and a width of 30 metres. 

The beach is located in an urban area and finding parking should not be too much of a challenge here. This is a perfect location for a relaxing day at the beach, especially with the family. There are some hotels for tourists, however, compared to other areas on the Costa del Sol this is quite an unknown area.

The beach mainly attracts local families in summer, however it never gets crowded. If you are looking for some privacy at the beach, then Playa Benajarafe is a great option. 

Water sports equipment cannot be rented, however, the basic necessities are available. There are toilets, sun loungers, restaurants and sports areas. 

Check out the best holiday homes in the Velez-Malaga area.

Playa del Padrón / El Padrón Beach, Estepona

Playa del Padrón, or El Padrón Beach, is a popular beach in Estepona. The lush vegetation and marine life make it a well-known destination for fishermen. However, it is also perfect for a day with the family.

The beach is outside of Estepona, approximately 2 km from the city centre. However, it is easy to reach by car or by walking from the centre. Restaurants and a shopping mall can be found in the area close to the beach. 

Playa El Padrón is approximately 1,5 km long and has many palm trees. There are sports areas, toilets, showers and water sports equipment can be rented.

Have a look at the best holiday homes in the Estepona area

La Cala de Mijas / Butibamba Beach / Butiplaya, Mijas

Butiplaya, also called Butibamba Beach, can be found in La Cala de Mijas. It is a great beach for relaxing time during the day and a great spot for the best parties at night.

The beach is approximately 1,300 metres long and 20 metres wide and there are some rocky areas. In 2016 Butibamba Beach was awarded the Blue Flag award that has been mentioned before.

La Butiplaya is usually quite busy, mainly because it is situated in an urban zone. Umbrellas, sunbeds and boats can be rented and parking is usually available. You can also grab a bite of food at one of the chiringuitos alongside the beach. 

Check out the best holiday rentals in the Butiplaya area

Bounty Beach, Marbella

Bounty Beach is one of the hotspots on the Costa del Sol for youngsters and has a very relaxed atmosphere. With DJ´s playing chill-out music, reasonably priced food and palm trees, it's not difficult to understand why this is such a popular beach.

Bounty Beach is officially known as Playa del Cable; Bounty Beach is the name of the beach bar situated there. However, especially amongst the younger generation, it is known as Bounty Beach. The sand is golden and fine and the beach is 1,300 metres in length and 70 metres in width. 

Especially in summer, this beach is a great place to hang out. There are often beach parties at night, where you can blend in with the locals. Apart from parties, this beach is also known for the (water) sports activities that can be practised here.

Showers and toilets are of course available, as well as many restaurants and bars. You can also rent sun loungers and canoes.

Check out the best holiday villas and apartments in the Marbella area

Playa de la Calahonda, Nerja

If you have ever seen a beach in Nerja on a picture or a postcard, chances are it was Playa de la Calahonda. This is the most iconic beach in Nerja. 

Playa de la Calahonda is very easy to reach from the centre of Nerja. It is right next to Balcon de Europa, one of Nerja´s most iconic spots. It is impossible to miss; everyone in the area will be able to give you directions. 

Everything is available at the beach, from restaurants to lifeguards during summer. Showers and toilets are available and you can also rent sunbeds and loungers. It is not the biggest beach in the area, so it might get crowded. Make sure to arrive early to get a good spot. 

Check out the holiday homes in the Nerja town centre area

Playa del Ejido / del Castillo, Fuengirola

When coming from the direction of Marbella, the first beach you will encounter in Fuengirola is Playa del Ejido, also known as ¨Playa del Castillo¨. It earned its name due to the big castle (Castillo Sohail) that is situated next to it, as castillo means castle. The beach is 800 metres long and 50 metres wide.

The special thing about this beach is that it is dog-friendly. Apart from dogs, this beach also welcomes a lot of families; you can combine a cultural visit to the castle with a relaxing day at the beach. The water is calm and the beach is wheelchair-friendly.

There are restaurants, bars, showers and the possibility to rent sunbeds and umbrellas. There is disabled access and parking is possible close to the beach. 

Check out the most beautiful holiday accommodations in the El Castillo area

Playa del Bajondillo, Torremolinos

Playa del Bajondillo can be found in Torremolinos and is a very popular beach amongst all types of people including local families and tourists. The length of the beach is approximately 1,100 metres and the sand is clean and dark

The beach is an excellent option for families, as it is very child-friendly. With swings, playgrounds and lifeguards on duty, your kids are in safe hands. You can rent sunbeds and parasols here and there's also water sports equipment available. 

There are picnic areas and areas with shade from the palm trees, so you don't have to worry about getting a sunburn. Parking can be difficult in summer months, as the beach attracts many people. It stays crowded until after sunset, as music is played and people enjoy a drink or two at one of the chiringuitos

Check out our selection of holiday homes in the Bajondillo area

Playa Real de Zaragoza (Marbella)

Playa Real de Zaragoza is one of the best and largest beaches of Marbella. The beach stretches out over no less than 1,700 metres and consists of fine, golden sand. It is situated 13 km from Marbella city centre.

Many people consider this beach the best in Marbella, as the beach doesn´t get too busy during the summer. The beach is cleaned often and has life guards on duty during the high season. If you want to be sure to find a spot even when the temperatures are rising, Playa Real de Zaragoza is a great option. 

You will find plenty of bars, restaurants, showers and toilets on this beach. Parasols and sunbeds can be rented.  

Check out our selection of holiday homes in the Marbella area.  

Pedregalejo, Malaga

A bit further away from the city centre of Malaga, you will find Pedregalejo. It is approximately 1,200 metres long and 20 metres wide. This neighbourhood and its beach will definitely enchant you

If you are looking for a great place to combine beach and gastronomy, then Pedregalejo is the place to be. This lovely little neighbourhood has a wonderful beach and plenty of restaurants. The beach has got a playground and is perfect for a sunny day with the whole family. The little bays and the palm trees help to create an intimate atmosphere that everyone will enjoy.  

We would recommend going to the beach either by foot (even though it is quite a long walk from the centre of Malaga) or take one of the buses that go to ¨El Palo¨. It will leave you almost right next to the beach and you save yourself the trouble of looking for a parking spot.  

Check out the holiday rentals in the Pedregalejo area

Playa Bil Bil, Benalmadena

Playa Bil Bil, also called Bil Bil Beach, starts at the Bil Bil Castle (a well-known sight in Benalmadena). It was built in 1927 and has had many owners until the city council finally acquired it in 1980. The castle is a cultural centre, situated right next to the beach. It is designed with the Arabic style in mind and is often used as a venue for weddings and exhibitions. 

The beach has a length of 400 metres and a width of 20 metres. It can be found between Santa Ana Beach and Arroyo de Miel beach; a great central location alongside the Paseo Marítimo. The calm water, fine sand and many facilities make Playa Bil Bil a great family beach. You can rent sunbeds and umbrellas and disabled access is available.

Check out the best holiday accommodations in the Benalmadena Coast area

Playa Nagueles, Marbella

Ready for some luxury? Then Playa Nagueles in Marbella is the place to be, as the is one of the most exclusive beaches in the area and the playground of the rich and famousThis beach is not only popular amongst regular tourists; you might even spot a celebrity here. 

The beach is about 800 metres long and 40 metres wide, the sand is fine and golden. The beach is cleaned every single day. You can rent a luxurious yacht, but also sunbeds and parasols. The beach is perfect for kids, as the water is gentle and clean and lifeguards are on duty all year round

Be prepared to dig deep into your pockets, as the prices at this beach are high. If you want to avoid the high prices for food and drinks, we recommend going a bit further away from the beach. 

If you want to rub shoulders with the rich and famous, then Puerto Banus is also a great place to be. This famous harbour can be found a little more to the west. 

Have a look at the most luxurious holiday homes in the Golden Mile area

Playa del Cristo, Estepona

Playa del Cristo has a great location; it can be reached by foot from Estepona´s city centre. It is not the biggest beach int¡ the area and measures approximately 700 metres in length.

This beach is very family-friendly; the water is calm and the lifeguards will make sure the children kids safe. There are various restaurants and you can rent sunbeds, umbrellas and can even make a boat trip. Whereas most people probably arrive by foot as the centre is only a short distance away, parking is also an option close to the beach.

Check out the greatest holiday homes in the Estepona beach area

Playa de Torre del Mar, Torre del Mar

Playa de Torre del Mar is located in the town that shares its name. Torre del Mar is a popular tourist resort on the Costa del Sol and can be found approximately 40 km from Malaga.

You can rent equipment for water sports, there are restaurants and bars where flamenco music is played. The city centre of the small town is also close, where you will find even more restaurants. The beach mainly attracts families with children.

Check out the best holiday homes in the Torre del Mar area.

Playa Los Boliches, Fuengirola

Playa Los Boliches is one of the most popular beaches of Fuengirola. Just like other beaches on this list, Los Boliches received the Blue Flag award on various occasions. 

Besides tanning and enjoying the view, there is enough to do on this wide beach. Rent a pedal boat or water skis, or show off your volleyball skills on one of the special fields. In case you get hungry, have some lunch at one of the chiringuitos along the beach. 

Shops are also close, next to the beach on the other side of the boulevard. The beach has disabled access and the easiest way to get to the beach is by foot. However, there is also a train station very close to the beach, conveniently called ¨Los Boliches¨.

Have a look at some wonderful holiday homes in the Los Boliches area

El Cañuelo / Los Álamos, Torremolinos

If you are looking for a beach that is not too crowded, then Playa El Cañuelo / Playa Los Álamos in Torremolinos is a great option. The beach is a bit further from the city centre than other beaches in the area, which means it´s usually quieter.

 

The beach is approximately 1 km in length and the sand is grey. It is on the border of Malaga city and Torremolinos, which is next to the airport. Many planes fly over each hour so if you cannot deal with the noise, it might be better to pick a different beach.

Los Álamos is mainly a popular spot for youngsters. With the barbeque spots (come early to get a picnic table!), good atmosphere and the many sports opportunities this is no surprise. 

On the promenade that runs along the beach you will find all facilities; from restaurants to chiringuitos. At night this is also a popular spot when the youngsters gather to have a drink.  

Check out the holiday accommodations in the Torremolinos area 

Playa del Faro / El Faro Beach, Marbella

Playa del Faro, also called El Faro Beach, is one of the most central and busiest beaches of Marbella. The beach is named after the lighthouse (el faro in Spanish).

Faro Beach is not just popular during summer; you will find people here during the whole year. It is not the biggest beach, with just a mere 200 metres in length and 30 metres in width. However, because of the central location, it is a popular option.

This beach is perfect for those who want to combine a day at the beach with sightseeing or shopping. The most luxurious shops are just a stone´s throw away and the local green space Constitution Park is also close. There is free parking, however, this can get be difficult in the high season.

 Check out the holiday rentals in the Marbella town area

Playa de la Caleta, Malaga

Playa de la Caleta is next to the famous Malagueta beach, also mentioned in this beach guide. There is no clear transition between these two beaches, however as the Malagueta is closer to the city centre the majority of tourists go here. Playa de la Caleta is approximately 1 km long and 20 metres wide.

Just like on the neighbouring beach, there are various green areas where you can find some shade. The great thing about these beaches that border the promenade, is that there are many chiringuitos where you can grab a bite or enjoy a cocktail for a good price. 

If you have to the possibility to leave the car in a different spot, we recommend doing so. It is incredibly hard to find a parking space, so it is best to just walk or to take the bus to this beach.

Check out the wonderful beach holiday homes in the Malagueta beach area

This concludes our comprehensive guide to the best Costa del Sol beaches. Hopefully, you have found the perfect beach on the Costa del Sol for your next holiday. Still not sure where to go? Then definitely check out all our holiday homes on the Costa del Sol.

If you have any suggestions on other Costa del Sol beaches that you definitely would not want others to miss, then please leave a comment.

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