Malaga’s beaches are among the most dazzling in Spain. Located on the mainland’s south coast, in beautiful Andalusia, Malaga’s shores are bathed in the soul-soothing glow of the Mediterranean with nearly year-round sunshine.
From quaint coves perfect for relaxing to glorious buzzing stretches made for swimming and socializing, this portion of the Costa del Sol offers first-class facilities and postcard-worthy scenery.
Read on to uncover the best beaches in Malaga worth visiting on your next Spanish adventure.
Bajondillo Beach, Torremolinos
In the popular vacation resort of Torremolinos, Bajondillo Beach is a long strip of flour-soft sand backed by a busy promenade of restaurants, bars, and shops.
One of the best beaches in the Mediterranean, Bajondillo is family-friendly, with a children’s play area, while active beachgoers will enjoy the array of watersports, including pedalo boats, jet skis, and kayaks on offer.
Take part in a volleyball match on the sand or simply enjoy the slow pace of Costa del Sol life by kicking back on a sun lounger.
Calahonda Beach, La Cala de Mijas
Calahonda Beach is located in La Cala de Mijas, a seafront town halfway between Marbella and Fuengirola. It’s in the district of Mijas, one of the most beautiful places in Spain.
La Cala de Mijas, once a small fishing village, is an elegant resort with a superb selection of restaurants within a short walk from the beach.
The town is also home to four historic towers—Calaburras Tower, Torre de Calahonda, Battery Torre La Cala del Moral, and New Tower of La Cala del Moral—built between the 16th and 19th centuries as lookout posts.
The two-and-a-half mile golden beach is an idyllic spot for swimming and sunbathing. You could also join a boat trip departing from the e harbor to go in search of pods of dolphins cruising the sparkling Mediterranean.
Punta Chullera Beach, Manilva
On the border of Málaga and Cádiz, Punta Chullera Beach offers delicious crystal-clear water and a backdrop of ochre-colored rock formations.
Typically quieter than the central Malaga beaches, Punta Chullera is well-suited to anyone keen for a relaxing and peaceful day at the seaside.
Once you’ve experienced the salty tang of the sea, visit the remains of the Nasrid-era watchtower to the south of the beach, or savor a selection of Andalusian tapas at one of Manilva’s quaint restaurants.
Burriana Beach, Nerja
Jet skiing, parasailing, and pedal boating are just some of the thrilling activities you could try on a visit to Burriana, Nerja’s largest beach. One of the best beach towns in Spain, Nerja lies on the easternmost stretch of the Costa del Sol, about 45 minutes’ drive from Malaga.
Burriana’s central slither offers sun loungers and umbrellas, while other sections are free for beachgoers to lay their towels directly on the sand.
Wander to the far north section of the beach to find a sun-dappled patch beneath Nerja’s craggy cliffs and soak up the warm glow of the Mediterranean.
There is no shortage of restaurants—many specializing in Mediterranean seafood—lining the beach’s promenade, along with a selection of souvenir stores selling everything from postcards to beach gear.
Read: Best Beaches in Spain
El Palo Beach
El Palo, a short drive east from the center of Malaga, is a sandy sweep of four crescent-shaped beaches.
A palm tree-lined promenade with gardens connects each section of soft sand and you’ll see a monument dedicated to 20th-century Spanish author Emilio Prados.
Facilities for visitors to El Palo are excellent, with bathrooms, showers, sunbeds, parasols, a children’s play area, and a wealth of options for eating and drinking. The beach is popular with locals, so has a less commercial feel about it.
Playa La Malagueta
This golden, Blue Flag-awarded strip is one of the most popular beaches in Malaga, thanks to its central location.
You’ll find bathrooms, a children’s playground, an inflatable water park, and ample space for bathers here.
Playa La Malagueta’s promenade is lined with tall palm trees and dotted with restaurants and beach bars, while the southwest tip of the beach is marked by the snow-white La Farola de Málaga lighthouse.
Combine a visit to the creamy sand of Playa La Malagueta with some of Malaga’s world-beating cultural sights. The Center Pompidou Malaga is a contemporary Spanish museum housed in what looks like a giant glass Rubik’s cube. An offshoot of the original in Paris, it’s located just moments from the beach.
Sea Museum Alborania is the city’s maritime museum, containing an aquarium and research center where you could observe over 500 animals, with around 100 types of sea-life species. A highlight is the Turtle Patio, where travelers can experience Spain’s nature and meet convalescing turtles.
The Alcazaba and the Spanish castle of Gibralfaro, Picasso Museum, and the Cathedral of Málaga are also within a short walk from the beach.
If you’re eager to relax, take a sunbed and stretch out on this fabulous beach, cooling off with a regular swim in the tranquil Mediterranean.
Lying on Malaga’s eastern shore, Pedregalejo is a small, curved patch with a more untouched feel than some of the city’s larger beaches.
A cluster of palm trees adds some shade to this sand and shingle urban beach.
Pedregalejo boasts a fantastic seafood restaurant, El Balneario, where you could enjoy a selection of freshly-prepared dishes, such as grilled sardines, skewered squid, and fragrant paella.
A regular bus service operates from the center of Malaga stopping at Pedregalejo Beach, which takes around 15 minutes.
Playa De La Caleta
The Blue Flag Playa de La Caleta is a gorgeous swathe of honey-colored sand between Playa Pedregalejo and La Malagueta, close to the center of Malaga.
Sun loungers, thatched parasols, and a handful of chiringuitos—the name given to casual beach bars, offering snacks, tapas, and drinks—are found on the sprawling Playa de La Caleta.
Additional amenities include a children’s play area, fitness areas, and pedal boats for hire.
Playa Peñón Del Cuervo
Playa Peñón del Cuervo is named after the hulking rock formation that rises from the water, dividing the beach into two sections.
Hire a bicycle in Malaga and cycle to Playa Peñón del Cuervo on the dedicated paths. The four-and-a-half mile coastal route takes around 30 minutes to cycle.
Carry water and snacks and enjoy regular breaks on the benches dotted along the route to gaze at the spectacular views of the sapphire-blue Mediterranean Sea.
As there are few restaurants immediately near Playa Peñón del Cuervo, pack a picnic to enjoy when you arrive.
Playa De La Misericordia
The dark sandy beach of Misericordia is one of the largest and most characterful in Malaga, identified by its long promenade and tall red-brick chimney, Chimenea de Los Guindos.
Playa de la Misericordia is also known for a phenomenon called Ola del Melillero—the Melillero Wave. This small tidal wave sweeps the beach during summer, caused by the passing ferry to and from Melilla, an autonomous Spanish city perched on the tip of north Africa.
Join the beach’s surf school for a lesson or hire a paddleboard to glide on the water – paying attention to the possibility of the wave coming. There’s a playground and several bars and restaurants right on the beach, too.
After exploring Playa de la Misericordia, enjoy a stroll in the wide-open space of Parque del Oeste. Nestled behind the beach, Parque del Oeste boasts a central lake, 45 sculptures and statues, and leafy picnic areas.
Playa de Maro, Nerja
Malaga’s beaches don’t get more serene than this charming cove, sheltered on the edge of the verdant Los Acantilados de Maro-Cerro Gordo Natural Park.
Overlooked by a 16th-century Moorish watchtower, Playa de Maro is an unspoiled grainy beach accessed via a winding path from the road above.
If you plan to take a taxi, ask your driver to pull over at the lookout point, Mirador de Impacto, to witness the stunning views of the glittering Mediterranean and this rugged section of the Costa del Sol in Southern Spain.
Begin your visit on an exhilarating hike in the surrounding natural park before cooling down with a dip in the calm turquoise sea. A fishing ban here means the water is filled with colorful marine life, including groupers, corals, sea anemones, and sponges.
You could also hire a canoe or kayak to discover the nearby sea caves and a plunging waterfall. With limited facilities on the beach, ensure you’re equipped with food and drinks.
Read: Best Places to Go Hiking in Spain
Playa De La Rada, Estepona
The one-and-a-half mile Playa de La Rada is a delightful beach in the sun-kissed resort of Estepona, to the west of Malaga.
Playa de La Rada is well-suited to families, with soft sand for building sand castles, sun loungers and umbrellas, restaurants, watersports, and a play park.
Amble along the photogenic palm tree-fringed Paseo Marítimo, which runs parallel to Playa de La Rada.
Extend your walk into the cobbled streets of Estepona’s splendid whitewashed old town, stopping by the flower-filled Plaza de las Flores. Browse the many boutiques and galleries before relaxing at one of Estepona’s bars and restaurants.
El Salón Beach, Nerja
Paddle in the gentle waves of the lapping Mediterranean on Salón Beach in the laid-back town of Nerja.
Accessed via a steep ramp, El Salón Beach might be small, but it’s well equipped with showers, sun loungers, and a kiosk for refreshments.
To the east of El Salón Beach is Nerja’s Balcón de Europa (Balcony of Europe), an observation deck featuring a statue of King Alfonso XII. It’s well worth the climb to the top for the extraordinary views and to see the street performers and artists that often line the balcony.
A bus operates from Malaga city center to Nerja roughly every 30 minutes. If you’re on a tight schedule, check the timetable ahead of your visit.
Playa de Huelin
Playa de Huelin lies to the west of Malaga’s bustling port, within walking distance of the center.
Good-looking and with plentiful space for its throngs of visitors, Playa de Huelin epitomizes Malaga beaches.
The wide, tree-lined avenues that lead off the beach offer drinking and dining options. The Collection of the Russian Museum, the Automobile Museum of Malaga, and the leafy Parque de Huelin offer plenty to do in the neighborhood.
Following a languid morning spent on the beach, sit down for a long lunch at the modern seafront restaurant Bagazo on Paseo de Antonio Machado.
Playa de Nagüeles, Marbella
On the western edge of the glamorous resort of Marbella, Playa de Nagüeles is a marvelous beach that lies in the shadow of the towering Sierra Blanca mountains.
This luscious beach draws crowds for its pristine, golden sand. Take your vacation to a new level of luxury by chartering a yacht from the beachside vendor, with various-sized boats available for hire by the hour. Alternatively, opt for an invigorating swim from the silky shore in the warm Mediterranean water.
If the sea air has helped you work up an appetite, dine at the stylish MC Beach, part of the upmarket Marbella Club. Feast upon a gorgeous gazpacho, a selection of fried local fish, and plump, grilled tiger shrimp.
Playa De La Caleta, Nerja
Nerja’s breathtaking Playa de la Caleta is one of the best beaches in Malaga for its remote feel.
Snuggled beneath the Maro cliffs and a grassy hiking trail, this sun-baked idyll is reached via a rustic path lined with dense Mediterranean shrubs.
Playa De La Caleta is a relaxed spot that is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing.
Drink in the beach’s beauty before visiting the Nerja Caves. If you’re feeling active, you could walk to the caves. The one-mile route is mostly uphill, cutting through Nerja’s elegant whitewashed houses and passing an attractive ancient church.
Nerja Caves are hauntingly beautiful, containing unique columns, gours, stalagmites, and stalactites. The caves also contain rock paintings thought to date from the Upper Paleolithic and recent ancient times, though these are currently off-limits to visitors.
After you’ve explored the caves, hop on the red Cave Train to connect with the center of Nerja. The trolley-like street car also stops at Verano Azul Park, Plaza de España, and Maro Square.
If you’ve time to spare, call into the Nerja Cave Museum in Plaza de España to learn about the caves’ backstory, including how they were discovered by accident in 1959.
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