The 10 Best Beaches in Malaga and Marbella

Stretching for over 90 miles along the southern coast of Spain, the Costa del Sol is a paradise for beachgoers, with Malaga and Marbella being two of the most popular destinations. There are dozens of beaches to choose from in this area, from calm, family-friendly waters to the glitzy shores lined with beach bars and restaurants.

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What Are The Best Beaches In Malaga And Marbella?

The best beaches in Malaga include Playa de la Malagueta for its urban convenience and Sahara-imported sands, and Playas del Palo for a local experience. In Marbella, La Bajadilla offers golden sands and family-friendly waters, while Playa Puerto Banús dazzles with glamour and luxury. Each beach epitomizes the Mediterranean charm.

As someone who’s spent a fair amount of time on the Costa del Sol, I wanted to share a couple of my favorite sandy spots in both cities (although you’ll likely enjoy whichever beach you choose while you’re here!).

The 5 Best Beaches in Malaga

1. Playa de la Malagueta

One of the main reasons why I love Malaga is that there’s a beautiful beach right in the middle of the city! Playa de la Malagueta is located near the harbor, just a short walk from the city center near the neighborhood of La Malagueta.

With .7 miles of golden sands, it’s the perfect place for swimming and sunbathing (or, if you’re one of the locals, an after-work drink!). What many people are surprised to find out is that this beach is completely artificial. The sand is actually imported from the Sahara Desert!

There are lots of sun loungers to rent, as well as numerous cafes, restaurants, and bars where you can go to watch the sunset. For this reason, it’s a good option no matter what time of the day you’re here!

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2. Playa de la Caleta

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A bit further east from Playa de La Malagueta is La Caleta Beach, another popular gem in Malaga City. This area is particularly beautiful because of the 19th-century mansions and villas dotted along the nearby road. And while it’s quite easy to reach by bus, it’s far less crowded compared to the one in La Malagueta.

However, it’s not totally devoid of life and atmosphere! Playa de la Caleta has tons of authentic Spanish seafood restaurants (they’re called Chiringuitos here) on the shore, so you’ll have plenty of options for lunch or dinner. Adventure seekers can also find rental shops for jet skis, kayaks, and windsurfing.

3. Playas del Palo

If you’re sick of the tourists and crowds, then choose one of the several beaches that make up Playas del Palo. Located a 20-minute drive outside of the city center, these small coves are mostly frequented by locals. There are roughly ten different crescent-shaped beaches to choose from, each one with calm, shallow waters that are suitable for families and small children.

And because this is a fisherman area, you can also expect to find some excellent seafood restaurants. Most places have small BBQs on the beach where they grill Espetos (skewered sardines), which smell amazing as they cook over an open fire!

Otherwise, I recommend bringing your own picnic basket out here for the day. On the weekends, you’ll see that many Spanish families set up chairs, tents, or canopies to enjoy a day of food and fun.

4. Playa El Dedo

Although you can find great beach restaurants (Chiringuitos) at every beach in Malaga, some of the best are located in Playa El Dedo. You really can’t go wrong with any place here, although I highly recommend Restaurante Narvel or Restaurante Antonio.

Because it’s one of the further beaches from the city center (20-25 minutes by car), there are hardly any tourists here. It can be busy with locals, especially on summer weekends, but it still has a nice, chill atmosphere. Plus, the sand is incredibly soft, which is a nice change compared to some of the rocky beaches closer to the city!

5. Playa de Huelin

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The prettiest beaches in Malaga are found on the eastern side of the marina. But if you’re in the west, you can still head to Playa de Huelin for a day of sun. It may not have soft golden sands (it is mostly comprised of gravel and small stones), but it does have lots of space, which can be nice if you’re looking for a city escape.

A lot of locals come here on the weekend or after work to play sports. Whether it’s a game of volleyball or a round of frisbee, the wide open space is ideal for fun beach activities. Or you can be like me and just come here for the delicious beachside restaurants and bars!

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The 5 Best Beaches in Marbella

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6. Playa del Venus

As the main beach near the old town of Marbella, Playa del Venus is one of the most popular places for those seeking sun and surf. But because of its location, it also happens to be one of the busiest beaches as well (come early if you want to secure your spot by the water!)

Venus Beach has everything you need nearby. There are hotels, shops, restaurants, cafes, sun lounge rentals, water sports rentals etc.

In my opinion, this isn’t the most beautiful beach in Marbella. The shore has lots of pebbles, shells, and, unfortunately, some trash. But if you are looking for somewhere close to the city where you can cool off from the heat, this is it.

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7. La Bajadilla

La Bajadilla is just a 10-minute walk west of Playa del Venus, although it feels like a completely different world over here. This beach is incredibly beautiful, with soft golden sands and clear blue waters (they’re shallow and ideal for families or inexperienced swimmers).

As you can imagine, La Bajadilla can get extremely crowded. I highly recommend coming first thing in the morning and securing one of the sun loungers and umbrellas before everyone else. There are lots of Chiringuitos and beach bars within walking distance, so feel free to make a whole day of it.

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8. Playa del Cable

Unlike the other two beaches near Marbella’s old town, Playa del Cable is the place to go if you want some peace and quiet. Not only does it have the widest stretch of sand, but it is also a bit further off the main tourist track. You won’t find as many restaurants or beach bars nearby, but I think it’s a refreshing alternative to all the other lively beaches along the coast.

The beach got its name after the cable that was once used here to transport minerals and equipment to the freighters in the ocean. While it no longer exists, the beach still retains a bit of an industrial vibe (it’s right next to the Pesquero Port), although you can head further east if that bothers you.

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9. Playa Puerto Banús

If you are here to see and be seen, then Playa Puerto Banús is where you’ll want to spend the day.

As the most glamorous beach in Marbella (and, in my opinion, likely the entire Costa del Sol), it’s the go-to spot for the young, rich, and fashionable. However, it’s still a very family-friendly beach with soft sand and calm, gentle waters.

Nearby, you’ll find the legendary Puerto Banus Marina, which houses some of the most expensive yachts in all of Spain. There are also quite a few beach bars and restaurants lining the shore. However, if you can’t find anything that tempts your palette, you can walk to the marina for even trendier eateries.

10. San Pedro de Alcántara Beach

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Halfway between Marbella and Estepona is San Pedro de Alcántara Beach. Because it’s a bit further out of town, it’s never crowded, so you’ll have no problem finding a spot for your day of sunbathing. And most importantly, there are lots of parking spaces nearby too!

The overall atmosphere is very calm and peaceful, although you can still find some shops and restaurants inland. There is a waterfront promenade that runs parallel to the beach, so you can always go for a stroll if you want to stretch your legs after lunch.

The only downside I can think of is that the beach is rather rocky. Therefore, I recommend bringing water shoes if you’re planning to go into the ocean!

There’s a clear reason why Malaga and Marbella are beautiful beach destinations. With endless amounts of sunshine, clear lapping waters, and lively atmospheres, the beaches encapsulate what a good life on the Costa del Sol is all about!

Stretching for over 90 miles along the southern coast of Spain, the Costa del Sol is a paradise for beachgoers, with Malaga and Marbella being two of the most popular destinations. There are dozens of beaches to choose from in this area, from calm, family-friendly waters to the glitzy shores lined with beach bars and restaurants.

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