With a coastline that stretches for 159km along the south of Spain, the Costa del Sol spoils you with wonderful beaches. The region abounds with things to do but once you’ve got your fill of food, history and culture, pack your bucket and spade and make a bee-line for Costa del Sol’s balmy shores.
Here’s our pick of some the best beaches in Costa del Sol to lay down your towel.
Playa de Burriana
Nerja’s beaches are so good, we’ve recommended three of them, and when you visit, you’ll see why. Playa de Burriana has all the essential amenities you need that begin with a ‘p’ – pedalos, parasols and paella restaurants – and retains a rustic feel. Once you’ve got your fill of vitamin D, enjoy the pleasant 15-minute stroll into the Nerja town centre.
One of the best beaches in Costa del Sol for watersports enthusiasts is Playa Malapesquera, a Blue-Flag beach, as it boasts a great surf school and myriad opportunities to hire SUP boards, pedalos and kayaks. The beach volleyball and football areas make it a great beach for families and groups, and the grassy areas filled with towering palm trees offer respite from the sun. It’s handily located close to the attractions of Benalmadena too.
For more inspiration on things to do in the area, check out our guide on the best Things to do in Costa del Sol.
Playa El Salon
A sandy spot just minutes away from Nerja Old Town and the Balcón de Europa lookout point, what this beach lacks in facilities, it makes up for in quietude. Reached via a steep hill, some visitors are put off and opt for the town’s more accessible beaches. So, if you’re happy to carry your beach bag and parasol, you can look forward to a spacious sunbathing spot to call your own.
Playa de la Calahonda
Our final Nerja recommendation is Playa de la Calahonda, a small and compact beach along the coast from Playa El Salon which boasts crystal-clear water and is super convenient to get to. Arrive early to find a space to lay your towel and enjoy the abundant restaurants that line the seafront.
Playa de la Cala Mijas
We recommend this lovely little spot, not only because it’s impressively clean, but also because of its village feel and pretty promenade which runs to the area known as Riviera del Sol. The former fishing village of La Cala de Mijas (‘The Cove of Mijas’) is a stone’s throw away and has a relaxed, uncrowded feel. The Torre de la Cala fort is also close by.
Playa de Casablanca
Excellent for families looking to chill, and watersports enthusiasts alike, this sweeping, well-maintained bay is located close to the ever-popular town of Marbella. It boasts a children’s area, fitness trails and a promenade which you can explore on foot – or, if it takes your fancy, from a Segway.
Playa La Carihuela
This large expanse of beach situated around 18km from Torremolinos is a popular holiday spot, so it has the winning combination of clean, soft sand, plenty of life guards, and a promenade filled with a wide range of restaurants and chiringuitos. Watersports, parasols, outdoor showers and children’s play areas make it popular among families. You won’t have to walk far to find an ice-cream or cold beer.
Playa del Cristo
Costa del Sol abounds with excellent Blue Flag beaches and this is one of them. Occupying a sheltered spot close to Estepona, it’s not overbearingly touristy, yet has a pleasant, upbeat vibe with a couple of beach bars and family-friendly atmosphere. Sun-worshippers can expect to get their maximum dose of sunshine here so it can get busy in peak season. Arrive early to get a parking space and pack plenty of sunscreen.
Playa Las Viborillas
A lesser-known beach in Benalmadena is Playa Las Viborillas. Shaded by huge palm fronds and boasting super-calm water, some have even likened it to the type of beach you’d find in the Caribbean. Very secluded, with rougher sand and a modest offering of amenities, it’s perhaps one for couples and solo travellers and those hoping to escape the crowds. You may spot the odd nudist too.
Playa El Cañuela
Another beach that’s relatively unknown to foreign visitors, El Cañuela may not have the whitest – or softest – sand, but it certainly delivers a relaxing beach experience. This hidden gem is just 10 miles or so east of Nerja, at the foot of the Maro cliffs (a designated nature reserve) and you’ll need to take the track on foot to access these super-clear waters. The snorkelling and diving is excellent here.