Málaga’s stunning coastline – or the Costa del Sol (Coast of the Sun) as the world calls it today – is one of the most famous stretches of sea and sand in the world. Infamous, too, for displays of bling and wealth and high-priced sun lounger rentals. But there are countless places there where less is more and you’ll find it in the fishing villages lapped by clear Mediterranean waters. Whatever your bag or budget, here are the most beautiful beaches in Málaga, Spain.
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If you know the name – and chances are you do, since it’s up there alongside Benidorm – you might not have included Torremolinos on your bucket list. But for beaches it’s one of the best spots in Málaga province. Its six main stretches are connected by a recently renovated palm trees-lined promenade: at almost 8km (5mi) long, it delivers exceptional views of the coast and the rugged Andalusian interior. Playa El Bajondillo, the closest to Torremolinos, can become very busy so head westwards and you’ll find tranquillity around the fishing village of La Carihuela.
You’ll enjoy some of the best swimming and sunbathing in the municipality of Mijas, named after one of the region’s most iconic pueblos blancos (whitewashed towns). The longest and most popular is Calahonda, a 4km (2.5mi) stretch of perfect yellow sand and deep blue Mediterranean sea. The modern residential development of Calahonda is beloved of expats, who are drawn to its beaches and superb location almost halfway between Marbella and Fuengirola – a party town known among Mijas locals as Fuengi.
Want to see Málaga for yourself? Join Culture Trip’s four-day Mini Trip to Andalucia, where you’ll explore Málaga and visit nearby Granada with the help of our Local Insider.
For when you’ve soaked up all the sun you come for on the Costa del Sol, there’s the rest of Spain to discover. Start with our whistle-stop break in Seville and Jerez, filled with ancient architecture and fiery sherry.
The strong maritime history of the area is still visible in the jabegas – traditional boats used by fishermen – at this stretch of sand, poised snugly between Pedregalejo and El Chanquete beaches to the west of Málaga. Bring the family for Saturday or Sunday downtime. Come the weekend, it’s locals central, for many reasons: shallow waters, sandy shoreline and a promenade lined with bars and seafood restaurants. If you fancy exploring the wider vicinity, you won’t be disappointed. El Palo is one of Malaga’s up-and-coming areas and busy with new tapas bars and restaurants.
Our favourite thing about Spain is how distinctive each of its regions, towns and cities are in their personalities. Nowhere is this more true than Barcelona, with its Gaudi architecture, tapas bars and beachy lifestyle – all covered in our private four-day Mini Trip to the city.
East of La Malagueta, Playa del Peñón del Cuervo is a small, simple beach notable for the large rock forming an isthmus that divides it in two. Set close to the road, it isn’t a place for booming nightlife or busy tapas bars, such as you find on Malaga’s more popular beaches. But that doesn’t mean it’s a party pooper. On the contrary, you’ll find plenty of moragas – after-dark get togethers –around a flickering bonfire, with skewered sardines charring in the aromatic flames.
Jo Fernandez-Corugedo contributed additional reporting to this article.
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