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Guide to Malaga beaches

Guide to Malaga beaches

We’ll start off by being totally honest: Malaga beaches aren’t famous for being the best in Andalusia. And when someone mentions beaches on the Costa del Sol you don’t think of Malaga either.

But, the city does have some excellent sandy beaches within easy reach of the centre. And best of all, this is a destination that allows you to combine world-class museums, top sightseeing and great shopping along with a trip to the beach.

Malaga city beaches have 7 blue flags in 2024 – every beach from El Dedo to La Misericordia meets the criteria this year.

Malaga beaches come with another advantage – on the city’s 20km or so of coastline, there’s something for everyone. Family-friendly sands, happening beach vibes, wide stretches of sand, small coves and at least one beach where you’ll be almost on your own. (Perfect if you want to stay away from the crowds!)

In this guide, we look at all the main beaches in Malaga (listed east to west), why go there and how to get there.

Hotels near the beach in Malaga

But before we get down to the sands, lets talk places to stay. If you’re looking for a hotel right on the beach in Malaga, there isn’t a lot of choice. In fact, only the ones below are nearby:

Gran Hotel Miramar – the only 5-star GL hotel in Malaga and on La Malagueta beach.

La Chancla – on the seafront in Pedregalejo and with lovely sea views from the rooms.

Los Naranjos – a few minutes’ walk from La Malagueta beach.

Vincci Málaga – on the western seafront and with great Mediterranean and sunset vistas.

That said, you’re never very far from the beach and most accommodation is within easy reach. Read our list of suggested hotels in Malaga for some inspiration.

And if you’re wondering which area is right for you, check out our comprehensive guide to where to stay in Malaga. It covers each area including the districts by the beaches.

Facilities on Malaga beaches

With the odd exception (see below), the beaches in Malaga come with plenty of facilities. They include:

Toilets – located in wooden huts and open most of the year. If they’re closed or there aren’t any, you are allowed to use the toilets in the beach bars and restaurants. Standards of cleanliness vary (they’re spick and span first thing), but they’re much better since Covid arrived (silver linings!).

Showers – dotted along the beaches. Don’t use shower gel or shampoos as they pollute the beaches. Note that because of the drought, Malaga beach showers are currently turned off.

Lifeguards – the biggest beaches have lifeguards during the busy holiday seasons: Easter week and between June and September. They operate a flag system – green for safe bathing, orange for bathe with caution, red for no bathing. There’s also a flag warning of jellyfish that fortunately doesn’t fly very often.

Bars and restaurants – also dotted along most of the coast and offering mostly seafood and fish. The western seafront also has a good selection of cafés, ice cream parlours and fast-food outlets.

Kiosks – something of a Malaga institution, this is your stop for ice creams, cold drinks, sweets and snacks as well as buckets, spades and inflatables. Prices are friendly too.

Oases – Malaga beaches have lots of palm tree oases where you can grab a patch of shade and relax on the grass.

Accessibility – all the beaches in Malaga have ramp access and some have paved walkways along part of the sand. Accessible bathing facilities are available in the summer season on the Misericordia beach (opposite the Diputación end) and on La Caleta beach.

Best for sunrises – Playa del Peñón del Cuervo

Peñon del Cuervo beaches in Malaga

Named after the big black rock in the middle, which can look a bit like a crow, this is the first beach on the eastern stretch of the city. It’s one of the best beaches in Malaga for sunrises and these sands are also quiet for most of the year. Keep your eyes firmly fixed on the eye here, though, because behind is the rather ugly cement factory!

Why go to this beach in Malaga?

You like things quiet (outside summer) and a less manicured beach.

How to get to this beach

The best way is to walk or cycle from Malaga city centre. Allow 30 minutes on your bike, an hour if you’re walking. You can also get the No 11 bus from the Alameda Principal, get off at the last stop and walk for 10-15 minutes. Or the 160 bus from Muelle Heredia bus station and get off at La Araña – you’ll see the beach behind you.

Facilities

No lifeguards operate on this beach and there are no bars or restaurants so you need to take food and drink. But there’s a shady picnic area at the back of the beach where you’ll find benches and tables.

Best for families and fried fish – El Palo and Pedregalejo

El Palo beaches to the east of Malaga

The old fishing districts of El Palo and Pedregalejo to the east of the city centre have some of the best family-friendly beaches in Malaga. Made up of a succession of small coves, these sandy beaches offer safe bathing. You’ll be pushed to get space for your towel in the summer and on warmer weekends.

Why go to this beach in Malaga?

You like the idea of safe, shallow bathing and fancy fried fish and grilled sardines for your lunch. And these are the best beaches in Malaga for kids.

Discover how to eat those sardines here

How to get to this beach

Walk or cycle from Malaga city centre and plant your towel and sunshade on the first sandy spot you fancy. Or take the No 3 or 11 bus from the Alameda Principal and get off at any stop after Los Baños del Carmen. Walk a block south to the beach.

Facilities

Lifeguards in season, lots of bars, restaurants and kiosks. Children’s playparks and sports facilities. Both beaches have blue-flag status in 2023.

Best for sundowner cocktail – Playa de los Baños del Carmen

sunset over beaches in Malaga

Not much of a beach – the stony cove has room for just a few towels but El Balneario bar and restaurant next door is a great place for a drink, snack or meal with the waves lapping at your feet.

Why go to this beach in Malaga?

You like great views (of Malaga Bay and the city) and most of all, love watching the sunset.

How to get to this beach

Walk or cycle from Malaga city centre. Or take the No 3 or 11 bus and get off at Los Baños del Carmen.

Facilities

Lifeguards in season and there’s a shower.

Splurge hotels

Gran Hotel Miramar

Malaga’s only 5-star GL hotel, the Gran Hotel Miramar really takes splurge to the next level. Housed in a turn of the 20th century hotel …

Budget stays

La Chancla

La Chancla is a beachfront boutique hotel en Pedregalejo and has with a laid-back atmosphere, offering a relaxing retreat by the sea. …

Mid-range hotels

Hotel Vincci Malaga

One of the few hotels in Malaga right on the seafront, the Hotel Vincci Malaga is a modern establishment opposite La Misericordia beach. Th …

Best for a relaxed vibe – Playa La Caleta

la caleta beach in Malaga

The kilometre or so of sands in this eastern stretch of Malaga are where beach tourism all began in Malaga at the end of the nineteenth century. Backed by some of the finest property in town, these sands make for a great spot for relaxing. Be aware that the beach shelves quickly into the sea so you’re out of your depth quickly.

Why go to this beach in Malaga?

You’re looking for quality sand and views of Malaga Bay.

How to get to this beach

Best to walk from the city centre or take the No 3 or 11 bus and get off at any stop after the bullring.

Facilities

Lifeguards, children’s playparks and a few restaurants on the seafront. Blue-flag status in 2023.

Before or after visiting the beach, take a stroll round the Limonar district.

Best for the city centre – Playa de la Malagueta

La Malagueta beaches in Malaga

Easily the most popular beach in Malaga and the most crowded, La Malagueta is also the handiest to reach from the city centre (about 10-15 minutes’ walk). This is also home to the famous Malagueta sculpture, one of the city’s icons and hosts concerts during Malaga Fair. Views of cruise ships in Malaga Port are good from here.

The beach shelves quickly here and you’re soon out of your depth when you go swimming.

Why go to this beach in Malaga?

You don’t want to walk far to the sands and you like a beach with plenty going on.

How to get to this beach

Cross into Malaga Port from the city centre and walk along El Palmeral and Muelle Uno towards the lighthouse. You’ll see La Malagueta beach ahead of you.

To reach the Malagueta sculpture (in the photo above), walk along El Palmeral past the Pompidou Centre and walk towards the sea.

Facilities

Lifeguards, children’s playparks, cafés and bars on the seafront, and several restaurants on the sands. Blue-flag status in 2023.

Best for port viewing – Playa de San Andrés

Another small beach, this one has just had a facelift after much of the sand was washed away by high tides in 2021. Popular with local families from nearby Huelin in the summer and on warm weekends, this beach lies to the west of Malaga Port and at the start of the western seafront.

Why go to this beach in Malaga?

You want a beach near the city centre and fancy a view of Malaga Port.

How to get to this beach

This is an easy walk from the city centre – follow the seafront west and plant your towel when you see the first sands.

Facilities

Lifeguards in season and a couple of restaurants on the sands. Plenty of kiosks, bars and restaurants one block back from the beach in Huelin. Blue-flag status in 2023.

Best for families – Playa de la Misericordia

La Misericordia beaches in Malaga

The biggest and one of the best beaches in Malaga, this one lies at the western end of the city and its sands stretch for about 2km. Popular with locals (grab your towel space early in the morning in the summer), La Misericordia has a lovely seafront promenade dotted with several industrial chimneys. Bathing is safer at the western end where the beach slopes gently into the sea.

Why go to this beach in Malaga?

You fancy a stroll along the sands and like a family day out.

How to get to this beach

You can walk or cycle from the city centre. Or take the No 40 bus (weekdays only) from the Paseo de los Curas and get off along the seafront or the No 7 from the Alameda Principal – get off at any stop after La Tabacalera and walk a block south to the beach.

Facilities

Lifeguards, children’s playparks, kiosks, bars, cafés and ice cream parlours as well as a good choice of beach restaurants. Blue-flag status in 2023.

Best for a quiet time on your own – Playa del Guadalhorce

river beaches in Malaga

Backed by the Guadalhorce Nature Reserve, this is easiest the quietest beach in Malaga and there’s plenty of room even at the height of summer. The beach shelves very deeply here and beware of strong currents at either end of the sands at the river mouths. Nudism is common on this beach.

Why go to this beach in Malaga?

You like to get away from everyone and want to enjoy a natural beach break.

How to get to this beach

When the rivers are low (usually from June onwards) you can walk or cycle from La Misericordia. You’ll probably get your feet wet when you cross the river and you’ll have to drag your bike over the sand for some of it. It’s about 1.2km to the beach backed by the fence enclosing the nature reserve.

Or you follow the footpath over the Guadalhorce bridge and turn left into the nature reserve. Follow any of the paths to reach the beach.

If you’re on public transport, take the 5 bus from the Alameda Principal and get off at Calle Wilkinson stop in Guadalmar and walk into the nature reserve (signed Reserva Natural) and then south to the beach.

Facilities

None. Take plenty of water with you in the summer. The nearest food and drink is at the beach restaurants in Guadalmar on the other side of the river at the far west end of the beach.

Best for long walks – Playa del Guadalmar/ Campo del Golf

Guadalmar beach on the west side of Malaga

Slightly further west from next door Guadalhorce, this is one of the longest beaches on this part of the coast and like its neighbour, these sands are quiet and unspoilt. When the wind’s up, local kitesurfers flock here and there are several chill-out beach bars. Malaga city’s only designated nudist beach is to the left near the golf course.

If you walk further west you come to Torremolinos, home to two great beaches, El Bajondillo and La Carihuela.

Why go to this beach in Malaga?

You fancy a beach with fewer people, like a good walk along the sands and don’t mind the noise from the planes landing.

How to get to this beach

Take the 5 bus from the Alameda Principal and get off at one of the stops near the golf course or Parador in Guadalmar and walk to the beach from there.

Facilities

Lifeguards at the eastern end nearest Guadalmar in season. Several bars and restaurants at either end. Nothing in the middle.

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Map of Malaga beaches

The Google map below shows the location of each one of the beaches mentioned in this piece.

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