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 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.

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

Facilities on Malaga beaches

Best for sunrises

Best for families and fried fish

Best for sundowner cocktail

Best for a relaxed vibe

Best for city centre

Best for port views

Best for families

Best for being on your own

Best for long walks

Map of Malaga 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 better first thing) and there’s rarely toilet paper or hand towels.

Showers – dotted along the beaches. Don’t use shower gel or shampoos as these contaminate the beaches.

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.

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. Read more about accessible Malaga.

READ TIPS FOR A DAY AT BEACH IN MALAGA

Best for sunrises – Playa del Peñón del Cuervo
Penon 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 Malaga. Great for sunrises, 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 (near the ferris wheel) 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.

Best for families and fried fish – El Palo and Pedregalejo

El Palo beaches in 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.

Read more about El Palo and Pedregalejo

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. Discover how to eat them 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.

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.

Best for a relaxed vibe – Playa La Caleta

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.

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 also 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.

Facilities

Lifeguards, children’s playparks, cafés and bars on the seafront, and several restaurants on the sands.

DISCOVER MORE THINGS TO DO IN MALAGA

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 late 2017. 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 from the ferris wheel 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. We love De Huelva!

SURVIVE THE HEAT IN MALAGA!

Best for families – Playa de la Misericordia
La Misericordia beaches in Malaga

The biggest beach 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.

Read more about the Western Seafront.

Best for being on your own – Playa del Guadalhorce
river beaches in Malaga

Backed by the Guadalhorce Nature Reserve – a great spot for birdwatching in Malaga – 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 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.

DISCOVER WHERE TO STAY IN MALAGA

Best for long walks – Playa del Guadalmar/ Campo del Golf
Guadalmar beach in 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 2 great beaches.

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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