Malaga is a stunning city in southern Spain, located in the autonomous region of Andalucia and the beaches in Malaga are one of the main draws to this region.
This region of Spain is one of my favorites, especially for the beaches. I spent almost two weeks exploring this coastline and while it’s not possible to visit every single amazing beach in the Costa del Sol in such a short trip, I did my best to seek out the absolute best.
Of course, there are tons of great things to do in Malaga like explore the history, check out the day trips from Malaga, or eat at a delicious chiringuito, but the best of this region lies along the coastline.
When is the Best Time of Year to Visit Malaga?
The best time to visit Malaga and enjoy the best beaches in Malaga is to come at the start of the summer or towards the end of the summer.
Summer in Spain is hot. Summer in Andalusia is even hotter.
The pros of coming to Malaga in late May and early June are that there are plenty of hotel options, and the weather hovers around 25-28 degrees Celsius or 77-82 degrees Fahrenheit which is a nice temperature for enjoying the beaches.
The con of coming to the beaches in Malaga at this time of year is that the water is still quite cold. It feels refreshing, but you probably don’t want to spend a lot of time swimming in the water at this time of year.
Alternatively, if you visit in September, the water will be much warmer and the temperatures will likely be about the same, if not slightly warmer. The hotels will empty out as school begins again around Europe and you will be able to enjoy the beaches in Malaga with fewer tourists.
If you want to enjoy the hottest weather and the warmest waters, July and August are wonderful times to be in Southern Spain. But everyone else in Europe thinks so as well, so it will be very busy.
The buses to the beaches will be busy, especially on the weekends, and the battle for a bit of free sand starts early.
The off-season in Malaga still isn’t too cold. In fact, Malaga tends to be one of the warmest places in Spain in winter, but it’s not exactly beach weather.
You can expect highs of 18 degrees Celsius or 64 degrees Fahrenheit which is perfect for beach picnics, walking or jogging on the beach, or simply enjoying the earlier sunsets at the beaches in Malaga. But you won’t be laying out getting a suntan.
Map of the Best Beaches in Malaga
Malaga’s beaches are popular among both locals and tourists. Whether you’re looking for a quiet and relaxing day at the beach or an action-packed adventure with volleyball nets or boat trips.
The beaches are easily accessible, and the public transportation system in Malaga is efficient and affordable. Here are the best beaches in Malaga that you don’t want to miss.
1. Playa de la Malagueta
Playa de la Malagueta is one of the most popular beaches in Malaga and for good reason. It’s located just a few minutes from the city center, making it the closest beach to downtown Malaga.
The beach is over a kilometer long and is known for its calm waters and golden sand. It is particularly popular at night when people finish work and want to enjoy the sunset, a nice walk along the boardwalk, or to play some beach sports.
It’s an ideal beach for families with children, as the water is shallow and the beach has lifeguards at different intervals along the length of the beach.
Since it’s so close to the city center, there are also plenty of restaurants, bars, and cafes nearby, making it a perfect spot for a day trip.
Whether you are based in Malaga or you want to come for the day, you can spend some time exploring the city and then finish with lunch at a local chiringuito and an afternoon sunning yourself on this beach.
How to get to Playa de la Malagueta
To get to Playa de la Malagueta, you can take bus numbers 3, 11, 32, or 33 from the city center.
This is the most central place to get the bus. Just note that there are several bus stops along this road, so be sure to check that you are standing at the right one for these buses. The journey takes around 10-15 minutes, and the bus stop is right by the beach.
Alternatively, you can take a leisurely walk along the waterfront promenade from the city center to the beach. Depending on where in the city you are based, it takes about 30-45 minutes to walk.
2. Playas del Palo
If you’re looking for a beach that allows you to explore another local village near Malaga, head to Playas del Palo.
This beach is located in the small town of El Palo which is easy to get to, but far enough from Malaga city center that it isn’t quite as busy as other beaches in Malaga.
The beach is a set of small bays that are created naturally by the shape of the sand and rocks at the beach in El Palo. The sand is a little bit darker here, but the water is incredibly calm, making it great for swimming or bringing a paddleboard to get out on the water.
The beach is lined with seafood restaurants and has a lively atmosphere, especially during the summer months. The water is clear and great for swimming, and there are plenty of sun loungers and umbrellas available for rent.
How to get to Playas del Palo
To get to Playa del Palo, you can take bus number 11 from the city center. The journey takes around 20-25 minutes, and the bus stop is a short walk from the beach. You can get it from the same location as the bus to Malagueta, you just remain on the bus for another 10 minutes or so.
3. Playa de Burriana
Playa de Burriana is not only one of the most beautiful beaches in Malaga but is often rated one of the most beautiful beaches in the Costa del Sol. It is located in the town of Nerja, around 50 kilometers or about 30 miles east of Malaga.
The bay is shielded by cliffs on either side and the stunning mountains frame the background which may be enough for some. Add to that, soft white sand and turquoise water and you start to see why this beach is worth the drive from Malaga.
The beach is a kilometer long and has plenty of space for the many locals and tourists that frequent it, especially on the weekends. There are plenty of water activities available, including paddleboarding, kayaking, and snorkeling. There are also tons of restaurants, cafes, and shops nearby.
Head to the far end of the beach to Rincon del Sol Beach Club for good cocktails and some of the best food you can get while still having your feet in the sand.
How to get to Playa de Burriana
The best and quickest way to get to Playa Burriana is to drive yourself. If you hire a car in Malaga, you can easily get here in under an hour, making it an easy day trip.
Alternatively, you can take a direct ALSA bus from Malaga bus station to Nerja. The journey takes around an hour, and the bus station is a short walk from the beach.
4. Playa de la Caleta
Playa de la Caleta is a hidden gem located just a few kilometers east of the city center. After Malagueta, this is the closest to the city center of all of the beaches to Malaga.
The sand is golden and the water is calm here thanks to the natural bay that the beach sits in. There are a few palm trees where you can seek shade if you didn’t bring a beach umbrella, but on a hot summer day, the shady spots get taken quickly.
There is a nice boardwalk that carries on all the way from downtown Malaga that runs along the side of the beach where you can jog, ride bikes, or simply stroll. It’s the same boardwalk that runs along Malagueta, so if you enjoy running or want a long walking place, this is an idea place to work your way towards. Once you get here you can go for a swim and then take the bus back.
The far end of the beach also has a nice outdoor workout area. In the morning before it gets too hot or just before sunset, you’ll find plenty of people using the space to workout.
How to get to Playa de la Caleta
To get to Playa de la Caleta, you can take bus number 3 or 11 from the city center. The journey takes around 20-25 minutes. You can get off at this stop, which is just after you pass the end of Playa Malagueta.
5. Playa el Dedo
Playa el Dedo is a fantastic beach to come to if you want to enjoy all of the seafood delights that make a perfect day at the beach in Malaga.
Located about 7 kilometers or just over 4 miles from downtown Malaga, Playa el Dedo is another great option if you don’t want to travel too far from the city center, but still want to enjoy plenty of time close to the Mediterranean.
It’s a dusty kind of sand at this bay. It’s so fine that it almost feels like you are walking on dirt rather than sand, which is fine with me since I’m not a huge lover of sand anyway.
Come hungry and enjoy lunch at Chiringuito Piri Piri. The seafood here is exceptional, especially the local specialty, espetos. Espetos are barbecued sardines that are served well-seasoned and with a big slice of lemon to squeeze over the top.
How to get to Playa el Dedo
You can take bus 3, 8, or 11 from the city center and get off at this bus stop which is only a few minutes walk from the beach.
6. Playa de los Álamos
Playa de los Álamos is a popular beach located west of Malaga. It is known for its lively atmosphere and bustling beach bars.
The beach is long, the sand is golden, and the water is clear. There’s a lot to love about this beach located in Torremolinos, but my personal favorite thing about coming here is the sheer number of bars and chiringuitos to choose from.
Malaga is famous for its Chiringuito culture. This is a type of beach bar and restaurant that, while can be found all over Spain, is particularly fantastic at the beaches of Malaga.
These are some of the best options for food, atmosphere, and fun drink options:
- Playa Aruba: the food here is amazing, the staff are friendly, and there are seats inside and outside to choose from.
- Chiringuito el Espeto Playa: as the name suggests, this is a fantastic place to come for espetos (grilled sardines). However, it is overall a fantastic beach club with lounge chairs and umbrellas available and all of the seafood options here are wonderful and fresh.
- La Palapa Beach Jazba: This place feels more like it would fit in in Ibiza, but in the best way. It’s chic, relaxing, and the food is fantastic. This is a great beach club where you can spend the day lounging.
- Chiringuito el Sardiná: This is a true Chiringuito – a cheap spot for local seafood, mostly fried, with some plastic chairs in the sand. Everything comes in share plates, so come hungry and with a few friends to enjoy all that this menu has to offer.
How to get to Play ade los Álamos
The easiest way to get here is to take the Cercanias (suburban train) from the Malaga train station to Los Alamos. From the Los Alamos train station, it’s about a 5-10 minute walk to the beach. The train takes about 30 minutes.
If you are driving, there is parking in Los Alamos at the beach parking lot located here. Come early if you are visiting on the weekend as it can fill up quickly.
7. Playa de Guadalmar
This beach is located not far from the airport and despite being on the flight path, is one of the best beaches in Malaga for those that want to escape the crowds and enjoy being close to nature.
You can stay at SOL Guadalmar, which is a wonderful family-friendly resort that has views out over the sea. I stayed here for a few days and came out of the pool area right onto the boardwalk. The boardwalk connects to a beautiful trail through a nature park and in the other direction is the long black-sand Playa de Guadalmar.
Thanks to how long and open this beach is, it is a popular spot for windsurfing and kiteboarding. It doesn’t have a ton of amenities nearby, which means that it doesn’t get packed with people other than locals that live nearby.
Pack lunch and some snacks and enjoy this peaceful beach only a few short miles from downtown Malaga.
How to get to Playa de Guadalmar
To reach Playa de Guadalmar from Malaga city center by public transportation, you can take bus number 5 from near Alameda Principal. The journey takes approximately 20-25 minutes. You’ll need to get off at the Moby Dick stop, which is close to the beach. From there, it’s a short walk to reach Playa de Guadalmar.
If you are driving yourself, there is a large parking lot located here.
8. Playa de Maro
This beach is located very close to Nerja and is known for its crystal-clear waters and secluded location. Nerja is one of the most beautiful areas in the Málaga region when it comes to beaches, so if you drive east from the city center, you will find so many wonderful coves like this one.
Playa de Maro is particularly popular for snorkeling and it is surrounded by stunning cliffs and vegetation that mean no matter what direction you are looking, the view is pretty spectacular.
It’s quite a small beach, so if you are visiting the beaches in Malaga during the summer months, plan to come early. However, if you are lucky enough to visit in the shoulder seasons, you could have this place almost all to yourself.
There’s a small chiringuito on the beach where you can rent umbrellas or chairs, or order food while you are down here.