Situated on the southern Spanish coastline, with the Mediterranean lapping at its heels, there’s no question hitting the beach is one of the top things to do in Malaga.
But where to head to?
From beaches you can walk to from the city, to those that require a bike or even bus ride, as well as hidden gems you’ll need a car to access, I’m bringing you the 7 best Malaga beaches, so you can think about exactly where to head when planning your time on that delicious Costa Del Sol sand.
Let’s get stuck in…
- Top 15 Things to Do in Malaga
- Best 10 Day Andalusia Itinerary
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#1 La Malagueta
First up on this list of the beach Malaga beaches, it’s the strip of sand that’s nearest to the city, in fact, it sits right at the foot of it!
Yes visible from the Alcazaba and easily walkable to from Malaga’s historic centre, La Malagueta is an awesome beach to head to if you’re just looking for a couple of hours out of the city, a quick dip in the sea to cool down, or a short saunter to a sunset.
Things can get busy here and the sand isn’t the nicest, but its close proximity to Malaga makes it easily accessible and a firm favourite.
Head to the western section – nearest to La Farola Lighthouse – for the cleanest sand and the quietest spot, otherwise wander along this beach to the east to find grilled sardines you can enjoy with a beer and a lovely sunset backdrop.
Showers can be found here, as well as public toilets and a few bars, and behind the beach, the promenade is a fav for local Malaganians to stroll, run or rollerskate.
#2 El Palo
A perfect alternative to La Malagueta if you have a little more time is El Palo – a stunning beach just 5km away.
Situated in a quaint fishing village, dotted with colourful houses, this is a local favourite and tends to have a lower key vibe than many of the other beaches this close to the city.
The sardines are still grilling here, however the water is calmer and there’s definitely less of an urban feel.
Easy to reach from Malaga, you can simply hop on a bike and ride the car-free promenade all the way to El Palo from the city, or else hop on the number 11 bus and you’ll be there in no time.
And coming in at number 3 of the best Malaga beaches is Playa de la Misericordia.
Situated to the west of Malaga (the opposite direction to El Palo), this strip of sand is 2km and quite dark in colour, making it fairly iconic – a feeling emphasised further by the 19th-century chimney situated here, which is reminiscent of the area’s industrial past.
Come in the late afternoon and you’ll even get the chance to surf at Misericordi, as waves roll in during the summer months (they’re generated by the highspeed ferry service that comes daily into Malaga’s port from the Northern African coast) and bring the locals out with their boards.
Because yes, the other sell for this beach is that there’s hardly any tourists!
#4 El Castillo
Keep going west and you’ll soon come to the hot Costa Del Sol resort of Fuengirola – a popular tourist place complete with a Medieval Castle that looms over it and plays regular host to an array of concerts and events.
Popular with families thanks to the huge range of watersports and good facilities on offer here, there’s also a children’s play area, lots of bars and restaurants to choose from, as well as a designated dog beach.
Parking is easy and plentiful too, otherwise the C-1 train will quickly transport you from Malaga to Fuengirola station, from where you can saunter through the town to the beach.
Now we keep heading west from Fuengirola, towards Marbella, until we come to this spectacular Malaga beach – certainly one of the most beautiful in the area.
Close to ritzy Marbella, which is known for its luxurious expat residences, the Playa Cabopino is nevertheless one of the most isolated in this region and is set against a beautiful natural backdrop, including some impressive dunes that really allow you to escape the crowds.
Part nudist, a wooden walkway leads you to the gorgeous sand, which is only dotted with a couple of bars – the rest is delightfully free of amenities.
Absolutely one for those looking to get away and relax in nature, Playa Cabopino is certainly one of the best Malaga beaches… although it’s best if you have a car to get here.
#6 Peñón del Cuervo
And now we come to another calmer gem that is also perfect for those looking to escape the urban action and numerous beach bars.
Yes, Playa Peñón del Cuervo is certainly a winner in this regard and is named after the iconic and huge rock that rises from the sea and seems to split the beach in 2, making this 450m strip of sand a really unique place.
Best accessed by car, there are sunshades here as well as BBQ spots, which makes it a popular spot with locals at the weekend.
#7 Playa El Salón
And last but not least on this list of the top Malaga beaches, we come to El Salón – actually the furthest away from the city of them all.
Over near the village of Nerja, which makes a perfect Malaga day trip or weekend away, this lovely whitewashed and quaint town has some top sandy strips to choose from and El Salón is my fav!
With great swimming and sunbathing opps, this beach is near to the village, which means you can walk here without the need for a car (you can get a bus from Malaga to Nerja if you need to).
And doing so, will take you right past the Balcón de Europa – an epic observation structure that’s well worth checking out.
Don’t forget your mask and fins if you come to Nerja too – there’s some great snorkelling spots around you should definitely take advantage of.
How to Get to Malaga?
Malaga has both a bus and train station, with regular arrivals from around Andalusia and Spain.
The train station is near to the bus station and both are easily accessible from the city centre.
From either the train or the bus station, it’s best to take a taxi to your accommodation in Malaga – Uber is the cheapest option.
I highly recommend Trainline for booking both you train and bus journeys to Malaga, as they make it easy, quick and simple to compare hundreds of rail and coach journeys to the city from across Spain.
If you’re coming from Granada to Malaga, check out my full post about how best to make this journey here.
There’s also an international airport in Malaga, with regular flights from around Spain as well as destinations across Europe, including with budget airlines.
As always, I suggest Skyscanner for bagging the best flight deals.
From the airport, it’s then easy to catch a local train or bus to the city centre.
Alternatively, if you want to rent a vehicle and drive to or around Malaga, then check out Thrifty Car Hire for some of the best deals in Spain generally.
Otherwise Wiber Car Rental (who are based in Malaga specifically) offer some great prices too.
When to Visit Malaga?
No question in my mind that the best time to visit Malaga (and Andalusia in general) is during the months of April through June, plus September and October.
This is when the warm weather will allow you to take full advantage of the city’s beauty at its best, but you won’t be wilting in the summer heat, which regularly sees temperatures rising to 40+ degrees.
I’ve visited Malaga in September and October when I found the climate ideal for sightseeing as well as hitting the beach!
How Long to Visit Malaga For?
Most people visit Malaga for 3-5 nights.
It’s a small city and you can certainly cover many of the sights in this time, plus enjoy some day trips too.
Where to Stay in Malaga?
Check out these top Malaga accommodation options that offer really good value for money…
- Be Mate Malaga Centro – Entire apartment sleeping 2 people
- Casa Bambu Resort – Double / twin rooms in a hotel
- Blonski Guadalmar – Great value queen & double rooms
Otherwise, here’s my list of the top 10 Airbnbs in Malaga.
5 Packing Essentials for Malaga
- UV sunglasses
- Good trail shoes for walking
- Natural 30 SPF sunscreen
- Good insect repellent
- Sony A6400 camera
Travel Insurance for Spain
World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while travelling and claim online from anywhere in the world.
Alternatively, if you’re a long-term traveller, digital nomad or frequent remote worker seeking travel health cover, check out Safetywing’s Nomad Insurance policies.
Where to Travel After Malaga?
If you still have time for more travelling after Malaga (and lucky you if so!) then you may want to head to Ronda, Granada, Cordoba or Seville – all top destinations within Andalusia that can easily be reached either via driving or public transport.
Check out these articles for some inspiration…
- Top 19 Things to Do in Seville
- Why You Need to Visit the Ronda Bridge
- 10 Things You Can’t Miss in Granada
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So there you have it folks, my top list of the 7 best Malaga beaches.
Tell me, which is your fav on this list?
Or do you have another top Malaga beach rec that didn’t make the list?
Just drop it into the comments below if so…