Andalucia has over 800 Km of coastline most of which is sandy beach. No wonder going to the beach is the single most popular recreational activity for tourists and residents alike.

The sunbathing on beaches generally becomes popular from late May until late September. This is when the Chiringuitos (beach bars) start to open. The sun beds are set out and the paddle rafts and jet skis are prepared for the season. There is a noticeable increase in beach popularity during the school holidays and especially in July and August when many residents from Madrid and other cities in Spain arrive on the coast for their annual holiday.

During the winter season the beaches are enjoyed mainly by walkers, joggers and fishermen. Sunbathing is sometimes possible in the winter months as well. On one of the frequent blue sky and non-windy days it will be warm enough to sunbathe and you will have the beach to yourself. Of course, in the most popular resorts like Torremolinos you won’t be alone.

There are no private beaches in Spain, you have the right to walk the entire coastline. Recent laws prohibit construction too close to the coast. “Acceso público a la playa” is a sign you may see. It means ‘public access to the beach’ probably a right of way over private land leading to the beach.

The coastal strips or costas have been given names. General information about them can be found on the following pages. The Mediterranean seaboard is graced by the Costa de Almeria, Costa Tropical and the glamorous, cosmopolitan Costa del Sol, while the Costa de la Luz lies along the Atlantic shore to the west of Gibraltar.

Andalucia has beaches for all tastes. Wide open golden sandy beaches backed by sand dunes are typical of the Costa de la Luz. Popular bathing beaches with showers and beach bars are typical of the Costa del Sol. Hidden coves reached by paths or tracks down from the cliffs, excellent for snorkeling and diving are typical of the Costa Tropical. Open beaches and hidden coves, some of the quietest around are typical of the Costa de Almeria.

Costa de la Luz Beaches (Huelva)

Huelva Beaches

Beaches along the Costa de la Luz are generally long, sandy and backed by dunes and pine woods. During July and August the beaches nearest the resorts are packed with mainly Spanish visitors from Huelva city and Sevilla.

For the rest of the year, this coast is uncrowded and even in summer, it’s possible to find a relatively peaceful place on the beach. Although the beaches are exposed, they are less windswept than ones along the Cadiz stretch of the Costa de la Luz, but it’s still good for windsurfing.

Costa de la Luz Beaches (Huelva)
Huelva Beaches

Beaches along the Costa de la Luz are generally long, sandy and backed by dunes and pine woods. During July and August the beaches nearest the resorts are packed with mainly Spanish visitors from Huelva city and Sevilla.

For the rest of the year, this coast is uncrowded and even in summer, it’s possible to find a relatively peaceful place on the beach. Although the beaches are exposed, they are less windswept than ones along the Cadiz stretch of the Costa de la Luz, but it’s still good for windsurfing.

La Antilla

This is a small, pleasant resort with an attractive palm tree-lined promenade, the Paseo Marítimo, adjacent to the wide, sandy beach. Although busy in summer, it doesn’t get as crowded as its bigger neighbours. The sandy beach is 20km long and runs from the newer La Islantilla resort east of La Antilla turning into the long, narrow spit of El Rompido to the east.

This latter section, part of the nature reserve of the Paraje Natural Río Piedras y la Flecha de El Rompido, is a beautiful unspoilt stretch of beach. Here there are great views across the Río Piedras estuary to the village of El Rompido. At this end is Nueva Umbría, an area of beach reserved for nudists.

The beach at this small, friendly fishing village called El Rompido is protected from the open sea by the spit that extends across the Río Piedras estuary. If you want to get away from the crowds, you can hire a boat to take you across to the spit. Here you can walk along the long, sandy beach or explore the sand dunes that run along the centre of the spit.

Don’t forget to bring all your supplies here, including fresh water.

Punta Umbria

Punta Umbria is the largest seaside town along the Huelva Costa de la Luz. It’s busy with beachgoers from Sevilla and Huelva city in the summer, when there is a vibrant nightlife with loads of late-night bars and clubs to choose from when the sun goes down. The beach nearest the town, Playa La Mata Negra, is wide and sandy and has good facilities including parasols and sun loungers for hire, showers, toilets and lifeguard. There are lots of great restaurants and bars along this stretch, many with views of the beach and sea.

Further away from the town towards La Bota beach is the 2km-long stretch of sand dunes, El Paraje Natural los Enebrales. Here it is possible to find a more tranquil spot. You can reach it by the footpath and cycleway that runs parallel to the beach.


Although the resort itself has some ugly high-rise development, it has some superb beaches and is a good base for the Parque Nacional de Doñana. Its 40km-long beach, the Playa de Castilla, runs from the Guadalquivir estuary to Mazagón.

The beach nearest the centre of Matalascañas can get overcrowded in summer. It has a 4km-long promenade, the Paseo Marítimo, with good fish restaurants and bars overlooking the beach. There are excellent facilities including lifeguards, showers, hire of parasols and deckchairs. Chiringuitos (beach bars) open in summer. The best beach nearest the centre of Matalascañas is at Torre de la Higuera, just west of the village, which also has good facilities, chiringuitos and kiosks.

Fortunately for a resort that is packed in summer, Matalascañas has a choice of quieter beaches. From the east of the town you can walk along the beach that runs alongside the boundary of the Parque Nacional de Donaña. This part is good for birdwatching, too. West of Matalascañas towards Mazagón the beach is backed by sandstone cliffs. The best beach east of Huelva city is at Cuesta de Maneli, signposted at Km38 on the A494 to Mazagón. From the car park it’s a 10-minute pleasant stroll through the dunes and pine trees on a wooden walkway to the beach. There is also a nudist section on this beach.

Costa de la Luz Beaches (Cadiz)

The Costa del Luz (Cadiz) beaches tend to be long, with fine golden sand and huge dunes. The coastline is dotted with small fishing villages. This area is popular with tourists from Seville, other parts of Spain and international travellers, backpackers and campavaners. Can be very windy at times but great for windsurfing and surfing.

Conil de la Frontera

A long beach backed by large cliffs in many stretches. Trendy little town with good bars and cafés, and a souvenir shop now opening up. Good nightlife in the small disco-bars.

Caños de Meca is a small but unspoiled community on the windswept but stunning Costa de la Luz on the Atlantic coast. Deep in the Parque Natural del Acantilado, Caños de Meca has beautiful beaches, backed by cliffs and pine trees. Perched on the cliff-tops straddling the coast road, this sleepy little village is fast waking up to a reputation as a trendy place for beatnik travellers and wave-jumpers to spend the summer.

The singer/actress Lola Flores was originally from this area, and much to the pride of the locals, often spent her holidays in here.

Caños de Meca is well off the beaten track and has to be reached by taking one of the small side roads off the CN340 coast road near Vejer de la Frontera or by taking the minor road through the pine forest from Barbate.

Its almost impossible to escape from the occasional block of flats, but thankfully, there’s little modern development.

The ‘El Pirata’ restaurant overlooks the beach and offers excellent seafood dishes especially at lunch time. Opposite La Cabana specializes in Moroccan fare, well worth a visit. After the evening meal many visitors descend to the cliff steps to the beach bars (El Pirata recommended) which become discos on hot summer nights. The music stops when the last person leaves or just falls asleep on the beach.

To the north west of the town, is the famous Cape Trafalgar, which protects the town’s beaches. The lighthouse protects shipping. This is probably one of the worlds most famous yet unknown places because it was off this point that The Battle of Trafalgar was fought in 1g805. when Admiral Nelson, although greatly outnumbered, attacked and destroyed the Spanish fleet.

The Natural Park protects the 100m high cliffs and pine forests immediately to the east.

Zahara de los Atunes

Zahara Playa

One of the best sandy beaches. Great little fishing village atmosphere. Try one of the pensions or Hotel Doña Luisa.

A few km further south there is a headland and rocks for snorkeling. Water can be turquoise blue like the Caribbean.

Popular with Sunday day trippers, but quiet in the week. Large sand dunes to the north and military land ensure it will always remain totally undeveloped. Visit the ruins of the Roman town . The village to the south is waking up to tourists very quickly and bars and hotels are opening up.

South part of the bay

The southern part of Bolonia’s bay is dominated by three very popular wooden beach bar/restaurants: La Cabaña, Los Caracoles (snails), and El Tucan. This is a very popular watersports area, and the zones where you are allowed to use water craft are marked out by yellow buoys. Hip young wind and kite surfers head here, especially when there is a levante (a strong easterly wind) is blowing, although the wind is as strong as the Atlantic blows at Tarifa, Punto Paloma or Valdevequeros, but many are now favouring Bolonia as opposed to overcrowded Tarifa. There is also a separate swimming space for bathers, also clearly marked by yellow buoys.

Isolated naturist coves

Parking the car at the end of the village road opposite La Cabaña bar and continuing south on through the fields or on the beach you can visit a number of isolated coves which are officially designated as naturist beaches by Tarifa town council. A red paint sign on the wall or a derilict wartime pill box advises sun worshipers. Conversely there is also a signs in the village reminding visitors that clothes must be worn.

Valdevaqueros, Tarifa

The most popular windsurfing and posing location. Huge sand dunes, sheltered lagoon, trendy beach bars, windsurf hire.

Couple of hostels, camping, hire horses for a gallop along the dunes. Popular at weekends but never crowded.

Costa del Sol (West)

Costa del Sol is the most developed part of the Coast. The Mediterranean water is warm and safe. Many towns have recently modernised “paseo maritimos” (promenades). Most locations are backed by development. More jet skis per capita than anywhere else in Europe. No shortage of bars, restaurants and nightlife. Sand tends to be grey and coarse-grained.

Playa Del Cristo, Estepona

This beautiful cove has recently been improved, with showers installed. There are two beach bars and parking. Great family atmosphere. Within walking distance of the marina and the town. One of the only beaches on this coast to face west ensuring maximum hours of sunshine.

San Pedro
Bora Bora Beach Club

The long ‘paseo maritimo’ makes it easy to find a space even on a summer Sunday. Numerous beach bars. Try Bora Bora and also Guayaba Beach at the west end.

To the east there are a number of trendy beach clubs to be seen in – Victor’s Beach and Babaloo Beach.

Playa Nueva Andalucia
Palms by the Pool

Just to the west of Puerto Banus marina, Nueva Andalucia offers a number of trendy beach clubs in a picturesque setting. Those palm trees look like the south Pacific. Parking difficult at peak times.

Here between San Pedro de Alcántara and Puerto Banús, Mistral Beach is perfectly situated. With panoramic views of much of the Costa del Sol, Mistral Beach is the ideal place in which to relax in the Andalusian sun. Mistral Beach also boasts one of the coast’s finest beach restaurants, which offers great food in a relaxed atmosphere.

Puerto Banús

Staute over looking the beach of Puerto Banus © Michelle Chaplow
Staute over looking the beach of Puerto Banus
Without doubt the place to be seen. If you are famous then there is no risk of not getting caught by the Paparazzi. Good beach just to the east of the marina protected by a jetty. If you feel like treating yourself spend a day relaxing in the Marbella Club beach club.If you want to show of your designer bikini this is just the beach for you.

Arrive early as the front line sun loungers go fast. Parking difficult.

Underground parking available nearby.


This is the longest of the Mijas Costa beaches at over 4,500 meters long and 25 meters wide. Since it is right at the foot of the large Sitio de Calahonda urbanization, it is a well used beach, with ramp access, many beach bars and lots of activity, but it also has some quieter corners for those who prefer a bit of piece and quiet. This beach is perfect for the whole family and caters for sunbathers, scuba divers and fishermen alike. It is a fairly straight line of beach with golden sand and plenty of beach beds and parasols for rent and a good choice of lively beach bars for refreshment and entertainment.

El Cabo Rocoso Beach

This rocky beach is clearly defined by the ancient watchtower which marks natural border between Calahonda and La Cala. The beach is next to the Playa Marina urban complex and it is somewhat quieter than the other Mijas Costa beaches, probably due to the rocks at the water’s edge. This is a very pleasant beach for morning walks all year round and is also frequented by those who like to snorkel or go under water swimming and surfing. As well as the hire of such water sport equipment, there are beach beds for hire and there is a kiosk selling snacks and drinks.

El Bombo Beach
Jet Ski

This 320 meter beach is wide and curves round slightly into a large bay and forms the eastern corner of the Cala del Moral beaches. The beach ends in a small (130 meter) rocky cliff which is ideal for scuba, snorkeling and under water swimming. You can hire sun beds and there is a beach bar for snacks and drinks.

Butiplaya Beach

The beach at Sunset

Along from La Cala Beach is Buiplaya (sometimes referred to as Torrevieja Beach) at 35 meters wide and covering over 1,500 meters in length. Its orientation of southwest and like La Cala, has lifeguard vigilance during the summer months. This is a safe beach and is in a semi urban area, where there are usually holidaymakers or residents around during the whole year. This beach was also awarded the E.U. Blue Flag in 2002, for its high level of cleanliness and good facilities. There are showers for use all along the beach, as well as public toilets and changing facilities. The beach is accessible to the disabled and there is a parking area reserved for beach goers.

The usual beach beds and sunshades are available for rent, as well as lots of fun water sports from the humble ‘pedalo’ to the more exiting jet skis, water skiing and all the latest in water sports.

La Cala Beach (Las Doradas)

This 35 meter wide and almost 2,000 meter long beach, with south and south west orientation, won the E.U. Blue Flag award in 2002. This is a lovely semi-urban beach in summer and winter alike, with a very nice promenade and plenty of good beach bars and restaurants along the way.

There are beach beds and parasols for hire, public toilets and changing facilities available and showers at various points along the beach, as well as numerous public telephones.

In the summer period there is a lifeguard service and the beach is accessible to the disabled. There is plenty of parking, but it can sometimes become difficult and congested at the peak of the high season in July and especially August. The hire of water sports gear is in abundance in summer, but less evident in from the end of October to Easter, when the beach is quieter. However, a warm December day sees many Christmas holidaymakers and residents soaking up the pleasant sunshine after a fine turkey lunch!

El Charcón Beach

This quiet 940 meter stretch of beach where you can hire a beach bed to enjoy a quiet corner of sun is just to the west of El Faro. There are litter bins, with regular collection, but it is always appreciated if you take away as much rubbish as you can to keep up the high standards of clean beaches for everyone. The beach is sandy and is south facing.

El Faro Beach

At the Calaburra point, El Faro beach has tow steep rock face areas and over 1,000 meters stretch of sandy beach. You can see most of the beach from the main road. It is popular with underwater swimming enthusiasts. There is a beach bar and sun beds for hire. This is also a favourite beach for people who like to fish from the shore and you will often see the long fishing rods set up late into the night and tents set up for an all night vigil, ensuring a fresh fish breakfast.

Like other beaches in along Mijas Costa, this one is kept as clean as possible with regular collection from the litter bins.

Piedra del Cura Beach

This is a rugged, rocky part of the coastline and leads into the El Faro beach to the west. It is 195 meters long and is a very popular area for scuba divers and underwater swimming. The conditions are excellent for this type of sport, but it is always advisable to take safety precautions, using the correct apparatus and never swimming alone. The beach is well maintained and kept clean by regular rubbish collection from the litter bins available.

El Egido Beach

Sohail Castle

The beach which meets up with the mouth of the river Fuengirola (below the castle Sohail) is the Egido Beach. It is 300 meters long, with safe swimming conditions, a beach bar and the hire of beach beds. There are litter bins and the beach is kept clean and tidy by the Mijas Town Hall authorities.

La Carihuela, Torremolinos

Torremolinos so much has been said about Torremolinos that it is difficult to add more. Don’t be prejudiced, head straight into the thick of it. The prom has been recently modernised.

Arrive early (9am) and observe that there is still a ‘village’ here that slowly wakes up and carries out its chores. By 11am it is hidden away.

Playa Calahonda has a fairytale, picture postcard setting, conveniently close to the town centre. Very popular with the foreign tourists. Take a look from the Balcon de Europa before descending.

Explore the coves to the east on well-maintained but windy little path.

El Maro

At the eastern extreme of the Costa del Sol (Malaga Province) there are numerous large, isolated coves. Some are accessible by car, others only by path. Come here if you want to get away from it all.


Costa tropical


The least well-known of the Costas, probably because the name is a recent creation for the coastline of Granada Province. Nevertheless it should not be overlooked. It is characterised by mountains running down to the coast creating a rocky coastline of isolated sandy coves. Get away from the crowds here, and enjoy some great diving opportunities. 


La Herradura


Impressive large bay sheltered and dominated by two large headlands. The beach is supported by this typically Spanish overgrown fishing village. Popular with the young and old alike. A bastion of national tourism and popular summer retreat with residents of the city of Granada. Not many foreigners stay here. 


Perhaps the most diverse of all the Costas. Everything from popular resorts to rocky coves which include some of the least visited beaches in Southern Spain. Roquetas de Mar


Roquetas de mar


The most popular and well developed tourist resort. An international package holiday destination. Lacks nothing in facilities. If you walk westwards along the beach (take water) within half an hour of leaving the resort you will probably not be able to see another human being.




One of Spain’s main geographical headlands. Lots of rocky headlands and sandy coves. The area is protected as a Natural Park of Cabo de Gata – Nijar.


The coastal road is blocked to through traffic just to the east, making for a truly tranquil experience. The long, straight beach between the Cape and the small village of the same name is a popular retreat during summer weekends with residents of Almeria City. Look out for the pink flamingos on the salt flats, the ruined church and the ghost town.


They look like something out of a film set, but just demonstrate that some years ago the salt must have been a sought-after commodity.




One of the more popular coves in the natural Park. Park your car and walk the last few hundred meters. This and other coves are accessible on the dirt coastal road that leads west from the pretty village of San José (last civilisation). Remember the road is blocked just east of Cabo de Gata to protect the area from too many visitors.




Expansive isolated beach. An impressive picture postcard has an aerial photograph showing the length of this dead straight beachy cove. Park the car in the car park by the information point and first walk to the viewpoint before descending the long path down to the beach.


There are no facilities so take all your provisions with you. Save some water for the taxing walk back up the hill. Swimming costumes are not obligatory in such a natural and isolated environment.




Agua Amarga is a wonderfully picturesque bay dominated by a little white fishing village. The whole coast from here northwards nearly as far as Mojacar is worth exploring. (Just close your eyes to the huge industrial plant and chimney at Carboneras) The mountain road is a driving experience. Turn off the road and carefully follow the tracks to explore the attractive coves.


Large Naturist Beach. (Nudist beach) renown for being the centre of naturism in Andalucia. The beach is supported by a number of naturist hotels, apartments and camping facilities.



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