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The Ultimate Málaga Beach Guide

Michal Grupa

Campervan Whisperer

The slightest thought or mention of ‘beach day’ conjures up vivid images of blissful sunny days, blue skies, refreshing dips in crystal clear water, cocktails and loosely hanging beach outfits. Our Malaga Beach guide is here to save you from the dreary glow of fluorescent lighting, pale skin and even tan lines for the adventurous naturists among you.


With the launch of Siesta Campers Spain in 2023 (spoiler!) and arrival of campervan hire Málaga we thought it’d be neat to tease you all with a new adventure. We started with our top recommendations for the best beaches in Málaga, but in the end we couldn’t help ourselves and pressed on up Costa del Sol through Nerja towards the otherworldly landscapes of the coast of Almeria. Here are our top picks.


Malaga beaches map.

Málaga beaches map, plus a few of our favourites in Andalusia



Our picks for the best Málaga Beaches:


1. Malagueta Beach, Málaga - most popular beach in Málaga

The 1km long Malagueta beach (Playa de la Malagueta) serves as proof you don’t have to travel far along the Costa del Sol to find a great patch of sand. In fact you don’t have to leave Málaga at all. Malagueta is the closest beach to the old town centre and is easily reachable by foot. The pleasant 10 minute walk along the sea promenade is dotted with quality restaurants and chiringuitos (beach bars). This is where most travellers begin their beach holiday in Spain. This Málaga beach is not the ideal postcard shot, but it’s the most popular beach in Málaga for a reason and does the job especially when time is limited. If you’re planning a South Spain Road Trip, Malaugeta is a great first beach to check out.

  • Malagueta Beach: dark sand
  • Water quality: clean, fair clarity
  • Popular with: sunburned tourists
  • Amenities: toilets, showers, sunlounger & umbrella rental (€7 per day), playground, outdoor gym, scooter & bicycle rental, massages, shops, bars & restaurants
  • Lifeguard: yes
  • Parking: very difficult to find free street parking. Park your campervan in one of the nearby paid parking garages or walk from town.


Malagueta beach, Malaga.

Malagueta Beach, Málaga - most popular beach in Málaga



2. El Palo Beach, Málaga - the local’s urban beach

El Palo Beach (Playa del Palo), Málaga's original fishing neighbourhood turned into a colourful stretch of bars and restaurants is the perfect alternate starting point on your route to discover all the Málaga beaches. In comparison to Malagueta, the more tranquil El Palo offers fine sand, clear shallow water, gentle swells, plentiful amenities and free beachside parking. If this is the first Málaga beach you check out, make good use of shade provided by the extensive palm grove. Sunburn on the first day is a sure way to spoil your beach holiday in Spain. If you need to stretch your legs the seaside promenade is great for long walks and jogging. El Palo is our favourite of the urban Málaga beaches thanks to the friendly local vibe, the beach quality iself, excellent infrastructure, and hassle-free street parking. Thanks to its rich history as a fishing neighbourhood, there are numerous dining options for excellent seafood. Prices here tend to be a bit lower, so it’s a great place to stock your campervan pantry before continuing on to more remote Málaga beaches with less infrastructure.

  • El Palo Beach: fine sand
  • Water quality: very clean, fair clarity
  • Popular with: locals and families
  • Amenities: toilets, showers, sunlounger & umbrella rental, bicycle, kayak & SUP rental, football & basketball courts, outdoor gym, shops, bars & restaurants
  • Lifeguard: yes
  • Parking: free street parking makes El palo beach campervan friendly


El Palo beach, Malaga.

El Palo Beach, Málaga - the local’s urban beach



3. Raven Rock Beach, Málaga - for an active beach day and picnics

Often overlooked, Raven Rock Beach (Playa Peñón del Cuervo) is Málaga’s secret beach. A short 20 minute drive East from the hustle and bustle of the city, this hidden gem offers serenity, plenty of space, and interesting features like the row of tall palms to escape the summertime heat and a massive limestone rock which splits the beach into two idyllic bathing areas. The relaxed vibe, gentle clear water and quality picnic areas with bbqs earn Peñón del Cuervo Beach a spot on our list of best beaches in Málaga. Motivated walkers and cyclists can also enjoy the well-kept coastal path which connects Raven Rock to Malagueta and other Malaga Beaches. Less crowds, picnic spots and free parking near the beach makes Raven Rock a campervan friendly choice.

  • Peñón del Cuervo Beach: sand and pebbles
  • Water quality: very clean, good clarity
  • Popular with: active walkers, cyclists and families
  • Amenities: showers (no toilets)
  • Lifeguard: yes
  • Parking: free carpark with plenty of space for your camper


Raven Rock Beach (Penon del Cuervo), Malaga.

Raven Rock Beach, Málaga - for an active beach day and picnics



4. Burriana Beach, Nerja - perfect family beach day

Burriana Beach (Playa de Burriana), is a top choice for those in search of a great Nerja beach for families. This popular and centrally located beach offers numerous amenities without sacrificing any charm or beauty. Free parking next to the beach makes it an easily accessible and stress free experience no matter how many kids are in tow. The palm tree lined promenade full of shops and restaurants is great for a leisurely afternoon stroll. Water here is calm, clear and  ideal for active families and water sports lovers. One of the best Nerja beaches also comes with a pretty backdrop of old white houses nestled in the hills of Andalusia.

  • Burriana Beach: very clean dark sand
  • Water quality: very clean, excellent clarity
  • Popular with: families
  • Amenities: toilets, showers, sunlounger & umbrella rental, watersports rental, beach volleyball, playground, shops, bars & restaurants
  • Lifeguard: yes
  • Parking: free parking available directly behind the beach


Burriana beach, Nerja.

Burriana Beach, Nerja - perfect family beach day



5. El Salón Beach, Nerja - cosy beach nestled in a small cove

El Salón beach (Playa el Salón) is a favourite of many Spanish families due to its charm and location and is accessible by foot via a charming flower-filled pathway. The pretty small cove is a former fisherman’s beach with several boats still making their daily outings. Each year around August 14th, El Salón hosts a 'White Party' where live music and dancing go long into the night. Lanterns light up this cosy Nerja beach while food and drinks are served to anyone dressed in white.

  • El Salón Beach: dark sand and pebbles
  • Water quality: very clean, excellent clarity, great for snorkelling & diving
  • Popular with: domestic tourists
  • Amenities: toilets, showers, sunlounger & umbrella rental, refreshment kiosk
  • Lifeguard: yes
  • Park here: Parking Carabeo, a large open dirt parking lot just behind the Nerja old town is good spot to park a camper if you don’t mind a short walk to the beach.


El Salon beach, Nerja.

El Salón Beach, Nerja - cosy beach nestled in a small cove



6. Cantarriján beach, Málaga - best nude beach in Málaga

Why settle for tanlines when you can enjoy a totally free sunbathing experience in an exceptionally beautiful location. Cantarriján beach (Playa de Cantarrijan) is the best nudist beach in Málaga and one of the most well-known nudist beaches in Andalusia. Set among the cliffs of the protected Maro-Cerro Gordo nature reserve, this naturist favourite is picturesque, trendy and offers great amenities. The area in front of the two beachside restaurants is ‘clothing optional’ while the area off to the side is fully naturist. Thanks to its protected status, Cantarriján beach boasts excepcional water clarity and abundant marine life making it a great place to snorkel. Just watch out for the sea snakes.

  • Cantarriján beach: sand and pebbles
  • Water quality: crystal clear and full of fish
  • Popular with: nudists, divers  
  • Amenities: toilets, showers, sunbeds, equipment rental & beach bars
  • Lifeguard: yes
  • Parking: Parking is available near the beach but access is restricted during the summer. Walk down or take the shuttle.


Cantarrijan beach, Malaga.

Cantarriján beach, Málaga - best nude beach in Málaga



7. Mónsul Beach, Almeria - most beautiful beach in Spain?

The most famous beach along the coast of Almeria - Mónsul Beach (Playa de Mónsul) is nestled among curious volcanic rock formations within Cabo de Gata Natural Park. If the photo seems vaguely familiar, you probably recognize the location from a number of famous films shot here including Indiana Jones and The NeverEnding Story. Yet, this well known and arguably the most beautiful beach in Spain somehow managed to remain wild and unspoilt. Massive sand dunes against the backdrop of mountain peaks offer a great vantage point to take in turquoise Mediterranean hues clashing against dark volcanic rock. You won’t find a promenade or much in the way of amenities here so stock the campervan pantry before making the trip out. If you have time to spare, numerous other Almer​​ía beaches are well worth exploring. The untamed paths connecting them offer a feeling of freedom vallifers know very well.

  • Mónsul Beach: dark volcanic rock and fine sand
  • Water quality: crystal clear water
  • Popular with: nature lovers and adventurers
  • Amenities: toilets
  • Lifeguard: no
  • Parking: Paid parking 400 metres from the beach (5€). During summer, the lot fills up before noon and access is closed. Park your campervan in San Jose and take the shuttle bus (1.50€, every 30 minutes). Alternatively, a well-kept 4km path suitable for biking or walking is also available.


Monsul beach, Almeria.

Mónsul Beach, Almeria - most beautiful beach in Spain?



8. Puerto Banús Beach, Marbella - trendy and elegant

When the time comes to treat yourself to an elevated beach experience, Puerto Banús Beach in Marbella is the place to be. The broad fine sand beach is situated near the marina, a famous hotspot for the rich, famous and beautiful from around the world. The pristine beach is flanked by a beautiful promenade full of high end shops, restaurants and bars. Kayaks, banana boat rides, parasailing, and an epic water slide are available for water sports enthusiasts. If you’re following our Andalusia itinerary, Puerto Banús Beach is one of the last patches of sand you’ll pass by during your camping adventure and the perfect place to splurge before dropping your campervan off in Málaga.

  • Puerto Banús Beach: fine sand
  • Water quality: very clean vater, excellent clarity
  • Popular with: the rich, famous and beautiful
  • Amenities: every amenity you can imagine including a massive water slide
  • Lifeguard: yes
  • Parking: street parking is available near the beach, but best to arrive early.


Puerto Banus beach, Marbella.

Puerto Banús Beach, Marbella - trendy and elegant



9. Valdevaqueros beach, Tarifa - surf, kiteboard and scuba paradise

For an epic beach day on the Atlantic coast point your campervan west towards Valdevaqueros beach (Playa de Valdevaqueros). This beautiful and undeveloped 4km stretch of fine golden sand is a protected area with shifting sand dunes, pine forests and free roaming cows. Valdevaqueros is hugely popular with lovers of water sports ​​such as surfing, kitesurfing, windsurfing and scuba diving. A steady west wind blows here nearly every day of the year. Several surf and kiteboarding schools coupled with diligent lifeguards makes this a great place for beginners too. Equipment rental is also available. Casual beach goers should check out Punta de la Peña to the west which offers better protection from wind and more privacy.

  • Valdevaqueros beach: fine golden sand
  • Water quality: very clean vater, excellent clarity
  • Popular with: surfers, kiteboarders, windsurfers, scuba divers
  • Amenities: toilets, showers, gastronomy, equipment rental
  • Lifeguard: yes
  • Parking: Free and paid parking spots available during summer. If you want to grab a free spot, best to arrive early. From September to April parking is free.


Valdevaqueros beach, Tarifa.

Valdevaqueros beach, Tarifa - surf, kiteboard and scuba paradise



Best time of year to go to the beach in Málaga

It’s best to enjoy Málaga beaches between May and September. July and August are the hottest months of the year, with an average temperature of 31°C (87.8°F) and 11 hours of sunshine per day. If you don’t mind the summertime sizzle, this is the best time to go to Málaga for swimming, with an average sea temperature of 24°C. May and September offer pleasant temperatures without the crowds.



Average Málaga water temperature by month:

  • January:  15.8°C / 60.4°F  -  cold swimming
  • February:  15.7°C / 60.2°F  -  coldest time to swim. Best to run in
  • March:  15.7°C / 60.2°F  -  coldest time to swim. Best to run in!
  • April:  16.9°C / 62.4°F  -  cool swimming
  • May:  18.3°C / 65°F  -  cool swimming
  • June:  20.8°C / 69.4°F  -  cool swimming
  • July:   22.8°C / 73°F  -  warm, best time of the year to swim
  • August:   23.4°C / 74.1°F  -  warm, best time of the year to swim in Málaga
  • September:   21.7°C / 71°F  -  warm, best time of the year to swim in Málaga
  • October:   20.5°C / 68.9°F  -  cool swimming
  • November:   18.2°C / 64.7°F  -  cool swimming
  • December:   16.7°C / 62°F  -  cold swimming



Málaga Beach Guide: Conclusion

While we’d love to cover them all, It’s impossible to fit all the unmissable Malaga beaches into one article! Even though we expanded this guide to cover Nerja beaches, the wild and gorgeous Almeria beaches to the east, Marbella and Cadiz beaches to the west, we hope you venture beyond our recommendations and discover your own favourite patches of sand along Costa del Sol during your unforgettable beach holiday in Spain! If you think we've missed some gems do let us know.

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