Large & Luxe: Six Incredible Villas in Spain for Big Groups

villa zensei pool and facade

Whether you’re looking for an ultra-modern designer villa in Marbella for a special occasion with friends or a more traditional, stone-clad affair in the green north for a family holiday, here’s our pick of the very finest – and most luxurious – large villas in Spain.

Villa Zensei – Marbella, Southern Spain

villa zensei sitting room

Ringed by high walls, impressive floating architecture and floor to ceiling glass, there’s more than a hint of the Bond villain’s lair about Villa Zensei. (Minus the sharks in the pool, of course.)

Inside 8-bedroomed Villa Zensei there are simply too many special things to mention, such as your own private spa and tennis court to rival Marbella’s top hotels. But it’s the sleek designer furniture, custom-made sculptures and incredible modern art collection that never fail to have our jaws hitting the (gleaming marble) floors when we visit.

Find out more about Villa Zensei.

Finca del Rey – Castilla La Mancha, Central Spain

finca del rey pool views

This large villa in central Spain sleeps +29 people across its 14 enormous ensuite rooms. But size is far from the only thing this sprawling gated country estate has got going for it.

The list of facilities reads like a rollcall of ultra-luxury villa must-haves. Private spa? Check. Range of sports and outdoor pursuits to choose from? Check. Full complement of staff and catering laid on? Check and check. Oh, and did we mention it also comes with its own private runway and helipad?

Beyond the 7,400 acres of grounds, there are views fit for a king, with the mile after mile of the wooded hills of central Spain stretching away in every direction. Simply stunning.

Find out more about Finca del Rey.

Villa Karima, Sotogrande, Southern Spain

Villa Karima Sotogrande pool

Spread out across seven different ‘pods’ separated by a huge pool and a virtual forest of swaying palms, Villa Karima looks for all the world like a small hamlet as much as a large villa. First impressions can be deceptive, though, as while this ultra-luxury property in Sotogrande is undoubtedly on the range-y side, it’s not remotely impersonal.

The beauty of the place is that, in contrast to its size and, frankly, pretty staggering list of facilities, it’s full of intimate corners and Moroccan interiors notes that provide the necessary design touches. It all comes together to create a truly remarkable space.

Find out more about Villa Karima.

Villa Firenze, Marbella, Southern Spain

villa firenze marbella

If you had to sum up Villa Firenze in one word, it’d undoubtedly be ‘Grand’ – and with a big twiddly, capital ‘G’, too. Drawing inspiration from Italianate palazzos, it’s a stunning ensemble of vast rooms dotted with columns, art, antiques and elaborate, decorative notes throughout – with the odd grand piano and full-size snooker table thrown in for good measure.

Leaving aside the dramatic visuals, though, it’s got plenty of other ultra-luxe credentials up its sleeve. It comes with its own full spa, tennis courts, putting green, home cinema and huge heated pool, with staff on hand to help out as and when required. Set up above the Marbella coastline, in the ultra-exclusive Sierra Blanca estate, the sea views are on the special side, as well.

Find out more about Villa Firenze.

Villa Bahia – Santander, Northern Spain

bedroom at villa bahia

Up in the north of Spain, from the stunning grounds surrounded by green, rolling pastures and virgin coastline of Cantabria to every last little luxury detail thought of inside, this large villa with additional guest house has an awful lot going for it.

But if we had to pick out one thing that made it truly special, it has to be the interiors. Edison-style filament bulbs hang from the high ceilings, a riot of rattan and palm fronds blend botanical and colonial trends, freestanding bathtubs gleam in the rooms, a retro wooden filing cabinet acts as a kitchen island; outside, reclaimed metal beds serve as unusual takes on the traditional pool-side lounger.

All very stylish indeed, in other words.

Find out more about Villa Bahia.

Madroñal Collection Villa 2 – Benahavis, Southern Spain

Villa with indoor pool

With its five range-y ensuite rooms plus a standalone two-bedroom apartment, this villa in the exclusive gated enclave of El Madroñal can comfortably accommodate a group of up to 26.

Water – and its relaxing powers – are very much a central theme here: as well as the outdoor swimming pool, there’s the small matter of a private spa with a super-sized Jacuzzi, sauna and heated indoor pool. Shoulder season heaven, basically.

Find out more about El Madroñal Villa 2.

Los Flamingos Villa 1 – Benahavis, Southern Spain

los flamingos villa sitting room

With its 10 cavernous rooms sleeping 20 +, acres of space inside and out, a pool of near-Olympic proportions and technology-stuffed kitchens – but with staff and chefs available so you hardly have to lift a finger if you don’t want to – Los Flamingos Villa 1 is one of the best ultra-luxurious villas in southern Spain for large groups.

The golf courses of the Villa Padierna resort complex are right next door, too, making it ideal if you’re a group of golfers planning to hit the fairways of the Costa del Sol.

Find out more about Los Flamingos 1.

Like our pick of the best ultra-luxe large villas in Spain? For more luxury villa holiday inspiration, check out our edit of villas with amazing pools.

cycling, mountain biking, andalucia, costa del sol

Top Activity Holidays in Andalucia

As Europe’s most popular holiday destination, Andalucia is not in the business of disappointing its visitors – no matter what interests they might have. Most would immediately associate Andalucia with week-long, sun-drenched escapes spent lazing on the beach or by the pool, but a week’s holiday doesn’t necessarily have to include such slothful yet satisfying pastimes.

Thanks to the diverse landscape and 800km-long coastline that southern Spain boasts, the range of thrilling activities on offer is broader than just about anywhere in Europe. That’s right: even adrenaline junkies can be guaranteed of the perfect getaway. From kite-surfing and jet-skiing to quad-biking and snowboarding, there are plenty of white-knuckle activities to get stuck into, if you dare!

Kite-surfing

Kitesurfing in Spain

Kitesurfing in Spain (Source: Kitesurf Tour Europe)

Possibly now even more popular than surfing, kite-surfing certainly guarantees thrill-seekers an experience they won’t quickly forget. After learning to fly the kite (harder than you might think), learners strap into the kite-surfboard and ride the waves to their pumping heart’s content. Quite a bit of upper body strength is needed to be able to hold on for longer than a few minutes, but with enough practice anyone old enough to do it can succeed.

Where? Estepona

Who? Freedom Kite School – Kitesurfestepona.com.

Contact: info@kitesurfestepona.com

Jet-skiing

jet-skiing in spain

If you love a good buzz but would rather have an engine do all the hard work for you, then jet-skiing is definitely worth considering. As you might expect there are the usual and obligatory safety measures to complete (and fully understand) before you are permitted to hop on this high-speed joy-wagon, but when the moment comes there’s no hanging around, as you’re propelled forwards at break-neck speeds into the tide.

It’s a bumpy ride, but well worth picking up a few bruises for.

Where? Marbella

Who? Marbella Jet Ski – Marbellajetski.com.

Contact: Daniel@marbellajetski.com

Rock-climbing

Rock-climbing in El Chorro

Rock-climbing in El Chorro (Source: Jerome Bon)

With so many mountains to climb it’s no wonder Andalucia is regarded the world over as a rock-climber’s paradise. Beach-goers may not be as enthusiastic but anyone looking for a little excitement away from the waves might want to consider an afternoon scrambling up the side of a large cliff or rock either in the Malaga or Granada province of the region.

Be sure to have fun and give it your all if you go rock-climbing but if you’re even slightly squeamish when it comes to heights, just remember: Don’t. Look. Down.

Where? El Chorro

Who? Rockbusters – Rockbusters.net.

Contact: info@rockbusters.net

Mountain-biking

cycling, mountain biking, andalucia, costa del sol

Mountain-biking in Andalucia (Source: Juan Pablo Olmo)

Andalucia has a well-deserved reputation for having some of the best mountain-biking trails in all of Europe, from technical and bumpy downhills to tame cross-country routes. Thanks to the abundance of sunshine the region receives, conditions are nearly always perfect for some biking, no matter what time of year.

The terrain is perfect for hairy off-road excursions, which will leave you breathless and with adrenaline flowing through your veins, not to mention a wide grin from ear to ear. Just bear in mind the aches and pains that’ll hit you the next day.

Where? Serrania de Ronda, Sierra de Nieves and Grazalema Natural Park

Who? Andalucian Cycling Experience – Andaluciancyclingexperience.com.

Contact: +34 677 028 469

Quad-biking

quad-bikin, quad bike

Source: “Polaris Scrambler” with Wikimedia Commons license.

For a truly alternative driving experience, waste no time in climbing aboard a hulking quad bike and letting rip in the Andalucian countryside. Beginners and advanced riders alike can be guaranteed of a fantastic day out thanks to the endless scenes of breath-taking beauty and wealth of terrains suited to all levels.

It may be a little unnerving to begin with, but as soon as you find the rhythm and get used to the roar of the engine beneath you, you’ll fly like the wind…

Where? Sierra de Las Nieves, Marbella

Who? Quad Mountain Adventures – Quad-mountain-adventures.com.

Contact: info@Quad-Mountain-Adventures.com

Skiing & Snowboarding

Sierra Nevada, Andalucia (Source: Melissa Ramirez [CC BY-SA 3.0 es], via Wikimedia Commons)If you’re holidaying in Spain during winter and willing to make the 2-3 hour trip across the region to the snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada, you can spend the day either skiing or snowboarding at the impressive, 100km2 boasting Sierra Nevada ski resort. There are pistes suited to all levels – from greens right through to blacks – a snow park, halfpipe, boardercross and of course plenty of cosy restaurants to settle down in if you’re only there to watch!

The views on a clear day are unsurpassable, and it is even possible to see the peaks of Morocco’s Atlas Mountains towering on the other side of the Mediterranean.

Where? Sierra Nevada, Granada

Who? Sierra Nevada Ski Resort – Sierranevada.es.

If you’re looking for an activity suitable for all the family – the very young and elderly included – then take a look at our post on family-friendly things to do on the Costa del Sol.

Alternatively, if you want someone else to take care of the organising, leaving you more time for having fun, then get in touch with our concierge manager at concierge@theluxuryvilla.co.

Spanish Villa for Christmas

Our Best Luxury Villas for Christmas & New Year

As temperatures begin to cool and shorts and bikinis are tossed to the backs of wardrobes, here at The Luxury Villa Collection we understand the anguish of coming to terms with the summer’s end. But you needn’t worry; there is a way to effectively remedy those summer blues, and that is to simply plan another holiday.

The sun-soaked Costa del Sol is ideal for a Christmas break to escape from the depressing perma-gloom of chillier climes. While beaches are probably out – for all but the hardiest of bathers, at least – December temperatures can still nudge the early 20s. And besides, cultural traditions are very much in, with the dazzling Malaga Christmas Lights display, the spectacular Reyes Magos parade and a heart-warming festive mood in the air right the way through the Christmas period.

Some of our best villas are available for rent over the festive period. Here are several that we’ve picked out for that indulgent Christmas break…

For the Ultimate in Style and Convenience

Villa Malibu, Los Monteros Beach, Marbella (£9,200 per week; sleeps 12)

Tropical Poolside Lounge at Villa Malibu

With easy access to Malaga airport and all the festive fun in Marbella (just a five-minute drive way), Villa Malibu could hardly be more convenient. Facilities-wise, it boasts an ultra-modern, brand new gourmet kitchen (ideal for preparing a truly decadent Christmas dinner), an international TV and surround sound system, a home cinema to watch your favourite Christmas movies and a whirlpool to slip into with a cheeky bottle of bubbles.

Find out more about Villa Malibu and book.

Villa Roma, Los Flamingos Marbella (£7,800 per week; sleeps 10)

Villa Roma Marbella

Villa Roma at dusk

Another gorgeous property with a home cinema, Apple TV with surround sound, a family friendly dining-living room and TV lounge for a home-from-home Christmas day experience – the elegant Villa Roma has the same key features and location benefits as Villa Diamante (see above). It also comes with a sauna, and a small cocktail bar with LED lighting in the sound-proofed cinema room, perfect for New Year’s Eve parties.

Find out more about Villa Roma and book.

Group Villas for a Spanish Christmas and New Year

Hacienda Madronal I, El Madronal Marbella (£9,950 per week; sleeps 20)

Villa Madroñal 1 breakfast terrace

Taking breakfast on the terrace at Hacienda Madronal 1

This remarkable villa is surrounded by spectacular scenery in the hills above Marbella. There are 9/10 bedrooms so it’s perfect for bringing the whole family over for a luxurious Christmas break (with staff on hand to assist). With a spacious living room, traditional open fires, wooden beams, a woodland setting, crisp New Year/Christmas Day walks, a heated pool and a Jacuzzi, Hacienda Madronal I provides all the Christmassy home comforts you could ask for while still retaining a definite Spanish feel.

Find out more about Hacienda Madroñal I and book.

 

Hacienda Madronal 2, El Madronal Marbella (£6,800 per week; sleeps 13)

Luxury private villa in El Madroñal

Andalucian mansion owned by A-list celebrities in El Madronal II

Previously home to a Hollywood actress and a world-famous rock star, this sumptuous property has an unparalleled way of charming its guests. The design and décor oozes Spanish history, with an Andaluz-style kitchen, typical whitewashed, pillared arches and an Andalucian patio with a fountain at its heart. The dining room is perfect for family Christmas dinners and there is a grand fireplace around which traditional board games can be enjoyed after dinner. To top it off, Hacienda Madronal II is surrounded by woodland and acres of beautiful gardens.

Find out more about Hacienda Madronal II and book.

For Supreme Luxury

Villa Las Artes, Marbella (£34,000 per week; sleeps 10)

Villa Las Artes Marbella stylish living

For a very special family Christmas/New Year’s break, this jaw-dropping villa has it all. Just a few of its highlights include a brand-new high-tech kitchen, a home cinema system, an antique slate bed snooker table, a pre-stocked bodega (tasting sessions available), an indoor pool and sauna, an outdoor soft saltwater infinity pool lounge with an open fire, and a waterfront location. All the necessary ingredients to ring in the New Year in style, in other words.

Find out more about Villas Las Artes and book.

Villa Vivaldi, La Zagaleta, Benahavis (£19,250 per week; sleeps 14)

La Zagaleta luxury Marbella villa evening

Villa Vivaldi at dusk

There’s nowhere quite as luxurious and exclusive as La Zagaleta in Benahavis, a magnificent private country estate with a bird’s-eye view over Marbella and the Costa del Sol. So if celebrating in style is your thing, then this is as good as it gets!

Villa Vivaldi mixes the best of Classical Spain with the modern home comforts and designer finish you would expect in a villa of this calibre; fine works of art, a refined sense of style and sophistication, with a super-modern 2 bedroom guest apartment to house your dearest friends who may want to come along and enjoy the fun! There’s a complete Hollywood-style movie theatre and a Gentleman’s Club in the basement, with a full size antique slate-bed snooker table and stylish bar (We’re sure the ladies would be allowed in too!), and your live-in housekeepers will be there to assist with anything you may need.

Find out more about Villa Vivaldi and book

Like our pick of luxury Spanish villas for a Christmas break? Pair it with a festive table at one of our favourite restaurants in Marbella.

Costa del Sol family days out

Top Family-Friendly Things to Do on the Costa del Sol

The Costa del Sol is a land where summers seem to go on forever. There’s always a school holiday just around the corner for most of us, and if you’re determined to spend it in a sun-soaked holiday hurrah then there’s nowhere better than the southern Spanish coast for a complete package of great weather, gorgeous food, low-cost flights and plenty of things with which to keep the whole brood occupied.

So if you’re looking for a stylish and lavish getaway that’s also fun for all the family, check out a few of our suggestions for the best things to do on the Costa del Sol with children…

Adventure Sports & Outdoor Activities

Kids zone at Adventura Amazonia

Photo credit: Aventura Amazonia

You don’t have to be adrenaline-fuelled extreme sports fans to go off and have a proper adventure on the Costa del Sol. Aventura Amazonia (Aventura-amazonia.com) is a treetop adventure assault course where there are six different challenges. Expect lots of ziplines, rope bridges and speed courses to test your agility. While it’s ideal for teenagers, there’s also a smaller route for 4 to 7 year olds too.

There are plenty of exciting activities for everyone to enjoy on the sea and in the mountains. Canyoning and off-roading on quad bikes or mountain bikes, for example, are very popular guide-led extreme sports in Malaga province, and are perfect for families with older children. Our concierge can organise private outward bound days for every ability.

Alternatively, if there are petrol heads in the family karting can be great fun whether participating or not. Kart Fun (Kartfun.es) near Malaga and also in Estepona is open until 22.00hrs during the summer.

If you want to exercise your mind as well as your body, what about teaming up as a family and being tested with timed mental and agility challenges? Prison Island (Prisonisland.es) allows your competitive side to come out and pull together as a family. If your children are over 9 years old and have a sense of adventure then this could be the perfect family day out in Benalmádena.

Cooking Workshops & Tapas Tours

rolling dough, cooking

(Source: Ginny)

The Mediterranean diet is famously healthy and delicious. And nowhere is this truer than on the Costa del Sol, where the perfect climate allows vegetables to grow in abundance and all sorts of fish to flock to its warm waters. Fantastic restaurants abound, as do bespoke cookery courses, such as Annie B’s Kitchen (Anniebspain.com). Based a little further up the southern Spanish coastline in beautiful Vejer de la Frontera, Annie offers family packages that involve shopping for fresh ingredients, chopping, preparing, cooking and, of course, devouring the mouth-watering end product. Fine wine (for parents) and tapas tours of Vejer and Cadiz are also available.

Alternatively, bespoke tapas tours can be arranged for any town or city with Tomaandcoe.com.

Natural Attractions, Nature Reserves & Biospheres

el torcal, andalucia, spain

Rock formations of El Torcal – Image Credit: Jebulon [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Venture inland slightly and you’ll soon become lost (only slightly) within the mountain ranges of Malaga province. There are several popular spots for walking, wildlife and birdwatching where the terrain is flat and unchallenging.

Guadalhorce Nature Reserve (Andalucia.com) is one such example. To the west of Malaga, the area is made up of ancient wetlands and lagoons teeming with wildlife such as flamingos and turtles.  It’s a great way to escape the city crowds and enjoy some peace and quiet in a beautiful and natural environment.

An alternative popular site is the prehistoric El Torcal Natural Reserve (Torcaldeantequera.com), where kids go wild for the bizarre rock formations and the possibility – however minute – of actually discovering dinosaur fossils. There are three routes that you can follow – red, yellow or green – though the red route is restricted in order to protect flora and fauna. The green route is the easiest but the yellow, which is only slightly steeper/rockier, is more spectacular. The area can be found to the north of Malaga city, past Villanueva de la Concepcion towards Antequera.

There aren’t many walks in the world like the gravity-defying and incredibly beautiful ‘Kings Walkway”, the Caminito del Rey in El Chorro (Caminitodelrey.info). This leisurely cliff-top walk is a spectacular way to spend a morning or afternoon for those who aren’t afraid of heights, as a large part of it clings to the rocks suspended over the gorge, incredible!

el caminito del rey, andalucia, malaga, spain

El Caminito del Rey (Source: Fotagrafí­a Viajera/Travel)

Another great hike is Rio Chillar which is just outside Nerja to the east of Malaga. This lovely walk, which takes around 5-6 hours, is largely down a river bed and through a gorge. There are natural water pools and waterfalls along the way to cool off in, too. For more information on where to start this walk see Eastofmalaga.net.

Another fun thing to do as a family is to visit the Caves of Nerja (Nerjacaves.com). These enormous caves were opened to the public in the 60s and now are very much a must-do when in the Axarquia region of the Costa del Sol. A perfect respite from the summer sun and an interesting geology lesson for the smaller members of the family.

For a cultural day out to please all the family then head inland to Ronda. An incredible town suspended atop the breathtaking El Tajo gorge, Ronda is one of Andalucia’s finest and most accessible examples of a typical ‘Pueblo Blanco’. Complete with boutique shops, abundant restaurants along narrow streets, Spain’s oldest bullring and adjoining museum, and horse and carriage rides to take it all in while giving little legs a rest, Ronda is the perfect place for children to practice their photo skills and spend some holiday pocket money.

But the adventures don’t stop on land. Offshore, there are dolphins and whales to be spotted on daily maritime excursions which our Concierge can organise for you. Some of the best dolphin-spotting trips can be found in and around Gibraltar, which child (large or small) wouldn’t enjoy that?

Theme Parks & Water Parks

Baby elephant at Selwo

Fun for all the family at Selwo

Given its popularity as a family holiday destination, the Costa del Sol inevitably has more than its fair share of amusement parks. And while they can be busy places, they also guarantee a fun day out for the family, particularly in shoulder season when queues are shorter. From adventure theme parks to zoos (Bioparcfuengirola.es) and safaris like Selwo* (Selwo.es) and Lobopark (Lobopark.com) up in Antequera, there are plenty of options to choose from.

(*If your family’s got a member with a really wild streak, they’ll love one of the newest additions to the LVC collection, Villa Kenia, which is just next door to Selwo.)

Tivoli World (Tivoli.es) is a nicely-sized small theme park, with its count of over 300 rides and attractions, is undoubtedly one of the most popular things to do on the Costa del Sol with kids. Recently, ‘Tivoliandia’ was added to the park, which offers rides better suited for little ones and the elderly, and just outside the park gates you can pick up the Benalmadena ‘Teleferico’ Cable Car that runs to the top of the mountain. Once there, you can enjoy refreshments at the cafe or take in the fun Birds of Prey show.

Unsurprisingly, there are also some great water parks on the Costa del Sol open during the summer months, and they fill up daily. Outside of the peak July and August period they are much quieter as Spanish families tend not to bother with beaches and water parks in ‘cold’ months. Over in Torremolinos Aqualand (Aqualand.es) has the most extensive selection of slides to choose from.

Malaga City with Children

Things to do with Kids in Malaga

If you’re planning some time in Malaga city while on holiday there are lots of things to do as a family. Most of the art galleries hold fun classes on the weekends for over 5 year olds (in Spanish). The Pompidou Centre (Centrepompidou-malaga.eu) in particular is very good and has a room dedicated to pre-teens with all sorts of interactive activities built around learning about artists.

Just a short walk from The Pompidou Centre is the giant Ferris Wheel on Malaga’s port. If you’d like to see Malaga, the coast and, if you’re lucky, Morocco from an air-conditioned pod 70 metres in the air then this is a good way to spend just under an hour. It opens at 11am and closes at midnight.

Not far from the Wheel, situated in the centre of Malaga (a short walk from the port) are the Alcazaba and Gibralfaro on Calle Alcazabilla (opening hours from 9.00 hrs – 20.00 hrs in the summer and 9.00 hrs – 18.00 hrs in the winter).

If you’d like to immerse the kids in a little real-life history then the Alcazaba and Gibralfaro are definitely worth a visit! Kids love climbing up this 10th-century fort-palace complex and exploring interior patios and hidden corners that allow for imaginations to go wild and little legs to get tired.  The city’s neighbouring streets are packed with tapas bars and ice-cream cafes to enjoy afterwards..

Back to indoor activities and ideal for budding rock stars there’s an interactive music museum – MIMMA (Musicaenaccion.com). Visitors are taken through the history of musical instruments with plenty of opportunities to try them out too.

Like this pick of things to do with children, and thinking about a family holiday on the Costa del Sol? Take a look at our collection of family villas.

Best Beaches in Malaga

In recent years, Malaga has grown into a chic, contemporary and culturally vibrant hub where there’s always something going on. From the Picasso and Thyssen museums to the graffiti-adorned Soho District there’s so much to see in the way of stunning, intelligent art. Music-wise, top bands and artists regularly put on sell-out shows across the city. What’s more, the eating and drinking scene in Malaga is as enjoyable and unpretentious as any you’re likely to find in Andalucia, with as much emphasis placed on tradition as there is on innovation.

But Malaga’s charms certainly don’t begin and end with the city itself. Stretching away in both directions are some of the finest strips of sand to be found anywhere in southern Spain. And with this in mind, we’ve put together our pick of a few of the best Malaga beaches, broken down into six different categories. Some are within walking distance of the city itself; others are further along the Costa del Sol. All are absolutely fantastic.

Beaches for the Stressed & Overworked

maro beach, playa, malaga

Maro Beach (Source)

It almost goes without saying that it’s hard not to relax on a beach when you’re used to the daily grind back home. There are, as ever, though some beaches that are particularly suited to unwinding. Playa del Campo de Golf, on the outskirts of Malaga city, is a good bet if you’re looking to flit between quiet sunbathing and a round or two of golf on the neighbouring Parador Hotel’s golf course (Golfenparadores.es).

However, if you really want to drift off into a world of your own, the most idyllic spots tend to be beaches near Malaga like Maro or El Cañuelo, to the east of the city on the way to Nerja, where you’ll find little else other than the soothing sound of waves to disturb your gentle dozing.

El Cristo in Estepona, to the west, also offers a perfect package of peace, tranquillity, beautiful surroundings and some superb snorkelling opportunities.

Beaches for Surfers

kitesurfing, malaga

Kitesurfing in Malaga (Source)

Thanks to the strong levante and poniente winds that periodically lick the south coast of Spain, surfing, kitesurfing and other water sports have become very popular in Malaga province. A couple of the best spots include Benalmadena, a few kilometres to the west of Malaga, El Castillo, just below the castle of Fuengirola, and El Chaparral, between Fuengirola and Marbella, where the swells reach perfect size for beginner-intermediate surfers on a windy day.

Surfing equipment is usually available for hire or purchase at reasonable prices from local surfing businesses (Yumping.com), and lessons are offered too.

Beaches for Explorers

baños del carmen, malaga, beach, playa

Baños del Carmen, by Tyk [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Occasionally, sunbathing may get boring and cold water or choppy waves may make swimming seem off-putting. In such cases, it’s nice to be able to wander off and look for something else to do. Baños del Carmen offers this alternative, since it’s home to Malaga’s first ever public and mixed bathing spa, El Balneario Nuestra Señora del Carmen (Wikipedia.org). The historical landmark, which opened all the way back in 1918, has survived years of redevelopment planning (just) and makes a peaceful seaside setting even more appealing.

If underwater exploration is more your thing, you can go scuba diving in numerous locations along the Costa del Sol, such as Torremolinos and Benalmadena to the west, La Cala del Moral to the east and Nerja further to the east. There are diving schools in these areas that offer exciting courses and opportunities to explore the coast’s coral reefs and wrecks.

Beaches for Kids

If you’re travelling as a family then you’ll doubtless want to make sure that your kids are kept entertained for as long as possible as you relax. Several Malaga beaches, such as Playa de San Andres, Pedregalejo and La Malagueta boast children’s play areas that can keep the little ones busy for hours.

What’s more, the safety measures in place across all of Malaga’s city beaches are reassuringly rigorous and up-to-date. La Malagueta is the first beach in the world to use the ‘orange point’ lifesaving device (Sos-orange.com), which is essentially a rope powered by an electric motor that is used to haul people (not necessarily kids, of course) back to safety if they swim themselves into trouble.

Further afield, again in Nerja to the east of the city, you can rent kayaks from Burriana Beach and paddle down to Maro, passing caves and waterfalls as you go.

Beaches for Naturists

cala del pino, beach, playa, malaga

Cala del Pino (Source)

While most will prefer the crotch-covered safety of popular beaches, others may be happy to to let it all hang out on one of the coastline’s selection of nudist beaches, which, naturally (pardon the pun), are fewer in number.

Malaga city’s only nudist beach is Guadalmar, which can be found by the mouth of the Guadalhorce river in the San Julian neighbourhood. Further west is Benalnatura, a quiet corner of Benalmadena sandwiched between two apartment blocks and hidden among palm trees. The facilities are rather good, with showers, toilets, a barbecue area and even a chiringuito (beach restaurant) that only serves naked patrons. The beach is clean and well looked after by a devoted nudist association.

Going east, beyond Nerja and Maro, is Cala del Pino, a tiny and well-hidden strip of sand reached via a steep path among jagged rocks (it is advised not to be naked at this time) from the coastal A-road. When there’s no wind to disturb the normally crystal-clear water, snorkelling conditions are perfect, with many brightly coloured fish and underwater rock formations to swim amongst. However, word of secluded idyllic beaches gets around, and this treasured stretch has begun to fill up fast in the summer months.

Beaches for Partygoers

nikki beach, marbella, beach club, playa

Nikki Beach, Marbella (Source)

The Costa del Sol is well known for its bouncing nightlife, and its beaches have a big part to play in that. La Malagueta – Malaga city’s largest and busiest beach – not only offers an ample selection of buzzing bars and clubs but also hosts the closing ceremonies of the annual feria during the first two weeks of August. Things get incredibly noisy, colourful and generally pretty chaotic but for keen partygoers it’s a must to put in the diary.

For wild shenanigans elsewhere, you could spend the afternoon knocking back mojitos in chiringuitos in Las Acacias, or jump in a taxi and head for Marbella’s famous Nikki Beach Club (Nikkibeach.com). The private parties held at this beach club are famously stylish and full of wild, carnival-inspired entertainment, which for many can be the highlight of a holiday.

 

Like our pick of a few of the best beaches in Malaga and looking for a fabulous place to stay in the area? Check out our collection of luxury Malaga villas to rent.