Explore beach life in Spain with news of special events, luxury beach travel and interviews with local experts

Eight of the Most Jaw-Dropping Beaches on the Costa de la Luz

horse-riding-valdevaqueros1

Psst… want to know where the savvy, sand-loving traveller heads for their European beach fix? Four little words: the Costa de la Luz.

It’s long been a jealously guarded secret amongst in-the-know Spanish visitors that the beaches on Cadiz’s Costa de la Luz are some of the best in Spain. These days, though, the definitely secret’s out, and barely a year goes by without one magazine or another stating this fact.

Where is the Costa de la Luz? 

Good question. It’s the coast that faces the Atlantic Ocean stretching from the Portuguese border to Tarifa (just west of the Gibraltar and the Costa del Sol) where the Mediterranean sea and the Atlantic meet – as the Flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia said, entre dos aguas, or ‘between two waters’.

The Costa de la Luz stretches over two provinces in Andalucia, Cadiz and Huelva. Now, these beaches have a different feel altogether to those of the neighbouring Costa del Sol. Wilder, and yes occasionally windswept, but also in many places almost completely lacking in development. The glamorous beach clubs are swapped for boho-chic beach-side bars, and raucous champagne spray parties traded in for chilled sun-downers. In a word: bliss.

Our Pick of the Best Beaches on the Costa de la Luz

Valdevaqueros Beach

dunes at valdevaqueros beach

Along from the lovely little port town of Tarifa is the epicentre of the kitesurfing scene on the Costa de la Luz, Playa Valdevaqueros. This huge beach, which rises to an enormous sand dune at its westernmost end, is where you go if you want to get active or at least be seen with the surfer types. The few beach bars that flank the edge of Valdevaqueros beach are cooler-than-cool chill out affairs with plenty of facilities for your boards and low-slung seating to kick back in.

El Palmar – Near Vejer de la Frontera

sunset at el palmar beach

Our absolute favourite Costa de la Luz beach for, well, everyone really is El Palmar. Crashing Atlantic waves and surf hire shacks keep the most energetic entertained. The pristine huge white sand beach is ideal for sunbathing and sandcastle-making for little ones.

The small but perfectly formed selection of beach bars and restaurants keep hunger pangs away and allow for easy afternoon beverage runs. Then, as the evening sets in, the livelier beach bars with live DJs and music keep the young (and young at heart) happy with beach beds and a place to be seen. El Palmar beach has it all.

LVC recommended place to grab a bite: Restaurante La Torre; Latorredelpalmar.com.

Bolonia Beach

bolonia-beach1

Next on our list of go-to Cadiz beaches is in the hamlet of Bolonia. As with El Palmar, the coastline is protected so there are only a few buildings around. The few that make up the hamlet and a handful towards the dunes are there to make your time more convenient. A handful of low-key bars and restaurants sell mainly seafood to visitors who want a respite from the midday sun.

Eating and sun-bathing aside, there’s also horse riding on offer, a summer craft market and the extensive Roman ruins of Baelo Claudia to explore. A wooden path winds its way up from the edge of the village to the waving fringes of a pine forest that skirts the dunes towards the west of the beach. As well as being a beautiful spot, it’s ideal for a run or leisurely saunter. Stay for sunset and take the hike up to the top of the dunes: the view of the sun melting in to the horizon is the stuff that holiday memories are made of.

LVC recommended place to grab a bite: Off the beach – Las Rejas (Lasrejasrestaurante.com); on the beach – Sirocco (Siroccobolonia.es).

Playa La Fontanilla in Conil de la Frontera

Convenient – with a capital ‘C’ for Conil. From little boutiques, supermarkets and banks to restaurants, tourist information and bars, Conil de la Frontera is a whitewashed town beside the sea with every amenity you could possibly ask for. It has a lovely old centre and is very popular with Spanish visitors from the interior towns when the mercury starts to climb and the heat becomes just too much to bear.

Just to the west of Conil de la Frontera is Playa La Fontanilla. This huge, golden sandy beach with surf is really family-friendly. While there are restaurants that spill onto the sand, don’t fret, the skyline isn’t spoilt by high-rises or congested eateries.

LVC recommended place to grab a bite: Restaurante La Fontanilla – it’s open all afternoon and is a popular local haunt (Lafontanilla.com).

Calas de Poniente – Near Conil de la Frontera

 calas de poniente cove

Another beach near Conil de la Frontera is Calas de Poniente. A cala is an area enclosed by cliffs, so unsurprisingly these beaches, which number seven in total, are like hidden coves. They aren’t the easiest to access (but aren’t prohibitively difficult by the same token) so just pack light and expect to have plenty of space to yourself. If you want to get back to nature these beaches with clear sea and clean sand are nudist, but we’d describe them as more ‘clothing optional’ as beach-goers don’t have to completely disrobe. However, if you fancy banishing all tan lines then these are the beaches to visit.

LVC recommended place to grab a bite: Lunch options in the immediate vicinity are next to non-existent, so take a cooler box with Jamon Iberico, melon, anchovies, tomatoes, avocado and fresh bread.

Los Caños de Meca

canos de meca beach

Just up the coast from the rugged fishing town of Barbate and fringed with dramatic cliffs, Caños de Meca is everything you’d hope for from a wild Cadiz beach. On the main street (Avenida Trafalgar) right by the beach there are a few scruffy bars where everyone gathers to drink cocktails and watch the sunset. Once the sun’s melted into the ocean, the party gets started – and the night is a long one.

LVC recommended place to grab a bite: La Laja (La-laja.com); or in Barbate, the superb El Campero (Restauranteelcampero.es).

Playa del Carmen / Playa Zahara de los Atunes

playa del carmen cadiz

Smaller and with a slightly sleepier feel than Conil, Zahara de los Atunes sits between Cape Trafalgar and the Costa’s nightlife hub, Tarifa. The town beach (although there are many beaches either side to choose from) is Playa del Carmen. This beautiful beach caters for families with sunbeds, upbeat chiringuitos (beach-side restaurants), surf board hire, paddle boarding, longboarding, kite surfing and everything you’d need in between.

Zahara de los Atunes is foodie to its core, and eating seems to be the first thing on everyone’s agenda when they get here. And with good reason, too: if you like Red Tuna, a town with ‘tuna’ in its name is likely to be the place for you. You can expect a lot better than average fare in the restaurants in Zahara de los Atunes – it’s a town that prides itself on its cuisine.

LVC recommended place to grab a bite: In town – 21 Restaurante (21restaurante.com); on the beach – La Luna which gets lively as the sun sets.

Fancy spending the summer on one of Cadiz’s best beaches? Match the stunning surroundings with a stay at one of our luxury Costa de la Luz villas.

golden sundown estrella del mar

A Pick of the Best Marbella Beach Clubs

Beach clubs are how people ‘do’ the beach these days.

Gone are the days when you just rocked up at a strip of sand you liked the look of (which hopefully had some sort of restaurant attached for refreshment), hired a sunbed and a parasol and then gathered the soggy, dirty towels up at the end of the day. No, no, NO. Now it’s full service, extensive wine, champagne and cocktail menus, top-class international food, live entertainment and swimming pools. Oh, thank goodness.

Move over Miami, step aside Ibiza, there’s a new home to hedonistic pool parties and beach clubs: Marbella. And from the deep-down decadent and crazy to more relaxed and elegant affairs, here’s our pick of the very best…

Nikki Beach

nikki beach marbella aerial

The beach club that basically started it all, Nikki Beach is still the venue that sets the standards. The restaurant delivers quality dish after dish across a ‘global favourites’ menu with a few local Spanish flourishes. The sushi is fresh, the seafood platter is one of the best in Marbella (with or without the outrageous theatre that accompanies it to your table or poolside bed) and their key offerings are rotisserie-style chicken, lamb or suckling pig.

Food aside, the partying reputation of this hugely successful chain of beach clubs needs little or no introduction. It’s difficult to convey just how fabulous the parties are. The entertainment is BIG – think Cirque du Soleil and you wouldn’t be far from some of the events. The whole place has an air of extravagance about it. There are ample beds poolside, easy access to the beach, covered dining and a seriously well stocked bar. The tagline is ‘Tell only your best friends’. The secret is well and truly out, but it never disappoints.

Don’t miss their Amazing Sundays, Full Moon Parties, White Parties, and… well, any of their events, actually.

Opening party date: 13th April 2017.

Closing party date: The closing season Red party is on 1st October 2017.

Address: Playa Hotel Don Carlos, Carretera de Cadiz, Km 192, 29600 Marbella, Malaga; 952 83 62 39; Nikkibeach.com.

Puerto Banus & to the West

Ocean Club Marbella

ocean club poolside

Ocean Club in Puerto Banus is a dazzling vision of white and light blue. It’s beside the beach but not on it – so if you’re a sand-hater, it’s the one for you – while the decked terrace is adorned with circular beds that mirror the shape of the pool.

The party atmosphere ramps up and up throughout the day into the early hours of the morning. The atmosphere is relaxed during the afternoon until the sun sets when the no-holds-barred pool parties, complete with theatrical performances, begin and the music blasts out over the Med. On the themed nights nothing is too over the top to thrill the crowds who queue to enter – these parties are legendary. On specific nights the pool is transformed into a stage where entertainers (including plenty of famous names) whip the crowd into an outdoor, amphitheatre-like frenzy.

The cocktail list has a great selection of mojitos as well as the usual suspects. As for the lunchtime restaurant, it serves the likes of sushi, pizzas, pasta, salads, kebabs, club sandwiches, burgers and other food for party-goers. The choice of alfresco or indoor eating is a welcome extra for those needing a bit of respite from the midday sun.

Opening party date: Their White & Silver opening party is on 28th April 2017.

Closing party date: Black & Gold closing party is on 30th September 2017.

Address: Avenida Lola Flores, S/N, 29660 Marbella, Malaga; 952 90 81 37; Oceanclub.es.

 

Luxury Marbella Villas for Rent

 

La Sala by the Sea

sala by the sea pool

La Sala by the Sea certainly scores well on the convenience front: it has its own designated parking and valet service in the centre of Puerto Banus, so you can park up and be out of your car stretched out on a bed, drink in hand, in the blink of an eye.

This relatively small beach club has its own circular-shaped pool (not as large as many others’), a restaurant, treatment rooms and its fair share of party action during the summer. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner with an emphasis on seafood with the odd Asian twist. The drinks menu is average, serving the usual suspects – it’s neither surprising nor disappointing either. If you want to hire a beach bed around the club, towels and fresh fruit come in the hire price. However if you’d like to sunbathe on the beds on the beach they charge extra for the towels.

Opening party date: 26th April 2017 for the summer season.

Address: Av Jose Banus, 29660 Marbella, Malaga; 952 81 38 82; Lasalabythesea.com.

Sisu Boutique Hotel Puerto Banus

OK, OK, we may be being a bit naughty here, as Sisu doesn’t qualify as a beach club for the simple reason that it’s nowhere near the beach. However, it has a pool, a 20-person Jacuzzi and a vibe that’s very much in keeping with it, namely: tan, dip and party.

Besides, it is quite simply the place to party in Puerto Banus. It’s on-trend, it’s open 24 hours a day throughout the summer and its pool parties are mythical. Events vary from Black Diamond to Laurent Perrier, and the music is soulful house with live accompaniment. There are VIP areas, a restaurant, designer seating and beds – all of which makes it one of the best places on the coast to celeb-spot and pose.

Opening party date: they kick the 2017 season off with a Friday Pool Party on 14th April.

Closing party dates: 29th and 30th September 2017.

Address: Carretera N-340, Km 173, 29660 Marbella, Malaga; Sisuboutique.com.

Further West – San Pedro to Estepona

Club del Mar

Club del Mar is part of the five-star Villa Padierna Palace Hotel complex. They don’t offer entertainment for the evenings as it’s only open from 11am to 6pm. It’s a wonderfully relaxing place in which to hang out during the day, though, whether you’re stretched out on the beach enjoying the full waiter service or eating high quality food in the light and airy beach house. (Top LVC tip: check out their caviar menu – it’s to-die-for.)

Opening dates: all year round

Address: Av. Bulevar Principe Alfonso de Hohenlohe, 29602 Marbella, Malaga; 952 82 09 00 ext. 22189; Villapadiernapalacehotel.com.

Purobeach Marbella

puro beach marbella pool

Puro’s Marbella arm is part of a cabana-styled commercial complex called Laguna Village. Fear not, it’s a perfectly formed group of independent boutiques, eateries and services like valet and water sport rental – all of which makes for a unique plus to a night out by the sea.

Entertainment-wise the famous Puro house music with live DJs is a given, but to shake things up a bit they also put on occasional Flamenco nights.

As is becoming the norm, each hammock hired comes with towels and a welcome tray of fresh fruit and mineral water. Purobeach goes that little bit further, though, and also includes after-sun, cold towels and smoothie shot – just to make your day even more comfortable. Be sure to book in for a massage in their Nomad Lounges by the pool or on the beach. We highly recommend their orange aromatherapy massage – divine!

Opening dates: Puro is open all year round during the day (aside from Mondays and Tuesdays during November until March) and from June to September all night too (check out their site for exact hours).

Address: Carretera Cadiz, Km 159, 29680 Estepona, Malaga; 952 80 00 15; Purobeach.com.

East of Marbella

Funky Buddha Beach

funky buddha beach pool

Over to the east, Funky Buddha Beach may not be the largest of our selection, but it has its own particular following. The pool is average in size but more than ample for cooling down with a drink and chilling out to the live music. It generally attracts a younger crowd and it’s home to one of the more raucous scenes around. The cocktails don’t blow us away, but it’s a fun vibe with a touch of madness thrown in to keep it fresh.

Closing Party Date: Ultra Pool Party Sunday 24th September 2017

Address: Carretera Nacional Km 340 – 184; 29603 Marbella; Malaga; 699 009 808; Funkybuddhabeach.com.

Orange Beach Club by Hotel Don Carlos

This incredibly stylish Marbella beach club is part of the five-star Don Carlos resort. Open to non-hotel guests, it’s impeccably designed with beautiful furniture and excellent service. The strip of beach in front is very much part of the club and you can expect the same level of service there, along with a choice of sun loungers and fabulous Balinese beds.

After dark there’s live music throughout the summer in the form of female vocalists, jazz bands and swing groups. The entertainment (which usually starts around 8pm) is very much at the refined end of the spectrum. If you fancy a spot of spa pampering – in the form of a high-class treatment or two at the Don Carlos spa – followed by sun-downers at the Orange Beach Club, it’s hard to top.

Opening dates: from Easter to 2nd October

Address: Avenida Zurita s/n, 29604 Marbella, Malaga; 952 76 88 00; Doncarlosresort.expohotels.com.

Beach Club Estrella del Mar

sunset estrella del mar

The beach club at Hotel Vincci Estrella del Mar is more of a daytime casual affair than party central – somewhere to lie back on a Bali bed and relax, rather than dance till dawn. Because of the close proximity of the hotel there are great spa facilities, including an indoor pool, Jacuzzi, gym and treatment rooms. The club itself is on the beach, with wonderful lawned areas and a fantastic infinity pool around which they hold live music events and fashion shows.

Opening dates: all year round – it’s a good place to have a leisurely lunch in the winter sun.

Address: A/, km 190.5 Urbanizacion Estrella del Mar, desvio Urbanizacion Golden Beach, 29604 Marbella, Malaga; 951 05 39 90; Beachclubestrelladelmar.com.

La Cabane Beach Club

pool scene cabane marbella

Part of Hotel Los Monteros, this impeccable Marbella beach club is a pristine wash of blue and white. Clean-lined sunbeds and shades line a very welcoming pool indeed – this is a daytime-only club so there are no crazy parties or dancers, just a relaxed place to lounge by the sea. The welcome package you receive when you hire a lounger includes fruit skewers, towels and personalised waiter service. On weekends the restaurant lays on a seafood buffet which, OK, might sound a bit cheap and nasty, but in actual fact the food is fantastic with the freshest of fresh produce being served up.

Opening times: April, May and October: From Fridays to Sunday, from 11am to 6pm; June, July, August and September: Open daily from 11am to 7pm.

Address: Calle Jabali, 29603 Marbella, Malaga; 952 76 27 20; Monteros.com – Stay just a stone’s throw away at family-friendly Villa Malibu, or the exquisitely high-end Villa Las Artes

And a little further afield…

Finca Cortesin

finca cortesin beach club dining

Yes, we know Finca Cortesin isn’t in Marbella but so classy is its beach club that we just couldn’t leave it out. It’s an elegant and sophisticated affair where you relax immediately upon arrival, want for nothing and feel thoroughly loved throughout your stay and leave feeling utterly serene. The tasteful seating and sunbeds are either clustered around the infinity pool or facing out to sea on this attractive, and less developed stretch of coast. The restaurant serves up casual seafood and rice dishes, but to Finca Cortesin’s five-star standard.

Opening times: It’s open Wednesday till Sunday during April, May, June and September. During July and August it’s open 7 days a week.

Address: Bahia de Casares, Malaga; Fincacortesin.com.

Planning a party-filled summer break on the Costa del Sol with friends? Check out our collection of luxury Marbella villas to rent.

Want to book a bed or get VIP entrance at one of the best Marbella beach clubs? Our concierge will happily arrange it for you.

Best Marbella Nightlife

If there’s one thing Marbella knows how to do, it’s party: whether it’s lavish Champagne spray parties, chilled out beach club sundowners, decadent dusk ’til dawn pool parties or sophisticated cocktails and live music, whatever you’re looking for on a sultry summer’s night out, it can deliver.

And it’s not just summer, either. Marbella nightlife does vary quite significantly from season to season: it might seem warm enough to northern Europeans in November to party on the beach or poolside, but to the southern Spanish the seaside fun and frolics end at least a month or so earlier. Don’t be deterred if you’re here out of season, though, as the party people don’t hibernate through the winter months, they just party differently.

Here’s our pick of the best places to let your hair down on a night out in Marbella…

Best for Overall Experience

Olivia Valere

Olivia Valere

Marbella clubs don’t come much more established than Olivia Valere. For 14 years it’s been at the centre of the area’s nightlife scene – if you’re rich or famous and have visited Marbella, you will have spent a night or two at Olivia Valere. This huge pleasure palace was built along the most grandiose of lines, taking its inspiration from the architecture of the Mezquita and Alhambra Palace. Expect keyhole-shaped doorways, decorative arches and lots of intricate Moorish design swirls and flourishes throughout.

There are two areas to choose from, both of which offer something different – The Lounge Terrace and The Sushi Bar. Celebrity DJs are a regular occurrence throughout the summer, with the likes of Paris Hilton, Carl Cox and Craig David having stepped up to the decks. There’s also a very convenient outdoor restaurant next door called Olivia Valere Babilonia. The interiors are plush with lots of white seating and no expense spared on the decoration, and the general air of opulence and extravagance lends itself nicely to a complete and utter blowout. It’s open all year round – and there’s often live entertainment throughout the summer – but only at the weekend during the winter.

Address: Carreterra de Istan – Km 0.72, 29600, Marbella; phone: 658 58 15 85; Oliviavalere.com.

Best New Venue

Cavalli Club Puerto Banus

cavalli club puerto banus

Puerto Banus has a new kid on the block by the name of Cavalli Club. It exploded onto the scene in 2015 with big name DJs (the likes of Snoop Dog and Bob Sinclair) and one wild party after another throughout the season. It’s not a huge club so reserving a table (particularly if you’re a group of more than six) is a good idea, and our Concierge can help. They rack up some great names and party themes throughout May until October. If the dance floor doesn’t grab you, and you need somewhere to place your Jack Daniels, you can chill out on the mezzanine level in comfort overlooking the dance floor.

Open from midnight until 6am from May until October with an over-21s door policy.

Address: Carretera Cadiz, Km. 175, 29660 Puerto Banus, Malaga; phone: 689 74 45 28; Cavalli Club Facebook Page.

Best for Front Line

Pangea

pangella puerto banus

There’s a lot of talk about ‘frontline’ and ‘backline’ nightlife in Puerto Banus. In a nutshell the frontline is a more sophisticated, high-end affair and the backline (literally the second road back from the port) is a little more raucous. At the end of the port – very much frontline – is Pangea. All white, black and neon, Pangea is a great place to spend an evening if you’re in town. The gorgeous roof terrace can be seen from the portside street below, and house and RnB music is bashed out over the yachts. If it errs just a little on the side of OTT with its décor, hey it’s a club after all, and you’re in Puerto Banus where glamour’s very much the name of the game. Despite always being filled to the rafters and having an indoor part, sadly, it isn’t open during the winter.

Address: Puerto Banus Port; phone: 680 291 967; Pangea-club.com.

Beach Clubs in Marbella

The Marbella beach club scene needs to be checked out when visiting the area. Not only is it seriously cool, but it’s also very practical – tanning, relaxing, pampering, swimming, eating, drinking, dancing and partying all in one venue. Perfect.

There are several beach clubs to choose from – with new openings springing up every summer – but here are a couple of our favourites. Be sure to check with our Concierge before a visit, though, as sometimes there’s a themed party on – white, white and gold or red – to add a little bit of glamour to your beachside lounging, sundowner sipping or early morning partying.

Best for Striking a Pose

Nikki Beach

nikki beach marbella

The legendary Nikki Beach has been a fixture on the Marbella nightlife scene for two decades. Beachside decked two-tiered terrace, inviting pool, draped comfy chill-out areas, large beach beds, stocked bar, Nikki dancers, resident DJs, themed parties, alfresco dining room and a perfect stretch of Marbella beach… What’s not to like?

This open-air adults’ playground is hard to beat, basically – just stretch out langorously, set up stall and be waited upon. Nikki Beach is kind of an attraction in itself, you can spend the whole day there or just rock up for the evening’s entertainment. When the club gets started it spills out into all areas, with live music, soulful house and creatively clad Nikki Beach dancers whipping the place up into a hedonistic frenzy. It’s the beach club to be seen at, and with 1000’s of young and beautiful people filling the place over the course of an evening, it pays to dress to impress.

Address: Playa Hotel Don Carlos, Carretera de Cadiz, Km 192, 29600 Marbella, Malaga; phone: 952 83 62 39; Nikkibeach.com.

Best for Cocktails

Ocean Club

ocean club marbella

A short walk from the centre of Puerto Banus, if you feel like stretching your legs in the cool of the evening, Ocean Club sits on an extensive plot. The white and blue décor wraps around a sail-shaped pool lined with round beds that are some of the most comfortable around. They offer a seriously mouth-watering selection of cocktails (their Bloody Mary made with homemade chilli sauce is a particular LVC favourite) along with shishas and massages throughout the day. The restaurant serves up simple but delicious food made with fresh ingredients, and service that from start to finish is impeccable. All in all, it’s a beautiful beach club with a sophisticated air.

Address: Avenida Lola Flores, S/N, 29660 Marbella, Malaga; phone: 952 90 81 37; Oceanclub.es.

Planning a celebratory trip to southern Spain with friends? Have a look at our selection of luxury Marbella villas.

Like our pick of the best nightlife in Marbella, but looking for something more chilled from your night out? Check out a few of our favourite restaurants.

A Pick of the Best Marbella Beaches

The Costa del Sol is aptly named. ‘Sol’ because there are +300 days of the shiny stuff, and ‘Costa’ because like gin and tonic, Fred & Ginger and all other great double acts, you couldn’t very well have sunshine if you don’t also have a nice stretch of beach to bask on.

At the heart of this sun-soaked strip of sea and sand sits Marbella. While the province of Malaga isn’t short of a decent beach or two (as covered in a previous post of ours) there are more than 20 beaches in Marbella alone. So move over overcrowding – there’s always space to enjoy your own corner of the Med on one of this selection of best Marbella beaches.

Beaches to the East of Marbella

nikki beach club marbella

Pool Scene – Nikki Beach Club, Marbella

Playa Alicate

This beach to the east side of Marbella next to Los Monteros is great for families, as its shallow waters are ideal for children to splash around in. The beach itself a large, open affair, pebbly towards the edge of the sea. Sunbeds and wooden parasols can be rented. It has several great chiringuitos (beach bars or restaurants), where snacks, full meals and cocktails are served throughout the day. One of our favourite places to grab a bite to eat is Los Sardinales (Lossardinales.com) which serves a fantastic fish soup and catch of the day, or go upmarket to the swish La Cabane beach club, run by the hotel Los Monteros.

Playa Hermosa Marbella

Further down from Playa Alicate is Playa Hermosa and it lives up to its name as low-rise coastline building make it an attractively low-key place to sit back and relax. Karma Beach (Karmabeachmarbella.com) is a very agreeable restaurant and bar beach-side that adds a touch of comfort to a post-swim bite of lunch. The food is international, the cocktails are well mixed and the Champagne is on ice. The only way to truly enjoy this beach, though, is to hire a cabana bed with floaty curtains and soft cushions. And… relax.

 Cabopino Beach

Cabopino Beach, Marbella

Sun Loungers on Cabopino Beach

This very popular beach is to the far east of Marbella. Its stellar reputation means that during July and August it can be difficult to park, but in our opinion it’s still well worth perserving with. Why? Let us count the ways: for starters, there are beautiful sand dunes (Las Dunas de Artola) to find a secluded spot and a smattering of large palms providing natural shade. But there are also great amenities: there are chiringuitos with sun loungers, parasols, showers and toilet facilities as well as pedalos, kayaks, jet-skis for hire and even dolphin-watching tours. For families, the restaurants on the beach are very child-friendly with microwave facilities and children’s menus. A true all-rounder.

Beaches to the West of Marbella

Playa Nagueles

Marbella Chiringuito

Typical Beach Bar in Marbella

Its location (near The Marbella Club Hotel and Hotel Puente Romano) means that this beach is often home to the rich and famous in the area. There’s a choice of chiringuitos and restaurants on the beach (including Trocadero Playa Restaurant) so bring your best cover-up ensemble – designer sunnies, hat, the Melissa Odabash works. The backdrop is green, with palms and pine trees leading down to sand that’s golden and coarse (normal for this corner of the Med) and a picturesque wooden pier – it’s pretty as a picture.

El Faro Beach

El Faro Beach is a great option if you’re staying near the centre of Marbella and want to twin a spot of beach chillin’ with some shopping or sightseeing in the Old Town. There’s a full complement of amenities: toilets, showers, restaurants, bars, sunbeds and even a children’s play area. It’s a small beach with shallow waters – as it’s cocooned in by breakwaters – and because of this it gets busy during the summer. There are some great fish places with an authentic, local feel to dine in over siesta. The last word in elegant fine dining it ain’t, but we like it all the same.

Puerto Banus Beaches

Beach Club Marbella

Loungers at La Sala Beach Club

Playa Nueva Andalucia, Playa de Levante and Playa del Rio Verde are the three beaches in Puerto Banus. These wide, clean beaches are just a very short saunter from the port of Puerto Banus. Here, if the fancy takes you (and we highly suggest it does), you can hire a yacht or go on a boat ride easily (chat to our concierge for ideas). There’s nothing like sunbathing, lunching or travelling to a beach club on a luxury yacht.

To the west of Puerto Banus, Playa Nueva Andalucia is an LVC favourite as there are a couple of beach clubs very nearby – Ocean Beach Club (Oceanclub.es) and La Sala Beach Club (Lasalabythesea.com). It’s not all ultra-glamorous beach clubs, though: if you’re an adrenaline junky or travelling with teenagers, Playa Nueva Andalucia is also home to Costa Waterpark which is basically an assault course on the sea. It’s great fun, if perhaps more than a little exhausting for anyone whose age extends into double digits.

We could go on and on, to be honest. The best way to find the right beach for you is to hire a bike (there are various locations to choose from in Puerto Banus or Marbella), take a ride along the promenade and judge for yourself.

Happy hunting.

Quite liking the sound of stretching out on one of these Marbella beaches this summer? Make sure you’ve got the accommodation to match – check out our collection of nearby luxury 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.

Spanish Summer Holiday Reading

Perhaps one of the best things about taking a villa break in the Summer is the chance to indulge in a couple of good books in a way that we rarely have time for during the rest of the year.

Our good friend Molly has kindly shared a couple of her top recommendations for this year’s Spanish summer reading list.  We would love to hear what you think of these books so please do leave us a comment if you have read them.

Three Novels set in Spain

1. Voices of Angels by Hannah M Davies

Andalucia novels

The Cabo de Gata in Andalucia, setting for the novel “Voices of Angels”

The main character of this novel, Lizzie is an English schoolgirl, misunderstood by her classmates. Having a bit of a schoolgirl crisis she flies out to Spain to spend the summer holidays away from it all. Her stay is with her Expat grandmother who lives in the countryside of Andalusia.

As I live in Andalusia I was curious to read this debut novel written by Hannah M Davis. It is quite a while since I was hooked on a book. After the first ten pages I couldn’t put it down. I already wanted to know what was going to happen next.

This story has a great balance of romance, mystery and drama. Soon after the opening page of the novel we discover that Lizzie has a unique gift. She can see when people are going to die. We experience the emotions that she goes through as we witness what this psychic power has in store for her.

As different plots in the story unfold, the tale becomes quicker moving and intense. The main characters of Lizzie, Rafa and Ariadne are well developed and you feel an involvement as a reader. I was satisfied with the description of Andalusia that the author depicts. The hills around Malaga, the beaches of Cabo de Gata and the characters in Andalusia really are true to life. I could even relate to some of the situations in the story. Even the hot summer sun and dust thrown up along the olive grove dirt tracks can almost be felt as you are turning the pages.

If you want a short intriguing novel and love Spain this is for you.

2. The Seamstress by Maria Dueñas  (Spanish title Tiempo entre Costuras)

Spanish summer reading, The Seamstress by Maria Duenas

The Seamstress by Maria Dueñas – Perfect Spanish Summer Reading

This novel is about a young woman, who is swept off her feet by a handsome man.

Set in Madrid, the main character´s hometown, it turns out that he is not as wonderful as she first thought. Although the tale begins in Madrid, it has many twists and turns and soon leads us to Tetuan, Morocco.

She ends up in Morocco alone and penniless. The war is raging in Madrid preventing her return. In the novel there are many interesting characters, providing depth and richness to the story.

As well as the trials and tribulations the protagonist experiences, the political situation in Spain at the time provides a dramatic backdrop to this captivating novel. (We are taken through streets of Tangiers, Tetuan, Lisbon and Madrid with wonderful descriptions, the destroyed and desolate city of Madrid is also a feature towards the end of the book.

The novel has romance, mystery and intrigue as well as historic references to some of the key characters in Spain at the time.

3. The City of Sorrows by Susan Nadathur

Novel set in Seville, Andalucia; City of Sorrows

Spanish Summer Reading: The City of Sorrows by Susan Nadathur

This recently released novel had me intrigued from the first page. How could a young Indian student, a wealthy Andalusian business man and a local gypsy who works as horse trainer be connected? The story begins in India but swiftly moves to Spain and is set in beautiful Seville.

The story begins with Rajiv a young Indian who defies his father when trying to set up an arranged marriage in his local village and leaves for other opportunities in Spain. Initially his adjustment to Andalusia is difficult but he soon fits into the lifestyle and makes friends.

Andres, a more complex character seems to have it all, from a wealthy family, he works with his father and is often aggressive towards his family and colleagues. As the novel moves forward his rage intensifies at the same time as we learn more of his past.

Diego, a gypsy living in a neighbourhood on the edge of Seville seems to have the world against him. Nothing seems to be going his way. We see a happy family man distraught with grief give into a darker life that he previously led at the stables.

The three stories are carefully intertwined by the author and will have you turning the pages quickly to discover each characters path. With the descriptions of Triana and the traditional Easter processions in Seville it really makes a captivating and intense read.

 

Reviews by Molly Sears-Piccavey

Molly Sears-Piccavey has lived in Spain since 1998, initially in Barcelona, but now lives in Granada. Working in Communication and PR, she uses her spare time to read books, she is a also a busy Blogger and a frenetic twitterer. Molly speaks fluent Spanish and English as well as some French and Catalan.

Have you read any of these books, or have a recommendation of your own to share? Leave a comment below