This week we look at the best best beaches on the Costa del Sol. Which has the best sand, the coolest bars and the most beautiful people?
Cabopino Beach, Marbella
Where: Cabopino Beach is located between Calahonda and Marbella on the Costa del Sol. It is the next turn off the after Calahonda on the Autovia along the coast. Cabopino Beach has fine, soft sand and it is always really clean. It can get busy in summer (as most beaches on the Costa del Sol do) but there are always plenty of sun loungers and people watching is always fun! The beach is around 1km long so it is not huge but it is nice and wide so it never feels too cramped. Right next to Cabopino Beach you’ll find Artola sand dunes where you can also sunbathe in a more sheltered spot.
Nearby bars/restaurants: Cabopino Beach is located right next to the lovely Cabopino Marina which has a fantastic range of restaurants to choose from, day or night. If you want to sit on the beach to enjoy your lunch head to Andy’s Bar which has been a fixture on the beach for years and it is much loved by tourists and locals. Things do get busy here in summer so be prepared to sip at your San Miguel while you wait for your food; but who cares when the sun is shining. If you want something a bit more upmarket try Albert’s on the Marina.
Special Features: The lack of high rise apartment blocks lining the beach make Cabopino one of the most attractive spots on this coast, hence why so many people love to come here. The Artola sand dunes also make this beach quite unique. Be warned, the dunes are a recognised naturist spot and you do get quite a number of nudists here, especially at the weekend. If you’re easily offended stick to the main beach (or join in for an all over tan!)
Go there if: You want a child-friendly beach with gentle sloping sands into the water and lifeguards in residence at busy times. It’s also a great spot for foodies as the marina has some great places to dine.
Avoid if: You want total peace and quiet. This beach is no hidden gem. Everyone knows how great it is and lots of people come here for that reason so it is always pretty busy but that just adds to the atmosphere.
Puerto Banus Beach, Marbella
Where: Puerto Banus is located just to the east of the famous Puerto Banus Marina in Marbella.
Nearby bars/restaurants: Puerto Banus Marina is full of bars and restaurants but these are really the places to hit after the sun goes down. Wherever you eat or drink around Puerto Banus you should expect to pay a bit more than usual Costa del Sol prices, this resort is exclusive and the prices reflect this. If you want to hand with the celebs and show off your designer sunglasses head to Sala Beach which is a beach club, bar and restaurant. If you have money to burn you can also rent a sun lounger here. The restaurant serves everything from snacks to sushi and Thai cuisine.
Special Features: Beautiful people and the possibility of spotting celebrities. There is nowhere else on the Costa del Sol with so much bling, designer clothing and fake tan all on one beach!
Go there if: You want to hang out with the rich and famous and spend your day people watching. You’ll never get bored here. Spotting the worst plastic surgery job is always fun in this plastic fantastic spot!
Avoid if: You like to experience a more authentic Spanish beach. Puerto Banus is all about things being big, new and shiny. You won’t find traditional Chiringuitos here.
Links: Villas in Marbella
El Saladillo Beach, Estepona
Where: El Saladillo Beach is pretty much equidistant from Marbella and Estepona, in an area known as Cancelada. It is not widely known among a tourist which is part of the appeal of this lovely, wide, sandy beach. Our villa ‘Casa Tulipan‘ is just 100 metres from this beach so you can stroll down and enjoy this lovely beach everyday!
Nearby bars/restaurants: There are 2 great restaurants right on the beach here; La Antigua and Pepe’s Beach that has been here since 1975. La Antigua does great seafood dishes and you can also rent a sun lounger for about 4 Euros right in front of the restaurant. Pepe’s is famed for its paella and it’s a very chilled out place to relax and eat lunch. You may even be lucky enough to experience some live music if you visit Pepe’s at the weekend.
Special Features: El Saladillo has excellent shower and toilet facilities so it is very family friendly. It also has plenty of parking nearby as it’s off the beaten track somewhat so you don’t have to fight for a space as you do at some of the busier beaches.
Go there if: you want to have a relaxing day at the beach with good food and no crowds. El Saladillo is popular with locals and you won’t get big groups of tourists here.
Avoid if: you want a beach that is easily accessible by public transport. You really need a car or a taxi to get to El Saladillo as it is not located right in the centre of a large resort.
Burriana Beach, Nerja
Where: Burriana Beach is Nerja’s largest and most easterly beach. It is arguably not it’s most picturesque beach as there is stiff competition in Nerja with little hidden coves like El Salon and Playa Carabeillo but Burriana is very central, very large and very action packed!
Nearby bars/restaurants: There are plenty of places to eat along the beachfront promenade serving everything from English breakfasts to French cuisine. Bruxelles is an upmarket French restaurant that stands out form the crowd. There are many seafood bars on the beach with fish being barbecued inside the traditional rowing boats. Many of the beach bars also cook up giant paellas daily which are delicious!
Special Features: The range of watersports on offer here is fantastic. From pedalos to para-sailing, jet skiing and banana boating. You can even try scuba diving. The beach has good shower and changing facilities and it has life guards on patrol in the summer months.
Go there if: you want an archetypal Spanish seaside resort. There are numerous ice cream parlours; shops selling inflatables and buckets and spades; bars and restaurants to choose from here. It is a great family beach.
Avoid if: you want a secluded spot on the beach. Burriana Beach is action-packed. If you want to find somewhere more peaceful explore some of Nerja’s smaller beaches.
Santa Ana Beach, Benalmadena
Where: Santa Ana Beach is located in central Benalmadena right next to the marina. The beach is 500 metres long and is easily accessible by foot, car, bus or train.
Nearby bars/restaurants: There are hundreds of places to eat along the promenade just behind the beach. You can enjoy a full English breakfast, fish and chips or delicious paella or freshly caught fish; there really are places to suit all tastes and budgets.
Special Features: Santa Ana has shower, toilet and changing facilities. The sloped walkways down to the beach also make disabled access easy. If getting sand all over you really drives you mad there are also grassed park areas at the back of the beach where you can lie and relax under the palm trees. There are plenty of loungers for hire and also a children’s play area. The beach has been awarded a Blue Flag for its cleanliness and facilities.
Go there if: You like paddling in shallow water. The water is so shallow that you can walk out to the manmade barrier reef, 100 metres offshore.
Avoid if: You want high energy watersports. The fastest thing on water here is pedalos which can be hired out but you won’t find any hair-raising banana boat rides or jet skis here.