Boasting 325 days of sunshine a year, beaches and Spain's southernmost shores go together like bucket and spade. From swanky seaside hotspots to quieter pockets of paradise, 150km of honey-hued sands make up the Costa del Sol's signature look. So roll out your towel, pop on your shades and relax on some of the best beaches the sunshine coast has to offer.
The trademark fly-and-flop beach destination, the Costa del Sol has been beloved by Brits for decades. With a flight time of under three hours and an unlimited supply of sand, sea and splash – it's the holy grail of family fun and summer sun.
Whittling down this collection of coastal gems is no easy task. Offering a winning combination of both civilisation-savvy shores and quieter coves, each resort brings its own beachy charms…
One of the Costa del Sol's most notorious towns, Marbella has a reputation for glitz and glamour. Between million-dollar yachts, designer shopping districts and super cars – you'd be forgiven for thinking you were in St. Tropez! A melting pot of sun, celebrity and sangria, the generous sprawl of 24 beaches are the icing on the already enticing cake. Adorned in dark sands, pebbles and every kind of amenity known to man – beach days in Marbella are all about comfort and life's little luxuries.
Speaking of luxury, Playa Nagueles is the place to be. Positioned in a prime spot along Marbella's 'golden mile', you'll be rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous before lunch. Ideal for couples, it's the perfect spot to sip on champers, soak up the sun and treat yourselves to a taste of the holiday high-life.
From west to east, swap swanky bars for Playa del Alicate's family-friendly feel and take to the seas together. From gentle pedal boat rides and stand-up paddle boarding, the bay's calm waters are perfect for your kids to get their first watersport experiences. You needn't worry about packing up a picnic or carrying your body weight in bottles of water either, as there's plenty of places to have a bite to eat or grab a drink.
Popular among residents, it's quite the endorsement when locals have a favourite sandy spot – plus the Blue Flag doesn't hurt either! Night owls can dance the night away at beach parties in the summer months, while the relaxed atmosphere and first-class facilities make it an easy place to top up your tan if you're purely in it for the sand. Sunloungers, showers, food stands and all the usual haunts are at hand too.
Covered in the footprints of families, Calahonda is a purpose-built, larger-than-life resort on the sizzling Spanish coast. Kitted out with every kind of amenity going, a holiday here can be as fast-paced or chilled out as you make it. Vetted by Brits for over 60 years, the tried and tested seaside town scores top points for showcasing one of the Costa del Sol's longest beaches. Measuring in at 4.5km, its sheer size means you're guaranteed a spot on the golden shores.
A hop, skip and jump from Mijas, the Blue Flag-waving Playa de Calahonda is the go-to beach for holidaymakers on the hunt for golden sands. Backed by brooding mountains, urban high-rises and a peppering of whitewashed villas, you'll find it easy to navigate along the shores with help from a handy wooden boardwalk. Topped and tailed by a quaint harbour and glamorous Marbella, there's more than enough space to set up camp for the day. Watersport enthusiasts and diving aficionados are spoilt for choice with the sheer amount of aquatic adventures that are on offer. Boasting all the usual suspects, it's also one of the best beaches to explore the world beneath the waves and the wealth of Mediterranean marine life.
Parents travelling with fussy eaters will have no trouble feeding the little ones here either, with a staggering selection of English restaurants to choose from – it'll feel just like home. Well, aside from the glorious weather and soaring temperatures that is! Away from the beach clubs and restaurants you'll be able to find quieter spots for swimming and sunbathing too. Perfect if you're craving peace and quiet, and like to be within walking distance of a decent meal.
A short drive from magnificent Malaga, Benalmadena is one of the Costa del Sol's closest resorts to the capital. Bursting at the seams with Blue Flag beaches stitched together by a series of high-rise apartments, the picturesque Puerto Marina sits at the heart of the action. Jam-packed with effortless entertainment, energetic nightlife and a whole host of family-focused facilities – there's never a dull moment in this coastal king.
The resort's full tally of coastline totals in at 10km, and Carvajal beach is undoubtedly the reigning champion. Sitting pretty between Benalmadena and Fuengirola, over a kilometre of golden sands and warm waters have holidaymakers well and truly hooked. Families will love the gently sloping shores, not to mention the abundance of bars, restaurants and shops that keep things carefree. Keep your eyes peeled for the infamous chiringuitos, where you'll find a taste of the traditional – with authentic Andalucian recipes being prepared in front of you!
Next door neighbour to Puerto Marina, Malapesquera beach is in prime position for a first-class day of glittering sands. Easy to access thanks to its central location, you can go from wet and wild watersports to walking along the luxurious marina in a matter of moments. Windsurfing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding or bouncing along on a banana boat are all on the maritime menu – the perfect pastime for excitable kids and fun-loving parents! Once everyone's tuckered out on the tides, head to the marina for a never-ending choice of restaurants and swoon over the boats and yachts that line the waterfront.
In true Costa del Sol fashion, Torremolions' pulling power comes courtesy of its Blue Flag prowess. Totalling in at a lengthy 9km, this is the place to stay if the beach is your be all and end all. Knitted together with a never-ending selection of sandy sanctuaries, the main draw is Playa la Carihuela – planted smack-bang in the centre of town. A perennial favourite and popular as ever, 'bigger the better' is Torremolinos' motto. From its oversized beaches to its impressive nightlife scene, you'll find entertainment in excess and enough leisure facilities to last for weeks!
Trendsetter of Torremolinos' stunning sands, Playa la Carihuela is something of a crowd-pleaser. Dressed up the nines with facilities to make your beach day as laid-back as can be, no stone was left unturned during its development. Bordered at both ends by large stone breakwaters, the sea is kept in check and calm enough for your little water babies to paddle safely. Plus there's even the odd children's playground dotted around. Older kids can get their adrenaline fix on heart-racing banana boats, jet-skis and other hair-raising activities!
If you're looking for something a little slower paced, head to pretty Playa los Alamos. Set in the east and away from the heart of the action, it remains relatively quiet during day time hours. Shaded by breeze-blown palms and blessed with gently sloping shores, it's an ideal place to catch some summer rays.
A stay in one of our Costa del Sol villas puts you on the doorstep of some of Spain's most spectacular shores… Overflowing with leisure facilities, wet and wild waterparks, adventure golf courses and a whole host of entertainment designed with families in mind – the beach is just the beginning on a Costa del Sol holiday.
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