The best beaches on the Costa del Sol

In 2018 the Costa del Sol’s beautiful beaches were recognised for their quality and facilities, with 25 of them being awarded the coveted “Blue Flag”.  The most successful areas are – Fuengirola, Estepona and Marbella, so these should be your focus if beaches are your priority.

All of Fuengirola’s beaches were awarded Blue Flags and this is not surprising, as it’s a lovely stretch of the coast, with good sand and lots of facilities. There is also a vibrant seaside promenade with good restaurants and shops, a lovely marina and excellent watersports. We’d recommend a stroll along the promenade to the beautiful Sohail Castle. There are many excellent music events, markets and activities taking place in and around the castle this summer, so pop into your closest tourist office and ask for a brochure.

Estepona was awarded four blue flags for its beaches, one more than last year. The beaches which were selected are – El Cristo, El Padron, La Rada and Arroyo Vaquero. Estepona’s beaches are a good choice if space is your priority and you don’t like the crowds. They are very long and wide and much less crowded than Marbella’s and Fuengirola’s beaches, even in peak summer. There are some excellent restaurants and beach bars right on the beach and many great events, such as last month’s Beach Polo tournament on Playa Padron in front of the Kempinski Hotel Bahía. The Los Alamos Beach Festival of electronic music is moving to Estepona this year, with 3 days of amazing artists including Armin Van Buuren and Firebeatz performing from the 1st to the 5th of August.

Marbella has blue flags for their Artola, Casablanca, El Faro and San Pedro de Alcantara beaches. They also won back the blue flag for their marina area, with it’s beautiful sandy bay. This is great news, as this is one of the most popular areas with tourists, as the marina is lined with bars and the beach has a playground and a sheltered bay area, which is great for the kids to play.

The Artola beach is one of our favourites, in Cabopino. Right next to the charming marina is a lovely sheltered bay, with beautiful sand, perfect for swimming. On the other side of this is a protected area of wild dunes, which is a nudist beach, if you want to avoid tan lines.

Further to the west, Playa Ancha in Casares and Sabinillas beach in Manilva were also awarded blue flags. During the summer there are two amazing events held on the Sabinillas beach that are highly recommended – San Juan and Luna Llena (Full Moon). On the 23rd of June each year, San Juan is held all over Andalucia, but Sabinillas really does it in style, with a huge bonfire created by a local artist, music, stalls and an amazing atmosphere. For Luna Llena dress in white and head down to the beach for a stunning night of music, performers, a night market and rides for the kids. The 2018 date hasn’t been announced yet, but it is usually in July, so look out for it if you’re staying around Manilva.

Elviria has long been considered to have the best beaches on the Costa del Sol and tourists flock to the area around Nikki Beach to party on the soft sand.

To the east, Nerja has spectacular coves, crystal clear water and perfect conditions for snorkelling, but the beaches are pebbles rather than sand. This is an amazing coastline and very different from the typical Costa del Sol look and feel, so makes a lovely day trip.

To the west is the kite surfing capital of the world Tarifa, with miles of beautiful sandy beaches and a cool surfer vibe.

Wherever you choose to holiday on the Costa del Sol, you’re never far from a great beach. As this is often a priority for our guests, we’ve put together a collection of Beachside holiday homes which are within walking distance of the beach. If you’d like some recommendations in a particular area please don’t hesitate to ask our holiday rental experts.