Costa del Sol and Costa de Almería Experience
Best Beaches of Spain's Southern Coast
The resorts of the Costa del Sol have been attracting tourists since the 1950s with their magical combination of brochure-blue sea, miles of beaches, and reliable sun-bronzing weather.
The beaches here range from shingle in Almuñécar, Nerja, and Málaga to fine, gritty sand from Torremolinos westward. The best—and most crowded—beaches are east of Málaga and those flanking the most popular resorts of Nerja, Torremolinos, Fuengirola, and Marbella. For more secluded beaches, head west of Estepona and past Gibraltar to Tarifa and the Cádiz coast. The beaches change when you hit the Atlantic, becoming appealingly wide with fine golden sand. The winds are usually quite strong here, which means that although you can't read a newspaper while lying out, the conditions for windsurfing and kiteboarding are near perfect.
Beaches are free and busiest in July, August, and on Sunday from May through October when malagueño families arrive for a full day on the beach and lunch at a chiringuito.
Over the Top-less
In Spain, as in many parts of Europe, it is perfectly acceptable for women to go topless on the beach, although covering up is the norm at beach bars. There are several nude beaches on the Costas; look for the playa naturista sign. The most popular are in Maro (near Nerja), Benalmádena Costa, and near Tarifa.
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Fodor's Go List 2014: Where we are going in 2014
- Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards: Check out the winners of 2013
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's