Costa del Sol

Where to find the best beaches in Marbella

By Eddi Fiegel

1 November 2018 | Updated 26 November 20185 min read

A view of a golden sand beach in Marbella, Spain lined with thatch-roof umbrellas and sun loungers, bordered by beachfront hotels

With seventeen miles of coastline and no less than twenty four beaches, Marbella has something for everyone. Whether it’s family-friendly shallow waters and children’s playgrounds, secluded stretches of soft sand or watersports, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

As you might expect, the beaches become quieter the further you get from the main town seafront but they all have sun-loungers and parasols for hire. These are some of my favourites.

Best beaches for families

Playa del Faro

Just behind the Paseo Maritimo seafront promenade, close to the Old Town, the shallow waters at these two small bays make them ideal for children. The soft sand is great for sandcastles and there’s a children’s play area with a slide. You’re also very close to the marina if the grown-ups fancy jet skiing or paddle boarding.

Playa Real de la Zaragoza

This is one of the longest and largest beaches on this stretch of the coast but it’s also eight miles from the centre of town, which means that even in the height of summer it never gets that crowded. With fine golden sand and calm, shallow waters, it’s great for families and there are chiringuitos (beach bars) on the beach.

Playa de las Chapas

Less hectic than some of the beaches closer to Marbella town centre, this lovely, straightforward, family-friendly beach, just to the east of the town towards Fuengirola, is best known for being close to the exclusive Nikki Beach Club. However it still feels very unspoilt with a lovely stretch of sand fringed by swaying palms. There are a couple of places to eat near the beach, otherwise it’s a five minute drive to Elviria with its supermarkets, restaurants and bars.

Best quieter beaches

Playa de la Vibora

Even though this wonderfully wild beach is only some two and a half miles from Cabopino Marina, you’d never know it. The sand is fine and golden and there’s nothing but small dunes and a low-key residential development behind the beach.

San Pedro de Alcántara

Halfway between Marbella and Estepona, this doesn’t feel remote but it does feel uncluttered and unhurried. With nearly a mile of dark sand and gravel, this lovely Blue Flag beach is backed only by talk palms and eucalyptus trees on the Paseo Maritimo promenade. A small children’s play area, beach volleyball as well as lifeguards and showers make it a great choice for families too. There are also restaurants, ice-cream kiosks and the occasional market stall behind the beach.

Playa Guadalmina

At the far end of Marbella’s stretch of town beaches near San Pedro de Alcántara, this wide, sandy stretch feels much wilder than its more central neighbours. With only a few palm trees to the rear, it’s much quieter but it’s not isolated.

There’s a large hotel complex nearby (the Golf Guadalmina) with beach clubs and bars, as well as one or two local restaurants and a chiringuito dishing up local specialities. The fine, greyish sand makes it a popular choice with local families and you even get a bit of culture too with the remains of historic Roman baths nearby. There are sunbeds and parasols to hire, plus lifeguards and you can arrange windsurfing, kayaking and jet-skiing on the beach.

Best beaches for watersports

Playa El Ancón

This beach close to Puerto Banus on Marbella’s famous ‘Golden Mile’ is particularly popular for paddle-boarding, kayaking and catamarans. With just over half a mile of soft greyish sand backed only by the Paseo Maritimo promenade El Ancon residential development, it’s busy although not quite as hectic as some of the other town beaches.

There are loungers, parasols and pedalos for hire as well as several chiringuitos. Not least the longstanding Victor’s Beach Bar. Food certainly isn’t the cheapest (you’ll find better food and better value in town) but the beach location couldn’t be better. Great for cold drink and a snack with killer sea views. Raciones of calamares (larger than a tapas portion) range from around 14€, beer 3€.

Cabopino and Artola Dunes (Playa de las Dunas)

The long sandy beach at Cabopino, about eight miles east of Marbella (there are regular buses from the town centre) is great for watersports. Splash Water Cabopino does scuba diving and waterskiing as well as fishing and dolphin-watching boat rides. Puerto Cabopino, Local 9c.

The beach is also a great place to get away from the hubbub of the main town beaches and its golden silky sand and shallow waters so clear you can see the fish, make it popular with families and couples alike. If you want something a little wilder, at the far end you’ll find the lovely sand dunes of Artola (Playa de las Dunas), which is also popular with naturists.

Best beach for partying

Playa del Cable aka Bounty Beach

Just fifteen minutes’ walk east of the main town beaches, Playa del Cable, with its fine golden sand, has become one of the hippest partying beaches in town. DJs at the beach bars play chill-out sounds and the Bounty Beach chiringuito (after which the beach is nicknamed) is a longstanding Marbella favourite. The beach is also good for watersports as the ‘Funny Beach’ activities centre is just a short walk along the beach.

Sign up and save on your next holiday

Be a savvy traveller and get top deals to your inbox, expert travel advice and the chance to win holidays

We won't pass your details on to anyone else. By clicking the sign up button you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.