Our expert writer George Prior has done all the research for you on the best beaches in Marbella so that you don’t have to. Read on for to find out where to park you beach umbrella on Marbella’s long stretch of sand.
The sundrenched beaches are what keep the millions of tourists returning to Marbella every year. The 27 kilometre coastline boasts 24 beaches, some of which, including Puerto Banús and San Pedro, have been awarded the prestigious Blue Flag, so whether you’re after a lazy day catching up with a book, or a wild afternoon of watersports, you’ll find something to suit.
Similarly, away from the seafront, Spain’s billionaires’ playground has an extensive offering of attractions to keep holidaymakers entertained – even if you’re not a Qatari Sheikh.
Useful things to know about the beaches in Marbella
Most beaches have at least one beach bar/restaurant (known in Spanish as a chiringuito), showers, and nearby parking, plus most offer sun beds and parasols. In addition, Marbella council is currently carrying out works to ensure all beaches have wheelchair access.
Being one of Spain’s most upmarket resorts, it comes as no surprise that Marbella’s shoreline is peppered with exclusive beach clubs. “They blend the ever increasing need for health and spirituality during the day with the urge to enjoy a vibrant and cosmopolitan party mood by night,” says the excellent travel site, Andalucia.com.
Generally, the further you move away from the beaches of the town centre and Puerto Banús, the quieter they’ll be – although you’ll not be totally alone anywhere in the height of the summer, at weekends, or on bank holidays during the peak season.
East of Marbella the beaches are wider and have finer, whiter sand; whereas those to the west of Puerto Banús are often slightly rockier and have darker, coarser sand, says the author of the Costasur travel guide site.
It’s best not to take valuables to the beach with theft an increasing problem in some areas.
When it comes to attractions and dining out, nowhere in Marbella is particularly inexpensive. But the recession has meant that companies are offering better deals nowadays on entrance fees and many eateries offer inexpensive menu del día options. However, a day at the beach or a picnic in the countryside can be good value if you take your own food and drink and towel/picnic rug.
The best beaches and things to do in Marbella
Simonseeks.com ranks Mistral Beach as one of the top ‘things to do’ in Marbella. “Cool, young families flock here for the beach bar and watersports,” reads the site. It adds: “It has it all: a large bamboo-framed restaurant and bar right on the sand, comfy sun loungers on the edge of the water, and a watersports base if you fancy a bit of banana-boating or jet-skiing.”
A favourite with locals, but often over-looked by tourists, is Pinomar beach. Marbellafamilyfun.com says: “This small semi-urbanised beach located east of Marbella is only 350 meters wide. With golden sand and moderate waves you will find this beach located only 10 minutes from Marbella centre.”
La Fontanilla is a buzzy, urban beach, located a stone’s throw from Marbella’s main retail streets. Its location, and because it’s lined with cafés, bars and restaurants, means it is not unusual to see city slickers next to beach babes and surfer types. Justmarbella.co.uk writes: “There are many water activities. The sea is of an excellent hygiene level and the beach obtained a Blue Flag in 1992.”
One of the most glamorous beachside venues is Nikki Beach Marbella, which is part of a global chain of luxury beach clubs. This is where the in-crowd comes to bronze themselves on oversized daybeds, dip in and out of the sea, sip champagne cocktails, and then dance to the DJs on the VIP terraces into the early hours of the morning. One reviewer on Tripadvisor writes that it is “still the best in the Marbella area!”
Although only a few kilometres away, Artola-Cabopino beach feels like it’s in a different country. One of the least developed stretches of coastline, the beach is backed by protected sand dunes and Mediterranean pines, and it has a wonderfully relaxed vibe. “A very nice sandy beach with good restaurants nearby” is how one Tripadvisor contributor described it. The western end has become popular with nudists and the gay community.
Discover Marbella’s past in the historic quarter. Get gloriously lost and explore the beautiful labyrinth of 16th century streets and squares where the scent of orange blossom hangs in the air. “A great place to watch the world go by”, says a Tripadvisor review.
For adrenaline junkies, Funny Beach is high on the agenda. Crash through the waves on high-powered jet skis or race your friends on the go-karting track, amongst other activities on offer. One blogger writes, “One of my most fun memories of Spain was getting some serious air time on a jet ski” and if all that’s too much, there’s a beach and a bar where you’re able to just chill out.
The best of the best of Marbella map
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The best websites and forums
For more information read Hassle Free Marbella
- Tripadvisor’s busy Marbella forum will give detailed opinions: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowForum-g187439-i318-Marbella_Costa_del_Sol_Andalucia.html
- An insider guide written by a local expat family who rank their top ten beaches and give reasons why: http://www.marbellafamilyfun.com/marbella-beaches.html
- Online travel guide and forum that is updated daily: http://www.marbella-guide.com/
- The virtual tourist forum has great suggestions for beaches and outings, plus some good images of the town: http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Europe/Spain/Andalucia/Marbella-261748/TravelGuide-Marbella.html