In Malaga we have several beaches and from this article you will see which are the worse, because using the word “better” in connection with the beaches in Malaga would be an overstatement. Of course, if you come from a place where you don’t have a sea and you’ve never seen any nicer beaches in your life, then Malaga should be fine, but otherwise you will be disappointed.
There is a story about Malagueta beach, that says originally there were no sand on the Malagueta, which pretty much means there was no beach there at all. So Malaga city bought sand from Africa and made this artificial beach. As you will learn about Spanish people in Malaga during your stay, they are not necessarily aim for the best quality when it comes buying services or products, they tend to favor the low price over the quality, so they managed to buy the lowest quality sand. And that is why the “sand” on the Malagueta beach is basically not sand but more like dirt, dust or whatever you want that terrible thing.
I believe that the sand buying story is plain bullshit, because the sand on the Malagueta, is the exact same as on all the other beaches in Malaga. It sounds much more realistic that they simply used sand mining boats to fill the beach with sand from the sea, or they transported this terrible dirt from the inland. I asked some local people and they also didn’t hear about the “sand buying” story nor I could find any official proof/reference. So this African sand buying story is simply a hoax.
Of course, the source of the sand is not the most important thing about the beaches in Malaga, but the quality is. As I mentioned it’s not sand, it’s a very fine dust like thing. It’s not golden or white… it’s more gray or even black, sticking to anything and everything, making everything dirty, and it’s very hard to get rid of it. Sometimes it takes two or three showers to become semi-clean after a beach day in Malaga. Anyway, it’s better than nothing, so enjoy the beaches of Malaga:
The main, most famous central beach is the Malagueta. Most of the tourists go there because that is the closest one to the city center. It has several little restaurants which are called “Chiringuitos” in Spanish. The beach is overall nice, during the season the city cleans it every night with special trucks, which is absolutely necessary because the people here are super dirty and untidy. It’s common that people go to the beach with food and drinks, which is perfectly fine, but then they leave all the garbage behind.
I can’t imagine what can be so super urgent in Spain that they have to run away so fast from the beach that they don’t have time to pick up their garbage when they leave. This is generally true to the whole city, not just to the beach. Local people are tend to leave dirt everywhere they can, even if there is a trashcan in every 50 meters so it’s really challenging to find a spot where I can’t dispose my garbage gracefully.
During the off season the beaches, including the Malagueta are pretty empty, while during the summer season they are normally pretty crowded, but you don’t have to worry you will always find a spot to put your beach towel and settle down. As an alternative option you can rent sunbeds for a couple of euros/day.
The best beach in Malaga is the Pedregalejo beach, it has been even awarded a blue flag which is supposedly an international sign of nice and clean beaches. Of course, this special status results in all the people coming here which results in an overcrowded beach full of trash, so at the end it’s not better than any other beach in Malaga. The biggest difference is that on the Pedregalejo beach there are many restaurants and bars right next to the beach, so if you want to have a nice meal, ice cream or cocktails this is the best place for you. After getting drunk in the local bars the beach will look immediately much nicer, so I think this is how this place got the blue flag in the first place.
There are slightly less tourists there because this beach is far from the city center. You can go there using the bus No. 3. and 11. or by car, bicycle, motorbike, etc.
Peñón del Cuervo Beach
This beach is actually not in Malaga, it’s right outside the city limits. It worth to mention however because this is one of the two places in Malaga where you are allowed to to barbecue on the beach. Also, this beach has a big rock, that you can climb and jump to the water from it, if you are into some excitement. The beach here is cleaner than any other beach in Malaga, because it’s shore is covered by little rocks instead of sand. In the water you can snorkel and see some not really interesting fishes swimming around, just like in a budget version of the movie, Finding Nemo.
However, this beach is super far from everything, there is no local bus coming here, so you need a car to access it, or 15 minutes of walk from nearest bus stops of the buses No.3 or 11. Also, there is absolutely no toilet available, no restaurants, no sunbeds and shade to rent, nothing, except a shower on the beach. If you want to come to this beach, you have to carry everything with you, because there is no bar or shop to buy anything.
Malagueta, Pedregalejo and Peñón del Cuervo. These three beaches that are worthy to mention on the eastern side of Malaga, or if it’s easier for you, if you face the sea at the Muelle Uno then these three beaches are on your left hand side. Let’s see what is on the other side!
In the middle of Malaga there is the port, which divides the eastern and western beaches of Malaga. The nice part of the port with shops and yachts is called the Muelle Uno, the industrial part with huge cranes and cargo ships is called… nothing, I guess. Also there is a river in the middle of Malaga which is usually just a river band without any water in it, but at the estuary there is some water, sewage and stuff going straight to the sea. And guess what, all that nasty stuff goes to the…
The Misericordia beach is a very long and funny beach. On funny I mean for example that it has two chimneys, just because the Malaga city hall has to compensate something just like men does in their mid-life crisis, showing off with big read sport cars. Well, Malaga does the same with chimneys.
Otherwise, the beach is pretty much the same as Malagueta, including the dirty “sand” too. It has showers, little restaurants and bars, so it’s pretty well equipped. There are more local people here and less tourists compared to Malagueta, because this beach is farther from the city center. But that is not the only reason why tourist don’t go to this beach, at least not more than once. As I mentioned earlier, this beach starts right next to the river. When tourists from the city center are in their exploring mood and they pass the port, they usually settle down on the beginning of the Misericordia beach, right next to the river estuary.
If you want to do yourself a favor DO NOT GO to that part of the beach, which I just call: “The condom beach”. I gave that name based on the two times when I came to this part of the beach, and truth to be told, on both times I saw a used condom on the beach or floating on the water. I could call it bloody tampon beach too, but I decided condom beach sounds better and just as expressive. I guess you get the point, so do yourself a favor and avoid this beach.
Think about this for a moment: On every beach in Malaga there are some public toilets, mostly next to or in restaurants on the beach, which are called “Chiringuitos” as you already know. Not like anyone is using the toilets… there are thousands of people every day on Malagueta beach for example while there is a single toilet, which is barely used. You might ask… where all that pee going? Well, don’t worry about that, the water quality is supposedly “excellent”. And anyway, why would you worry about the pee of a couple of thousand people when there are billions of fishes and birds who are using the sea as a toilet to pee and poo every day? Maybe that is why the sea is salty… (ಠ_ಠ)
The same applies to the Miserocordia beach, which is several kilometers long. Just because the beginning of the beach is super dirty because of the river estuary, the other parts of the beach are just as good and clean as the Malagueta. Which is a funny statement considering the opening statement of this article about the quality of beaches in Malaga.
San Julián Beach (Guadalmar Beach)
Playa del San Julián is the official nudist beach of Malaga, as away from the center as possible. In Spain being topless on any beach is perfectly fine for women, so you can proudly show the results of your expensive boob job around the beach without wearing a top. Doesn’t matter how young, old, beautiful or ugly you are, if you are comfortable with it and your religion lets you, then you can show the world what you got.
Unlike in some other countries, in Spain you won’t get a fine just because you are showing your breasts on the beach. But showing your genitals is a different thing, you can only flash those on the San Julián Beach.
To get to this beach, you need a car, or you can use the bus No.5 to get to Carretera Campo de Golf-Arrajainal, Bus stop ID: 1036 and then walk another 10 minutes to the beach.
This beach is special for one more reason, it’s also the only kitesurfing beach in Malaga. That means during the season you are only allowed to kiteboard here. I guess the city hall hates the kitesurfers just as much as nudist people, so they got banished to the same beach. I asked around why isn’t kite surfing allowed on the other beaches of Malaga, and the answer was that, because it’s dangerous. Kitesurfers has 25m long lines attaches to their kites and swimmers can get strangled by those and drown. Well, does that mean, that the city hall don’t care if nudist people get strangled and drown?
I believe that in every bad thing there is a good thing as well, so instead of feeling sorry for the drowned nudist people killed by kitesurfers, let’s enjoy the opportunity that just opened on this beach: You can kitesurf naked!
What are the rules of using the beaches in Malaga?
The city hall love rules, and of course there are a lot of rules too when it comes to using the beach. Fortunately they don’t really enforce most of the rules.
As you can see on the included photo, the rules are simple. If you have a white dog, it can’t come to the beach and you should not setup a tent on the beach, but you are allowed to levitate trash above the trashcan. You should not use WIFI, but you can call for help from 11-20h otherwise keep your problems for yourself. Something with information? You can fish on the beach from 21h until 10h, but you should not play a game with a ball and rackets. You should not water sand castles or use shower gel when you have a shower. You should also not light a fire or enter the beach by car or leave trash one the beach. And at last but not least, you are allowed to be disabled.
Malaga is so modern that you can even download an iOS/AndroidApp: “Playas de Malaga” which is in my opinion as useless as it can be. Except, if you want to throw a barbecue on the beach, because supposedly to do that you need to ask for a permission that you can do using this application. However, no one ever asked for the permission when we had barbecues on the beach. As I mentioned earlier, there are only two beaches where barbecue is allowed. On the other beaches, such as Malagueta, Pedregalejo, Misericordia, you are NOT allowed to have a barbecue party, unless maybe if it’s the night of San Juan.
What to drink on the beach in Malaga?
While you are getting nicely roasted on the beach, you will notice people walking around shouting stuff like: “Coca Cola, Fanta, Cerveza!” They are some local “entrepreneurs” trying to make some money by selling cold drinks. You can buy bottled drinks from them, that is fine, but I suggest skipping the cocktails.
Once I saw a report about these cocktails, one of the TV station followed one of these guys to see where they get the cocktails from. Most of us would think that they are working for the little restaurants on the beach but sometimes it’s not the case. They are just buying some ingredients in a grocery store and they mix it together to have a cocktail while they are sitting on the pavement. Obviously, they don’t care about the food safety regulations, so it’s a gamble where the grand prize that you can win is a diarrhea.
Fishing on the beach in Malaga?
From time to time you might see fisherman on beach. Don’t be fooled, they are not really fisherman, they are just Spanish people with a long fishing rods. They are not there to catch fish, they are just spending time in a way that doesn’t count as doing nothing. After some hours even if they don’t catch anything – and believe me, they don’t – they can still say to their wives that they were fishing, but it was not a lucky day. Like… it was ever. There are simply no fishes around here, at least not big ones. Even if they catch something that can be used maximum as bait for the next fishing.
Water sports on the beaches of Malaga?
In Malaga capital the only allowed water sport as mentioned earlier is peeing into the sea. If you wish for something more, then you need to visit Torremolinos or the other small cities on the coast. They have everything you can just imagine, while here in Malaga you can’t rent a Jetsky, you can’t surf or kite-surf, there are no other attractions such as a motorboat towing your with a parachute or on a big inflatable yellow banana, you are not allowed to do anything. For some reason the city hall of Malaga doesn’t like these stuff and doesn’t allow it. I guess because it would bother the older people who happen to have much more money and less noisy, and less annoying than the youngsters.
And that is strange because there are many other cities where they have designated places on the beach for water sports, well separated from the swimmers by buoys. But, not in Malaga for some reason. Conclusion: If you are retired or you are in that age when the most excitement that you can handle is a mild cherry aftertaste in your wine, then Malaga is certainly the perfect place for you!
Where do I find nicer beaches in Malaga area?
If you want to visit some nicer beaches nearby, I suggest checking out Nerja or Fuengirola. But of course, you can go farther to Tarifa or Cadiz for example and enjoy the Atlantic beach with beautiful golden sand.