12 Top-Rated Beaches in Marbella
Author Michael Law spent 10 weeks traveling through southern Spain in 2022, checking out the beaches and coastal towns.
The beaches near Marbella are some of the best on the Costa del Sol. You can find happening beaches in built-up places with sunbeds, umbrellas, and beach restaurants, or wide-open natural beaches backed by sand dunes and pine trees. In both areas are soft-sand stretches of beach lined with clear and usually calm waters.
Beach walking and biking here are some of the best in Spain, with a beach walkway that runs from Marbella all the way to Puerto Banus, a distance of roughly 10 kilometers.
The local government does a good job of keeping the beaches looking good. Each night, they are cleaned with machinery that fluffs the sand and picks up any debris.
Plan your sun-kissed day at the beaches in Marbella with our list below.
1. Playa Casablanca
By far the best beach in Marbella, Playa Casablanca has it all going on: beautiful sand, a happening scene at the high-end chiringuitos (restaurants), and a palm-treed walkway to boot. The water here is typically calm, clear, and shallow near the shoreline.
Mostly backed by large estates and high-end hotels like the Marbella Club, the beach is rarely overrun, and you'll easily be able to find your perfect patch of sand to set up. You can either find a space to lay out your towel or rent a beach lounger.
It's a fancy crowd here. Expect to see the latest beach fashion wear and designer evening wear at night at the restaurants. Grab a table at La Milla Marbella and see how the jet-setters live.
Parking: As with Playa Nagüeles, parking beachside is impossible, but a large lot is located off Venta los Pacos across N340. An easier option is to park at Playa Fontanilla and walk to the beach.
Accommodation: Best Beach Resorts in Spain
Read More: Best Beaches in Spain
2. Playa Real de Zaragoza
Coming in at a close second to Playa Casablanca is Playa Real de Zaragoza. The main disadvantage of this beach is its proximity to the city, about 15 minutes outside of downtown Marbella. This wonderful beach has a long stretch of natural area with small sand dunes in behind it. Other areas of the beach are backed by private homes and condominiums.
The beach is pleasantly wide and, if the tides are right, has delightful shallow pools of warm water back from the shore break. These pools are ideal for small children to frolic without any danger of being swept away.
Playa Real de Zaragoza is also known for its fantastic beach restaurants. Grab a table and order some of the freshest seafood around.
Parking is generally pretty easy and free in lots back from the beach.
3. Playa de Venus
If you are staying in the Old Town or in the heart of Marbella, this will likely be your beach. All you need to do is stroll down Avenida del Mar past all the amazing Salvador Dali artwork; the park ends right at the beach.
The beach is usually packed with people enjoying the warm, shallow waters. Playa de Venus generally has small waves, as it's protected on both ends by breakwaters.
Excellent restaurants serve tapas along with other more tourist-oriented dishes. Sunbeds and umbrellas are readily available for rent, and waiters will bring you whatever you desire.
Back from the beach is a delightful pedestrian area with large trees, shops, and more restaurants. This walkway runs behind all the beaches, ending at Puerto Banús, roughly 10 kilometers away. Playa Venus abuts Playa de Rio Real, right where the beaches join is a large outdoor workout space. Work up a sweat here while gazing out at the ocean.
4. Cabopino Beach
If you've had enough of the scene on Marbella's beaches and are looking for a more natural place devoid of development, head west to Cabopino Beach. This is the most natural of all the beaches near Marbella boasting an extensive dune system backed by pine trees.
The beach is not overly wide, but it is long, lovely, and has nice sand. The views back towards Marbella are wonderful.
One of the most interesting things about Cabopina beach is the ancient tower standing silently over the seashore. Named Torre Ladrones, it stands over 15 meters high and is the tallest tower near Marbella. It was built to stand as a sentry against invading armies from the south and is well over a thousand years old.
You'll rarely need to worry about finding parking here with the huge (free) lot, making this an excellent, hassle-free beach destination. You won't find any services in the park, but a chiringuito is located just outside the boundaries.
5. Playa de Alicate
Interested in doing a bit of celebrity spotting? If so, head to Playa de Alicate and keep your eyes peeled for Antonio Banderas. The famous movie star has a home on the beach and is occasionally spotted here.
Playa de Alicate has a quasi-natural feel, with a river mouth and sand dunes at one end and a more built-up section where you'll find beach clubs and restaurants. It's a great beach to come for the day, as you can enjoy a bit of natural beach and then stroll down the beach a bit and enjoy a meal overlooking the water.
One of Playa de Alicate's big advantages is the extensive free parking along the roadway leading to the beach.
6. Nikki Beach
The real name of this beach is Playa Las Chapas; however, most people know it by its other name because of the famous Nikki Beach Club. This is a place where people come to see and be seen — count on a young, hip crowd and trendy music.
The beach itself is wide and flat and good for walking. If you head west, you'll end up on Playa Real de Zaragoza. Access is fairly easy but count on a bit of a walk from where you park to the beach unless you are going to the Nikki Beach Club, which has a large parking lot.
A few beach restaurants are along this stretch as is the large Marriott's Marbella Beach Resort.
7. Playa Fontanilla
Pass over a small bridge along the walkway west from Playa Casablanca, and the vibe of the beach changes quite dramatically. Gone is the quiet hard-packed sand walkway, and in its place is a concrete and marble trail crowded with people and restaurants and a beach crowded with sunseekers.
The reason for the change is that back from Playa Fontanilla are large condominium complexes and the western edge of downtown Marbella. This density of accommodation brings more people but also a livelier vibe to the beach. It's definitely more downmarket than Playa Casablanca and Playa Nagüeles but still a fun place to visit.
The best part of the beach is located midway between the bridge separating Playa Fontanilla and Playa Casablanca and the breakwater separating Playa Fontanilla and Playa Faro.
Parking here is relatively easy with large underground lots.
8. Playa Nagüeles
Just a short stroll to the east of Playa Casablanca is the lovely Playa Nagüeles. It's one of the most unique beaches in and around Marbella for the simple reason that it has a pier that you can walk out on.
From the end are wonderful views up and down the coast towards downtown Marbella one way and Puerto Banus the other.
Marine life is prolific around the pier. Cast your eyes downwards into the clear waters and see if you can spot fish swimming around and critters scurrying along the seabed.
Parking near the beach is impossible. Try and find a spot on N340 and make the short walk down Calle Punte Romano to the water.
The beach restaurants along this stretch are some of the best around. They aren't your typical flip-flop and beach cover-up kind of places; count on a dressy crowd that will have likely walked down from their estates back from the beach.
9. Playa del Cable
Just east of the center of Marbella, Playa del Cable is a massive beach where you'll never have trouble finding a spot in the sand. The beach, also known as Playa Bounty, runs for miles and is a perfect place for a long walk in the morning. Later in the day, the beach gets busier, especially in front of Restaurante Playa Padre.
Just offshore, a massive concrete tower provides a glimpse into Marbella's former history as an iron ore mining center. This tower is the only remaining one; the others are long since demolished. It was part of a giant cable-car system that was used to transport the iron ore from the mountains to waiting ships.
The beach flows into Playa de Pinillo where, at the eastern end, you'll find extensive parking.
10. Playa de Nueva Andalucia
A series of circular beaches with breakwaters, this area west of the Puerto Banus marina is the place to come for calm, shallow water.
The beaches are not ideal for beach walking but a delightful boardwalk runs behind the beaches. Along the boardwalk area series of restaurants and the bizarre and ostentatious Grey d'Albion building linked to the Syrian regime, now falling somewhat into disrepair.
Down the way is Ocean Club Marbella, one of the most popular beach clubs in the area. The beaches continue as you head west. The one directly in front of the Mistral Club is delightful, and the restaurant is very popular.
If you're traveling with your dog, continue along the walkway and you'll come across Playa Perro. There's no better beach around for him or her to frolic in the refreshing ocean waters. Somewhat rocky and not suitable for humans, the beach is just perfect for furry four-wheel drivers.
11. Puerto Banús Beach
Just past the port to the east is Puerto Banús Beach. It's a lovely wide stretch of sand and one of the best in the Marbella area. Forgot something for the beach or worked up a hunger? The shops and restaurants of the port area are only a short stroll away.
Kids play soccer here in the afternoons, and an extra wide walkway runs along the back of the beach. If you need a break from the sun, stroll out to the lighthouse tower at the western end of the beach for fantastic views back along the coast.
A longer walk is to the other lighthouse at the far end of the breakwater. From here, you can get the iconic shot of Puerto Banús marina with the mountains in the background.
You'll find plenty of parking in underground lots in the commercial district of Puerto Banús located a very short walk from the beach.
12. Playa Rio Verde
Over the bridge and down the way from Puerto Banús beach you'll find Playa Rio Verde. A very quiet beach backed primarily by private estates and low-rise condo developments. The beach has few services or chiringuitos, but the Ralli Museum, one of the top things to do in Marbella is a short stroll back from the sand.
If you are looking to get away from the crowds, this is the place to come. A free parking lot is located at the far eastern end of the beach by the Torre Ancon (lighthouse) located in the trees.
Marbella, Spain - Climate Chart
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