best beaches in southern spain

15+ Best Beaches in Southern Spain (Visit Any Time of Year!)

Spain may be mostly known for its history, culture, and food… but it’s also a mecca for travelers who love basking in the sun and sea. In particular, southern Spain has many absolutely beautiful beaches that are perfect — both in summer and winter! 

It can be tough to narrow down the best beaches in southern Spain as there are so many worthy spots! Here are my picks of southern Spain beaches that you should visit on your next trip whether you’re looking for a beach to relax, get active with water sports, or just feel closer to nature. 

The best part? While these beaches in the south of Spain are an absolute dream in the summer, they are equally wonderful at other times of the year thanks to the temperate weather in this region. What a win! 

Best Beaches in Southern Spain to Relax

These southern Spain beaches are perfect for a fun day out in the sun. Some are small and peaceful, some are crowd-pleasers and full of amenities, and all of them are just stunning in their own ways. 

Check out the best beaches in southern Spain to relax, enjoy, and take in those beach vibes!

1. Playa Matalascañas (Seville/Huelva)

Staying in Seville and just dying for a beach day? Look no further than Playa Matalascañas which is just about an hour’s drive away from the Seville city center. You can also get here by bus from Seville which is super convenient. 

Located along the Huelva coast, this beach in southern Spain offers over 5km of coastline so even in the summer, you can carve out a space for yourself. With fine white sand and gorgeous blue waters, there is a great spot for sunbathing and chilling out with friends and family. There’s also a promenade and amenities available in the urbanized section of the beach, making it a family-friendly spot. 

If you want a bit more quiet, we suggest heading to either end of the beach (near Doñana and Parque Dunar) where it’s more natural and untouched. 

2. Playa La Rijana (Granada)

This beach in Andalucia is popular with locals and it’s an awesome spot for a more peaceful day at the beach. If you’re in Granada, this is a great beach to visit as it’s only an hour away by car. 

This pebble beach is small (only 250m long) and surrounded by dramatic cliffs. As it’s part of a nature reserve, it remains mostly untouched and undeveloped so be sure to bring your own supplies (and take out any trash with you when you leave!). 

For a spot of exploring, check out the ruins of a Roman tower on the east side of the beach. 

3. Playa de las Salinas (Almeria)

The wild beauty of Playa de las Salinas undoubtedly makes it one of the best beaches in southern Spain. Located not far from Almeria, this beach is best accessed by car and there’s ample parking available. 

When you arrive, explore the old church near the beach or head straight to the sand and crystal clear waters for some R&R. As the beach is located in the Cabo de Gata natural park, it’s a great spot for bird-watching. 

This wide stretch of beach is ideal for slow walks, taking in the warm sunshine, or playing beach games.

4. La Manga (Murcia)

You’ll be spoilt for choice in La Manga. This summer hotspot in Murcia is home to some of the best southern Spain beaches, thanks to its 21km of coast. With the Mediterranean Sea on one side and Mal Menor on the other side, this is a unique location that offers a lot. 

Here you’ll find sandy white beaches, beautiful blue waters, and lots of amenities like sunbed rentals, bars, and restaurants. The calm waters make it family-friendly, and if you want some activity, water sports such as canoeing, diving, and windsurfing are also available.

There’s something for everyone in La Manga so it’s no surprise that it’s a popular travel destination especially in the summer! You can get to La Manga by car or by bus from Cartegena and Murcia. 

5. Playa Paraíso (Cartagena)

Here’s another awesome beach in southern Spain where you can unwind and relax. Just a 30-minute drive from Cartagena, Playa de Paraiso is a small stretch of beach sandwiched between two other beaches in the area – it can be hard to tell where one beach begins and the other ends!

As part of Mal Menor, this protected area retains its natural beauty and is a haven for birdlife. The waters here are shallow, still, and almost always warm, making it a great place for kids to play. 

While Playa Playa Paraíso is pretty quiet, a short walk away in Playa Honda where you can find restaurants, bars, and other amenities. 

Best Beaches in Southern Spain for Surfing & Water Sports

Looking for a more active day at the beach? These beaches in southern Spain are perfect for water sports whether it’s surfing, jet skiing, diving, snorkeling or kitesurfing. Check them out for some thrills on the water!

6. Playa de Valdevaqueros (Tarifa)

This picture perfect beach is just 10km north of Tarifa and thanks to the waves and strong winds, it’s a mecca for kitesurfing! You won’t miss the mass of kites flowing through the air as you arrive. 

Valdevaqueros is home of Tarifa’s many windsurf and kitesurf competitions and because the bay is sheltered, it’s also a great spot for beginners to pick up the sport. 

On top of the action on the water, there’s 5km of beach to enjoy, along with beach bars offering food and drinks. This is certainly one of the most fun and exciting beach spots in the south of Spain!

7. Playa Zahara de Los Atunes (Cádiz) 

Over 6km of shoreline and turquoise blue waters, this beach in Cadiz is a haven for water sports such as windsurfing and sailing. If you’re a beginner, check out the surf school for some lessons!

Although this beach is popular, there’s loads of space so it doesn’t feel overcrowded. There are also amenities such as changing rooms, showers, and toilets. What’s more, during the summer, there are beach bars and restaurants open. 

If you don’t have a car, you’ll be glad to know that there’s a bus from Cadiz and Seville to this beach. 

8. Playa de Punta Umbria (Huelva)

Here’s another beach that’s popular with windsurfers. Located in the seaside town with the same name, Playa de Punta Umbria offers over 3km of coastline, plus excellent amenities to satisfy any beach go-er. 

The favorable winds here make it a favorite with windsurfers and kitesurfers. There are also other water activities available such as kayaking, a floating water park, banana boats, and paddle surfing. 

This is one beach in southern Spain where you won’t run out of things to do. You can get here by car or by bus from Huelva. 

9. Playa de la Cortadura (Cadiz)

This unspoiled beach just outside of Cadiz boasts a long stretch of shore, great waves, and sand dunes. At the beginning of the season, the waves and winds here attract windsurfers who are looking for a less crowded beach. 

This natural beach is generally peaceful and calm and it’s ideal if you’re looking for a quiet day out. You can get to this beach by car and there are also buses from Cadiz. 

10. Playa de la Hierbabuena (Barbate)

The moderate waves and strong winds at this beach in southern Spain make it a great spot for windsurfing. But that’s not all – you can also dive and fish in this area. 

Located in Barbate, a small village along the Coast de la Luz, Playa de la Hierbabuena is beautiful and peaceful. This natural sandy beach is almost 1km long ad it’s often empty, even during high season. As no amenities are available here, it’s best to come with your own supplies and food and drinks. 

This beach is a bit more remote; it is best accessed by car and it’s within walking distance from the village of Barbate. 

southern spain beaches

Best Beaches in Southern Spain for Nature

The south of Spain is full of beautiful nature and these beaches and coves are some of the best places to bask in it!

11.  Cabopino (Fuengirola)

This small beach located in Fuengirola is small and can be easy to miss. Popular with locals, Cabopino has a lot to offer. 

There’s a small marina plus restaurants and bars to while away your day. But for a nature-filled day, explore the paths around the town and the well-preserved sand dunes. Walking along the wooden tral offers awesome views of the coast! You also have the option on a boat trip or a dolphin-watching excursion.

Of course, the beach itself is beautiful with a wide stretch of sand and gentle blue waters. 

Cabopino is easily accessible by car and there’s also a public bus from Fuengirola. 

12. Playa de Maro (Nerja)

Playa de Maro is a hidden gem as far as beaches in Andalucia go. Surrounded by lush greenery, this 500m beach is great for a day out in nature. 

You can rent kayaks or paddle boards and explore the coastline, cliffs, and caves in the area. Snorkeling is also great here as the water in crystal clear and there’s abundant sea life. If you prefer to take in the views from the sand, sun beds are available for rent. 

Maro Beach is best accessed by car and it’s a short drive from Nerja. 

13. Playa Bolonia (Tarifa)

The sand dunes and mesmerizing blue waters of this natural beach make Playa Bolonia a favorite with nature lovers. Located just outside of Tarifa, this beach in southern Spain is one to visit, no matter what if you’re active or prefer just laying on the beach. 

For those who love getting on the water, you can rent kayaks, paddle boards, or kite/windsurfs. To soak in the sun, be sure to bring your own gear as there are no sunbed or parasol rentals here. But there are some beach restaurants and bars and other facilities. 

For more nature, check out the sand dunes and nature trails around the beach — on a clear day, if you find a high vantage point, you might be able to spot Africa!

You’ll need a car to get to Playa Bolonia but in the summer months, there’s a bus from Tarifa. 

14. Playa de los Genoveses (Almeria)

Located in the Cabo de Gata natural park, it’s no surprise that Playa de los Genoveses is an awesome beach for nature. 

With fine white sand and calm blue waters, this beach offers a peaceful spot for relaxation, swimming, and snorkeling. It’s also a great place for birdwatching (go to the small visitor center for information on the wildlife in the park!).

There are no high-rise buildings or large hotels in the area, which helps to preserve the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape. As there are no facilities available except for toilets, it’s best to come prepared for this beach day. 

Given how remote Playa de los Genoveses is, it’s best accessed with a car. 

15. Cala de Roche (Cadiz)

Known for its crystal-clear waters and rugged coastal scenery, Cala de Roche is an awesome beach to soak in the beauty of nature. 

This beach in Cadiz is pretty small but that’s not a problem as it’s not as well-known. Its secluded location makes it easy to escape the crowds and just relax and unwind in a natural setting. 

Swimming and snorkeling in these warm waters is just perfect, while the backdrop of cliffs and rocks adds some drama to the scenery. Be sure to bring your own supplies or buy them in the nearby town of Barbate as there are no facilities at Cala de Roche. 

You can get here by car (note that the access road is a dirt road) or take the hiking trail from Barbate. It’ll be worth the effort! 

16. Playa El Palmar (Cádiz)

Want to enjoy the Mediterranean sun on an idyllic beach? Check out Playa El Palmar in Cadiz which is known for its sandy dunes and clear waters. 

This beach in the south of Spain is great for activities such as swimming, water sports, hiking, and birdwatching. The rural setting (which is a protected natural area) makes it ideal to enjoy nature! And with amenities such as cute little beach bars, sun beds and umbrellas for rent, and toilets and showers, you’ll be set for a comfortable day out. 

It’s more convenient to get to this beach if you have your own car but you can also get there by public transportation. 

Best Beaches in Southern Spain for Partying

If your idea of a good time involves dancing, drinks, and partying the day (and night!) away, there are some great spots along the southern coast of Spain to scratch that party itch!

17. Playa de la Malagueta (Malaga)

This popular beach in Malaga is one of the best beaches in the south of Spain for partying. This sandy beach that spans 1.5km is easily accessible as it’s located near the city center.

During the day, this beach is a great spot for sunbathing, relaxing, and taking part in water sports such as jet skiing, kitesurfing and windsurfing. 

When the sun sets, the beach’s proximity to the city center makes it super convenient to access the nightlife in both parts of the town. The beach bars and clubs offer a lively atmosphere for drinks and dancing. During the summer, you can also enjoy beach parties which often attract big crowds! 

18. Nikki Beach (Marbella)

A list of the best beaches for partying in the south of Spain wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the world-famous Nikki Beach. 

Located in the glamorous seaside town of Marbella, Nikki Beach is reputed to be one of the best spots for partying… but be ready to spend some serious cash for some good times at this high-end beach club! 

Nikki Beach is open from April to October and they have an ending calendar of parties and events so there’s sure to be something amazing going on during your visit. In the summer months, it’s best to book your beds well in advance to avoid disappointment! 

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