Top 3 Costa Tropical Beaches

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Just east of the more popular Costa del Sol is this lesser-trodden stretch of shoreline with a far less touristy vibe than many of the neighbouring Costas.

As a result, you’ll find far more off-the-beaten-track beaches in this part of Andalusia than you will elsewhere. Although there’s a real mix of sandy and pebble beaches along the Costa Tropical, what they all have in common is beautiful mountainous backdrops, a laidback scene that’s far removed from the party towns dotted along many of the other coasts, and plenty of places to try out some watersports.

Take the tiny town of La Herradura for example. Four beaches can be found here, including the relatively small Playa Berengueles, which arcs along the coast for just 100 metres. This sand and pebble bay is especially popular with scuba divers, but with very few amenities nearby it’s not a big hit with tourists. For a somewhat busier beach, La Herradura’s main stretch is a 2000-metre long strip of coarse sand and small pebbles that’s especially popular with families. And with plenty of restaurants and shops nearby, as well as a thriving watersports scene, it’s one of the busier beaches along the Costa Tropical.

For the widest choice of beaches along the Costa Tropical, Almunecar is the place to be. There are 10 in total here, with plenty of family-friendly spots and a mix of sandy and pebble beaches, which all come with a rugged cliff backdrop for company. There’s a couple of designated nudist beaches too - Playa Muerto and Playa Cantarrijan.

  • 1. Playa Calahonda

    Playa Calahonda
    © Rober Martinez

    The last beach on the Costa Tropical before it turns into the Costa Almeria, Playa Calahonda lies south of Granada around a small village of the same name that manages to maintain an authentic regional air and lacks the large hotel developments of elsewhere on the Andalusian coast.

    Protected by a headland on its eastern side, and with cliffs to its rear, the beach is a sheltered one, with an ambience… read more »

  • 2. La Rijana

    La Rijana

    Accessed via a stepped path running down through coastal cliffs, Playa La Rijana is made up of a small stretch of dark – almost grey – sand and pebbles roughly 250 by 50 metres in size. Otherwise entirely enclosed by the cliffs that surround it and hold the road, its attractive situation among rocky coastline offers a feeling of seclusion.

    Located between the small towns of Calahonda and Castell del… read more »

  • 3. Playa Cantarriján

    Playa Cantarriján

    Situated just west of La Herradura, Playa Cantarriján is comprised of two areas of sand divided by a large formation of rock that looks almost as if it has tumbled from the surround of stunning tree-covered cliffs.

    One of Andalusia's more virgin beaches, Playa Cantarriján lies within the boundaries of the Paraje Natural de los Acantilados de Maro Cerro Gordo nature reserve, limiting the amount of development that can take place… read more »