Center of sun and sand tourism, Andalucía's best beach hotels can be found all along the coastline, from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Mediterranean in the east. To help you choose the perfect foray into the region, here are just a few of Andalucía's best beach hotels, divided by location rather than rating.
Warm, sunny, sandy and exotic enough to feel fresh and mysterious, Andalucía is a temptation for many. This is the kind of place you'll need to revisit and revisit and revisit. The Costa del Sol is here, but so are the mesmerising coastal towns of Cadiz, Tarifa and Almería, all of which beguile with their history as well as their gorgeous, sun-drenched beaches.
The Costa de la Luz is less well known than the Costa del Sol, but it's right next door, between sunny, sandy del Sol and Portugal's beautiful Algarve. Is this the plain bit of coastline between two spectacular bits? Not at all! The Costa de la Luz has mountains of white sand dunes and views which stretch across stunningly clear waters to Africa. And atop of the pine-clad hills are the pueblos blancos - the whitewashed towns dating back from a time when Moorish culture thrived here. Peaceful, with charm faintly fading under the sun, the Costa de la Luz operates on a slow, relaxed pace. And the Spanish have been holidaying here as their first choice for years. Which is why the Costa de la Luz has some of Andalucía's best beach hotels.
On the furthest tip of Spain, Tarifa is Andalucia's last stop before Morocco, and a great choice for people wanting to explore the region's North African influences. From the Moroccan fusion food to the architecture, to the wind itself. And Tarifa has some of Andalucía's best beach hotels if you want to be near pristine, protected beaches or do some windsurfing!
Now in its fourth millennia, Cadiz is thought to be the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in Europe, and it's an excellent choice for people who appreciate their sun and sand seeped in history. The old heart of town is almost completely surrounded by water now, and the Atlantic crashes gustily at the crumbling sea wall. But there's plenty of energy in the locals, who're known for their ironic Carnival and their cheerful flamenco songs.
For pristine peace, the Coto Donana National Park is an Andalucían highlight: thirty kilometres of white virgin sand backed by a wetland reserve which is one of the major stop off points of numerous international bird migrations.
In the 60s the Costa del Sol was the package holiday destination in Spain. And, while it's still got the sun, sandy beaches, friendly Mediterranean climate and lively resorts, these days the Costa del Sol has begun to pride itself on its culture just as much as its idyllic weather.
Don't be put off by the 'airport hub' first impression, at Malaga's heart is a beautiful historic centre, and all the wonderful history you might expect from an old Mediterranean port city. It's also been invested in, and in recent years this has meant the openings of several new museums and extensive restoration of 'the pretty bits'.
Just outside Malaga is foodie heaven: the charming, Moorish village of Benahavis, known for its food, markets and seven golf courses.
One of the best known resort towns on the Costa del Sol, there's more to Marbella than sunshine, the Med, and a good time. Once a whitewashed fishing village, the Old Town is a fascinating blend of Andalucían and Moorish cultures.
Just south of Marbella is Puerto Banus, a luxury marina marketed as Spain's St. Tropez. If you want to be wowed by super yachts and sports cars and an endless row of high-end boutiques, this is where you'll find Andalucía's best beach hotels.
If you want all the sunshine, but a milder climate, green mountains meeting you at the coast, good value and limited development, the Costa Tropical has some of Andalucía's best beach hotels. It's taken longer for the tourist train to roll into these towns and here the cost of living is lower, there's friendly, traditional hospitality and raw beauty. But of course you're also close to the cultural riches of Granada and Malaga.
Almuñécar has been a port for about 3000 years and has been colonised by a succession of seafaring folk - influencing the look of today's town, an amazing maze of narrow, cobbled streets overlooked by the impressive Arab castle, Castillo de San Miguel. If you're looking for a quiet, out of the way spot, this is where you'll find some of Andalucía's best beach hotels.
Almuñécar also has a quiet, secluded marina, just ten minutes west of town, which is a great spot for diving, snorkelling, waterskiing, sailing and swimming. La Herradura is a picturesque fishing village just ten minutes to the east.
Sunniest region in all of Spain, the coastline around Almería is also the quietest part of Spain's Mediterranean coastline. To the south of town are some of Spain's last salt flats, and the flocks of flamingos who adore the salt flat conditions. If you're lucky you may see monk seals in the clear waters off the coast. There are abandoned gold mines in the interior and the old town is topped by the Alcazaba, a impressive 10th Century Moorish castle fortress.
Nothing amongst our pick of Andalucia's best beach hotels for you? Check out all our recommended properties in Andalucia.
Tarifa, Cadiz, Costa de La Luz
Wonderful, relaxed beachside hotel in sub-tropical gardens, with views to Africa from the pool. Simple rooms with terracotta colours and white washed walls. Easy access to sporting activities. Ideal for families.
A stylish and elegant hotel just outside the old town. Luxurious, but simple rooms and suites - and apartments dotted around the old town in case you're looking for flexibility. A divine courtyard to have breakfasts in. A great spot to relax in after a hard day kite surfing.
Renovated and tranquil hotel in Mozarabic style, full of character. Andaluz, rustic or colonial styled rooms with terracotta hues, Moroccan-style hand-carved arches and wooden beams. Fantastic traditional buffet style breakfasts. Close to the beach and ideal for local exploring.
Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Costa de La Luz
Rambling and quirky Andalucian pousada full of collected antiques and curios. Tiled courtyards, large reception rooms, white-washed walls, airy and spacious wooden-beamed bedrooms. A characterful spot with a large sun terrace and proximity to the beach.
Málaga, Costa del Sol
Designer boutique hotel in the centre of Malaga. Zebra prints, white leathers, minimalist lines. A relaxed ambience in truly chic city style.
Benahavis, Malaga, Costa del Sol
Charming small hotel and restaurant with friendly owners in a Moorish mountain village. A short drive from the coast. Great food and pool in historic hilltop village location. Cosy country styled rooms. Ideal Andalusian escape.
A chic boutique B&B with individual cottages sprawling through beautiful flora and fauna gardens. Set on a hilltop overlooking the Mediterranean and Marbella. An ideal location for a weekend wedding or a group/family holiday.
Marbella (Calle Ancha)
Sophisticated and elegantly restored 17th century townhouse, in Marbellas old town. The seven chic and individual rooms feature Moorish-style arched doorways, peaked timbered ceilings and understated contemporary touches. Sunlit interior patio, gourmet dining and rooftop terrace. Totally unique.
A golf, spa and beach resort that offers a unique experience. Elegant in its classic style and luxurious with its outstanding facilities. Located in a natural paradise on the shores of the Mediterranean. An oasis of relaxation for families or those seeking something princely.
A gorgeous old mill renovation surrounded by magnificent gardens and olive groves on the edge of the Sierra Nevada. Rustic chic room and family suites have fireplaces, brightly painted walls, wooden beams and stone floors. Fabulous local restaurant, pool, and masses to do in the park. Fantastic.
A good Four Star option in central Almeria. An attractive townhouse with contemporary rooms, outdoor pool, gastro-bar, and meeting facilities. A stylish spot, family friendly too.