Playa del Palo - peaceful town beach with four sandy bays
Playa del Palo is a beach in Andalusia on the Costa del Sol, close to the city of Málaga. You can get there very easily in just a few minutes on one of the public transport buses that head east from the harbour area in Málaga. Get off when you get to the small town of El Palo. If you travel by car you will find parking spaces close to the beach, either free of charge or quite reasonably priced. However, at weekends in summer it can get difficult to park nearby.
Playa del Palo consists of four semi-circular bays with fine, fairly dark sand, divided by breakwaters made of large, light-coloured stones. Access to the water slopes very gently, which makes the beach especially popular with families with small children and older people. Most visitors are Spanish holidaymakers, with local folk adding to their numbers at evenings and weekends.
In several places there are loungers and straw beach umbrellas for rent, mostly from the adjacent restaurants. In addition, at the back of the beach, at intervals of 10 to 20 metres, there are some small grassy islands which serve as free sunbathing areas shaded by palm trees. In between there are toilets, showers and several children's playgrounds, as well as a small building with sanitary facilities tailored to the needs of mobility-impaired people. Where barrier-free access is concerned, Playa del Palo sets a good example to other beaches.
Also at the back of the beach are some barbecue huts in front of which fresh fish is grilled. Most of the grills are shaped like traditional fishing boats. The main types of fish on offer are sardines, sea bream, calamari, octopus, cuttlefish and squid. The boats that bring in most of the catch are part and parcel of the appearance of the beach. The barbecue huts belong to the restaurants on the promenade behind the beach, which serve most of their guests at the outdoor seating on the promenade itself. In between there are several more kiosks, bars and cafés.
At Playa del Palo there's not much going on for water sports enthusiasts. There are just a few kayak rental stands, which also rent out bikes and SUP boards for stand up paddling. To make up for that, though, there are plenty of possibilities for sporting activity on dry land: football pitches and basketball courts are available, as well as fitness equipment. The promenade is great for jogging. If you want to run a really long way, you can get as far as the harbour at Málaga along the neighbouring beaches.
You won't find big hotels or posh holiday apartments on Playa del Palo beach promenade. Some of the owners of the small beach cottages and flats have been living here themselves for ages. Although there are those who rent out their homes to holidaymakers in summer, on the whole life here is more like being in a friendly Spanish residential quarter than on a tourist-oriented town beach. The town of El Palo is also known for having a large population of students and language students. Accordingly, prices and value for money are better on Playa del Palo than on the more popular beaches at Málaga to the west.