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Beach Life (Part 1) - Cabopino

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A carpet of white sand looking out over infinite azure waters framed by the swaying fronds of palm trees… Okay, that’s more likely to be somewhere in the Caribbean of Pacific, and no, Marbella is not exactly renowned for its pearlesque beaches, but that doesn’t mean to say that we don’t have some fine stretches of coastline right here in our doorstep.

Best know, of course, are the beaches of Puerto Banús, San Pedro Alcántara, Estepona and the glamorous stretch along the Golden Mile, yet there are many hidden corners all along the coast just waiting to be discovered. Some take a little effort to find, hidden behind apartment complexes or on little-used exits off the coastal road, but you will be rewarded with a lovely stretch of sand away from the madding crowds.

Description: Puerto Banus beach

Puerto Banus beach

Of beach life is more of a social affair, then stepping straight off the beachside promenade and onto the hot sand is the thing to do. Just make sure there’s a chiringuito beach bar nearby and you’re in heaven. Even within such a setting there is the choice of the laid-back Spainish atmosphere of Estepona beach, the trendy flavour of Banús or the more businesslike approach at San Pedro beach, where joggers and serious sunbathers predominate.

Even in downtown Marbella you’ve never more than a few streets away from the beach. In fact, the Paseo Marítimo, Marbella’s long seaside promenade, is like a grand boulevard dedicated to pedestrians. Here you can lounge by day, party by night or seek relaxation on the water’s edge, blissfully unaware that in the town behind you others might be toiling away at their desks.

Description: Paseo Marítimo Sunset Beach Club

Paseo Marítimo Sunset Beach Club

Newcomers will invariably be drawn to these, the most visible and easily accessible stretches of our coast, but residents and regular visitors alike may just want to shake things up a bit by heading outwards and finding their own favourite little spot on the Costa. Here are a few that offer a good variety of different experiences.

Cabopino

In itself quite famous, it is one of those beaches you need to know how to find. Just exit the coastal CN340 at the Cabopino turn off, follow the roundabout in the direction of the Puerto Cabopino marina and then turn right onto a sand track that soon re-emerges as an asphalt drive leading directly to a car park on the edge of the dunes.

Description: Cabopino beach

Cabopino beach

Left of you is the beach side of Cabopino Port, straight ahead the sea and to your right an extension of beach flanked by dunes and pine trees. Come here early and you’ll see people walking their dogs and strolling along the beach, but leave it a little late and you might start blushing, for this is a quasi-official nudist beach popular with lovers of the all-over tan.

A lot of beachgoers therefore opt for the sunbeds on the Cabopino side, where a skimpy bikini or Speedos is the minimum requirement. With the waiter service from a nearby Chiringuito at your disposal, you can gaze across the Mediterranean as you drink in the sun. Kids are free to charge around and burn up some of that energy, and if all that beach work gets you puckish there’s a good choice of restaurants and cafés at the pretty little marina just round the corner.

Description: Chiringuito at Cabopino beach

Chiringuito at Cabopino beach

From this point on the coast you can see the sweep of the shoreline, with Marbella in the distance, though not quite as well as from the ancient watchtower that more or less demarcates the nudist and semi-clad sections of beach. Built at a time when Barbary Corsairs pillaged the Southern Mediterranean’s shores, it forms part of a network of towers that extends all along the coast. High up on top, guardsmen would light fires to warn local inhabitants to ‘head for the hills’ when they saw the dreaded sails appear on the horizon.

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