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Andalucia has over 800 km of coastline most of which is sandy beach. No wonder 'going to the beach' is the single most popular recreational activity for tourists and residents alike.

The sunbathing on beaches generally becomes popular from late May until late September. This is when the Chiringuitos (beach bars) start to open. The sun beds are set out and the paddle rafts and jet skis are prepared for the season. There is a noticable increase in beach popularity during the school holidays and especially in July and August when many residents from Madrid and other cities in Spain arrive on the coast for their annual holiday.

During the winter season the beaches are enjoyed mainly by walkers, joggers and fishermen. Sunbathing is sometimes possible in the winter months as well. On one of the frequent blue sky and non-windy days it will be warm enough to sunbathe and you will have the beach to yourself. Of course, in the most popular resorts like Torremolinos you won't be alone.

There are no private beaches in Spain , you have the right to walk the entire coastline. Recent laws prohibit construction too close to the coast. 'Acceso público a la playa' is a sign you may see. It means 'public access to the beach' probably a right of way over private land leading to the beach.

The coastal strips or costas have been given names. General information about them can be found on the following pages. The Mediterranean seaboard is graced by the Costa de Almeria, Costa Tropical and the glamorous, cosmopolitan Costa del Sol, while the Costa de la Luz lies along the Atlantic shore to the west of Gibraltar.

Andalucia has beaches for all tastes. Wide open golden sandy beaches backed by sand dunes are typical of the Costa de la Luz . Popular bathing beaches with showers and beach bars are typical of the Costa del Sol. Hidden coves reached by paths or tracks down from the cliffs, excellent for snorkelling and diving are typical of the Costa Tropical. Open beaches and hidden coves, some of the quietest around are typical of the Costa de Almeria.