The city of Malaga has three different types of beaches, each one with special characteristics. The first group comprises the beaches of the eastern part of the city, up to the Rincón de la Victoria at the beginning of the Axarquía. The substratum is mostly limestone with some metamorphic rocks, and there are many cliffs and little coves. The sand of the beaches is a medium-fine one with gravel. The slope of the beaches is considerable, reaching up to 22%. The beaches in this category are the Peñón del Cuervo, la Cueva, Torre de las Palomas, la Araña and the Hornillo. The two major landmarks of this stretch of coastline are the Peñón del Cuervo and the Pleasure Port of El Candado.
The second group of beaches comprises those that extend from the Port of Malaga to the Pleasure Port of El Candado. They have metamorphic substrata, mostly slate; the sand is thick, with abundant stones in the most easterly ones. They are of a stable or regressive nature, and the Coastal Authorities have managed to convert them into beautiful beaches. Bordered by the Pablo Ruíz Picasso Seaside Promenade, these urban beaches include La Farola, La Malagueta (perhaps the most representative and the closest to the old historic part of the city), La Caleta, Baños del Carmen, Pedregalejo, Las Acacias, El Palo and El Dedo (or El Chanquete).
The third group extends from the Guadalmedina riverbed to the limit of the Torremolinos municipality. These are long, wide (average of 30-45m), sandy beaches with siliceous carbonate substrata and average slopes of 14%. Together they are 15km long, and include San Andrés, Misericordia, Guadalhorce, Guadalmar and the Golf Parador. At present work is underway on the Antonio Machado Seaside promenade and its extension to Guadalmar, which will then connect to the western side of the Costa del Sol.
In recent years great efforts have been devoted to regenerating and cleaning the beaches of Malaga, and to improving their infrastructures and facilities. As a result of regeneration work, the beach of the Malagueta is 90m wide and 2,500m long. In the near future work will begin to regenerate the beaches of La Misericordia and San Andrés
In the area of Guadalmar there is a clearly marked beach for nudists.
This itinerary along the beaches of Malaga can be complemented with a large variety of leisure activities and places to eat. AEHMA (Association of Hoteliers of the province of Malaga) have created three routes with the many restaurants and "chiringuitos" (litttle beach bars) along the beaches:
Also noteworthy are the seaside promenades Ciudad de Melilla, in the area of the Malagueta, and that of the western-Santa Paula area, with their many bars and terraces full of people, particularly at night.
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