Visiting the Costa del Sol with your dog

Thinking about travelling to Malaga with your dog? Taking your four-legged friend with you to the Costa del Sol for a holiday is a great idea.

In this guide you will find everything you need to know to prepare your trip to the Costa del Sol.

Requirements for entering Spain with a dog

If you are coming to Malaga by plane from another country, the most important thing is to comply with current health regulations, as failure to do so may result in your pet being immobilised in quarantine facilities or being sent back to the country of origin.

The dog must have: Electronic identification system (Microchip), Anti-rabies vaccination and a valid veterinary passport. For some countries, an anti-rabies serological test may also be required on a sample taken 30 days after vaccination and three months before travel, in a laboratory authorised by Spain or the European Union.

  • Consult here the list of laboratories authorised by the European Union.

Talk to your veterinarian well in advance of your trip to find out if for your country of origin is required a serological test.

Also bear in mind that dogs under 3 months of age are not allowed in Spain.

Travelling with a dog by plane

costa del Sol dog travel plane

It is very important before booking your flight to check if your chosen airline allows dogs, as for example Ryanair and Easyjet only allow guide dogs.

However, most airlines (Iberia, Air Europa, Vueling, Lufthansa, Brussels Airlines among them) allow small dogs of up to 5 kilos in the cabin, in an approved carrier (the total weight may not exceed 8 kg), waterproof and with the dimensions authorised for hand luggage.

Larger dogs must travel in the hold of the aircraft, in their approved carrier. This is a more controversial issue, as there have been many reports of dogs dying as a result of travelling in the hold and it is certainly not without risk, so some airlines have already eliminated this option altogether.

The risks are real, dogs die every year and in the USA for example, airlines are legally obliged to share information about deaths or incidents involving animals.

Above all, the risks need to be weighed up if you want to travel during the hot summer months.

Whether your dog goes in the cabin or with your luggage in the hold, you must either get a ticket for it or bill it as excess baggage.

Also bear in mind that air travel can be very stressful for your dog and it is a good idea to leave an item of your own clothing or a familiar object in his carrier to help him calm down. You can also talk to your vet about giving your dog a calming pill beforehand.

Travelling with your dog by car

Travelling the Costa del Sol with a dog

When travelling the Costa del Sol with your dog, comply with the regulations: The dog must be secured in a harness in the back of the car or in a carrier between the front and rear seats on the floor.

You can secure your dog with a harness whose anchorages are attached at the ends by a strap that leads to the car’s seat belt or isofix. It is not a good option to attach the leash to the collar.

If these instructions are not followed, if a Guardia Civil traffic officer detects any irregularity, the driver may be fined. The fine for driving a dog loose in a car is around 100 €, but can be up to 200 € if the animal is in the driver’s compartment.

Never underestimate the Heat

As a dog lover, never underestimate the high temperatures that are reached during the summer months in Malaga.

Never leave your dog in the car alone, not even for 5 minutes. Not even in the shade and with the windows ajar.

Temperatures in a closed car reach more than 50 degrees in a few minutes, even if it is in the shade. A car parked in the sun in summer can reach over 80°C. Your car can become a death trap, unfortunately every summer dogs die from heat stroke.

Dog friendly beaches in Malaga

And now, after dealing with all these uncomfortable but very necessary topics, let’s move on to the enjoyment section! This summer there are 8 dog beaches along the Malaga coastline.

In Andalusia there is more and more awareness of animal welfare and since recent years there are more and more beaches on the Costa del Sol that have been adapted for the enjoyment of dogs, discover them below.

Dog friendly beaches in Torrox

Dog friendly beaches Malaga, Malaga with dog
Dog beach Torrox Photo Sheila Calzado Aranda

This is a beach of pebbles and coarse sand, not very frequented and easy to access, located next to the mouth of the river Torrox. It is the largest dog beach in Andalusia, about 300 metres long.

Dog friendly beaches in Torre del Mar

Dog friendly beaches Malaga, Malaga with dog
Dog beach Torre del Mar Photo Luis Miguel Novalbos Mozos

This dog beach situated near the mouth of the river is one of the best equipped dog beaches in Malaga. It has a dog park, showers, fountains and a rest area with a chiringuito (Beach bar) and sunbeds. There is also easy parking.

Dog friendly beaches in La Cala del Moral

Situated at the mouth of the Arroyo Totalán, this small cove is less than a kilometre long and is made up of rocks and gravel. The beach has parking and showers.

Dog friendly beaches in Benalmádena

This dog beach is a recent addition with a shower for the furry ones and drinking fountains. It is a small cove of dark sand and gravel.

Dog friendly beaches in Fuengirola

Dog friendly beaches Malaga, Malaga with dog
Dog beach Fuengirola Photo Monica Moreno

The dog friendly beach of Fuengirola is another of the best in the province. Situated very close to the Sohail Castle, it is a fairly large and well-conditioned beach with showers and a large swimming pool.

Dog friendly beaches in Marbella

Dog friendly beaches Marbella, Malaga with dog
Dog beach Marbella Photo Maximka

A stretch of about 250 m at El Pinillo beach is reserved for dog bathing. It has no services and is a fairly uncrowded beach.

There is also a second beach in Nueva Andalucía to the west of Marbella, where a 250-metre stretch has been set aside for your furry friend to enjoy. It is a semi-urban beach with showers, toilets and beach bars.

Dog friendly beaches in Casares

Dog friendly beaches Malaga, Malaga with dog
Dog beach Piedra Paloma Photo Carlos Ventura F.C.

Piedra Paloma beach is a semi-natural beach in the east of our province that stands out for its crystal clear waters and for being very quiet, therefore it has no services.

Dog friendly hotels in Malaga

We are also pleased to be able to list below a large number of dog friendly hotels in Malaga and the Costa del Sol.

While some “only” allow your four-legged friend to stay, others go to great lengths to ensure that your stay will be a happy one for all their guests.

Dog friendly hotels malaga
Photo CNN

Dog friendly hotels in Malaga

The provincial capital offers a number of dog friendly hotels of all categories.
Clicking on the links will take you directly to the hotels’ websites.

Among the dog friendly hotels in Malaga city you will find:

Dog friendly hotels in Torremolinos

In Torremolinos we have found 8 dog friendly hotels, find out which ones they are:

Dog friendly hotels in Benalmádena

Benalmádena currently has 6 dog friendly hotels.

  • Hotel Alay – Adults Only
    Featured. In this hotel your furry friend will be VIP (Very Important Pet) and receives his Welcome Kit, big bed, drinking bowl and much more. Visit page.
  • First Flatotel International Visit page.
  • Benal Beach Group Visit page.
  • Boutique X Pueblo 3* Visit page.
  • Apartamento Minerva Jupiter Visit page.
  • Benalmadena Costa Hotel Visit page.

Dog friendly hotels in Fuengirola

In Fuengirola we can count on a total of 10 dog friendly hotels.

Dog friendly hotels in Marbella

In Marbella you can choose from a total of 21 dog friendly accommodations, let’s take a look at them.

Dog friendly hotels in Estepona

In Estepona there are currently only 3 dog friendly accommodations available, let’s see which ones they are:

Dog friendly hotels in Nerja

In Nerja we have been able to find 6 accommodations that welcome your furry friend.

Dog friendly shopping centres in Malaga

dog friendly shopping centres Malaga
The doggy tourist Pipper in a shopping centre in Malaga.

There are still several shopping centres in the province of Malaga that unfortunately we cannot visit with our dog. But we are going to keep the positive and go to the shopping centres that do allow pets.

We highlight two open air shopping centres, Pier One (Muelle Uno) in the port of Malaga, a beautiful urban and diaphanous place where you can combine shopping with a stroll and a drink. There are several dog-friendly fountains on the premises.

Recently the Plaza Mayor shopping centre located 2 km from Malaga airport has opened its doors for dog visits. We can highlight this open-air shopping centre for its beautiful Andalusian village style aesthetics with a wide range of shops, restaurants and cinema.

Other shopping centres in the province that allow dogs are Puerto Marina Shopping in Benalmádena, Málaga Nostrum, Vialia Estación and Rosaleda in Málaga.

Dog friendly Bars, Cafes & Restaurants in Malaga

dog friendly restaurants malaga

Pets are welcome on the terraces of any restaurant, and there are more and more restaurants that let your dog in.

Sightseeing with a dog

Unfortunately, there are still few sights in Malaga that you can visit with your furry friend.

Among them, the Automobile Museum and the Historical Botanical Garden La Concepción stand out.

Pipper, the first tourist dog to go round Spain, is touring Malaga. Accompany him on his endearing walk in this video.

Useful Apps

Travelling the Costa del Sol with a dog

Last not least we can recommend two specialised and very complete Apps.

There you can find much more information related to dog friendly places, such as accommodation, hotels, restaurants, bars, shops, activities in Malaga and the Costa del Sol.

We’d love to hear from you if you’ve found more places that you’ve loved and can recommend – we’ll add them to this guide!

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