Every year hundreds of thousands of us flock to Spain’s 5,000 miles of coast in search of sun, sand and sea. Are we finding the best beaches, though? Here are some of the best beach destinations in Spain.
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Cadiz is a beautiful historic town on a headland surrounded by lovely beaches. Try the centrally located La Victoria city beach, unspoiled La Cortadura Beach south of the city, Playa Santa Maria del Mar for surf, El Palmar beach for long, deserted stretches of sand although it can be windy, or the fishing village of Zahara de los Atune for good beaches and good food.
Nerja is the best place to avoid the crowds while soaking up all that sun of the Costa del Sol. There are great little coves dotted along this section of coast.
Playa del Silencio, north-west of Oviedo, is uncrowded and tranquil with dramatic cliffs and steps down to the sand.
La Concha Beach in San Sebastian in Basque Country is one of the best city beaches around and probably the best beach in this part of Spain. It’s got fine golden sand that slopes gently into the sea and deeper water. In the middle of the bay is an island which protects the beach from ocean waves and inland are lush, green hills.
In the Balearic Islands you must visit Playa de ses Illetes, Formentera, as it is the pick of the beaches on this quiet, nature-loving island known for its glorious sandy beaches. You can only reach Formentera by ferry from its rowdy neighbor Ibiza.
Cala d’en Serra, Ibiza is a small, shallow, sheltered cove which is rarely crowded and fringed by cliffs and fishing huts – a rare find on the busy party island.
Santander, the capital of this under-explored region in northern Spain, has some great beaches including Playe de Valdearenas for its sand dunes and walks, the famous seafront Playa del Sardinero, and Playa de los Peligros and Playa de la Magadalena which face the picturesque Bay of Santander.
Sitges, a town not far from Barcelona, is worth the short train trip south-west of the city if you’re looking for a lovely beach. There are 17 excellent sandy beaches in Sitges including Garraf which is great for kids, Les Botigues, a peaceful beach with open-air bars, and the long beaches of Castelldefels.
Playa de las Catedrales, Ribadeo, in Galicia is wonderful for its cliffs and rock formations which are exposed at low tide and form towering rock arches resembling cathedrals, hence the name. Great for photo opportunities but beware of the incoming tide which covers the beach.
Playa de Rodas, Las Islas Cíes, is a pristine national park made up of uninhabited islands off the coast from Vigo with golden sands and calm, clear lagoon water. It’s a forty minute ferry ride from Baiona, Vigo or Cangas and only open at Easter, then weekends until it opens every day from June until September. There’s also a camping ground which provides a great activity for families.