BEST BEACHES in Spain

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Which Spanish Beaches You Can’t Miss

Spain is surrounded by water, having almost 8,000 km (5,000 miles) of coastline. The peninsula has 2 main coastal zones: the northern Atlantic and the Mediterranean. There are also two island archipelagos: the Balearic Islands in the Med, east of the mainland, and the Canary Islands off the western coast of Africa. But where are the most beautiful beaches in Spain? And where are the best beaches for families, for parties, for nudism or for surfing? Find out below under our list of the 15 best beaches in Spain.

The 15 Best Beaches in Spain

1

TOSSA DE MAR

Tossa de Mar in Catalonia's Costa Brava, Spain
Tossa de Mar – Catalonia's Costa Brava

The ancient village of Tossa de Mar is located on the Costa Brava, halfway between Barcelona and the French border. There are several sandy beaches around the town, but the most beautiful is Playa Grande. This horseshoe shaped bay is overlooked by a 14th century castle with fortified walls and guard towers, giving the beach a special old European feel. Since the beach is located in the town, you have easy access to all the amenities and facilities such as sun beds, umbrellas, showers, etc.

Playa Grande in Tossa de Mar is one of the most charming Spanish beaches.


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2

PLAYA DE MONSUL

Playa de Monsul in Cabo de Gata, Almeria – Andalusia
Playa de Monsul – Cabo de Gata

Playa de Monsul is located in the Cabo de Gata Nature Park in the southeastern corner of Spain. The park is loaded with moon-like landscapes with fine sand and unique volcanic rock formations. Playa de Monsul is no exception. The beach is divided in 2 sections by a huge volcanic rock located right on the water’s edge. And behind the beach there is a massive sand dune that even appeared in the movie Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade. Playa de Monsul has super clear water and there is an abundance of underwater life – so bring your snorkel!

The beach can be accessed by a dirt road from the town of San Jose. Although only Monsul made it into the list of the best beaches in Spain, there are other gorgeous beaches in Cabo de Gata worth exploring.


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3

ISLAS CIES

Islas Cíes (Cíes Islands) in the Spanish northern coast of Galicia
Islas Cíes – Galicia

The Cies Islands are located off the coast of Galicia, close to the city of Vigo. Sometimes referred to as the “Galician Seychelles,” this island group is made up of 3 small bits of land with 7 main beaches. With these exotic looking beaches full of powdery white sand and crystal clear waters, it’s easy to think you are in a far off tropical destination. But all you have to do to remind yourself where you are is to go for a swim in the chilly Atlantic water!

You can get to Islas Cíes by hoping on a ferry from Vigo. The trip lasts 45 minutes one way. Once there, you will find a few restaurants on the island but take note that facilities are limited – so make sure to bring enough water and sunscreen.


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4

CALA MESQUIDA

Cala Mesquida in the Balearic island of Mallorca, Spain
Cala Mesquida – Mallorca

Cala Mesquida is located on the island of Mallorca. Mallorca is the largest and most developed of the Balearic Islands which as a whole are home to some of the best beaches in Spain. The 350 m long beach is surrounded by transparent waters, rocks and sand dunes that stretch over 1km from the water’s edge.

There are sun beds and umbrellas for rent, showers and a lifeguard. On the western side you will find a small development with a couple of hotels, bars and restaurants. On the eastern end, near the rocks, nudism is common.


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5

MASPALOMAS

The famous dunes of Maspalomas in Gran Canaria, Spain
Dunes of Maspalomas in Gran Canaria

Maspalomas beach is located in the south of Gran Canaria in the Canary islands. Its 6 km long stretch of beach sits alongside a huge area full of sand dunes. Walking through the dunes you don’t see anything else but more sand and more dunes – you might even think you are in the Sahara Desert.

The dunes themselves are part of a Nature Reserve, which means the beach of Maspalomas is still virgin. While both ends of Maspalomas are completely developed, the beach itself is an oasis of calm. The contrast between the action from the hotel strip and the solitude found in the dunes makes Maspalomas one of our favorite Spanish beaches.

Since the area of Maspalomas is so large, there are several isolated spots where nudism is common.


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6

PLAYA DE LA CONCHA

Playa de la Concha in San Sebastian, Spain
Playa de la Concha in San Sebastian

One of the best city beaches in all of Europe is Playa de la Concha. It’s located on Spain’s northern shore in the city of San Sebastian which is also one of the best cities to visit in Spain. This emblematic seashell-shaped bay is sheltered on both sides by hills making its waters extra calm and ideal for swimming.

La Concha beach is bordered by an iconic and sophisticated promenade that is lined with beautiful Belle Epoque buildings. Once you are done relaxing on the beach, it is just a short stroll over to the historic old town where you can sample some of the Basque Country’s famous tapas, known as pintxos.


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7

CALAS MACARELLA & MACARELLETA

Cala Macarelleta in Menorca (Balearic Islands), Spain
Cala Macarelleta in Menorca

Cala Macarella and its little sister beach, Cala Macarelleta, are two picture perfect coves found on the southern end of the island of Menorca. The beaches can only be accessed on foot (or boat) and you will need to walk for 15-20 minutes to arrive to Cala Macarella from the parking area. But the short hike is well worth it!

To get to Cala Macarelleta follow the path that traverses along the rocky cliffs through a pine forest. Every once in a while you will get a glimpse of the incredible turquoise waters below – the views are amazing.

These beaches will blow your mind. But keep in mind that they can get quite busy during the summer months.


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8

PLAYA DE BOLONIA

Archeological site of Baelo Claudia next to Playa de Bolonia in Cadiz (Andalusia) – Spain
Roman ruins of Baelo Claudia next to Playa de Bolonia

Playa de Bolonia is located 25 minutes west of Tarifa, the southernmost point of the Spanish peninsula. The beach is almost 4km in length, so finding a spot to yourself is not difficult. The western end of the beach has a gigantic sand dune known as the Bolonia Dune that is over 30m high and 200m wide. It is a beautiful spot that is surrounded by a pine forest and overlooks the entire length of the sandy bay.

Right on the beach you will also find the archeological site of Baelo Claudia, considered to be one of the most complete Roman city ruins to be discovered in Spain.

Take note that the winds are usually quite strong on Playa de Bolonia. But when the weather isn’t good for swimming, it turns Bolonia into one of the best beaches in Spain for wind- and kitesurfing.


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9

PLATJA DE SES ILLETES

Platja de Ses Illetes in the Balearic Island of Formentera, Spain
Formentera's Platja de Ses Illetes

The tiny Balearic Island of Formentera is only accessible by ferry or private boat. It’s a popular beach destination but is much quieter than its party-hard neighbor, Ibiza. Formentera’s spectacular coastline and brilliant turquoise waters attract celebrities and the jet set from all over the world.

Platja de Ses Illetes, located on the northern tip of Formentera, is the island’s best beach. A 450 m long stretch of fine white sand extends into the sea. You can actually swim on two different sides – it’s your choice! The water is super clear and it’s easy to bathe in it for hours.

Platja de Ses Illetes feels very isolated but in reality it is only 4 km away from the main port of La Savina. There is parking right next to the beach and a few restaurants and beach bars in the area.


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10

PLAYA DEL SILENCIO

Playa del Silencio in Asturias, Spain
Playa del Silencio in Asturias

Playa del Silencio – or Silent Beach in English – is a pristine beach in Asturias on Spain’s northern coast. As its name implies, it is a very quiet beach. The secluded bay is surrounded by imposing rocky cliffs, which block most of the wind leaving the beach extra calm and silent. This pristine beach has a raw nature feel to it. With that raw beauty also come some stones. We recommend wearing water shoes, especially when going for a swim.

Playa del Silencio is best visited during low tide when the beach is at its biggest. Although the beach is remote and doesn’t offer any facilities, it does have a well maintained path which is a 10-15 min walk from the parking.


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11

PLAYA DE LA VICTORIA

Views of Cadiz's old town from the beach (Andalusia), Spain
Views of Cadiz's old town from the beach

Playa de la Victoria is located in Cadiz, one of the oldest cities in Europe. Although the city has several beaches, the 2.5 km long stretch of Playa de la Victoria is the most popular. The gold sand beach is located in the newer part of the city and therefore has lifeguards, showers, sun beds & umbrellas for rent and much more. There is also a boardwalk full of beach bars – the perfect place to enjoy a cold beer and local fish specialities.

There are plenty of things to do in Cadiz besides just relaxing at the beach. The historic old town is just a 15 minute walk away from Playa de la Victoria.


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12

PLAYA DEL PAPAGAYO

Playa del Papagayo in Lanzarote (Canary Islands), Spain
Playa del Papagayo in Lanzarote

Playa del Papagayo is located at the very south of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. This half moon bay is surrounded by hills which protect it from the wind and make it extremely calm and comfortable. The water is an intense emerald color which contrasts with the surrounding landscapes of the Ajaches Nature Park.

Although Papagayo beach was historically a nudist beach, today you will find a mix of people with clothes and without.

Since Playa del Papagayo is located in the Nature Park, you won’t find any amenities on the beach. However, there is a small beach bar called Chiringuito de Cala Papagayo that is located on top of the hill between the parking and the beach.


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13

PRAIA DAS CATEDRAIS

Praia das Catedrais in Galicia – Spain
Praia das Catedrais in Galicia

Praia das Catedrais (Cathedrals Beach) is located in Galicia, Spain’s northwestern most region. The beach is known for its monolithic rock arches that spring forth from the flat beach. Some of the arches are 30 m (100 ft) high and it’s possible to walk through them, one after another. The arches look similar to those found on the inside of a real cathedral and this explains how the beach got its name.

Praia das Catedrais is best visited during low tide and in the summer months from mid June to mid September.


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14

BEACHES OF LEKEITIO

Beaches of Lekeitio in the Basque Country, Spain
Beaches of Lekeitio – Basque Country

The small fishing town of Lekeitio is located halfway between Bilbao and San Sebastian in the north of Spain. The town has two great beaches – Isuntza and Karraspio – that are separated by the mouth of the Lea River. What we love about the beach in Lekeitio is that when the tide lowers, a sandy strip of land is revealed and the beach is suddenly connected with the small island of San Nicolas. Visiting the island is a great little adventure but just make sure to make it back before the tide rises again – or you might have to swim back!


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15

PLAYA DE PECHON

Playa de Pechon in Cantabria, Spain
Playa de Pechon, Cantabria

Playa Pechon, also known as Playa de Amió, is a 250 m long sandy beach on the border between the Cantabria and Asturias regions of northern Spain. The beach itself is not very large at high tide but once the tide recedes, a longer sand bar is exposed. This sand bank extends all the way to a rocky islet, creating an even more stunning landscape.


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Best Beaches in Spain for...

BEST BEACHES IN SPAIN FOR NATURAL BEAUTY

  • Balearic Islands off Spain’s eastern coast in the Mediterranean
  • Cabo de Gata Nature Park in Andalusia
  • Costa Brava on Catalonia’s coast, north of Barcelona
  • Fuerteventura & Lanzarote in the Canary Islands
  • There is also a lot of beauty along the Bay of Biscay in the Spanish regions of the Basque Country, Cantabria, Asturias and Galicia. But it’s cold & rough most of the year!

BEST BEACHES IN SPAIN FOR PARTYING

  • Ibiza & Mallorca don’t need an introduction. They are known for having some of the best nightlife in the world (some of the best clubs & some of the best DJ’s, especially in Ibiza)
  • Marbella & Costa del Sol near the city of Malaga in the south of Spain
  • But you will find great nightlife in the towns of all the most developed areas everywhere, especially along the Mediterranean coast and in the islands

BEST BEACHES IN SPAIN FOR FAMILIES

The more developed areas of the Spanish coast offer all types of facilities and amenities to entertain both adults and children: water sports, water parks, amusement parks, zoos, etc. With that being said, the best places for families are:

  • Southern Tenerife
  • Southern Gran Canaria
  • Mallorca
  • Benidorm area in the Costa Blanca
  • Salou & Cambrils area in the Costa Dorada
  • Area between Malaga & Marbella in the Costa del Sol (Benalmádena, Fuengirola & Torremolinos)

BEST BEACHES IN SPAIN FOR NUDISTS

As a rule of thumb, any beach in Spain that is secluded is fair game for nudism. But there are also tons of popular beaches that are known as nudist beaches. Check out this map of over 450 nudist beaches in Spain.

In addition, a large concentration of nudist beaches can be found in the Balearic and Canary islands as well as the Cabo de Gata Nature Park in Almeria.

BEST BEACHES IN SPAIN FOR ESCAPING THE CROWDS

If you really want to escape the crowds, then the Atlantic coast along northern Spain is less packed than the Mediterranean and the islands. But keep in mind that the water is cold and the swimming season is shorter due to the cooler weather (generally mid June to mid September). The weather can also be unpredictable, even in the middle of August.

Two of our favorite places to escape the crowds are Cabo de Gata and Fuerteventura. Although it’s even possible to find solitude in more touristy places such as Mallorca or Tenerife.

BEST BEACHES IN SPAIN FOR SURFING

Northern Atlantic coast

  • Basque Country: towns of Zarautz and Mundaka, beaches of Sopelana and Barrika near Bilbao
  • Cantabria: Somo beach in Santander
  • Asturias: Rodiles beach (15-min drive north of Villaviciosa; 45-min drive from both Oviedo and Gijón)
  • Galicia: Razo beach in A Coruña (15-min drive north of Carballo; 35-min drive from the city of A Coruña)

Canary Islands

  • Fuerteventura: northern coast between El Cotillo and Corralejo & off the Lobos Island
  • Gran Canaria: next to the capital of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
  • Tenerife: southern coast, around the popular Playa de las Américas
  • Lanzarote: northwestern coast, around the fishing village of La Santa

BEST BEACHES IN SPAIN FOR KITE- & WINDSURFING

Coast of Cadiz

  • Tarifa is probably the most renowned kitesurfing spot in Europe (over 300 days of wind and sun per year). It can get quite busy but there is space for everyone
  • Other hotspots west from Tarifa include: Bolonia, Valdevaqueros, Punta Paloma, Los Caños de Meca and Conil de la Frontera

Canary Islands

  • Fuerteventura: main kite- and windsurfing destination in the Canary Islands. More specifically: northern coast between El Cotillo and Corralejo; as well as Costa Calma and Sotavento in the south
  • Tenerife: El Medano on the south of the island
  • Lanzarote: Famara beach on the northeastern coast
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