A popular European holiday destination, Spain is famous for it’s rich culture and stunning natural scenery; its beaches attract tourists looking for spend time relaxing in the sunshine on summer holidays. With so many beaches and a vast array of landscapes, Spain’s coastline is as diverse as it is beautiful. From busy beaches packed with buzzing beach bars to pretty bays located in protected parkland and secret stylish sandy sunspots, there’s a special beach to suit everyone. Here’s our round-up of the the best beaches in Spain so you can begin planning your next sun-soaked Spanish beach holiday.
See also: 5 Best Day Trips in Spain
Edged by a long promenade that brims with shops and popular restaurants and bars, this 800-metre-long beach is a favorite of many of the locals in the area. As such, you can find a large range of people enjoying socializing and spending time with friends and family. One of the most attractive beaches in Nerja – a town on Spain’s resort-laden Costa del Sol and a bastion of history from Roman ruins to prehistoric cave paintings at Nerja caves – the sand might be a little stony but that doesn’t take away from its beauty; there’s the option to rent sunbeds so you don’t have to lay on the gritty sand. Burriana has really excellent amenities: showers, playgrounds for children, as well as toilets and a lifeguard, which makes it a really excellent place for families with small children to visit on holiday. If you fancy something a little more exciting, there’s the chance to take out jet-skis or try parasailing. And at the end of the day, check out the spectacular sea-views from clifftop Balcón de Europa.
Everyone knows Ibiza is party central, but what do you do once the party’s over and you need to rejuvenate yourself? Head to the beach of course and Cala D’en Serra is the ideal spot. One of those beaches that isn’t an obvious tourist spot, Cala d’en Serra is an egg-shaped beach that needs a little insider knowledge to find. Drive through old villages, along a twisting and turning road to find the steep sandy path that leads to this breathtakingly stunning beach. Hidden in a rocky enclave, clean blue waters and powdery sand await you in this coolest of beach hangouts. One singular beach bar serves up fresh fish and sangria straight to your sunbed as you soak up the sublimely sleepy and chilled out atmosphere and secret beach spot. It may not have popping beach clubs or even any amenities, but away from the buzz of the main beaches on the island, Cala D’en Serra offers a slice of sun-soaked seclusion.
With a beautiful natural backdrop of Parc Natural del Garraf and mansions lining the seafront boulevard, Sitges is a liberal town famous for its coastline, sun-worshipers and gay-friendly atmosphere, including bars, nightclubs – and, of course, beaches. The most renowned of these is the Platja de la Bassa Rodona, a 285-metre stretch of soft sand and calm water where the atmosphere is surprisingly relaxed. Elsewhere, the Platja de la Fragata is a buzzing, family-friendly beach overlooked by the charming church of Sant Bartomeu. Near to town, Platja de la Ribera is one of the most popular beaches and is the place to go to people-watch on the sand.
This small beach in the Basque country is edged by green mountains and boasts views of pretty islands and white boats that bob on the gentle waves. La Concha beach is part of a charming town that is full of elegant Belle Epoque-style architecture and is almost overflowing with excellent dining options. The beach itself is tucked away in a sheltered bay and has even sometimes been referred to as the most beautiful city beach in Europe. Protected by the mountainous countryside, La Concha is a huge 1350 meters long and as it is affected by tides, there’s more than enough room for everyone to enjoy its beauty. The wide space means there is also plenty of room in the gentle sea for paddling and swimming – or perhaps you could try kayaking out to the island.
Situated midway between Bilbao and San Sebastian, this tiny little town is home to a very picturesque beach. The magic of this pretty part of the coast is revealed at low tide when a sandy path is uncovered that leads all the way to the ever-intriguing San Nicolás Island. Walk over the stony pathway and explore the island – just be sure to make it back before the tide starts coming in again! Isunza Beach’s landscape is shaped by the mouth of the Lea River that opens out into the sea here, which adds to the unique appeal of the already pretty scenery. Staying in the town means a rare glimpse into the culture of the Basque country, enjoy its amazing food and gothic architecture – there’s even a mountain to climb where you can take in views over the beach and across to the island.
Tossa De Mar is a special little town in the Costa Brava with a whole host of beaches to choose from. Protected by a large bay, the wide horseshoe-shaped, family-friendly beach of Playa Gran has soft golden sands and deep blue waters that are a favorite with swimmers; but the most special thing about this elegant beach is the 14th-century fortifications that sit up on the rocky headlands overlooking the bay. These are stunningly illuminated at night. For a different vibe, Platja d’es Codolar is a small beach with a bar set in cove at the bottom of towering cliffs. But if you want to escape from all the touristy beaches of the area, head to north along the coast: the seclusion at the relaxed and natural-feeling Cala Pola just outside of town easily beats them all.
Untouched and idyllic, Playa de Bolonia is a quiet beach that is part of a tiny traditional fishing village which also plays host to the 2,000-year-old ruins of the Roman city of Baelo Claudia. A favorite among many Spanish people, the beach is gaining popularity with international tourists, but still somehow remains a hidden gem of beaches; the area is actually within the boundaries of the Estrecho Natural Park. The town hasn’t undergone much of the highrise construction that many of Spain’s beach towns have seen and as such the village is undeveloped and still charmingly old fashioned. With Tarifa poised as the home of Spain’s kitesurfing scene, there is also a small chilled out surfing scene at Bolonia with a couple of surf schools and small bars serving travelers. However, Playa de Bolonia remains a tranquil hang-out for beach bums. The sand is powdery white and sand dunes along the bay protect the vegetation that grows; here you can find your spot among the dunes and relax in the peace and quiet of this best-kept-secret beach.
This beautiful beach has to be seen to be believed. Often cited as one of the most beautiful beaches in Spain, Platja de Ses Illetes is up there in terms of beauty with some Caribbean counterparts. Crystalline waters lap onto pure white sands where you can lay for hours immersed in paradise. The beach is actually only a small strip sand that juts out into the ocean and divides the sea in two. Edged both sides by the sea, the narrow slice of sand does get busy with day-trippers, but most people come here to spend time splashing around in the dazzling turquoise waters that surround the sand. The ocean is so shallow that it’s particularly warm – so much so that lounging around in the shallows is more like having a bath!
Sophisticated and stylish, Maspalomas beach on the southern part of Gran Canaria is all about its sand. A huge 6-kilometre stretch of golden sand which is incredibly 100 meters wide at some points, Maspalomas is fringed by a desert landscape of huge sand dunes that will make it seem like you are soaking up the sun in the Saharan desert rather than along a Spanish coastline. The gold of the dunes set against the dazzling blue of the sea creates spectacular scenery, further along beachgoers sleep on sunloungers and cafes sell snacks and soft drinks. A great beach for families to spend time together, there is a space here for everyone. If sunbathing for hours isn’t your thing, there’s also the opportunity to hire a pedalo or a jet-ski and have an adventure out at sea.
This beach is one of those amazing places that once you’ve been to you will never forget. A perfectly curved sandy crescent, Praia da Rodas is a breathtakingly beautiful beach that could be one of the best in the whole of the world. Located in Galicia along the more untamed Atlantic coastline, Praia da Rodas is a romantically attractive swathe of powdery sand. Often referred as ‘Caribbean beach’ by local people, the water is dazzlingly turquoise, clean and calm, although very cold compared to the Mediterranean. Spend long summer days lazing on the sand, taking in the beauty of the surrounding nautical scenery; enjoy fresh seafood served on the shore and then spend the night under the stars at the nearby campsite.