With that said, we asked fellow bloggers to send us a summary of their top Spanish beach destinations in the hope of helping you make the choice. So read on to discover what is on offer when planning your next beach holiday in Spain.
Best beaches in Southern Spain
Playa de los Caños de Meca in Cadiz
Recommended by Laura & Charlie from The Travelling Stomach
Playa Mansul, Cabo de Gata Natural Park in Almería
One of the most interesting natural parks in Spain in the Cabo de Gata Natural Park in Almería. The semi-desert climate is filled with unique volcanic landscapes, traditional fishing villages and plenty of secluded beaches. We hiked from the village of San José to Playa Mansul, enjoying incredible ocean views along the way. Playa Mansul is unlike any other beach we’ve visited. The volcanic activity combined with the wind and waves the exposed coastline receive, have created otherworldly rock formations like giant waves, frozen in time.
Playa Mansul has been featured in a few movies due to its alien landscapes. Most notably, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade filmed some scenes here. Another great feature of the Cabo de Gala beaches is that the nature reserve extends into the waters making this an excellent spot for snorkelling or diving. The frequent winds here also mean a number of wind-powered watersports are popular here.
Cabo de Gata Nature Reserve does have limited bus service from the city of Almería but a car is the best way to explore the area. Aside from hiking as we did, it is also possible to drive to Playa Mansur although the number of cars are limited during the summer months.
Recommended by Claire from Past The Potholes
Matalascañas and Asperillo beach in Huelva
Recommended by Stefania van Lieshout from Views of the World
Playa de la Barrosa in Chiclana de la Frontera, Cádiz
Recommended by Sara from Mindful Travel
Playa de Bolonia in Tarifa
Bolonia, situated between Tarifa and Zahara de los Atunes on Spain’s Costa de la Luz, is home to one of the largest sand dunes in Europe. Climbing to the top of the dune is worth the effort for the stunning views of the beach’s golden sands and crystal clear waters, the pine forests of the Estrecho Natural Park, and the mountains of Morocco, around 20 miles away across the Atlantic Ocean. The beach is a mecca for kite surfers when the ‘levante’ is blowing but it never feels too crowded even at the height of summer. If water sports aren’t your thing there are plenty of walking trails through the pines and history buffs should take some time to explore the Roman ruins of Baelo Claudia – a testament to the area’s fish salting past. With only one road into town – a stunning drive between two rocky outcrops – Bolonia has, so far, managed to retain its laid-back vibe. There are just a few places to grab a drink and something to eat and, out of season. you could well be the only person on the beach. Keep an eye out for the cows though – they love Bolonia beach as much as I do!
Recommended by Alison from Alison in Andalucia
Malaga beaches in Malaga
Recommended by Amber from Food And Drink Destinations
Nerja beach near Malaga
Recommended by Christina from Explore Now or Never
Playa Canatarriján in Almuñecar, Costa Tropical
Recommended by Joanna from The World in My Pocket
Best beaches in Northern Spain
La Concha beach in San Sebastian
La Concha (meaning shell) is definitely one of the most amazing city beaches. Located in La Concha Bay in the picturesque Basque town San Sebastian (called Donostia by the locals), this sandy beach stretches for 1350 meters. It’s usually quite wide (around 40 meters) but this is strongly influenced by the tides. With low tide, it is directly connected with another beach – La Ondaretta, a much smaller one but especially loved by bodyboarders. With the high tide, the beach shrinks and it’s advised not to put anything next to the shore. The water is usually calm here (unlike on the wave La Zurriola beach on the other side of the town – a perfect spot for surfers and water sports lovers).
Recommended by Aina from Liquid Traveling
Rodas beach on the Cíes Islands
Recommended by Or from My Path in the World
Nemiña beach in Galicia
Before visiting it myself, I have already heard many stories about this one particular beach: Nemiña. It truly had to be special. He could not stop raving about it!
But it wasn’t until he took me for the first time when I could finally understand why. It was a very long beach, with fine sand and a gentle breeze, perfect waves for surfing, and no one else in sight that afternoon. It was so perfect that suddenly toped also my best Galician beaches ranking.
Recently we enjoyed it again, while we were walking the camino from Fisterra to Muxia. There it was, as pretty as ever. With hardly any people, with its special light and only a few young surfers enjoying its waters. How lucky we are to be based near it!
If you decide to visit it, be sure to stop by the beach bar in Lires too. You can reach it by swimming from Nemiña (around 5 minutes) or if the current is very strong and you don’t feel like getting wet, by car. Because although they are really close, 12km separate them away. Enjoy!
Recommended by Inma from A World to Travel
Playa de las Catedrales or Cathedrals beach in Galicia
Recommended by Jorge & Claudia from Traveldrafts
Somo beach in Santander
The north of Spain is largely ignored when it comes to Spanish beaches. However, there are many reasons to go and my personal favourite is Somo, just outside Santander in the northern region of Cantabria. Whilst Santander itself has some of the best city beaches in Spain, Somo adds something else.
Despite its small size, Santander has a reputation for being an affluent city and its people closed-minded. Somo couldn’t be more different. The local area has a chilled-out surfer vibe to it and feels more similar to some Cornish towns in the UK such as Newquay. The beach itself is a long stretch of golden sand, perfect for enjoying the hot summer days away from the city with incredible views across the bay towards the picturesque Magdalena Palace. Something that you don’t necessarily find on Mediterranean beaches is good surfing and, with its own surf school, Somo is a popular spot for learning all year round. If you can brave the freezing Cantabrian Sea during the winter! But that isn’t the only sport you’ll find there. Beach volleyball nets dot the sand, with groups always on the look out for extra players. And if the action gets too hot, a few minutes diving amongst the waves will soon cool you down.
Getting to Somo is simple. Ferries run throughout the day from the bay in Santander, taking just 30 minutes to reach Somo and less than €5 for a return ticket.
Recommended by Stuart Fahy
Castelldefels beach in Barcelona
Recommended by Sinjana from Backpack & Explore
Platja Gran in Tossa de Mar
Recommended by Mal from Raw Mal Roams
Playa de las Arenas in Valencia
Recommended by Esther de Beer from Mooistestedentrips.nl
Platja de Sant Sebastià in Sitges
On the east coast of Spain, Platja de Sant Sebastià is a small beach in the seaside town of Sitges. Even though it’s the main beach, it still maintains its charm and quaintness. Behind it is a breezy pedestrian promenade lined with palm trees, and to the side, the whitewashed church perched atop a hill, the Church of Sant Bartomeu y Santa Tecla. If you get tired of laying on the sand, you can also walk nearby to the local shops, get lost in the narrow alleyways, or have a slow-simmered paella at one of the seafood restaurants on the seafront. Platja de Sant Sebastià also has several amenities like active lifeguards, sunbeds, umbrellas, and showers. Families love this beach for its fine sand and the gentle slope of the sea bed, so little ones can also splash about comfortably in the Mediterranean Sea. It’s the perfect place to spend a whole day as you’ll find plenty of things to do in the area!
Recommended by Justine from Latitude Fortyone
Canary Islands beaches
Papagayo beach in Lanzarote
Recommended by Henar from Wanderwings
Playa del Castillo, Puerto de la Cruz in Tenerife.
Recommended by Karen from Are We There Yet Kids
Cofete beach in Fuerteventura
Recommended by Gábor from Surfing the Planet
Maspalomas Beach in Gran Canaria
Recommended by Jodie from A La Jode
Playa de las Conchas in La Graciosa, Lanzarote
With its fine white sand and turquoise waters, you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking you’d been transported to the Caribbean. But Playa De Las Conchas is an absolute gem of a beach, although not the easiest to get to. Firstly you need to take the 30 minute ferry from Órzola, at the northern tip of nearby Lanzarote. As you step off the ferry on to La Graciosa, you feel like you’ve been transported a million miles away, with its sandy roads, and a simpler way of life. There are no paved roads on this island and only 700 people live here. Playa De Las Conchas is on the opposite side of the island. You could walk there, or hire a bike. But as I was visiting with just my 3 year old son, we clubbed together with some other travellers and hired a 4×4 to take us. For four adults the price is €50, and small children are free. When you disembark the ferry, walk to the right and to the line of 4×4 waiting for tourists. There are no facilities whatsoever at Playa De Las Conchas, so bring all food and drink with you, and take all rubbish away with you. For those visiting from Lanzarote with kids, do bear in mind that there is no shade for little ones.
Recommended by Jenny from Travelynn Family
Balearic Islands beaches
Cala Macarelleta in Menorca
Recommended by Nadine from Le Long Weekend
Cala Mitjana in Menorca
Menorca is home to 99 beaches, making it a brilliant destination for those wanting to soak up all the vitamin D which, let’s be honest, is everyone. Our favourite beach on this Balaeric beauty? Cala Mitjana, a gorgeous cove located on the south of the Island. The bright white sands, shimmering turquoise water, ivory-coloured limestone cliffs, and surrounding Meditteranean pine trees make it feel as if you’re somewhere slightly more exotic, like New Caledonia or the Caribbean. Yet this laidback Menorcan gem is the perfect place to while the long summer days away.
Although most beaches on Menorca are far quieter than their mainland rivals (looking at you, Greece), in the height of summer you’ll need to head to Cala Mitjana early to secure yourself a prime position on the bright white sands. If you’re looking for a smaller alternative, Cala Mitjana’s baby sister, Mitjaneta, is a short swim/walk away. There’s only space for 20 or so sun-seekers, so make your way there early!
Recommended by Miranda & Mark from The Common Wanderer
Calo des Moro beach in Palma de Mallorca
Recommended by Sarah from Borders & Bucket Lists