Spain has several thousands kilometers of coastline, much of which is graced with beautiful beaches, and although tourists tend to flock to the Costa Blanca and the Costa del Sol, there are gorgeous beaches all over coastal Spain.
If you’re planning a summer vacation to Spain, avoiding popular tourist destinations and heading to these best-rated beaches instead will help you truly experience all that this Western European country has to offer.
These destinations provide some of the best views, silkiest sand, and even some of the top hotels and accommodations in Spain:
La Concha Beach
La Concha is one of the best city beaches in Europe, let alone Spain. Situated in the north-east corner of Spain, near the western end of the border with France, San Sebastián is a chic coastal city with excellent pintxos(the Basque name for tapas) and one of the nicest beaches you’ll ever find in a city.
There are many activities on and around La Concha, too, so if you’re looking for even more adventure than a typical beach vacation, San Sebastian is a great destination. You can easily find hotels in and around San Sebastian that are within walking distance of La Concha, too.
There are trains from both Madrid and Barcelona to San Sebastian, but Madrid is actually closer to San Sebastian than Barcelona. You can book trains throughout Spain from Rail Europe and the nearest airport to San Sebastián is the Bilbao airport.
Beaches of Sitges
Directly north of Formentera, along the eastern coast of Spain, the beaches of Sitges are rated as the best beaches near Barcelona. Located just a few miles from this thriving city, Sitges has become a well-known gay destination in Spain but is also known for its mixed and nudist beaches.
Sitges makes for a popular day-trip from Barcelona, and you can even book a private walking tour of Sitges. If you’d rather spend a few days exploring this beautiful coastal town, you can compare prices on hotels in Sitges or book an ocean-front room in one of the city’s many resorts.
La Barrosa, Chiclana de la Frontera, Cádiz
La Barrosa was voted the best beach in Spain by El Mundo Viajes in a very tight contest against hundreds of other beaches. However, if you’d prefer to be nearer to the city, Playa de la Victoria in Cadiz itself is also very nice.
Other beaches high on this list included Maspalomas (Gran Canaria), Jandía (Fuerteventura), Playa del Torreón (Benicassim, Castellón), Rodiles (Villaviciosa, Asturias), Concha in San Sebastián, Corralejo (Fuerteventura) and Genoveses (Almería).
Cádiz is easily accessible from Jerez, and you can typically find affordable hotels in the area if you’d like to spend a few days exploring the area. You can also take advantage of the region’s gorgeous weather and book a bike tour of Cadiz.
Ses Illetes, Formentera, Balearic Islands
Off the southeastern coast of Spain, the Balearic Islands are home to some of the most popular vacation destinations in the country including Ibiza, Mallorca, and Menorca. However, the island of Formentera was rated the best island for beaches by Viajar in 2015, including Ses Illetes and Cala Conta.
Though the beaches are better on Formentera, the nearby (and larger) island of Ibiza tends to be more active.
Formentera is an easy day trip (by ferry) from Ibiza Town, or you could book a hotel on Formentera if you’d rather stay overnight to catch a beautiful coastal sunrise.
Playa de los Peligros and Playa de la Magdalena
Both are situated in the city of Santander, Cantabria. Santander is the capital of the less-visited region of Cantabria, located between Asturias and the Basque Country. Though Playa del Sardinero is more famous, Playa de los Peligros and de la Magdalena are more popular with locals and tourists “in the know.”
These two beaches look across the picturesque Bahía de Santander, a bay with ships sailing by and misty mountains in the distance. Peligros and Magdalena are also close to downtown Santander, and the beaches here tend to be more populated as a result.
Santander has many affordable hotels and you can also book a sight-seeing tour of the area to soak up its breathtaking views.
Torremolinos, Costa del Sol
If you haven’t been to Torre since the eighties then you’re in for a big surprise.
This old family favorite in the south of Spain – one of the first-ever Spanish beaches to appear in package holidays – is back in vogue thanks to huge efforts to beautify the promenade with trees and gardens. This is a must for anyone looking into Spain beach holidays and coastal cities.
And there are fiestas throughout the year – some even dedicated exclusively to tourism!
La Cariheula at the western end still has vestiges of old Andalucia with its Spanish villas draped in bougainvillaea.
There are great seafood restaurants on the Paseo Maritimo promenade that runs from the centre of Torremolinos to La Carihuela and the Benalmadena Marina.
Playa de los Catedrales
Although a bit more remote than La Concha, Playa de Las Catedrales is the best beach in Galicia, featuring pristine sandy beaches and rock formations created by the sea.
Playa de Las Catedrales is located in northwest Spain, and the closest city is Ribideo (though Foz, Spain, is nearby as well). The region is known for its unpredictable weather year-round, and it isn’t ideal for visiting during the winter months.
Ribideo is on the Narrow Gauge Railway which runs along the north coast of Galicia and Asturias. Additionally, to get from Santiago de Compostela, there’s a three-hour bus journey run by ALSA. For mainline trains serving the rest of Spain, check out Rail Europe.
Playa del Silencio
Playa del Silencio was voted the best beach in Asturias by 20minutos, and their readers also voted Asturian beaches in general to be the best beaches in northern Spain, narrowly beating those of Galicia.
As with Galicia, sunshine is not as certain here as in other parts of Spain, but you can still find some affordable hotels in nearby Cudillero if you’re looking to explore the region and take in a bit of culture on the cloudier days.
Asturias is a popular destination for the younger crowd, and its major cities have plenty to offer in terms of parties, concerts, and special events. The coast is great for a day-trip, and you can easily access Asturias from Ribideo via Rail Europe trains.
Playa de San Juan, Alicante
This fabulous central beach with its fine, golden sand has turned San Juan into a popular spot for Alicante city dwellers and chic urbanites. San Juan stretches for 2,900 metres from the fishing village of El Campello to the rocky headland of Cabo de las Huertas. It’s also just 25 kilometres from Alicante international airport so attracts Spanish families looking for a weekend break.
Legend has it that in bygone days when the Moors ruled Spain, a beautiful Moorish queen would bathe in the natural pools among the rocks. Nowadays, it still attracts bathers but is also a nautical playground for kayaks, yachts, surfing and scuba diving.
Beaches of southeastern Spain
Despite they are not as known as other beaches around Spain, there are beautiful and most importantly, GOOD-QUALITY beaches! by good-quality beaches I mean the water has a nice temperature, especially during the summer, neither hot nor cold, they are usually very clean (they take a lot of care on that) and the temperature outside is usually high.
These are the main reasons why many people from other parts of Spain go to the southeast (the region of Murcia, a great part of the province of Almería, and a small important of Alicante) on holidays. Besides, many of the beaches in this area look great.