15 of the most beautiful beaches in Spain
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During this crazy, unprecedented time, there are things you can do to help keep calm while giving you an outlet for all that travel wanderlust. From organizing my travel photos to nitpicking my points and miles balances, I’ve managed to feel relatively connected to travel even though I’m on day 21 of government-mandated lockdown in Spain.
We all know Spain is a favorite among travelers, and with good reason. Its tapas, wine and lively Spanish culture make the country ideal for city visits and beach breaks. And Spain (which has two island archipelagos and shares borders with both the Mediterranean and the Atlantic) has some of the most gorgeous beaches in Europe.
Whether you use this list to plan your perfect sun getaway or simply enjoy the relaxing photos of these beautiful sands from the comfort of your sofa, here are some of the most stunning beaches in Spain.
1. Playa de las Catedrales
One of Galicia’s most beloved beaches, Cathedral Beach, also known as Aguas Santas — Holy Waters– is so popular during the summer months and during Holy Week that you have to reserve ahead to enter. The picturesque beach, which is dotted with sea caves, caverns and rocks, is best enjoyed at low tide.
2. Playa de Bolonia
The wild, sandy paradise of Bolonia in Andalusia is just a short drive away from Tarifa. One end of the beach has an enormous dune, and set further back are wooden boardwalks for strolling, flanked by a pine forest. Don’t miss out on seeing the Baelo Claudia, an area of ancient Roman ruins bordering the sands.
3. Playa del Camello
Although the region of Santander has a number of beaches, Playa del Camello on the edge of the city centre is one of the most unique, thanks to its signature rock which is shaped like a camel. A short walk or drive away is the towering Magdalena palace overlooking the sea.
4. Playa de las Ses Illetes
The entire island of Formentera is paradise, and its beaches are repeatedly voted as some of the best in the world. Ses Illetes is the most iconic beach on the island. Although its sands can get very crowded during high season, consider going in May, June or October, when the sun still shines but you’ll encounter fewer visitors.
5. Playa del Papagayo
You can soak in some sun at Lanzarote’s Playa del Papagayo year-round for summer fun, a winter sun escape or at any time — the island has year-round springlike temperatures. The far-flung beach is flanked by cliffs on either side, and feels like a truly rugged beach haven.
6. Playa de la Concha
Concha beach is one of the most famous in Europe, ideal for a city beach break that also involves exploring San Sebastian’s famous gastronomic scene. The sands are perfect for relaxing or playing beach volleyball and the crashing waves are best for bodyboarding, windsurfing or surfing.
7. La Cala del Torrent de Pareis
La Cala del Torrent de Pareis is a small rocky beach valley on the island of Mallorca hidden between rising, 650-foot high mountains. The winding drive there is filled with precipitous curves and switchbacks — not for the faint of heart.
8. Playa de Los Cocedores
This stunning strip of sand is enclosed with petrified rock, eroded away by centuries of splashing sea waves. Located at the border of the southern Almería and Murcia regions, this beach is especially nice for families, as children can play in tide pools with shallower water.
9. Playa de la L’Illa Roja
One of the most magical beach coves along the Costa Brava, this enclosed cove has rocks jutting out of the water, which inspired its name — the stone can look reddish in certain light. Anything goes at this rather private coastal area, which is popular as both a regular beach and a nude beach.
10. Playa de Rodas
Located on the Isla Cíes off the Galician coast, this white sand strip surrounded by water on both sides is perfectly pristine. If you manage to get nice weather on these blustery islands, it appears even more spectacular, but expect crowds. Everyone wants in on the Galician sun, which only makes occasional appearances.
11. Playa de Maspalomas
The lengthy Maspalomas beach in southern Gran Canaria is one of the most famous on the Canary Islands, known for its massive sand dunes. You’ll feel like you’re lost in Saharan desert — until you spot the glittering blue ocean just beyond.
12. Cala Salada and Cala Saladeta
Ibiza is known not only for its epic nightlife but also for its many gorgeous beach coves. The white sands and sparkling waters of the Salada cove are already unreal, but if you make the brave decision to scramble over the rocks, you’ll be rewarded with the even more crystalline waters of the tranquil Saladeta cove.
13. Playa del Maro
Located just north of Nerja not far from Malaga, Playa del Maro has coarse, rocky sand, but thanks to its rocks, its waters are ideal for snorkeling. The nearby Maro Tower is accessible via a short hike and offers breathtaking views of the beach below and the crashing waves of the sea.
14. Cala Macarella and Cala Macarelleta
Serenity seekers should head to Menorca, the calmest of the Balearic Islands. Both of these neighboring white sand coves are hidden by rocky cliffs and caves on either side. Those wanting an adventure can hike over the cliff from Macarella to Macarelleta — but it’s also possible to drive the route.
15. El Cotillo
For some of the finest, whitest sand on the Canary Islands, head to El Cotillo in the north of Fuerteventura. The water is exceptionally clear, and the volcanic rocks make the scenery all the more intriguing. Be aware this beach can get very breezy sometimes (Fuerteventura translates to strong winds), so come prepared.
Whether you’re searching for inspiration to book your next sunny getaway or simply need something beautiful to stare at while stuck at home, we’ve got you covered with these incredibly captivating beaches in Spain. If you do plan to book travel to any of these beaches, make sure to keep your trips simple, booking flights you can cancel without paying fees and reserving hotels at a cancellable rate.
Featured photo of Cala Salada by Alex Tihonov/Getty Images
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