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15 of the most beautiful beaches in Spain

June 21, 2020
10 min read
People enjoying vacations in the Cala Salada lagoon. Idyllic scenery. Ibiza, Balearic Islands. Spain
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Editor’s note: As the travel industry reopens following COVID-19 shutdowns, TPG suggests that you talk to your doctor, follow health officials' guidance and research local travel restrictions before booking that next trip. We will be here to help you prepare, whether it is next month or next year.

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.

Playa de Maspalomas. (Photo by Peral Bucknall/robertharding/Getty Images)
Playa de Maspalomas. (Photo by Peral Bucknall/robertharding/Getty Images)

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.

Read more: 9 ways you can help the travel industry from home

1. Playa de las Catedrales

Playa de las Catedrales. (Photo by pbsm/Getty Images)
Playa de las Catedrales. (Photo by pbsm/Getty Images)

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.

Read more: Lessons from lockdown: What it’s like in Spain during the mandatory quarantine right now

2. Playa de Bolonia

Playa de Bolonia. (Photo by John Miller/robertharding/Getty Images)
Playa de Bolonia. (Photo by John Miller/robertharding/Getty Images)

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

Playa Del Camello. (Photo by Sergio Saavedra Ruiz/Getty Images)
Playa Del Camello. (Photo by Sergio Saavedra Ruiz/Getty Images)

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.

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4. Playa de las Ses Illetes

Playa de Ses Illetes on Formentera. (Photo by Juergen Sack/Getty)
Playa de Ses Illetes on Formentera. (Photo by Juergen Sack/Getty)

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

Playa del Papagayo. (Photo by Hans Peter Merten/Getty Images)
Playa del Papagayo. (Photo by Hans Peter Merten/Getty Images)

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

Playa de la Concha. (Photo by apomares/Getty Images)
Playa de la Concha. (Photo by apomares/Getty Images)

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. (Photo by IrenaV/Shutterstock)
La Cala del Torrent de Pareis. (Photo by IrenaV/Shutterstock)

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

Play de Los Concedores. (Photo by ser y star/Getty Images)
Play de Los Concedores. (Photo by ser y star/Getty Images)

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

Play de Illa Roja. (Photo by J2R/Shutterstock)
Play de Illa Roja. (Photo by J2R/Shutterstock)

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

Play de Rodas. (Photo by Jose m. Alvarez/Getty Images)
Play de Rodas. (Photo by Jose m. Alvarez/Getty Images)

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 Dunes at Playa de Maspalomas. (Photo by DEA / C. SAPPA/De Agostini/Getty Images)
The Dunes at Playa de Maspalomas. (Photo by DEA / C. SAPPA/De Agostini/Getty Images)

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.

Read more: Which of the seven Canary Islands is right for you?

12. Cala Salada and Cala Saladeta

Cala Saladeta. (Photo by Javier Duran/Getty Images)
Cala Saladeta. (Photo by Javier Duran/Getty Images)

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

Playa Del Maro. (Photo by Doctor_J/Getty Images)
Playa Del Maro. (Photo by Doctor_J/Getty Images)

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

Cala Macarella. (Photo by Marco Simoni/Getty Images)
Cala Macarella. (Photo by Marco Simoni/Getty Images)

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

El Cotillo in Fuerteventura, Canary Islands. (Photo by pkazmierczak/Getty)
El Cotillo in Fuerteventura, Canary Islands. (Photo by pkazmierczak/Getty)

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.

Bottom line

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 image by Getty Images

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Best luxury travel rewards card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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Rewards Rate

5XEarn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
5XEarn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

    Earn 80,000 Points
  • Annual Fee

    $695
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

Sometimes it's worth a large investment to reap the benefits of a great credit card. That's exactly the case with the Amex Platinum card. In exchange for the annual fee, you'll unlock access to the Amex Membership Rewards program that let you access airline and hotel transfer partners, along with new lifestyle and travel credits. This card is also incredibly rewarding for travel purchases, helping you rack up a ton of Membership Rewards points for your next award trip.

Pros

  • The current welcome offer on this card is quite lucrative. TPG values it at $1,600.
  • This card comes with a long list of benefits, including access to Centurion Lounges, complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott, at least $500 in assorted annual statement credits and so much more. (Enrollment required for select benefits.)
  • The Amex Platinum comes with access to a premium concierge service that can help you with everything from booking hard-to-get reservations to finding destination guides to help you plan out your next getaway.

Cons

  • The high annual fee is only worth it if you’re taking full advantage of the card’s benefits. Seldom travelers may not get enough value to warrant the cost.
  • Outside of the current welcome bonus, you’re only earning higher rewards on specific airfare and hotel purchases, so it’s not a great card for other spending categories.
  • The annual airline fee statement credit can be complicated to take advantage of compared to the broader travel credits offered by competing premium cards.
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Ups are excluded.
  • American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. There are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
  • Get up to $300 back per calendar year on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card. Enrollment required. Learn more.
  • Breeze through security with CLEAR® lanes available at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your membership when you use your Card. Learn more.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees