We’re all off to sunny Spain, so bring your bucket and spade. From Asturias to Andalucia, discover the 10 best beaches in España. What’s your favourite?
1. Playa de Isla Canela, Andalucía
Isla Canela is, as you may have guessed, an island. It is not an island in the sea, but an island in the mouth of the Guadiana River, which separates Spain and Portugal. Its main attraction is a 7km-long beach of golden sand fronting the Gulf of Cadiz.
2. Playa de Bolonia, Andalucía
Also in Andalucia, in the province of Cádiz, Bolonia is everything you could ask for in a beach, and more. Just behind the fine white sands lie the remains of the Roman city of Baelo Claudia. And if you’d rather leave your swimming costume at home, there’s a popular nudist beach at the southern end of the bay. Don’t forget the suntan lotion.
3. Playa de Gulpiyuri, Asturias
This one’s a bit different: it’s not by the sea. Well, not quite. Gulpiyuri beach is located between the cities of Santander and Gijon in the Asturias region on Spain’s north coast. The beach is about 100 meters from the Bay of Biscay, with which it is connected through a network of underground caves. So here you can swim in the sea without being in it, or something.
4. Playa de los Genoveses, Andalucía
This definitely isn’t Torremolinos. There are no big hotels here. Los Genoveses lies in an isolated spot in the heart of the Cabo de Gata Natural Park, which has some of the best scenery in Spain. You’ll need to take your own packed lunch, and sun lounger, if you really must.
5. Cala de Sa Calobra, Majorca
Sa Calobra Bay is well-known, but it’s still extraordinary. There are two small beaches to choose from. One is located just outside the small town of Sa Calobra, while the other can only be reached by boat or by following a route through the cliffs on a steep and winding road not suitable for those who suffer from car sickness or vertigo. Unfortunately Sa Calobra gets crowded in high season, so it’s best to arrive early.
6. El Trabucador, Catalonia
The Ebro Delta, about 40 kilometres south of the city of Reus, is still very unspoilt and little known among non-locals. Windsurfers ply the waters off its golden sands which are backed by saltmarshes where birds such as herons and egrets nest. Surrounded by water on both sides, Trabucador Beach is one of the best spots among many.
7. Cala de Algaiarens, Menorca
Some of the best things in life require a little bit of effort. Algaiarens Bay in Menorca is well worth it. Its white sand beach and crystal clear waters approach perfection, but you’ll need your swimming badges here as the water can get a bit choppy. On the western side of the bay there is a small harbour where friends gather to chill over a spot of fishing.
8. Cape Trafalgar, Andalucia
Los Caños de Meca is a one-time hippy hangout that so retains its laid-back vibe that clothes are optional its beaches. Perhaps the best spot is the stretch of sand leading up to lighthouse-topped Cape Trafalgar. Yes, this is the site of the famous battle of 1805 starring Admiral Nelson.
9. Cala Saona, Formentera
It’s small, yes, but it’s definitely well-formed. Little Formentera lies next to its noisy neighbour Ibiza, and boasts several superb beaches. Turquoise Cala Saona is a small bay with white sand surrounded by red rocks. There are a few beachside restaurants and a hostel, but the place is still a haven of peace and relaxation.
10. Playa de las Catedrales, Galicia
The ‘Beach of the Cathedrals’ in Galicia is a natural monument. This unique beach has many natural caves, coves and arches that vary in appearance depending on the tides. If you want to walk among the rock formations and dip your feet in the water, you’ll need to do it when the tide is out, obviously.