The 11 Best Beaches in Spain

Beach in Ibiza, Spain
Spain's sunny shores are calling your name.

Alex Tihonovs / EyeEm/Getty Images

 

Spain has more than 3,000 miles of coastline, much of which is graced with beautiful beaches. Although tourists tend to flock to Costa Blanca and the Costa del Sol, gorgeous beaches line the country on every coast.

But not all beaches are created equal, and just because one summer hotspot is popular doesn't mean you'll be a fan of it. If you're planning a summer vacation to Spain, knowing which beach is the best fit for you and your travel companions will help take your experience from "good" to "simply unforgettable."

From the iconic Playa de La Concha in San Sebastian to the sunny southern shore of Andalusia, these destinations provide the total package when it comes to beaches in Spain. 

01 of 11

La Concha Beach, San Sebastian

La Concha bay and beach in San Sebastian
Gonzalo Azumendi / Getty Images
Address
Beach of La Concha, 20007, Gipuzkoa, Spain

Forget about Spain itself for a second—La Concha is considered one of the best city beaches in Europe. With its fine golden sand, sweeping views of the bay, and characteristic sophisticated white promenade, this spot is begging to be Instagrammed.

Situated in the northeast corner of Spain, near the western end of the French border, San Sebastián is a chic coastal city with excellent pintxos (think tapas, but Basque) and one of the nicest beaches you'll ever find in a city.

Plenty is happening on and around La Concha Beach, too, so San Sebastian is an excellent destination if you're looking for even more adventure than a typical beach vacation. You can easily ​​find hotels in and around San Sebastian that are within walking distance of La Concha.

How to get there: San Sebastian is easily accessible by rail from Madrid, Barcelona, and other major cities in Spain. You can book trains throughout Spain via the website of the national rail service, Renfe.

02 of 11

Playa de Las Catedrales, Galicia

Spain, Ribadeo, Playa de Las Catedrales, Sunny morning at beach
Westend61 / Getty Images
Address
Praia das Catedrais, 27795, Lugo, Spain
Phone +34 981 90 06 43

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 Ribadeo (though Foz 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. Come summer, though, you'll practically have this natural paradise to yourself, as it isn't on most tourists' radar.

How to get there: Ribadeo is on the Narrow Gauge Railway which runs along the north coast of Galicia and Asturias. To get from Santiago de Compostela, there's a three-hour bus journey run by ALSA

03 of 11

Playa del Silencio, Asturias

Coastline in Asturias
Andreas Weibel - www.imediafoto.com / Getty Images
Address
Silence Beach, Asturias, Spain

Beaches in the rugged region of Asturias are considered to be the best in northern Spain (narrowly beating out those of nearby Galicia). Of those stunning spots, Playa del Silencio is deemed the best of the best. 

As with Galicia, sunshine is not as certain in Asturias 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, such as Gijón, have plenty to offer in terms of parties, concerts, and special events.

How to get there: The Asturian coast is excellent for a day trip. Trains and buses to Cudillero are available from many northern Spanish cities.

04 of 11

Ses Illetes, Formentera, Balearic Islands

Calo des Moro a rocky beach with sailboats in the distance

 Lara D'Agostino / TripSavvy

Address
Platja de Ses Illetes, 07871, Illes Balears, Spain

Just off the eastern coast of Spain, the Balearic Islands are home to some of the most popular vacation destinations in the country, including Ibiza, Mallorca, and Minorca. However, the island of Formentera is frequently recognized as one of the best islands for beaches, including Ses Illetes and Cala Conta.

How to get there: 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. You could book a hotel on Formentera itself if you'd rather stay overnight to catch a beautiful coastal sunrise.

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05 of 11

Beaches of Sitges, Catalonia, Near Barcelona

Beach in Sitges, Spain
Cristian Covaci / EyeEm/Getty Images  
Address
08870 Sitges, Barcelona, Spain

Along the northeastern coast of Spain, the shores of Sitges are home to some of the best beaches near Barcelona. Located just a few miles from this thriving city, Sitges has become a well-known gay destination in Spain and is known for its mixed and nudist beaches.

Sitges makes for a popular day trip from Barcelona, and a few hours spent exploring its charming streets is time well spent. If you'd like to spend a few days exploring this beautiful coastal town, accommodation here will likely prove more economical than staying in busy Barcelona.

How to get there: Sitges is extremely accessible from Barcelona by bus and train. 

06 of 11

Nerja, Costa del Sol, Andalusia

Nerja Spain beach
Manuel Hurtado / Getty Images 
Address
Pl. Balcón de Europa, 2, 29780 Nerja, Málaga, Spain

The Costa del Sol in Andalusia is one of Spain's most expensive (and occasionally overpriced) regions. Still, the beaches here are worth the trek if you've never visited this beautiful part of the country.

Rather than heading southwest from Málaga to the likes of Torremolinos and Fuengirola, make your way east to Nerja. A typical pueblo blanco ("white village") with pretty houses and excellent beaches, Nerja isn't completely free from the big hotels that blot the landscape all around this region. Still, overall you'll find a much more relaxed atmosphere and higher quality beaches.

Alternatively, head a little further out, and you'll find yourself in Motril, an even lesser-known corner of paradise just south of Granada.

How to get there: Nerja and Motril are within an hour and a half of Málaga and Granada. Check the bus and train schedules to find an option that works for you.

07 of 11

La Barrosa, Chiclana de la Frontera, Cádiz

Cadiz, Spain
Roberto Moiola / Sysaworld/Getty Images  
Address
La Barrosa, 11139 Chiclana de la Frontera, Cádiz, Spain

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 Cádiz itself is also very nice. Both boast fine white sand, stunning views, and plenty of chiringuitos (beach bars—a vital consideration for any seaside escape, if you ask us).

How to get there: Cádiz is easily accessible from various cities in southern Spain via bus and rail. 

08 of 11

Tarifa, Cádiz, Andalusia

Beach in Tarifa, Spain
Manuel Breva Colmeiro/Getty Images  
Address
11380 Tarifa, Cádiz, Spain

Tarifa has a lot going on: windsurfing, whale-watching, and fun nightlife. However, if you're looking for a place to sunbathe, the wind might deter you from visiting this gusty beach.

If you don't mind getting sand everywhere, Tarifa will do you fine, but the area is especially perfect for active watersport enthusiasts rather than casual sunbathers. It is also situated at the junction between the Atlantic and Mediterranean, which adds some novelty value.

Tarifa is a surfer culture paradise, and you can expect the same crowd of "dudes" and "dudettes" as you would on beaches in Hawaii and California. However, the laid-back lifestyle and active culture also ​mean you'll be able to find more affordable hotels in Tarifa.

How to get there: Tarifa lies right along the Cádiz-Málaga bus route, and buses head in either direction usually stop in the town. 

Continue to 9 of 11 below.
09 of 11

Gandia, Costa Blanca, Valencia

People swimming in the ocean at the beach in Valencia

 Jamie Ditaranto / TripSavvy

Address
Platja de Gandia, Spain

Valencia's Costa Blanca comprises many small towns with pleasant beaches. Some towns are bigger than others (Dénia is one of the larger ones) while others, like Benidorm, attract mainly holiday crowds.

Gandia is one of the beaches that is more popular with residents of Spain rather than foreign tourists, so if you're looking for a more relaxed, local atmosphere, this is the place for you. 

The Costa Blanca is a great place to explore if you're looking for a bit more of a cultural, local adventure, and you can find some really unique hotels in Gandia and other smaller towns.

How to get there: It's easy to find public transport to Gandia from Valencia, Alicante, and other nearby large cities.

10 of 11

Playa de los Peligros & Playa de la Magdalena, Santander

Santander spain
Wikimedia Commons
Address
Playa Los Peligros, Santander, Cantabria, Spain

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 Playa 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 popular (though not overcrowded).

How to get there: Santander is well connected with the rest of northern Spain via public transport.

11 of 11

Isuntza & Karraspio, Lekeitio

Isuntza beach

Unaihuiziphotography / Getty Images

This Basque Country gem flies under the radar for most tourists and some locals but is worth a stop. Located just an hour outside of Bilbao and San Sebastián, the quiet town of Lekeitio is home to plenty of bars and restaurants serving local ciders, txakoli (the region's most famous wine), and fresh, local seafood, and a stunning gothic church.

Isuntza is the most popular beach and can get quite crowded, but you'll arrive at Karraspio, which is often quieter if you walk a little further. You have an excellent view of the tiny San Nicolas Island, to which you can easily swim or even walk during low tide.

How to get there: Lekeitio is reachable by bus from San Sebastian, but connections can be infrequent. Driving yourself is preferable.

Address
Lekeitio, Biscay, Spain
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Sun, Sand & Surf: The Top 11 Beaches in Spain