Best Beaches in Spain

Best Beaches in Spain

For sun, sea and sand just a short flight away from the UK, a beach holiday in Spain is hard to beat. With over 3,000 miles of coastline (including one of the longest coastlines in the Mediterranean) and islands aplenty, picking the best beaches in Spain is a tricky task. And while you might be imagining sprawling resorts and sunseekers packed sardine-like on the sand, Spanish beaches have so much more to surprise you with. Seaside cities, secluded shores and family-friendly bays await, so read on to find your new favourite.


  1. La Concha
  2. Playa de Poo
  3. Playa de la Cera
  4. Praia das Rodas
  5. Playa de Bolonia
  6. Cala Pedrosa


Best in the City: La Concha

San Sebastian, Basque Country

The coastal cities of Barcelona and Valencia are often admired for their urban beaches, but we think La Concha in San Sebastian is one of the best beaches in Spain to visit on a city break. The scallop-shaped bay is a sheltered spot for swimming or stand up paddleboarding; the pretty promenade is great for a stroll without getting sandy; and post-beach meals are particularly delicious, since San Sebastian is often heralded as the food capital of Spain. If you want to relax by the waves without straying too far from the comforts of the city (including Michelin-star restaurants and a full cultural calendar), La Concha is the beach for you.


Best for Families: Playa de Poo

Llanes, Asturias

Little ones might giggle at Playa de Poo (pronounced ‘po’) when they spot it on the map, but it will soon become a firm family favourite when you reach this tranquil bay. The sheltered cove is perfect for paddlers or beginner swimmers (with lifeguards on duty during the summer); there are smart cafes where you can seek solace from the sun; and the beach is surrounded by lush green hills (not built-up resorts). This makes Playa de Poo a more peaceful option than some of Spain’s other family-friendly beaches. Of course, it can still get busy in the high season, so you can take the bus to the beach from the nearby town of Llanes to avoid any problems with parking.


Best for Winter Sun: Playa de la Cera

Lanzarote, Canary Islands

When temperatures drop elsewhere in Spain, the Canary Islands (off the coast of north-west Africa) remain blissfully balmy. On Lanzarote, you can enjoy highs of 23° in November, so it’s easy to see why this island and its sisters have long been a much-loved destination for winter sun. Playa de la Cera, a small cove of golden sand and emerald water in the south of Lanzarote, is our pick of the best beaches in Spain for escaping the cold. Situated in Los Ajaches Natural Park (a volcanic region where the mountains meet the sea), Playa de la Cera is one of the six Papagayo beaches and neighbours the eponymous Playa Papagayo. Both are reached by following the path over the hill from the car park, but Playa de la Cera is a quieter spot with more space to spread out. The only cafe is back where you parked the car, so bring everything you need for a day at the beach (tapas on the sand sounds like a good plan).


Best Island Beach: Praia das Rodas

Las Islas Cíes, Galicia

Unlike the popular beaches on Spain’s most famous islands – the Balearics and the Canaries – the beaches of Las Islas Cíes are untamed, unspoilt and all-but-uninhabited. This enchanting archipelago lies off the coast of Galicia in the Atlantic Ocean (ferries connect the islands with the port of Vigo on the mainland) and has no cars, no hotels (a campsite is the only option for an overnight stay) and a limit on visitor numbers. Praia das Rodas is a sweeping white stretch of sand that connects the two main islands; a travel brochure beauty that the locals call their ‘Caribbean beach’. The Guardian once named it one of the top ten beaches in the world, and if you visit for a desert island day out, you may well agree.


Best for History: Playa de Bolonia

Costa de la Luz, Andalucía

At first glance, Playa de Bolonia is just another beautiful beach; dominated by a huge sand dune, lined with pine forests and boasting waves windsurfers dream of. Explore further, though, and you come across the ruins of Baelo Claudia; a former Roman city and one of Andalucía’s most significant archaeological sites. The ruins are visible from the boardwalk by the beach, but to learn more we recommend visiting the Baelo Claudia Roman Museum, where you can tour the site and discover how the area was once a strategic point for trade between Europe and North Africa. Now part of the El Estrecho Natural Park, there are strict regulations that protect Playa de Bolonia from over-development; there’s no resort here, just a handful of wooden beach bars. There’s also a clothing-optional section of the beach for those who like to go right back to basics…


Best Off-The-Beaten-Track Beach: Cala Pedrosa

Costa Brava, Catalonia

You can only reach the cove of Cala Pedrosa by boat (kayak or motorboat) or on foot (a steep, half-hour walk downhill). But its seclusion is what makes it special. The pebble beach hides between rugged rocks and verdant pines, lapped by waves that are clear enough for snorkelling. It might be off the beaten track, but you don’t need to pack a picnic; from May to October, Senora Pepita serves homemade tapas and other traditional dishes from an old fishermen’s hut. And her cooking is the perfect partner to an afternoon away from it all.

Header image by Faustine Poidevin