The 10 Best Beaches in Spain You Should Visit At Least Once
With 3,000 miles of coastline and two islands, Spain has no shortage of beautiful beaches. But not all beaches are created equal so I did some digging to determine which Spanish beaches you need to visit. This list is based on my travels around Spain and recommendations from my Spanish friends. If you’re looking for the best beaches to visit in Spain, skip Barcelona and head to one (or all) of these destinations. In no particular order, here are the 10 best beaches in Spain you need to see before you die.
This is the eighth part of the Spain Bucket List Series. Here’s the complete series:
Culture: 9 Experiences You Must Have in Spain
Off the beaten path: 8 Underrated Cities You Need To Visit in Spain
Barcelona: A Self-Guided Walking Tour of Barcelona
The Most Beautiful Beaches in Spain
Playa de Rodas – Vigo
National Geographic ranked Playa de Rodas as the best beach in the world a few years ago. Of course, I had to go see it for myself. The verdict: this is probably the cleanest and most pristine beach I’ve ever been to! The water is a deep green, and the landscape is just breathtaking.
Playa de Rodas is a part of the Cies Islands in Galicia, Spain, which are a protected natural habitat. It is home to exotic species of birds that are on the verge of extinction. Partly due to that, you need a permit from the Galician government to visit Playa Rodas during certain times of the year. It’s really easy, though. When you purchase a ferry ticket online, you’ll be directed to the government’s website to fill out a form. There are strict rules for visitors, like not feeding the animals or littering.
Playa de Paraiso – Alicante
Located in the community of Valencia, the birthplace of paella, Alicante is a great destination for if you’re looking for sun, relaxation, and good food. It is home to some stunning, underrated beaches. My friend from Alicante drove me to the aptly named Playa Paraiso, Paradise Beach, when I visited 2 years ago. Up to that point, it was the most beautiful beach I’d ever been to. There were giant rock formations and caves surrounded by crystal clear water. This beach is quite small and gets crowded during the summer.
Playa de La Concha – San Sebastián
I studied abroad in the Basque city of Bilbao and made frequent trips to neighboring San Sebastian. There were two main draws: the pintxos (tapas) and La Concha beach, which means the shell. La Concha is arguably the most beautiful beach in the Basque country. Located on the Bay of Biscay, this spacious beach is surrounded by two mountains – Urgull and Igueldo. La Concha is an urban beach, but it’s large enough that it doesn’t get crowded. You will likely see women sunbathing topless, as is the norm in Spain and Europe.
Cala Saona – Formentera
Saona beach is more touristy than the others, but it is still worth a trip. The water is bright turquoise, and the sand is a light golden shade. You need to see it for yourself!
This beach is remote and is accessible by boat from Ibiza. During the peak season (June-August) hordes of tourists descend onto this small beach so it may not be as pleasant. Go during the offseason for a more relaxing experience. Cala Saona attracts lots of families but is also fine for solo travelers.
Cala Varques – Mallorca
The Island of Mallorca is home to over 200 beaches so choosing the best is no easy task. Still, there is one beach that truly stands out from the pack – Cala Varques. It looks like a mix between the Algarve in Portugal and the Greek Islands. Perfection. This beach is also completely isolated so it’s perfect if you’re trying to avoid crowds.
Cala Varques, which is known for its golden sand and turquoise water, is on the eastern coast of Mallorca. The closest city is Porto Cristo, a one hour drive from Palma.
Cala Macarelleta – Menorca
Menorca is the little sister to the more famous island of Mallorca, but it should not be overlooked! Cala Macarelleta is a postcard type of setting The deep blue water, the surrounding greenery, the caves – this beach is the epitome of paradise.
Getting to Cala Macarelleta requires a 10-minute hike, but it is beyond worth it. Be aware that this is a nudist beach. It gets packed in the summer so you may want to visit during the offseason.
Platja de Treumal – Costa Brava
Costa Brava, the coastline of Catalunya in northeast Spain, has its fair share of gorgeous beaches. Platja de Treumal is at the top of the list. It is not only breathtaking but also very accessible, unlike some of the remote island beaches.
Located in the town of Lloret de Mar, Platja de Treumal is a little over an hour away from Barcelona by car. It is a small beach, with less than a mile of coastline.
Playa del Ingles – Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria, the capital of the Canary Islands, is home to the sprawling Playa del Ingles (the English beach.) Playa del Ingles, located in the southern part of Gran Canaria, is at the heart of one of the largest holiday resorts in Spain. There are tons of hotels, apartments, restaurants, shops, and bars in this area, making it extremely popular with tourists. If you’re looking for a calm and relaxing beach, this might not be the best choice. But this is a great choice if you’re looking for a lively environment with a variety of options for food, drinks, water sports, and nightlife.
Playa Papagayo – Lanzarote
Lanzarote’s Playa Papagayo resembles the red sand beach in Santorini in some ways. The surrounding rock formations have a rusty red color. This cove-shaped beach has crystal clear water and dark golden sand. Playa Papagayo is distinct from other beaches on this list in terms of appearance.
Getting here requires a bit of a trek. It is a 2-mile walk from the closest town, Playa Blanca. You can also drive, but the roads leading there are rough. Walking seems like a better option. There is a 3 euro fee if you want to enter the secluded area of the beach, but it’s worth the fee.
Playa de Los Muertos – Almería
Despite its grave name, Playa de Los Muertos (the Beach of the Dead) is a lively little paradise in Costa del Sol. The southern coast of Spain surprisingly doesn’t have as many ‘wow’ beaches as the north, but Playa de Los Muertos is one exception. It is an isolated, post-card worthy beach is a preserved natural environment. It is home to many species of marine life. The easiest way to get here is to follow a half-mile trail that starts at the tourism office of Almeria. Be sure to take everything you need for the day! Oh, and the sunsets here are spellbinding so stick around for that.
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