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47 of the best beaches in Spain
Destinations & Inspiration

47 of the best beaches in Spain

Suzie Dalton
By Suzie Dalton - 14 minute read

The best Span­ish beach­es is a hot­ly debat­ed top­ic. For some, the per­fect beach is iso­lat­ed, rugged­ly beau­ti­ful and far from the crowds. For oth­ers, it’s a place where you’ll find fam­i­ly-friend­ly ameni­ties, life­guards – and lots of oth­er chil­dren for your own kids to play with! Regard­less of what you’re look­ing for, we think we’ve found it. Read on for a selec­tion of the best beach­es in Spain… 

The best Spanish beaches for a city break

Barcelona with Barceloneta Beach. The best Spanish beaches for a city break

Barcelona is just one of Spain’s many amaz­ing coastal cities.

Spain is stag­ger­ing­ly well-blessed with cities by the sea. First, let’s take a look at the cul­tur­al city of Ali­cante, which com­bines great sight­see­ing with an epic coast­line. Here, you’ll find San Juan which boasts gor­geous white sands and plen­ty of water sports options. Admit­ted­ly it can be busy at the city-end of the beach, but walk a lit­tle along the 6kms of sand, and you’ll quick­ly find plen­ty of space – plus clean, shal­low waters that are pop­u­lar with families. 

People on the beach in Palma. Best beaches for a city break.

Palma’s beach­es are much-loved by tourists and locals alike.

Con­sid­er Pal­ma for an unfor­get­table city break. Ca’n Pere Antoni is where many tourists head – under­stand­ably so, as the beach starts by the cathe­dral and has plen­ty of ameni­ties. If you’re look­ing for some­thing a lit­tle more peace­ful (and a lit­tle less crowd­ed) then take a 15-minute dri­ve out of the city to the idyl­lic coves of Illetas and Cala Comtes­sa, where turquoise water and white sands are picture-perfect. 

Alter­na­tive­ly, Malague­ta in Mala­ga is an immense­ly pop­u­lar city beach. With a tree-lined prom­e­nade, out­door gyms, vol­ley­ball nets and plen­ty of beach bars, there’s some­thing for every­one. Playa Sar­dinero in San­tander offers sim­i­lar­ly excep­tion­al facil­i­ties – as the city’s main beach, it’s pop­u­lar year-round, plus it offers some great surf­ing opportunities. 

San Sebastián (also known by the locals as Donos­tia) should also get a nod for host­ing some of the best Span­ish beach­es – but as this gor­geous city is cov­ered exten­sive­ly in the food­ie sec­tion of this blog, you can read more about it there! 

In Barcelona, there are 4.5kms of gold­en coast­line to explore: 

  • Many peo­ple head straight for Barcelone­ta Beach which could be con­sid­ered to be one of the best Span­ish beach­es. From lock­ers and acces­si­ble show­ers to play­grounds, bicy­cle hire and vol­ley­ball nets, it real­ly is an impres­sive option. 
  • For some­thing a lit­tle qui­eter (but with less facil­i­ties) you could con­sid­er explor­ing Lle­vant Beach which has a laid-back vibe, or enjoy the calm waters at Nova Icària Beach.
  • The above beach­es are impres­sive, but for us, Nova Mar Bel­la Beach real­ly steals the show. With walk­ways cross­ing the sand all the way to the sea, this is a favourite for any­one with acces­si­bil­i­ty issues, and you can even pre-arrange for a vol­un­teer to be on hand to assist you. 
Dog on dog-friendly beach in Spain. Valencia.

Valen­cia hosts a num­ber of dog-friend­ly beaches.

Mean­while, Valen­cia is a show­stop­per in its own right. With a num­ber of dog-friend­ly beach­es, the whole fam­i­ly can enjoy time togeth­er. Our par­tic­u­lar favourite is the love­ly 2km of sands at Playa El Brosquil in Callera (just out­side of cen­tral Valen­cia), while the small­er but delight­ful­ly clean Playa D’Aiguao­li­va in Vinaròs offers the prospect of waves for adven­tur­ous pups! For more info, take a look at this help­ful round-up of dog-friend­ly beach­es In Valen­cia.

Look­ing for plen­ty of space away from the city cen­tre? Then Pat­a­cona Beach near Alb­o­raya is beau­ti­ful, while 2km out of cen­tral Valen­cia you’ll find Las Are­na, which is a love­ly option, though it can get busy in peak times. For some­thing a lit­tle unique, you can’t go wrong with El Saler beach which can be reached on bus from Valen­cia. Around 13km out of the city cen­tre, it’s a big favourite with water-sports enthusiasts.

The best beaches in Spain for families

Best beaches in Spain Las Palmas family friendly beach compressed

Las Pal­mas is a huge hit with families.

Let’s be hon­est here, if you’re hol­i­day­ing with chil­dren – par­tic­u­lar­ly younger ones or those who are less con­fi­dent in the water – then you want to find some­where with great pad­dling oppor­tu­ni­ties, a life­guard and con­ve­nient facil­i­ties. This is where slight­ly more touristy des­ti­na­tions such as Las Pal­mas and Tener­ife come into their own, as you can be sure of find­ing child-friend­ly facilities. 

Oth­er pop­u­lar haunts in top Span­ish beach des­ti­na­tions include:

  • Las Can­teras beach in Las Pal­mas de Gran Canaria, which is a firm par­ent-favourite, as much of the beach is pro­tect­ed from the waves.
  • Playa La Her­radu­ra in Cos­ta Trop­i­cal com­bines the per­fect mix of clean sand and water, plen­ty of sea­side restau­rants and water-based activ­i­ties for kids of all ages. 
  • With three shel­tered bays and plen­ty of child-friend­ly restau­rants near­by, Playa Paraiso in Tener­ife is reg­u­lar­ly cit­ed as one of the most fam­i­ly-friend­ly beach­es in Spain.
  • El Castel­lar in Mazarrón, Mur­cia is a delight. With a gen­tle descent into deep­er waters, chil­dren can play safe­ly – before explor­ing the seafront prom­e­nade for ice cream and chur­ros dipped in chocolate! 
Best beaches in Spain Malvarrosa family friendly beach compressed

Mal­var­rosa is much loved by Valen­cian locals – and kids!

Playa de Mal­var­rosa ticks many of the fam­i­ly-friend­ly’ box­es. Locat­ed in Valen­cia, this love­ly city beach is sur­round­ed by restau­rants and shops, and has great trans­port links so you won’t need a car. Bet­ter yet, it’s an acces­si­ble beach with a gen­tle slope from prom­e­nade to the sand, while there’s a clear­ly-defined sec­tion for surf­ing, wind­surf­ing and canoeing. 

If you can han­dle a slight­ly cool­er sea, then the Atlantic beach­es sur­round­ing Gali­cia are par­tic­u­lar­ly love­ly. Slight­ly cool­er and con­sid­er­ably green­er than its south­ern coun­ter­parts, this is a great option for those who are look­ing for lush scenery to accom­pa­ny their morn­ing swim! The region also boasts incred­i­ble seafood and the pret­ti­est vil­lages to explore when you want a break from the beach. One such exam­ple is Pra­ia de Laxe in Cos­ta da Morte, which boasts white sand beach­es and plen­ty of amenities. 

With 7km of sand, Pra­ia de Carnota is par­tic­u­lar­ly pop­u­lar, and the views of Mount Pin­do are epic – how­ev­er you should be mind­ful that the cur­rents can be strong, so make sure you stay with­in sight of the life­guards. Alter­na­tive­ly, the 1km of white sands that run along Pra­ia de Xil­loi, O Vice­do are per­fect for young visitors. 

The best beaches in Spain for couples

Couple sitting on Playa de La Caleta beach. The most romantic beach in Spain.

La Cale­ta in Cadiz – small, but per­fect­ly formed.

Tucked away in south­ern Spain is Cadiz, which is home to some of the loveli­est beach­es in the coun­try – in fact, many would argue that Cadiz’s epic 260km coast­line boasts some of the best beach­es in Spain. La Cale­ta is one such exam­ple. As the city’s small­est yet most cen­tral beach, it’s locat­ed in the his­tor­i­cal heart of Cadiz, so it’s backed by exquis­ite archi­tec­ture, plen­ty of roman­tic bars and restau­rants, and a good hand­ful of fla­men­co clubs! 

If you’re com­bin­ing your roman­tic get­away with a city break, then La Gar­ro­fera Beach (which is south of Valen­cia) is excep­tion­al. While there are very few facil­i­ties, the scenery is knock-your-socks off beau­ti­ful, thanks to the coast­line on one side of the beach, with Albufera Lake on the other. 

White sand and turquoise sea at Papagayo. One of the most romantic beaches in Spain.

Papa­gayo beach is a haven for couples.

Lan­zarote offers some­thing for every type of trav­eller, but it’s Papa­gayo beach that real­ly steals the show. With white sands and a con­ve­nient­ly locat­ed beach bar that offers up deli­cious cock­tails while the sun sets, it’s fair to say it’s not only one of the best beach­es in Spain, it’s one of the most roman­tic too!

Look­ing for a touch of lux­u­ry? Then head to Cala San Vicente in Mal­lor­ca where you’ll find the peace­ful beach­es and coves of Cala Bar­ques, Cala Clara, Cala Molins and Cala Car­bó. Sur­round­ed by dra­mat­ic cliffs – and off­set by high-end restau­rants and bars – this is a place where cou­ples can real­ly relax. 

And of course, a huge favourite of cou­ples is Ibiza. Yes it’s got a rep­u­ta­tion for being the island of choice for the par­ty-lov­ing set, but this per­fect­ly-formed get­away offers beau­ti­ful scenery, a stun­ning coast­line and plen­ty of great win­ing and din­ing options. With soft sands and the most invit­ing clear waters, we’d sug­gest snorkelling at the horse­shoe-shaped cove of Pou des Lleo.

You’ll find loads of great sug­ges­tions on the most roman­tic beach des­ti­na­tions in Spain in this article. 

The most secluded Spanish beaches

Spain is one of the best tourist des­ti­na­tions in the world, so it’s hard­ly sur­pris­ing that many of its beach­es can get pret­ty crowd­ed. Lots of trav­ellers thrive on the fun dynam­ic of a busier beach, but if you’d rather not be dis­turbed by oth­er hol­i­day-mak­ers, there are two ways to han­dle this. You could either con­sid­er vis­it­ing out­side the peak months (June to Sep­tem­ber) or you could get off the beat­en track to explore the less­er-known beaches. 

Beach huts, trees, sand and water at Cala Pada in Ibiza.

Find some me time’ in Ibiza.

Let’s start with a des­ti­na­tion that you’d nev­er nor­mal­ly asso­ciate with a seclud­ed retreat – the gor­geous stretch of sand at Cala Pada in Ibiza! Locat­ed on the island’s east coast, it’s a rel­a­tive­ly unde­vel­oped beach – no par­ty bars (oth­er than a cou­ple of under­stat­ed snack bars), no thump­ing music and very few peo­ple, as long as you don’t vis­it in August. 

The upshot of this is that it’s a great option if you’ve gone to Ibiza look­ing for a good time, and you need to step away from the fun for a bit of peace­ful con­tem­pla­tion in tru­ly beau­ti­ful sur­round­ings. Cala d’en Ser­ra (also in Ibiza) is anoth­er great spot for qui­eter sands and swim­ming opportunities.

Peaceful cliffs and sea at Estaca de Bares.

The cliffs at Esta­ca de Bares con­ceal some delight­ful­ly desert­ed coves.

If the thought of Ibiza for a peace­ful retreat makes your head spin and you real­ly want to escape peo­ple, then for true peace and qui­et (oth­er than the roar of the Atlantic and the con­stant twit­ter from the hun­dreds of thou­sands of birds who pass through), we think Esta­ca de Bares in the Gali­cian region is one of the best beach­es in Spain. As the most north­ern point of the Iber­ian Penin­su­la, it offers incred­i­ble views of the Bay of Bis­cay, plus the 19th-cen­tu­ry light­house pro­vides a dra­mat­ic focal point for your Insta­gram pics (don’t for­get to tag us with #welove­home­swap so that we can like’ your pics!)

Oth­er seclud­ed beach­es in Spain include:

  • La Isla de Ons in the Rías Baixas region. You’ll need to catch a fer­ry to get here, and there’s plen­ty of space to find your own seclud­ed oasis (which could explain why you’ll also find a nud­ist beach on the island.) 
  • Alter­na­tive­ly, con­sid­er vis­it­ing Playa Calaiza in Cos­ta Trop­i­cal (which is also known as Cos­ta Grana­da or Cos­ta Granad­i­na). Locat­ed at the base of the Cer­ro Gor­do Nature Reserve, this gor­geous beach can only be reached by kayak or by hik­ing through the pine for­est, so only the most deter­mined reach this lit­tle slice of heaven! 
  • Oth­er con­tenders for the title of most seclud­ed beach in Spain could include Plat­ja de Coll Baix which can only be reached after inch­ing your way over the rocks (stur­dy shoes and the will­ing­ness to hike for at least 30 min­utes are essen­tial), or Calo des Moro in Mal­lor­ca.
  • Final­ly, Cos­ta Bra­va tends to be busy, but if you want to escape the crowds then head to Cala Sa Cova.

The best Spanish beaches for a foodie break

San Sebastian city and beach.

San Sebas­t­ian is a food-lover’s delight.

Just over the bor­der from the South of France’s Biar­ritz, lies the chichi des­ti­na­tion of San Sebastián, where you’ll find the delight­ful com­bi­na­tion of knock­out food plus stun­ning beach­es. There are three main beach­es in the cres­cent-shaped bay, plus a dinky lit­tle island that can be reached by boat. San­ta Clara (the island’s beach) is unde­ni­ably gor­geous (and great for a lit­tle me-time), but if you’re here for the food scene, then we’d sug­gest stay­ing on the main­land where you’ll be spoilt for choice. 

La Con­cha Bay is per­haps the best known of the beach­es, as it ben­e­fits from serene waters thanks to San­ta Clara break­ing the impact of the waves. There’s also an impres­sive array of great eat­ing options in the vicin­i­ty – try La Madame for an excep­tion­al din­ing expe­ri­ence or Restau­rante Biar­ritz for Basque-influ­enced dish­es. If you fan­cy some­thing lighter, then pinx­to are the way for­ward – these deli­cious lit­tle nib­bles are small bites that have usu­al­ly been skew­ered with a cock­tail stick, so many peo­ple choose to drift from bar-to-bar, sam­pling the goods as they go! For lots of ideas on restau­rant and tapas options, then take a look at Spain Guide’s great round-up of the best places to eat in San Sebas­t­ian.

Ondar­reta Beach and Zur­rio­la Beach are also in the city, and each offers some­thing unique. Playa de Ondar­reta is one of the best Span­ish beach­es for fam­i­lies, as its wide expanse of sand and calm seas makes it a great place to play. Playa de la Zur­rio­la couldn’t be more dif­fer­ent! Nud­ism is allowed here, and the strong waves draw adren­a­lin junkies, mak­ing this one of Spain’s best beach­es for surfing. 

Grilled fish on a white plate.

The Cos­ta de la Luz region offers up sim­ple yet deli­cious dishes.

For fresh­ly-caught fish served straight from the net to your plate, head to Cos­ta de la Luz which is near the Por­tuguese bor­der. Tiny rus­tic towns dot the coast­line, and unspoilt sandy beach­es are the per­fect place to expe­ri­ence a sim­ple (yet deli­cious) culi­nary expe­ri­ence. Playa de La Fontanil­la at Conil de la Fron­tera is a delight – while immense­ly pop­u­lar with locals and tourists, it’s beau­ti­ful­ly clean and the beach­side bars and restau­rants serve up stun­ning seafood options.

For a tru­ly authen­tic food­ie expe­ri­ence, head to Zahara de los Atunes in the Cadiz region. Lit­er­al­ly trans­lat­ed as Sahara of the Tuna’, this incred­i­ble stretch of coast­line has a rep­u­ta­tion for knock­out tuna, seafood and tapas dish­es. There are a num­ber of love­ly beach­es in the area – some are incred­i­bly seclud­ed if you want to get away from it all. But for the best food­ie options, head to Playa del Car­men, which is a fam­i­ly-friend­ly beach that boasts a cou­ple of great chirin­gui­tos (beach bars) and safe swimming. 

Paella in Valencia.

Valen­cia is where pael­la originated.

Last­ly, the Valen­cian region is anoth­er great option for a food­ie break. With excep­tion­al seafood, it’s the orig­i­nal home of pael­la – and the many beach­side restau­rants serve up incred­i­ble options such as clóchi­nas which are tiny local mussels.

El Saler is a par­tic­u­lar­ly love­ly beach for food-lovers, as there are a cou­ple of great restau­rants in the area, and as it’s about a 30-minute dri­ve from the city cen­tre, it’s usu­al­ly peace­ful too. Love Valencia’s round-up of the best restau­rants on the beach in Valen­cia is a use­ful start­ing point when decid­ing which beach eaterie you’ll vis­it first. 

This round-up of the best beach­es in Spain bare­ly scratch­es the sur­face of a tru­ly gor­geous coun­try that should be on every buck­et list. We’ll keep adding to it over time, and we’d like to include some new sec­tions too. So tell us, what would you like us to fea­ture next? Per­haps the best Span­ish beach­es for a cul­tur­al break? Or maybe the best beach­es in Spain that are near water­parks – or arty towns?! What­ev­er you want to see cov­ered, get in touch with us via our Feed­back tab above, or share your thoughts in our Face­book groups. And if you’d like us to show­case your own Span­ish beach pho­tos, then tag us on social media using the hash­tag #welove­home­swap so that we can like and share your pics.