A rock in the sea at Gibralfaro, Malaga, Spain

The Best Beaches in Spain, Ranked

As one of the most visited countries year-round, Spain has a lot to offer for its visitors. While Spain’s croquettes, fine wine, and lively atmosphere are certainly a draw for many, we’re here to tell you that some of the best beaches in Spain are also some of the best beaches in the world (in our humble opinion!) 

Our list of Spain’s top beaches for any kind of traveller is finally here! Sit back, grab your cold beverage, and prepare for relaxation on a sunny day. You may need to take off your sunglasses for this read. But before you know it, you’ll be craving the feeling of sand between your toes.

Travel to: Spain

The Best Beaches in Spain

View of the coast in Blanes, Spain
Spain’s beaches keep visitors returning year after year

1. Islas Cíes, Ria de Vigo, Galicia

Where else to visit Spanish beaches than on some Spanish islands? That’s where Islas Cíes comes in. These three islands, known as the “Galician Caribbean,” are the perfect day trip adventure. They’re connected by Rodas beach, which is also home to a lagoon. It’s easy to explore the landscape: you can walk to the lighthouse or just spend your day taking a picnic with your travel companion. This beach stretches half a mile long, making it perfect for any beach traveller. There are a couple of shops and a market nearby, but it’s advised to bring your own food. It’s also important to note that Islas Cíes is a nature preserve. While it may not be your country of residence, make sure you respect this beautiful area for its visitors who come after you do.

Remember that you’ll need to register to visit by bringing your passport to the ferry port in Vigo. There are a limited amount of visitors allowed each day (2,200) and it can get very warm in the afternoon, so try to go early to miss the crowds and see the sunrise. Don’t worry though, you can reserve a spot online.

2. Playa de Los Genoveses, Almeria 

Imagine waves lapping at a shoreline dotted with seashells, eucalyptus trees, no buildings or bars or shops, just 1200 metres of entirely untouched white sand. Located in the natural park of Cabo de Gata, Playa de Los Genoveses is one of the park’s most famous beaches. Somewhat of a hidden gem, this stretch of coastline can be accessed by an unpaved lane a little way beyond the village of San José.

At the entrance of the village look for a sign that has directions for Playa de Los Genoveses as well as other beaches close by like Cala Borronal, Monsul Beach, and Cala Media Luna. As this spectacular beach is so remote, it’s best to come prepared with plenty of food, liquids, and other essential items for a day beside the sea, maybe even some delicious Spanish wine!

3. Playa de Maspalomas 

It’s so close to Western Sahara you’ll barely realize it’s part of Spain! Located on one of Spain’s southern islands, Gran Canaria, the model of this beach won an international architecture award in 1961, which made its popularity skyrocket. Some compare it to Palm Springs in California or Palm Beach in Florida. The warm sand, impressive dunes, and perfect-temperature ocean water will show you a day to remember.

You can reach the dunes by walking through a large arched entrance on Avenida de Tirajana. Walk down a short lane, and you’ll see that you’re in the right place. Every 100 metres you can find kiosks selling refreshments.

The beach itself has a shallow entry to the water, and there is ample opportunity to rent a sunbed (~1,5€) and umbrella (~5€) if you wish. Draft beer is about 3€ too! Lifeguards portal the beach and it’s just minutes away from a resort. You will find restricted areas for habitat protection.

There are different spots for different beach-goers: a place for families and kids, two zones of a nude beach and another that is popular with the gay community. If you don’t plan on leaving after the sun goes down, you’ll be happy to find out that this spot has a great LGBT-friendly nightlife.

See Also: Best Spain Vacations 2020

4. Platja des Trenc, Mallorca, Balearic Islands

If you’re a traveller who likes to see what the hype is about, this beach is for you. Located on the island of Mallorca in the Balearic Islands, this beach is nestled in a lush forest. Sand dunes cover the seafront next to slow-crashing crystal blue waters: there’s no shortage of picturesque views here. Its shallow shores make it the perfect place for family fun time.

Plan ahead and be prepared with all of your beach gear when you visit Platja des Trenc, as this is a popular destination that can get busy quickly. It’s best to go early or later in the day, or during off-season and mid-week to avoid the crowds. It’s a beach that shows no mercy when it comes to landscape. The undeveloped land is protected, and extends nearly three kilometres. There’s access from both sides of the beach: from Ses Covetes in the north, or through the salt flats in the south. Parking is less expensive from the Ses Covetes entrance, or, if you’re interested in a sit-down lunch, the Es Trenc Restaurant will take your parking fee off your bill! The perfect win-win situation for a day at the beach.

5. Sotavento Beach, Costa Calma

Hold onto your hate at Sotavento Beach! It’s an ideal spot for surfing, flying kids, and waterboarding. If you don’t mind the wind, this beach is for you: the lagoon is stunning with its turquoise water, and the beach itself stretches as far as the eye can see. Most say this beach is rarely crowded, and full of secret places to find solace and relaxation. Two sunbeds and an umbrella are available to rent for €13.50.

It’s only a fifteen-minute walk from Playa Esmeralda, and just south of Fueteventura. If the activities aren’t for you, you can always sit back with a drink and watch them from the beach bar. Very different from the family-oriented Platja des Trenc. Bonus – there is plenty of free parking close to the beach, so don’t be afread to drive close for the best spot.

6. Cala el Golfet

“Small but mighty” is how we’d describe the picturesque cove of Cala el Golfet. It truly is an oasis, hidden from the world with its rocky headland and emerald waters. It’s still being discovered by many, because you won’t find this beach by driving along the coast. This beach is not recommended for those unable to walk up and down steep steps, because there are a lot of rocks around, including sharp ones in the water. For those up to the challenge, prepare to be amazed. Pack a lunch, as you’ll feel like you’ve been placed in the middle of nowhere, and there are no refreshments or dining nearby.

To find this beauty, you will need to go to Costa Brava. Cala el Golfet is located near the foot of the Cap Roing botanical gardens. It’s the south beach, about 1.5 kilometres outside Calella de Palafrugell near the village of Mont-ras. You can park along Carrer del Cap Planes if you’re driving, or take the bus from Palafrugell. From there, look for a sign for the beach. The only thing left to do is feel your excitement rise, as you begin your day in paradise.

To all the water babies, adventure seekers and sun worshippers, we know you’ll find enjoyment in your next trip to Spain if you include one (or all) of these beaches on your list of must-see touring destinations. There is always more to find when you tour the Spanish white sands!

Correction notice: an earlier version of this article wrongly identified several beaches in their location.

Bex is a proud Manitoba native based in Toronto. She's forever indecisive with coffee vs. tea, boxing vs yoga, and city vs country, so when it comes to travel - you never know which destination you'll find her in next. Follow her adventures on Instagram @persbecktives or at rebeckacalderwood.com.

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