MADRID – Spain is a beach destination par excellence. The tourism sector has been living off the sun and beach tourism for decades. Every year tens of millions of foreign tourists come to the Spanish beaches to enjoy their well-deserved holiday.
With a coastline of approximately 8,000 kilometres, that is not surprising. Add to that the warm climate and the number of hours of sunshine and you understand why the Spanish beaches are so popular.
Such a long coastline also means a lot of variation. Everything you can imagine at the beach and sea can be found in Spain. From hard-to-reach ‘private beaches’, sheltered coves, and rugged cliff coasts to endless expanses of sand… And they all have the sea as their common denominator. One prefers the fresh waves of the Atlantic Ocean in the northwest and southwest of the country. The rough Cantabrian sea in the north or the extensive Mediterranean coast on the other side of the country attract different types of holidaymakers.
Extensive and often quiet
In any case, you will not often have trouble finding a spot on the beaches on this list. They are huge and expansive. You can escape the crowds and there is plenty of room for ball games, sometimes for dogs and they are ideal for energetic children or energetic adults who enjoy long walks on the beach.
The beach of Doñana is 28,000 metres long, making it the longest beach in Spain. The beach is extensive with fine white sand and is located against a fantastic dune landscape in the municipality of Almonte. As the beach borders Doñana National Park, one of Europe’s most important wetlands, access is restricted to protect the area’s distinctive ecosystem. There are even ‘walking dunes’. The beach adjacent to the town of Matalascañas is easily accessible and offers many facilities such as water sports, restaurants, and hotels.
El Cofete (Fuerteventura)
The Canary Islands are an ideal destination for beach lovers almost all year round. Due to its southern location in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Morocco, it is ‘always spring’ and people are even on the beach around Christmas. If you are looking for a large beach here, with a length of 13,700 metres, El Cofete in Fuerteventura is your destination. It has golden sand and is quite far from civilization. Keep in mind that there are no facilities because of this. So you have to bring your picnic and any chairs and an umbrella. But then you can enjoy the untouched nature and wild waves.
Punta del Fangar (Tarragona)
The Delta del Ebro is a special enclave for tourists who want to enjoy the large sandbanks interspersed with vegetation, wetlands, and many (water) bird species. La Punta del Fangar is one of the longest and most unique sandy areas in the area. It has more than 6,500 metres of golden sand. Be prepared and bring a parasol as the only shade is provided by La Faroleta, the area’s popular lighthouse.
Playa de Carnota (A Coruna)
Great beaches can also be found in the north of Spain. Many are pristine and peaceful. They are less frequent as the weather is rather wet outside during the summer months. Here you can enjoy the sea and the sun, especially in summer. In other seasons, these beaches are ideal for an extensive beach walk to get a breath of fresh air. In A Coruña on the Costa da Morta is Carnota, a charming coastal town with adjacent an immense beach 5,600 metres long and more than 500 metres wide at low tide. The landscape immediately behind it is of great ecological and landscape importance. From the beach, you have a beautiful view of the mountains. For something a little different from the beach, visit Carnota’s ‘hórreo’, which has been declared a National Monument and is the largest in Galicia at 34.76 metres in length.
Playa Norte (Castellon)
With a length of 5,000 meters and a width of 70 metres, the northern beach of Peñíscola has all the services that a city beach can have. The sand is golden and the waves of the Mediterranean here are moderate. The only downside can be that it is usually quite busy in the summer. However, the view of the castle of Peñíscola is beautiful.
Ses Salines (Ibiza)
This beach is called the pearl of Ibiza. Located in the heart of the natural park of the same name, it has one of the best dune systems on the island with its 4,730 metres. It is only 9 kilometres from Ibiza town and to get there you have to cross the salt flats. This beach is also relatively busy, which has the advantage that you can find all kinds of services here which perfectly complement the spectacular turquoise-coloured water and fine white sand.
El Puntal (Cantabria)
In the municipality of Ribamontán al Mar, east of the Bay of Santander, we find this natural wonder of 4,500 metres. Its golden sands and views make it one of the most spectacular places in the area. It is a virgin beach that can only be reached on foot from Somo or by boat from Santander. Nudism is allowed and you should prepare well because there are no facilities.
Playa de Carmoli (Murcia)
Now a beach with dark sand for a change. Playa de Carmoli is about three kilometres long and is located in Murcia. With only one parking space for those wanting access, the beach is well preserved along with a spectacular area of natural salt flats and wild vegetation in Los Urrutias.
Playon de Bayas (Asturias)
The name Playon says it all, that is a superlative of ‘playa’. Back in the north of Spain, we find the longest sandy area of the Principality of Asturias. It is located in Castrillón and has a length of 2.8 kilometres. This beach is ideally suited for long walks on the dark sand. There are some amenities such as parking spaces and showers.
Finally, on the Basque coast, we find this sandy area that is a great attraction for surfers: Playa de Zarautz. Thanks to the waves, various competitions are held. Furthermore, the gastronomic offer is large because it is a city beach. So there is also a lot to do in the vicinity. The city of San Sebastián is not too far away. The beach is 2.5 kilometers long.
Also read: Ten most beautiful Spanish beaches