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Playa de Bolonia, Cádiz
Playa de Bolonia, Cádiz

The 15 best beaches in Spain in 2023

From the Mediterranean to the Atlantic, it doesn't get much more magnificent than the best beaches in Spain


Now, this is the life. Spain is a thrilling country of iconic cities, incredible cultural heritage and mountains of wine, yet there is something about its beaches that takes the cake. We could spend hours wandering around Barcelona’s museums or exploring Granada’s epic architecture, but stick us on a beach with a good book and everything will be perfect in this chaotic world. The best beaches in Spain are the stuff of sunny dreams, with turquoise waters shimmering next to verdant landscapes and rocky backdrops. Spain’s beaches are a natural and national treasure. Everybody has a favourite, but you should check them all out to be sure.

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Best beaches in Spain

Ses Illetes
Foto: Shutterstock

1. Ses Illetes

Where: Formentera

The small Balearic island of Formentera is home to the most idyllic of beaches. Its 450 metres of beautiful white sands extend north toward the island of Espalmador, where only the bravest visitors dare to swim at low tide. Ses Illetes offers two beaches in one; one side with wind and waves, the other with a lovely, tranquil sea. Enjoy the silence (punctuated by wind and waves) and, if you want, strip off – nudity is permitted. You can get to Formentera only by ferry from Ibiza or Denia, which means that, unlike most stunning beaches, it doesn’t get overcrowded, even in high season. After disembarking, your best bet for reaching Ses Illetes is by bicycle, which you can rent from the port where you arrive.

Playa de Bolonia

2. Playa de Bolonia

Where: Cádiz

Playa de Bolonia is one of the last remaining unexplored beaches in Spain. That in itself is enough to draw sun worshippers to this corner of the Cádiz coast. It is often quite windy but not to worry, as the wind is far from a nuisance; rather, what it does is create an impressive dune that rises into the west. And here is a bonus for sightseers; beyond the beach, but still in the same exceptional enclave, you can explore the ruins of a Roman village called Baelo Claudia. Get lost in its streets and temples, and enjoy what remains of a theatre that long ago sat 2,000 spectators. Even better, it’s all free to visit!

Islas Cíes
Playa de Rodas,

3. Islas Cíes

Where: Galicia

When the Romans discovered the Islas Cíes, they christened them the Insulare Deorum or the Islands of the Gods. They weren't wrong. Even nowadays, this archipelago is still in touch with its wild side. The nine beaches you'll find here are all blessed with fine white sands and endless coves that all deserve exploration. Among them is Rodas, which ‘The Guardian’ chose as the best beach in the world back in 2007. If you want to stay overnight, you'll be camping, as it’s the best way to preserve this gorgeous environment. One downside to be aware of; Islas Cíes fills up quickly during peak season.

Playa de Mundaka

4. Playa de Mundaka

Where: Bizkaia

Despite being named after the nearest town, this popular beach does have its own name; Laidatxu. It is a small city beach, but it’s nonetheless one of the best-loved places of pilgrimage for surfers from all over. The reason? It has unusual left-breaking tubular waves that pose a challenge for even the most experienced. And something few people know is that this beach is located inside the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Playa de Los Muertos

5. Playa de Los Muertos

Where: Cabo de Gata, Almeria

You don’t have to travel all the way to the Caribbean to take a dip in pristine waters from a beach with magnificent white sand. That may sound like a cliché, but it’s true. All you have to do is go down to the Cabo de Gata-Níjar natural park and find a spot on Los Muertos beach, one of the most vaunted coves in Carboneras. Despite the rocky and somewhat dry descent leading to the beach, your prize is well deserved: Los Muertos has long been considered one of the best beaches in Spain, and indeed in all of Europe. If you’re a fan of letting it all hang out, note that the left side of this beach is where nudity is allowed. There are no beach bars, so it’s best to bring a cooler full of food and ice-cold drinks.

Charco Azul

6. Charco Azul

Where: El Hierro, Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Natural pools are common in the Canary Islands, and one of the most beautiful is the Charco Azul, in El Hierro, the smallest island of the archipelago. It is a wild spot, almost prehistoric, with sinuous formations left by lava that provide a wonderful contrast with the turquoise waters. When you’re not cooling off, relaxing or snapping hundreds of photos, take some time to close your eyes and listen to the sound of the waves breaking inside the pool. It looks like something out of a fairytale, and despite being in an almost secret enclave, it is fairly easy to get to the Charco Azul via some wooden stairs – if you haven’t got mobility difficulties. Another feature here is the platforms, where you can tan as long as your suncream will allow.

Playa del Trabucador

7. Playa del Trabucador

Where: Delta del Ebro, Tarragona

When you reach Playa del Trabucador, you’ll feel like you’ve made it to the end (or beginning) of the world. It is a huge beach (6.5 kilometres long) with little in the way of civilisation (no lifeguards, showers or chiringuitos), but that brings you closer to nature. When the tide rises, you can walk far out in the shallows. At Trabucador, it’s you and yours, the sea and little else, but what else do you need? This beach is also part of the Delta del Ebro park and leads to the Punta de la Banya. It is worth going to see the sunset here, especially if you’re a photography fan. You can also visit the ‘salinas de la Trinidad’ for great birdwatching. Get to Trabucador by car via the A-7 motorway, exit 41, or via the N-340.


8. Macarella

Where: Menorca

Very close to a pine forest and set deep between the rocks, you’ll find this wonderful beach that has just one problem: it’s so well-known that during the summer months you’ll hardly find any space to breathe, let alone spread out your blanket. If you want to spend time somewhere a bit more relaxing, your best bet is to take the Camí de Cavalls, an ancient pathway that encircles the whole island, to Macarelleta, a nudist beach that gets fewer visitors than its bigger sibling. Swim in the clear waters of this corner of the Mediterranean and get lost in your thoughts. Simply put, life moves at a slower pace here.

Playa Papagayo

9. Playa Papagayo

Where: Lanzarote

Papagayo is quite simply one of the best beaches on this particular Canary Island. It is far enough from civilisation that it doesn’t get too populated, and public transport won’t bring in extra beachgoers, but it is close enough that getting there doesn’t feel like an impossible odyssey. The sky-blue water contrasts wonderfully with the golden sand and the blackness of the Timanfaya National Park in the distance. You’ll have to decide which of the five beaches to visit once you’re there, but when in doubt, start with the eponymous Papagayo: it’s one of the few with a chiringuito, where you can have a drink and watch the sunset. And that’s never a bad idea.

Discover the best things to do in Lanzarote


Playa de Melide

10. Playa de Melide

Where: Galicia

The Ons Archipelago boasts five practically unspoilt beaches, and the biggest one is Melide on the Isla de Ons. This nudist beach provides white sands, still crystal-clear waters, and impressive views of the nearby Pontevedra estuary. These incredible gifts from nature do come with a small price, however, as the waters of the Atlantic can be gasp-inducingly chilly. It isn't the easiest place to get to, though in summer you'll find boats that ship out fairly frequently from Cangas or Sanxenxo headed for Melide.

Playa de Peñarronda

11. Playa de Peñarronda

Where: Asturias

Playa de Peñarronda can get very crowded during summer weekends since it’s so easy to get to and has plenty of amenities (beach parking, a small restaurant, a picnic area, a surf school), but the rest of the year it remains tranquil. The beach is nestled between two cliffs and protected by dunes and the Pedra Castello, a rock formation you can reach when the tide is low – all of which prove it’s worthy of having been declared a National Monument more than 15 years ago.

Playa de Covachos
Foto: shutterstock

12. Playa de Covachos

Where: Cantabria

At low tide, Playa de Covachos and its eponymous island become one. Visitors are treated to a beach with limestone jewels, white sand and translucent water. Located near Santander, this tiny beach is only about 50 meters long and is quite isolated, making it a favourite for nudists. You can get there by car, but be aware that the stairs leading you down to the beach aren’t friendly to those with reduced mobility. Also, don’t expect any beach bars or places to rent a lounge chair. Playa de Covachos is a lovely gem, but be careful out there; it can get quite windy, making swimming dangerous at times.

Illa Roja
© nito

13. Illa Roja

Where: Begur, Catalonia

Illa Roja means ‘Red Island’, and once you see it for yourself, you’ll know how it got its name. It is not only one of the few nudist beaches in this area, but it’s also one of the quietest. There are no beach bars (called ‘chiringuitos’) or any services, so if you don’t know about it, you’ll likely have a hard time finding it. The location is fantastic; 150 metres of sand that are grainy enough that it doesn’t burrow itself into every crevice of your body, the water is glassy and calm, and if you head toward the end of the stretch of beach, with the water to your right, you’ll find plenty of shady areas. Enormous rock walls crowned with pine trees surround the beach and make you feel closer to nature. Getting there is easy; you can walk from Begur along the path or park your car in the blue zone near the descent that leads to Racó beach.

Cala Mondragó

14. Cala Mondragó

Where: Majorca

The Santanyí coast, in the southeast of Majorca, is one of the loveliest and least crowded on the island, thanks mainly to the work of Mondragó National Park. Since 1992, the park has worked day and night to preserve this space covered in dunes and Mediterranean vegetation from the destructive tendencies of over-tourism. Practice your language skills with a copy of 'Poemas de Mondragó' by Josep Maria Llompart, and let yourself be caressed by the poetry and surroundings until you doze off dreaming of making love on S'Amarador beach. Woah, steady now! Your destination is easily accessible by car, and there are two parking areas nearby.

Discover the best things to do in Majorca


Playa de la Devesa

15. Playa de la Devesa

Where: Valencia

It’s hard to believe that only a few kilometres outside of Valencia, you can find a place of such incredible natural beauty with magnificent, fine-sand dunes and local fauna like the seagulls that glide along with you while you’re taking a dip in the sea. The almost perfectly conserved environment is down to the fact that the beaches here are part of the Albufera Natural Park, which they, in turn, protect from the sea. In the ’70s, the beaches were almost wiped out because of urban growth, but luckily that didn’t happen, and they’ve since become one of the best assets of Valencia’s metropolitan area. La Devesa beach is a nudist beach, and you can rest easy because lifeguards and security are around during the summer months.

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Need a hotel in Spain?

  • Hotels

Whatever the mood, moment or budget, Spain has a hotel that fits the bill. We’re talking places with personality, history and one-of-a-kind design that will take you from the ragged heights of the Pyrenees to the sun-bleached badlands of Andalusia, the Modernist boulevards of Barcelona to the Moorish alleyways of Córdoba. Choose wisely and where you stay will add a whole new dimension to your travels. Here are some of our favourite hotels in Spain.

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