Beach destinations in the Balearic and Alboran Seas, as well as the Canary Islands, make up the majority of holiday travel in Spain, there are also gems in the north like Santander and San Sebastian.
Where to Go
When thinking of holidaying in Spain, Barcelona, Madrid, and Valencia might come to mind, but the warm waters with Caribbean-style beaches and islands draw a larger number of tourists each year.
In the Balearic Sea, the islands of Majorca and Ibiza loom large, but Menorca is also worth a look. Benidorm on the Costa Blanca Coast, as well as Sitges on the Costa Brava Coast, are also quite popular.
Along the Alboran Sea, there are Torremolinos, Marbella, and Estepona, along with Nerja and Malaga. Whereas, Tarifa on the Strait of Gibraltar is as south as you can go in mainland Spain.
The Canary Islands, being are west of Africa and Morocco, you’re even farther south where it’s sunny all-year-round. Gran Canaria and Tenerife tend to be the most popular destinations, while Lanzarote and Fuerteventura also have their charms.
Top Beach Holiday Destinations in Spain
Dreamy Majorca, located in the Mediterranean, is one of the largest of the Balearic Islands with luminescent sandy beaches lining the island. Magaluf Beach is a favorite and offers the best of both worlds; shopping, sumptuous dining, and very entertaining nightlife. This is one of the busiest beaches and many have hotels right on the seashore with everything located in one place. For a quieter more restful beach, Cal Figuera Beach fits the bill, settled into a quaint alcove in the middle of mountains with wondrous views. Calla Agulla, another beach with a mountain backdrop, green lush trees, and golden sand is comfortable from June to September. Water sports are a favorite in Majorca along with lunch and dinner cruises and sailing.
2. Gran Canaria
Maspalomas is a tourist town, located in Gran Canaria, one of the Canary Islands, boasts the bluest azure seas along with ivory sand as well as dunes. Maspalomas may be a preferred seaside town but it is embodied with its own personality. At the southernmost tip is a 184-foot lighthouse, El Faro de Maspalomas, overlooking a seven and a half-mile beach. The beach is sectioned off to accommodate nude sun worshippers as well as families. Refreshments can be found from the beach to the center of the city for the hungry and parched.
This small island in the Mediterranean is located in the Balearic archipelago, and is not for the faint of heart. The nightlife in Ibiza is where the action is, as it’s abuzz with clubs aplenty. There are many bays and coves to choose from when it’s fun in the sun time. At Cala Jondel, grab a cocktail on the beach, perhaps a Tinto de Verano. Verano means summer in Spanish. Cala Salada has gorgeous scenery, great for the budding photographer. Cala Xuclar is a quieter beach where you can snorkel while checking out underwater sea creatures and is on a quiet peaceful coast with bright turquoise seas and steep cliffs. Cala Conta is a cove favorite and idyllic shore with rich sapphire water meeting fine alabaster sand.
You’ll find the largest and highest populated island of Spain in Tenerife is among the Canary Islands and offers stellar beach weather all year. This island is off the coast of Africa, with around five million tourists a year, and is the most sojourned island in the archipelago. Island favorites are sailing and lunch, dinner and sunset cruises along with deep-sea fishing and whale watching at Los Gigantes. Some of the fabulous beaches are Playa de las Teresitas and Playa de la Pinta, showing off clear, cobalt waters, golden sand as well as bars and restaurants for fine or casual dining. If you love watersports, Tenerife is the place with El Medano being a world-renowned windsurfing location. At Las Galletas Beach, view and feed the stingrays in their habitat in their natural water world.
Located in southern Spain and a part of the Costa Del Sol, this once small fishing village is at the base of the Sierra Blanca foothills. Besides boasting some relaxing beaches it is popular with boaters, golfers and for the artistic, includes a museum. Many popular beaches can be found like Playa de la Bajadilla, a less crowded pebble beach. Playa de la Fontanilla meanwhile, is located in the heart of the city, having more of an urban feel with many Chiringuitas. Nikki Beach offers a partying nightlife along with daily sunny beach time and Playa de Alicate is another wonderful sun and fun seaside choice.
Corralejo is a resort town in Fuerteventura of the Canary Islands and at the northern tip. The Atlantic Ocean is on the north and east, while dunes lie to the south and desert to the west. Once a fishing village, tourism provides a good income. There are four main beaches to choose from that display pristine sand and shades of blue waters. Restaurants and cafes are many. For the nature lover, there is Sand Dune National Park, offering dune buggies to create an adventure and quench your natural curiosity. Conditions are also excellent here for windsurfing, surfing, and sailing.
If you’re looking for a busier seashore destination with shops and malls, beachfront hotels, restaurants, and bars, then you will find it in Benidorm. This active resort is along the Costa Blanca coastline. The beaches are, however, the main attraction here with four miles of ivory sand beaches, swimming, and kayaking. Two of the more popular beaches are Playa Levante and Playa Poniente with the former being quite a bustling beach with plenty of bars, restaurants, and shopping options. Poniente is a family-friendly beach, frequented often by locals.
8. Costa Brava
At Cap de Creus Natural Park, hidden beaches are a great place for solitude in the coastal region of Costa Brava in northeastern Spain. It is northeast of Barcelona and stretches to the border of France. Costa Brava offers mountain scenery, peaceful villages, craggy coves, and silky, sandy beaches. If you’re looking for a beach in Spanish traditional fashion, with breathtaking scenery, Tossa de Mar is where you can place your beach chair. Fenal Beach is another quiet lovely and small beach with a quaint ice cream hut to satisfy your cravings and cool you off. For more of a party time, Lloret de Mar offers snorkeling by day and an abundance of bars on the beach by night.
On the north-central coast of Spain and as the capital of the Cantabria, lies the region of Santander. This region is well known for its maritime heritage, delectable seafood, and outstanding beaches. If you are a surfer, Playa de Valdearenas and Playa de Canallaue, located in Parque Natural de las Dunas de Liencres is a great place to try out your surfboard. Playa de Langre is one of the most stunning beaches and is a natural beach, unfortunately, there are no services or facilities, so be sure to pack a lunch and refreshments. Playa Primera El Sardinero is a bustling beach and Magdalena Beach is a favorite swimming spot. Playa de la Virgin del Mar is a remote and restful beach. The center of this city is quite historic with a tour of the Magdalena Palace if you decide to take a break from beach life for few hours.
Located on the Costa del Sol and a community of Andalusia, Nerja is in southern Spain. The seaside resort of Nerja offers a temperate climate which makes it an ideal place to visit any time of the year. The most magnificent Sierra de Almijara, shelters the sandy coves and bays with their clear serene waters. This is by no means a bustling metropolis and although many tourists visit, it has retained its Spanish roots and culture. The most frequented beach is Del Salon Beach, but there are five miles of seashore to explore if you revel in some solitary time. Nerja’s Balcony in Europe allows you to view the ocean and an ancient castle as if from the clouds with breathtaking views.
Located at the southernmost edge of the Iberian Peninsula, Tarifa is a prime locale for all types of wind sports such as kitesurfing or windsurfing. For the avid scuba diver, marine life is abundant here. The nightlife glows in Tarifa with a wide array of tapas bars and nightclubs. Gazing across the Strait of Gibraltar from Tarifa’s shores, you can see Morocco’s coast. For the active, beach sports are offered at Los Lances. Rio Jara Lagoon is another excellent kitesurfing spot.
If you are on holiday in Barcelona and only have one beach day, Sitges is a short way from there and is found along the coast of Costa Dorada on the Mediterranean Sea. Sitges has a variety of seventeen beaches in all and appeals to every taste. There are large beaches, family beaches, some tucked away in coves, and pebbled beaches for quiet solitude. Most of these beaches are within walking distance of one another, so no need for a car.