The 12 best beaches in Spain 2019

Discover the best beaches in Spain / Ignorant Walking/Flickr
Discover the best beaches in Spain / Ignorant Walking/Flickr
14 May 2019, Tom Beck

Spain is known all over the world for its spectacular beaches, and as summer draws nearer, there’s nothing more appealing than just lying back on the soft sand, sunbathing and taking a swim in the sea.

If you’re planning your next holiday and you’re looking for somewhere to unwind in the sun, try one of these world class beaches in Spain... grab your bathing suit, pack your suitcase (don’t forget to bring a towel!) and enjoy the 12 best beaches in Spain in 2019!

1. Las Catedrales Beach

Playa As Catedrais, Ribadeo, Lugo / mapama.gob.es
Playa As Catedrais, Ribadeo, Lugo / mapama.gob.es

This magnificent beach in Ribadeo, Galicia is a cultural icon for the Spanish and the pride of all Galicians. Many are those who come here on a pilgrimage, and not only because it is on the Camino de Santiago.

Officially, its name is the Aguas Santas beach, but it is better known by its nickname of ‘The Cathedral’ due to its impressive arches and caves that dominate the landscape and resemble a church. There is no better way to spend an afternoon on the Playa de las Catedrales in Lugo than to take a stroll among its rock formations and marvel at the wonders of nature.

2. Cala Macarella

Cala Macarella, Menorca, Balearic Islands / mapama.gob.es
Cala Macarella, Menorca, Balearic Islands / mapama.gob.es

If you're looking for something a little less cold than the north of Spain, you might want to visit this beach in Menorca. Along with its neighbour La Macarelleta, it is known as one of the most beautiful beaches in the Balearic Islands. The Cala Macarella is a small bay only 105 metres long that fills up quickly with people, but has a beautiful view of the Mediterranean Sea.

The sea is not the only surprising view on this beach, though, as it’s also a nudist beach. Feel free to relax and be yourself here, but just know that it’s probably not a great beach to take the children to.

3. Papagayo Beach

Playa El Papagayo, Yaiza, Lanzarote / mapama.gob.es
Playa El Papagayo, Yaiza, Lanzarote / mapama.gob.es

El Papagayo is another nudist beach known as one of the best beaches in Spain for holidays, and it’s located in the Canary Islands. Also called 'Loro', this beach with its fine, white sand is in the municipality of Yaiza, on the island of Lanzarote, in the middle of a natural park.

The Playa del Papagayo is surrounded on both sides by cliffs, which keeps its waters calm. You can’t help but want to take a swim! To fully enjoy this incredible beach, try snorkelling in the crystal clear waters and looking for fish or have a drink at one of its chiringuito beach bars.

4. Playa de los Muertos

Playa de los Muertos, Carboneras, Almeria / mapama.gob.es
Playa de los Muertos, Carboneras, Almeria / mapama.gob.es

When it comes to a list of the best beaches on the Spanish mainland, you can't leave out the Playa de los Muertos in Carboneras, Almeria. Despite its somewhat morbid-sounding name, which translates to ‘Beach of the Dead’ in English, this beach is a true gem of the southern coast of Spain, with white sand and mostly calm waters, making it the perfect beach to go with children.

It's a huge, secluded beach that’s known only to a few people. It has more than a thousand metres of sand where you can lie in the sun and relax, as well as a car park with CCTV and a cleaning service.

5. Bolonia Beach

Playa Bolonia, Tarifa, Cadiz / mapama.gob.es
Playa Bolonia, Tarifa, Cadiz / mapama.gob.es

Cadiz's beaches are the best beaches in Spain for surfing, and the Playa de Bolonia in Tarifa is no exception. It has a dedicated surfing area and green grass running along the entire length of its 3,800 metres of shore.

Of course, the wind here is very strong which makes for better surfing, but to protect yourself from the whipping wind you can rent parasols and sunbeds and just relax in the gorgeous Andalusian sun.

6. La Malagueta Beach

Playa la Malagueta, Malaga / mapama.gob.es
Playa la Malagueta, Malaga / mapama.gob.es

Another of the best beaches in Andalusia is La Malagueta in Malaga. It is a beach right next to the city of Malaga; although it doesn't have the same views of unspoilt nature as the other beaches on our list, it has easy access to the city centre and a very nice promenade for a stroll.

It also offers many other great services, including a children's play area for the little ones and a sports area, so whatever you're looking for, you can find it here at the Playa La Malagueta.

7. Rodas Beach

Playa Rodas, Vigo, Pontevedra / mapama.gob.es
Playa Rodas, Vigo, Pontevedra / mapama.gob.es

Rodas beach was voted the best beach in the world by The Guardian, and it's not hard to see why. Located in the Cíes Islands just a couple of miles off the shore from Vigo, Pontevedra, the beach is accessible by boat, and there are several ferries that leave the port of Vigo frequently in the summer months. Please note that the Cíes Islands only accept 2,200 visitors a day, so we recommend that you book your place in advance.

Once you arrive, you won't regret it. The Playa Rodas is like a paradise in Spain, with its impossibly white sand and the sea shining in colours like the Caribbean. It looks so inviting, you’ll want to take a dip but be careful: the water of the Atlantic Ocean is usually very cold; it's best to go in with a wetsuit and go scuba diving.

8. Laida Beach

Playa de Laida, Ibarranguelua, Biscay / mapama.gob.es
Playa de Laida, Ibarranguelua, Biscay / mapama.gob.es

If you like surfing, northern Spain has as much to offer as Cadiz. The Basque Country is a dream destination for surfers, with its big waves and strong wind. The Playa Laida is in Ibarranguelua, Biscay, on a spit of land surrounded by the rough waters of the Cantabrian Sea, which are perfect for all kinds of sporting activities, including windsurfing, kayaking, sailing, canoeing and many more.

Even if you’re not all that into water sports, this beach has a lot to offer. There is a campsite nearby and plenty of facilities for children, such as a play area with several swings and sand dunes to explore.

9. Ses Illetes Beach

Playa Ses Illetes, Formentera / mapama.gob.es
Playa Ses Illetes, Formentera / mapama.gob.es

The second Balearic beach on our list is the Playa Ses Illetes, which is located on the island of Formentera, within the natural park Ses Salines. It stands out for its isolated location in the north of the island and its soft, white sand.

In summer, Ses Illetes gets pretty full of people and of boats that anchor in the Mediterranean to take advantage of the good climate and the relaxing atmosphere. Without a doubt, this is one of the best beaches for a summer vacation.

10. Gulpiyuri Beach

Playa Gulpiyuri, Llanes, Asturias / mapama.gob.es
Playa Gulpiyuri, Llanes, Asturias / mapama.gob.es

This is possibly the strangest beach in Spain – the Playa de Gulpiyuri in Llanes, Asturias. It is not on the coast, but in the middle of a meadow. It’s a real surprise when you’re just casually walking through the Asturian countryside with forests around you and suddenly you stumble upon an inland beach.

It is only 40 metres of sand and not much more of water, which enters through underground tunnels from the sea which is about 50 metres away. When the tide is high and the sea is rough, there are even waves in this small interior "bay". While you’re in the area, don't miss some of the other wonders that Asturias has to offer, such as the Bufones de Pría and the town of Llanes.

11. Maspalomas Beach

Playa de Maspalomas, Gran Canaria / mapama.gob.es
Playa de Maspalomas, Gran Canaria / mapama.gob.es

The Playa de Maspalomas is the most famous in the south of the island of Gran Canaria has the distinction of being a blue flag beach, which marks it out as one of the beaches with the highest quality in the world. When you get there, you will have no doubt that it’s a well-earned title. Its gentle sand slopes up to undulating dunes scattered with scrub and bushes.

It is very common to see nudism on this beach, but it’s not mandatory! There is still a family atmosphere and along its more than 2,700 metres you can find areas where you can rent sunbeds and take a rest, others dedicated to water sports, and several beach bars and restaurants.

12. Platja d'Aro

Playa Platja d'Aro, Castell-Platja d'Aro, Girona / mapama.gob.es
Playa Platja d'Aro, Castell-Platja d'Aro, Girona / mapama.gob.es

Finally, we have Aro Beach in Girona, without a doubt one of the best beaches in Catalonia. It is also known by the names 'Platja Gran' and 'Platja Llarga'. It is located next to the municipality of Castillo de Aro, so there are many services in the area such as restaurants, bars and shops, as well as a sailing club.

Although it is the last beach on our list of beaches to visit in 2019, there are many more beaches to discover in Spain. Don't waste a minute of your summer holiday in 2019, and start planning a trip to one of these beaches now!

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