As Catedralbeach, Galicia, on a high summer weekend, northwest Spain.
Guide to the Best beaches in Atlantic Ocean
n. b. Atlantic waters will be cool & rough unless protected by bay or reef
Essaouira is a tranquil fortified town popular with independent travelers. The sand stretches 10 km down to the sand dunes of Cap Sim but is dun coloured and frequently windy. Essaouira has a relaxed atmosphere, local colour and far less hassles than the absurdly non-Moroccan beach resort of Agadir. Best June-Sept. OK May and October. Avoid winter time.
The Spanish northwest Atlantic coasts are lined with literally thousands of large and small characterful beaches, particularly along the shores of Cantabria – sometimes known as Mar Cantabrico – some with all the style, comfort and facilities you could wish for, such as the half dozen in Santander, while others are bizarre and beautiful but offer no services at all, such as Playa de la Arnia.
Temperatures of both the air and water will be marginally warmer on Cantabrian beaches than on the more westerly costas, the sand generally softer and facilities more commonplace.
The rugged, rocky Costa Verde (Green Coast) of Asturias is home to one of the world’s strangest beaches, Gulpiyuri, which is about 100m from the sea, while Galicia boasts amazing As Catedrais – with amazing crowds of gawkers in summertime! Costa Vasca offers one of the great city beaches of La Concha in San Sebastian.
And finally there are Spain’s good value, long-season Canary Islands beaches, with a practically African climate as they are in the same latitude as southern Morocco.
On the west side of France the Atlantic coast has some great stretches of soft sand and excellent regular surf, though the water is, of course, chilly and facilities may be distant. La Rochelle, Arcachon, Biarritz and St Jean de Luz are particularly good examples.