Playa de los Lances, Tarifa, Costa de la Luz
Islands, Costas and Beaches
Calla Romantica, Mallorca, Balearic Islands
Located in just off the coast of Catalonia and a 45-minute flight from Barcelona, the Balearic island group – especially Majorca (aka Mallorca) and Minorca – have been one of Europe’s most popular sun ‘n’ sand holiday destinations for years. They are cheap to get to via package deals, enjoy a superb Mediterranean climate with plenty of sun and host some of the Mediterranean’s best beaches.
However, the Balearic Islands have more to offer than just price-friendly beach life. From spectacular landscapes for nature lovers and hikers (Majorca), historic Spanish towns, museums and archeological sights for culture vultures (Minorca) to wild nightlife for wild things (Ibiza), the Balearics cover most holiday bases in more style than the mainland.
North-east Mediterranean coast, Costa Brava
Platja de la Barceloneta, Barcelona, Costa Brava. Photo by Sergi Larripa.
Extending north from Barcelona to the French/Spanish border, the rocky Costa Brava comprises a number of small towns with delightful sandy coves and diminuitive beaches but with few traditionally huge stretches of sand except for Barcelona’s sizeable stretch of beaches. Although there are few untouched beaches here the Costa Brava still has a wilderness ambience in places.
Our choice of best beaches on Costa Brava: Platja de Castell, a small, unspoilt, white sand beach surrounded mainly by nature with just the right number of services; Barceloneta for a decent beach with fantastic aprés-swim environment.
Central-east Mediterranean coast, Costa Dorada
Cala Fonda, a clothing-optional nudist beach just east of Tarragona, Costa Daurada. Photo by Irene Aliaga
Stretching south from the border of Barcelona (which is not included) to Tarragona (included), Catalonia, the Costa Dorada (aka Daurada) enjoys 150 miles of golden sand beaches, hence its name the ‘Gold Coast’.
This Costa’s most popular beaches are found in Sitges (just south of Barcelona), La Pineda, Salou, Cambrils and Tarragona. Tarragona also offers the culturally interested sun-seeker a crop of Roman ruins and UNESCO World Heritage Site while kids may be more interested in PortAventura theme park that encompasses a ‘Costa Caribe Aqua Park’ and is the most popular theme park in Spain.
South-east Mediterranean coast, Costa del Sol
Playa de la Venus, Marbella, Costa del Sol in April during an admittedly bad springtime!
Along 160 km of Spain‘s south east coast the Costa del Sol is the country’s primo sun and sand destination and embraces the popular beach resorts of Torremolinos, Malaga, Estepona, Nerja, Casares and Fuengirola, as well as Marbella.
The beaches of the Costa del Sol, protected from northerly winds by the Sierra Blanca mountains, offer extensive, soft, but frequently muddy-brown (aka golden by marketing fluff) sands rinsed by warm Mediterranean waters.
In addition, visitors to this particular Costa have easy access to Andalusia’s stunning inland tourist attractions such as Seville, Granada and Cordoba, and traditional white-washed, hill-top villages. This combination of glorious sand and glittering sights is a winner, enticing huge numbers of travellers throughout the year.
Our choice of best beaches on Costa del Sol: Nerja’s two beaches Calahonda and Burriana; Marbella‘s convenient cluster by the town centre such as Playa de la Venus; Malaga for large, well-managed beaches and low-cost living in a real Spanish city.