More Costa Cantabria Beaches, Spain

Playa Meron, one of the superb beaches in San Vicente de Barquera on North Spain, Costa de Cantabria

Playa de Meron, 30 minutes west of Santander, is San Vicente de Barquera’s main beach, overlooked by the Picos de Europa mountains. Cantabria Beaches II.

Playa Meron (aka El Rosal)

Playa El Rosal, San Vicente de la Barquera, Cantabria, Spain

Playa El Rosal (aka Meron) and a surf school awaiting waves, with the marine entry to San Vicente de la Barquera harbour behind. The sand is fine, clean and extensive and the water, being shallow, is not too cold.

Meron Beach is the group name for this 2. 5km long, 40m wide stretch of soft white sand backed by dunes and rocks. The length may be divided into four chunks starting from the port entry side with El Rosal (see below); the zone with immediate access to parking, toilets, cafés and so on is Meron; next stop along the coast – also with parking, toilets and cafés and a scattering of interesting rock formations is Bederna beach; the last stretch and possibly the best for surfing is El Cabo though it’s short of both facilities and parking.

Playa Bederna

Playa Bederna soccer, San Vicente de la Barquera, Cantabria, Spain

Playa Bederna.

Getting There: This one is simple as San Vicente de la Barquera is a sizeable town so follow signs off the Autopista then look for signs to ‘Playas’ (CA-236) which curve around the east coast of San Vicente, opposite the town on the other side of the harbour. There is a lot of parking beside Meron and Bederna.

Playa Covachos Nudist Beach, 15 minutes west of Santander

Playa Covachos beach cliff exit, Cantabria, North Spain

Challenging Nature. . .

This is how you get to and from Covachos nudist beach (where it is perfectly OK to not be nude too) to just around the headland from Arnia beach. It’s a lot more difficult to park there than Arnia as there’s just a narrow lane available ending in a very small turning circle.

The ‘athletic’ entry onto Covacho beach involves descending a few concrete steps that soon disappear, to be replaced by rough rock and a thick rope which is quite exciting and of course keeps the unfit and overweight off the beach.
If the tide is high it’s necessary to either wade through waist-deep water after/before the rope (depending if you’re coming or going) or grab onto an even more challenging and lengthier rope two or three metres further towards the beach that does not meet any steps so it’s more of a climb.

Danger The Spanish are a lot more relaxed about permitting slightly perilous activities and not bothering with warnings, prohibitions or fences. As a citizen of the British nanny-state I love this attitude that allows a bit of risk-taking, even if it does mean that some people are going to get hurt from time to time. Presumably the Spanish legal system does not encourage lawsuits against the state or ambulance-chasing. Good one Cantabria! No nanny-state here. Respect!

Kind of glad I’m not a naturist as this beach has another problem in addition to parking and rope-swinging access. The waters are very stony and difficult to enter, though the sea is quite warm and genital-friendly. I imagine.

Playa de Langre, 40 minutes east of Santander

Playa de Langre main beach sand, Costa Cantabria, North Spain

Playa de Langre main beach east, access via quite steep steps interrupted by rockfalls.

Langre is a popular beach with plenty of character and free parking in quiet countryside quite near Somo (opposite Santander across the harbour). The sand is fine, surfing is fair and water not cold but facilities are non-existant (apart from an icecream/crisps/beer van on the top) so you’ll need to take everything with you. Parking on the clifftop is free and extensive.

Getting There: Although Playa de Lange is near Santander as the crow flies it’s a bit of a drive as it’s totally around the bay and a fair distance off the Autopista, so will take about 40 minutes drive. Take the Autopista in the direction of Bilbao and take any turn off to Somo. From there or nearby there will be signs to Langre.

Playa de Langre, clifftop trail, Costa Cantabria, North Spain

One of the clifftop parking zones surrounded by corn/maize. On the right is the trail connecting two parking areas and the two Langre beaches.

The small western section of Playa de Langre, Costa Cantabria, North Spain

A breakway western section of Playa de Langre. Smaller of course and perhaps more protected than the west section, but with slightly coarser sand, no surf and scattered rocks that could be fun snorkelling. Otherwise it’s identical to it’s big brother.

Playa de Berria, 30 minutes east of Santander

Playa de Berria, beachnear Santoña, Cantabria beaches, North Spain

Playa de Berria, near Santoña.

De Berria beach, 30 minutes east of Santander off the A-67 autopista towards Bilbao, is a large and comfortable stretch of soft, light sand with plenty of facilities behind the dunes and lifeguards ensuring you only swim in the central sections, as each end of the vast beach is visited by brutal rip currents.

Board surfers, Kiters and all those fond of wind and waves are attracted here as conditions are often superb. A selection of criminals also call this home, but not so willingly as they are incarcerated in a large, grey prison at the bottom end of the beach.

Playa de Sonabia, 50 minutes east of Santander

Playa de Sonabia beach, Cantabria beaches, North Spain

Playa de Sonabia in one of Cantabria’s more spectacular locations.

Sonabia beach is near tiny Sonabia town but tricky to find (OK, the truth is we gave up on the first try, went away, drove 20 kms, had a beer and a tortilla, then came back. Obsessive behaviours ‘R’ Us).

Getting there: Drive towards Bilbao and then follow signs to Oriñon after 20-30 minutes. Drive past huge Playa d’Oriñon and its small, hideous, apartment-overload town up into tiny Sonabia village.
Go past the equally tiny church and TURN FIRST LEFT onto a dirt track on which there may be cars parked. But it’s not a car park, it’s a road. Follow the track till you see the beach on the left dominated by the massive cliff face.
Park only on the left side of the road. There is a café beside the road with the usual facilities, but nothing on the beach.