Summer may be sadly behind us, but many parts of our country – especially its southern and eastern coasts – stay nice and warm well into autumn, after the crowds are gone (and in many cases, prices drop). And even the strands of the north offer their bracing sea breezes and gorgeous scenery, a respite in nature away from the everyday.
From Cantabria to the Canary Islands, the list of seaside enclaves that have survived urbanisation (for the time being) is actually fairly impressive. Here’s just a quick and partial list – if you have your own favourites I haven’t included, please mention them in the comments!
Alicante: Cala del Moraig, Benitatxell Not far from Denia and Benidorm, this tiny but beautiful cove with its golden sand (top) is the ideal place to scuba dive and take a while to relax and enjoy the beautiful colours, away from the rest of the world. The unique rock formations of its cliffs give it a magical air.
Andalusia: Playa Bolonia, near Tarifa, Cadiz. The access road is lined with pines and, once the road dips, you’ll spot the bay with its huge dune, the Atlantic Ocean and the Roman city of Baelo Claudia, which you can also visit. Emperor Trajan is watching your every move.
Asturias: Torimbia, in Niembro, Llanes Outside this port town on the eastern coast of the green northern province/community of Asturias, it’s a wild stretch (above right) nestled amongst the green mountains. Be sure to pause and drink in the stunning views from the lookout before you head down to the sand.
Balearic Islands: Trebalúger in Ferreries, Menorca Disconnect from the world at this voluptuous beach (left), surrounded by cliffs and trees at the edge of the sea. The water here is so turquoise that you will think you’re dreaming. You can only get here on foot (around 20 minutes) from Mitjana Cove or by boat. Either way, you’ll never get tired of this view.
Basque Country: Laga in Ibarrangelu, Vizcaya A classic Bay of Cantabria beach with dunes, rocks, cool seawater and a mountain backdrop so close you can almost touch it. It’s part of Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, and an ideal surfing spot.
Canary Islands: Sotavento de Jandia in Pajara, Fuerteventura The sand here is desert-like and the Atlantic water a deep blue. The Windsurfing and Kiteboarding World Championship is held here in late July/early August. At low tide, there are kilometres upon kilometres of sand to stroll along. Vast and irresistible.
Cantabria: Dunas de Liencres in Piélagos They say that this bay and its beaches (right) are form the most important dune system in the north of Spain, due to both its expanse and its wild nature. The interior beach next to the Mogro River is perfect for some peace and quiet. Yet it’s just a few short kilometres west of the city of Santander.
Catalonia: Cala de Giverola in Tossa de Mar, Girona If you didn’t know better, you’d almost think this was the Caribbean. Although this beach is quite well known and always full of people, it hasn’t lost its natural feel. These Mediterranean waters are so clear that you can see your feet, making it perfect for snorkelling. Sunbathers soak up the sun here as richies cruise in their yachts.
Galicia: Ons Island, in Bueu, Pontevedra Chilly water but with Caribbean colours. Located off the Rias Baixas, this isle (left) is less talked about and more authentic than the better known Cies Islands to its south. This completely unspoilt beach has been declared a natural park which is also worth exploring because of other natural features like the Drac Caves.
Murcia: Calblanque in Cartagena Just a stone’s throw from La Manga and its holiday apartments is a beach (below) that’s still known to just a few – a mix of families and, er, nudists. There are no restaurants or kiosks, just sun, sea and sand, and you can park your car and walk for around 20 minutes, following painted stones painted with three stripes. Worth the walk – truly a place to die for.