16 May 2018
With more than 8,000 kilometres (5,000 miles) of coastline and 570-plus Blue Flag beaches to choose from, Spain is often the first place that springs to mind among those looking for European beach holidays. But which beach or resort to head for? We’ve looked at some of the best in some of our favourite regions of Spain.
Fuerteventura: Playas de Sotavento de Jandía
This extraordinary expanse of sand on the east coast of the Jandía peninsula is the best of a set of gorgeous beaches on the island’s south-west coast. Popular with windsurfers, it’s part of the Jandía National Park. Learn all about the park on a visit to the museum in the Punta Jandía Lighthouse, which has been guiding ships past this glorious spot since 1864.
Lanzarote: Punta del Papagayo
Of this island’s 90-plus beaches – most of them brilliant with kids – the Punta de Papagayo is a collection of five sizeable stretches of luscious golden sand. Part of the Monumento Natural de Los Ajaches protected area, they’re fairly remote, but getting there by taxi-boat is all part of the adventure.
Tenerife: Playa Jardín
‘Garden Beach’ – named for the lush sub-tropical gardens that line it – is among the very best beaches in Tenerife. Though it’s far from undiscovered, it means there are plenty of amenities, including tempting cafés and restaurants in which to refuel. Made of black sand, the vast beach – located in Puerto de la Cruz in the north of the island – is a rare place where you can swim in the Atlantic (safely: there’s a breakwater) while looking up at a volcano, Mount Teide.
Gran Canaria: Playa de Maspalomas
In the south of the island, stupendous Maspalomas Beach is bordered by the wildlife-rich Maspalomas Dunes nature reserve and La Charca natural lagoon. Recognisable for its Instagram-worthy wind-sculpted dunes, the beach itself is roughly divided into areas frequented by different groups – families, the gay community, nudists – and the stronger waves at the northern edge make it popular with surfers. The still-working Maspalomas Lighthouse is one of Gran Canaria’s most famous landmarks.
La Palma: Playa de Echentive
Black-sand Echentive has the distinction of being one of the Canary Islands’ youngest beaches, having only come into existence in 1971 after the eruption of Mount Teneguía. With its backdrop of volcanoes, the beach is a spectacular and quite wild spot where you can swim in natural pools and take tours of thermal springs – buried by an eruption in 1677 and rediscovered in 2005 – from the small visitor centre.
Mallorca: Puerto Pollenca (Port de Pollensa)
This former fishing village turned family-friendly resort stands out for its horseshoe-shaped beach overlooked by the Tramuntana mountains. More than just a pretty face, it stacks up amenities and activities that including SUP paddleboarding, kitesurfing, cycling and rollerblading on its long promenade, and most days you can watch professional sandcastle-builders work their magic here too. The nearby Pine Walk with its wonderful views inspired Agatha Christie to write her short story Problem at Pollensa Bay.
Menorca: Es Grau
Part of S’Albufera des Grau nature reserve, this beach is protected from overdevelopment despite its handy location only 9km (6 miles) from the island capital Mahón. Those with young kids love the shallow waters – you can paddle out to sea for a whole 40 metres – but there’s also kayaking, paddleboarding and snorkelling around the bay, walking and cycling along the coastal path, and exploring local Talayotic and Roman ruins.
Ibiza: Playa Cala Llonga
Just 10 minutes from Ibiza Town, Cala Llonga on the east side of the island is one of Ibiza’s biggest beaches and has space for everyone from recuperating clubbers to families. A sun-trap ringed by pine-clad hills, it has gently sloping sands and shallow waters, lots of cafés and snack bars, a beach playground and beach volleyball. For taking to the water, meanwhile, there’s everything from pedaloes to a diving school.
Playa del Cañuelo, Malaga Province
Part of the Acantilados de Maro-Cerro Gordo Natural Park of cliffs, beaches and coves, this off-the-beaten-track cove rewards your efforts (you have to leave your car at the top of the hill and catch a shuttle bus down) with astonishingly clear waters in which you can snorkel in the midst of teeming fish shoals. There are one or two little restaurants but no other facilities, so coming amply supplied with water and sunscreen is a must.
Playa del Cristo, Malaga Province
Just outside Estepona, this Blue Flag beach is a great family spot – sheltered, with free parking, shallow waters and a couple of chiringuitos (beach bars) for lunches of fresh fish accompanied by Mediterranean views and live music and DJ sets at weekends. Views stretch as far as Gibraltar.
For more information or to book your holiday in the Canaries, the Balearics or the Costa Del Sol, contact your Travel Counsellor.