Every year as the sun starts shining and the temperature starts rising our attention slowly turns to the sun-soaked shores of our favourite European beach destination – Spain! The likes of Majorca, Benidorm and Marbella are a few of the usual hotspots, but with hundreds of miles of beautiful coastline there are plenty of lesser known spots to enjoy. These are the top 10 alternatives to discover next!
White-washed homes, hidden coves, clear water and a population of less than 3,000 people make this tiny seaside village a must-see destination and a fantastic alternative on the Costa Brava. This is where the Catalan people come to get away and at just over an hour’s drive from Girona Airport, it’s quick and convenient. On top of that, you can visit the once was home of Salvador Dali, which now functions as a very interesting museum!
The popularity of Spain’s Mediterranean coastline overshadows its north coast, especially for the majority of UK travellers. But head to the humble fishing town of Ribadesella in the province of Asturias and you’ll discover the north also holds powdery golden beaches and a range of water activities like sailing, surfing and kayaking. The stunning Picos de Europa don’t make things any worse. You can admire the mountainous peaks from the beach while you sip on some of the famous local cider. From the UK it’s a short flight to Oviedo and an even shorter drive from the airport to reach this beautiful resort.
Southern Spain’s historic port city is filled with attractive qualities yet it often goes overlooked, even at the height of summer. Kilometres of swimmer-friendly beaches are commonly drenched in sunshine, while the city provides a mix of fascinating attractions. As one of the oldest cities in western Europe, Cadiz has seen its fair share of visitors, many of which have left their mark. When you’re off the beach be sure to check out the Roman theatre and the beautiful Cadiz Cathedral.
You’ll still find a bit of crowd on Formentera, but in contrast to the likes of Ibiza, Majorca and Menorca it serves as a chilled out alternative. You’ll still be able to relax on the spectacular beaches you came for, as well as end your days with those dazzling sunsets we all crave – you’ll just do it with a fraction of the crowd as some of the other Balearic islands. And we like that. Take a flight to Ibiza and it’s only a short boat ride to Formentera!
5. Costa Calida
There is so much take in on this 250 kilometre stretch of golden coastline south of Murcia that it’s hard to choose just one destination. You can enjoy watersports in the Mar Menor lagoon, which is separated from the Med by a thin strip of land, or get under the sea in Cabo de Palos for some of the best scuba diving in the area. If you fancy getting off the beach for a few hours then have a round of golf at La Manga or take in some of the cultural attractions in Cartagena or Murcia. With an estimated 315 days of sunshine every year, we think whatever you decide, it’s a safe bet.
6. A Coruna
You probably won’t find typical Mediterranean conditions here, but A Coruna in Galicia is an authentic destination that comes with plenty of other highlights. The beaches are beautiful and from the city centre you can easily walk to the sands of Orzan and Riazor. If you fancy a little more seclusion then head out of the city centre – you won’t be disappointed. Visit some of the historical attractions like Castelo de San Anton and don’t forget to enjoy Galicia’s world renowned seafood!
The Costa Brava is no stranger to holiday goers with resort towns like Tossa de Mar and Estartit drawing huge crowds during the summer months. But the famous coastline still has its hidden gems and Llafranc is one of them. This relaxed white-washed town is a charming place to enjoy beautiful beaches and authentic restaurants, but still comes with its fair share of peace and quiet with half the crowd of nearby resorts.
One of Andalucia’s unsung heroes, the port city of Almeria is a lovely moorish destination that comes complete with beaches, mountains and even a desert. John Lennon was known to relax on these beaches and several of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters like Lawrence of Arabia and Indiana Jones were shot in and around the city. Summer forms a large part of the year here, often starting as early as March and ending as late as October. So finding the time to go should be easy enough!
Galicia’s largest city is known as a place to experience real Spanish culture and discover the beauty of the surrounding area. The beaches here are absolutely stunning and a trip to the Cies Islands just offshore is a must-do. Be sure to get off the beach during your stay. Explore the Old Town to get a glimpse of the city’s rich history and head to the hills where a range of hiking trails will grant you the gift of excellent views!
Situated in between Bilbao and Santander is the gorgeous resort town of Laredo that bares similarities to its more popular neighbour to the east, San Sebastian. Laredo’s greatest attraction is the Playa de la Salve, a five-kilometre stretch of beach that sits in a curved bay and offers enough sand to tan all of Cantabria. Explore the Pueblo Vieja and you’ll find your fair share of excellent restaurants and nightlife to keep you entertained when you’re not enjoying the sun.