Sugar-fine sands, cobalt seas and rainbow-hued reefs – these Spanish beaches are sure to wow.
A jewel of the Iberian Peninsula, Spain boasts more than 5,000 kilometres of sun-kissed coastline just waiting to be discovered. From the sandy shores of the Canary Islands to cliffside splendour in Mallorca, the pharaonic gold sands of the famed Barceloneta Beach and the party playground of Ibiza, Spain's array of stunning coastal destinations beckons travellers from around the world.
Read on to discover our pick of eight of Spain’s most beautiful beaches.
Las Canteras, Canary Islands: Spain's grand jewel
Sun seekers and city slickers unite: the Canary Islands’ Playa de Las Canteras is Spain’s best urban beach and for good reason. The wonders of this extraordinary three-kilometre stretch of golden sand go beyond the shimmering shoreline. Along the foreshore is the enchanting Paseo de las Canteras, a delightful seaside promenade that offers a pedestrian-only haven for walkers, cyclists, and joggers along the entire length of the beach.
At low tide, a captivating natural wonder unfolds: the reef, fondly known as La Barra, transforms the waters of Las Canteras into an immense, salty swimming pool, perfect for underwater adventures like snorkelling. Looking to stay nearby? Bull Reina Isabel & Spa provides an idyllic beachfront stay, complete with a rooftop pool, lavishly Spanish design, and a full-service spa.
Playa Peñón Del Cuervo, Malaga: laidback oceanfront lifestyle
Jump on two wheels, tuck a board under your arm, tousle saltwater through your locks and you’ll fit right into Playa Penon Del Cuervo. Named after the hulking rock formation that rises from the water, dividing the beach into two sections, this sapphire haven is a beach lover’s paradise. Pedal along the seven-kilometre cycle path, taking regular breaks to soak up the spectacular Mediterranean Sea vistas. At the beach, break out your board to ride the waves or simply settle down on the alabaster sands. Make yourself at home at the stylish Hotel Palacete de Alamos – a short cycle from Playa Penon Del Cuervo.
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Playa de Ondarreta, San Sebastian: Basque elegance
Located between Monte Igueldo and the Miramar Palace, Ondarreta Beach is one of San Sebastian’s most celebrated stretches. The smallest and quietest of the three beaches which make up the magnificent Bahia de La Concha, this is what seaside dreams are made of, with year-round activities and live music. Stroll, jog or cycle the elegant seafront, wade into the waters and round out each day by bar-hopping through the Old Town to sample pintxos and txakoli, the traditional food and drink of the Basque region.
For a genuine taste of San Sebastian’s grandeur, Nobu Hotel San Sebastian can't be beaten. Positioned on the glittering beachfront, the boutique hotel features just 17 guest rooms, each offering unsurpassed views.
Cala Fornells, Mallorca: cliffside splendour
The most turquoise of the Balearic Islands, Mallorca has everything you need for the ultimate beach escape. Each of the island’s 262 pristine beaches glisten like gold within secluded coves. Follow the coastline like a treasure map to the enchanting Cala Fornells, a haven of crystal-clear waters, powdery white sands and lush green landscapes that paint a picture of paradise at every glance. The soaring cliffs hide a wealth of picturesque historic towns, so you'll be awed by the majesty of this hidden gem everywhere you turn. Pure Salt Port Adriano offers the perfect adults-only stay – complete with cascading pools, Hispanic style, and its own stretch of exclusive beachfront.
Poniente Beach, Benidorm: a (surprisingly) tranquil oasis
As you set foot on Poniente Beach, Benidorm's largest stretch of coastal paradise, you're greeted by a serene ambience that distinguishes it from its bustling neighbour, Levante Beach. With more than three kilometres of pristine white sand and a width of 74 metres, Poniente offers a peaceful escape, favoured by Spanish tourists seeking seaside tranquillity. The beachfront promenade is lined with delightful restaurants, pubs and souvenir shops.
What sets this beach apart are the amenities, including floating platform rentals, beach libraries, playgrounds and sports facilities. For shade seeking, there are dedicated areas for reading and those with reduced mobility. For utmost convenience, stay at H10 Porto Poniente, perched at the Old Town end of the beach.
Cala Saura, Formentera: bohemian haven
Tucked away on the southern coast of Formentera, the picturesque cove of Cala Saura teases with its surreal powder-white sands and snorkel-friendly aquamarine waters. With fewer tourists than its popular sister island of Ibiza, Formentera's Cala Saura is a bohemian haven known for its untouched, wild beauty. Dotted with sailing yachts that sway in the ocean breeze, enigmatic wildlife, woody hills, and tidal rock pools, Cala Saura unveils a tropical paradise. Experience the magic splashing around in peacock blue waters, snorkelling in the camouflaged coves, or simply wait for mesmerising orange-hued sunset.
Indulgence beckons at the glamorous Gecko Hotel & Beach Club, a beachfront guesthouse boasting private pool rooms, ocean vistas and a restorative day spa.
Barceloneta Beach, Barcelona: an atmospheric hub
Gaudi architecture and impossibly white sands collide on the oceanfront Barceloneta Beach, located just minutes from the centre of the buzzing city. This is where locals go to soak up the rays among throngs of sun-seekers, mojito vendors and sarong sellers. Laze on pharaonic gold sands shipped from Egypt, under the shade of palm trees imported from Hawaii, on this parasol-lined beach that epitomises the vibrant energy and lively atmosphere of the city.
Cool off with a drink at the glamorous W Hotel, devour tapas as the sun sets and dance well into the morning at one of the many bars and nightclubs.
For more Barcelona inspiration, check out Ultimate Barcelona Guide: 8 Unmissable Things to Do.
Cala Gracio, Ibiza: cove of dreams
With porcelain-fine sand, glimmering water and some of the best tidal conditions for swimming in the Balearic Islands, this perfect little cove deserves its picturesque spot as one of Spain’s best beaches. Situated far enough outside of San Antonio to keep the masses away, but near enough to walk, Cala Gracio boasts swathes of green shaded plains perfect for picnicking with friends and watching the glowing sunset. Its crystal-clear waters make for good snorkelling conditions between the reef and rocky spots. For adults-only indulgence, dial up the romance with a stay at the glamorous Hotel Vibra Lei Ibiza.
Playa de Sa Boadella, Costa Brava: hidden paradise
Walk 200 metres down a fragrant pine-scented trail from the unassuming main street to discover the serene shores of the swimsuit-optional Sa Boadella Beach. The iridescent waters teem with a mesmerising array of marine life, a snorkeller's paradise.
Plunge into the temperate waters or stroll the sandy stretches with coloured parasols as your backdrop. Hidden away from the main tourist drag, this natural oasis lies just 3.5km from the bustling town of Lloret de Mar with its world-class shopping, dining and entertainment.
Looking for more inspiration? Read Hola España: How to Choose Your Spain Escape.