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When it comes to European summer getaways few destinations are as popular, and exciting, as the Spanish coast. For anyone wanting to bathe in beautiful weather and have a truly relaxing holiday Spain is the perfect destination. The country may have a reputation as a budget holiday getaway but there’s a section of coastline to suit everyone; from the beautiful Costa Brava to the north of Barcelona to the thriving, energetic and bustling Costa del Sol in Andalucía.
Wherever you choose to go in Spain you’ll be treated to a fantastic atmosphere, climate and culture with plenty to do and see during your stay; from a history that stretches through Saracen, Roman and modern influences, to thriving artistic cities like Cadiz and Barcelona, to a beautiful countryside and coastline waiting to be explored. Here we look at five of the best stretches of coastline Spain has to offer.
Spain's best beaches
Costa del Sol
Undoubtedly the obvious place to start, the Costa del Sol remains the most popular beach destination in Europe. Thanks to an exuberant spat of overdevelopment in the 80’s and 90’s prices have stayed incredibly low for the Costa del Sol and you can still snap up fantastic villa deals even in the peak summer months. The Costa del Sol’s beaches are legendary, bustling and beautiful; with the area around Malaga being the most built up and lively. There’s a vast ex-pat community and lots of nightclubs, bars and restaurants that you can enjoy in the evenings.
In terms of attractions you’ll need to head away from the beaches and into beautiful Andalucía where you can visit stunning cities like Seville, enjoy beautiful natural wonders like the caves at Nerja or explore the rolling countryside and mountains around Benalmadena.
The Costa Brava stretches north of Barcelona and is one of the least spoilt stretches of the south Spanish coast. It has some larger resorts like Blanes, Tossa de Mar and Lloret de Mar but retains much of its idyllic beauty; thanks to an often rugged coastline, small sheltered bays and beautiful beaches. It has long been a retreat for artists thanks to the wonderful light and its proximity to the Pyrenees. The most famous former resident is Salvador Dali, but Miro and Picasso both spent time here.
Aside from hiking in the foothills of the Pyrenees and enjoying the beaches you can visit the Salvador Dali museum and theatre in Figueres, Dali’s house in Port Lligat, the Castle at Pubol and definitely make a day excursion to the incredible city of Barcelona; with its unique Catalonian culture and incredible museums and architecture.
Costa de la Luz
The Costa de la Luz is one of the most overlooked stretches of the Spanish coast; thanks to its Atlantic facing which makes the weather somewhat more temperate; though still blazing in the summer. It runs from Tarifa in the south to the Guadiana River in the north and the Atlantic face means that you can find some incredible surfing and water sports on offer. Tarifa is rated as one of the world’s best windsurfing spots and the surf is fantastic. The area is much less built up than other stretches of the coast and you can find a much more authentic and local atmosphere.
In terms of attractions there’s a plethora of things to keep you busy; from the island of Gibraltar to the port city of Cadiz. This area has an incredible history spanning Moorish, Roman and Saracen influences and you can spend hours exploring ruins and museums dedicated to this legacy.
Like our other stretches of coast the Costa Blanca is a firm favourite with tourists thanks to its idyllic beaches. It’s one of the most visited stretches of the Spanish coast and home to the stunning city of Alicante. The 200km stretch of coastline features a wide array of family attractions, incredible natural beauty and a rich cultural history; thanks to its invasion by the Moors in the 8th century. It’s a beautiful stretch of Spanish coast and perfect for families and history buffs.
The Costa Dorada nestles in on Barcelona and is a heavily built up area, characterised by long sweeps of golden sands. It has an incredible legacy of Roman occupation and some of the finest Roman ruins in Europe; as well as evidence of Moorish occupation and Spain’s more modern history. However, the highlight of any trip is the regional capital of Barcelona with its incredible architecture, art and street café culture. For anyone wanting to mix cities with beaches the Costa Dorada is the perfect Spanish beach holiday.