Readers’ favorite beaches in Spain

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win youIP: Isla Canela Beach, Huelva

Not well known to British visitors, Isla Canela’s 7km of golden sand beach at the western end of the Costa de la Luz is an indulgent joy. This is where the Spanish go on holiday, usually in the intense heat of July and August, but these golden sands are never crowded, and the breeze from the Atlantic offers a welcome respite from the Andalusian temperatures. The boardwalk is lined with Spanish beach bars (no Irish pubs or “traditional English roasts here”), where you can while away the time sipping a cold drink or enjoying fried fish and prawns garlic (prawns in garlic oil). There is even a summer cinema on the beach. Relax, it doesn’t get any better than this.
Julia Edwards

A beach with views… Sant Joan beach. Photography: Pep Roig/Alamy

It was 1980 and I think we were the only ones on the beach. I meticulously built 20 sandcastles and stuck a pine twig into each one. So my dad “accidentally” went through all of them! I love this beach ever since. Now there is a small bar, and yes, more people, but what never changes is the view. Mountains to the left; the Coll Baix peak to the right; behind, smell of pine; and, in front, of course, the ever-changing blues of the Mediterranean. If you come in the morning (flat), take your snorkel; in the afternoon (waves), grab a lilo or body board. Back in the city, La Casa Gallega is ideal for tapas at night.
anthony t

Mina Beach, Path of the Lighthouse, Alicante

Altea is a day trip from Benidorm or Alicante, and is mainly known for its old town. But an easy 6km cycle to the south brings you to the Lighthouse Trail. This short clifftop trail winds through a nature reserve with spectacular views. About halfway down the road, a track leaves the road; It looks like a long rocky route to the water’s edge, but don’t be put off. If you control your nerves, you will find that Playa Mina is a protected cove with views of the town and very clear waters. It’s deep enough to swim around the bay and out onto the rocks at different points (wear swim shoes). Some private companies run yacht trips to this location, so enjoy the satisfying feeling of arriving on foot.
Sarah Collings

Group of young people playing beach volleyball on the Playa del Arenal in Jávea on the Costa Blanca

‘Everyone happy’… Arenal beach in Jávea on the Costa Blanca. Photograph: Josie Elias/Alamy

Beautiful sandy beach perfect for families. The sea is shallow, ideal for swimming or rowing, and is cleaned every night. Although it is the atmosphere. Everybody is happy. There is a mix of Spanish and tourists from all over Europe, with tons of space for everyone and the vibrant colors of beach umbrellas on display. There are no skyscrapers here, just a wide esplanade with beach shops and wonderful cafes and craft stalls. Still busy at 10pm with games and couples relaxing. Fabulous views of Cap de Sant Antoni at one end of the beach. Safe, too, with lifeguard patrols. Luxury area but not expensive.

Sand dunes in Punta Paloma

Sand dunes at Punta Paloma. Photograph: Ben Welsh/Getty Images

Punta Paloma is my favorite place in the world: a great dune with sand from the Sahara, from which you can see Africa. The beach is near the small town of Tarifa, where the food and views are incredible. Diving, kitesurfing, climbing or hiking are just some of the activities on offer. The south of Spain is a quality, cheap destination that does not suffer from the tourist overcrowding of other places.

soesto beach

‘Wild and untouched’… Praia de Soesto. Photography: Jorge Tutor/Alamy

We stumbled across the beautiful, wild and unspoiled beach of Soesto near Laxe, Galicia, on a recent road trip. A small unpaved road with a nondescript sign gave no indication of what was to come. Wide white sand beach with dunes, hills and forests as a backdrop. The Atlantic water was as clear as anything you’d find on the most visited Mediterranean coast. Anywhere else and this beach would have been packed. In this wild corner of Spain, we were the only ones enjoying the secluded paradise, save for one local man collecting barnacles. No development, no facilities, just nature. Awesome.

Zarautz beach

‘Relaxed surf vibes’… Zarautz Beach. Photograph: Juana Mari Moya/Getty Images

Related: 40 of the best beaches in Europe

Fifteen kilometers west of the jewel of the Basque Country, San Sebastian, is a town with a “California-cool” boardwalk where you can grab the delicious pintxos the area is famous for. Zarautz has an impressively long golden sand beach, clean Atlantic waters and consistently decent waves. A fantastic campsite overlooks the beach from the bluff at the east end and is connected by the steps of El Camino del Surfista, which will keep those hamstrings tight. This beach town perfectly combines the sophisticated cuisine of northern Spain with the relaxed atmosphere of surfers.

Peñíscola town and beach

‘The jewel in the crown’… Peñíscola town and beach. Photograph: Leonid Serebrennikov/Alamy

The Costa del Azahar on the east coast of Spain still feels quite unknown compared to its more glitzy counterparts, but it is home to some of the most beautiful and tranquil beaches in Spain. Benicarló, Oropesa del Mar and Benicàssim are worth a visit. However, the jewel in the crown is found in Peñíscola. There are actually two beaches just a few hundred meters from each other on the small peninsula dominated by Peñíscola’s castle. The North beach, in particular, is impressive: 5 km of pristine sand and crystal clear waters, lined with local bars and restaurants. Even during the busiest days of summer, you won’t have a problem finding a place for your towel.
Mike Ladyman

Advice from Guardian Travel readers

Every week we ask our readers for recommendations on their trips. A selection of tips will be presented online and may appear in print. To enter the latest competition, visit the tips for readers landing page

This beautiful beach near the bustling port city of Cartagena is loved by locals for its tranquil beauty. It’s a far cry from the umbrella-strewn beaches of Alicante further up the coast.

Cala Trebaluger

‘A quiet curve of fine white sand’… Cala Trebaluger. Photography: Karol Kozlowski Premium RF/Alamy

While hiking around Menorca last spring, a fellow hiker directed me to Cala Trebaluger. It is part of a select group of virgin Menorcan beaches that can only be reached on foot. I followed a river that wound through a gorge to the beach and spent three days in solitary splendor, sleeping under the stars surrounded by nature, cradled by a calm curve of fine white sand, shallows hidden between rocky outcroppings and pine forests. . There are no sun loungers and often no clothes: just nature. Bliss.

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