Best beaches in Northern Spain - itinerary and ideas to enjoy them Best beaches in Northern Spain - itinerary and ideas to enjoy them

Best beaches in Northern Spain

Our favorite beaches in Northern Spain

If you picture one of the incredible beaches of Spain, you are probably thinking of one of the spectacular beaches of the southern coast of the country. However, the northern coast of Spain is home to some of the most striking and breathtaking beaches you will ever see. In this article our expert local guides review the best beaches you will find along the northern coast. Check it out!

List of best beaches in Northern Spain

The spectacular beach of Trengandin by Santoña

The spectacular beach of Trengandin by Santoña

Not many people would think of Cantabria as a region for some of the best beaches in Spain. Trengandin is one of the top beaches of Cantabria. The beach spans 3 km, near the Santoña marshes, an impressive natural habitat of northern Spain.

In addition to the beach’s natural beauty, with its fine sand and crystal-clear water, there are also many activities and attractions to enjoy. The Cantabrico Sea is a paradise for surfers and locals and people from other regions gather on beaches in this are to enjoy the “Cantabrian surf” experience.

How to get to Trengandin beach?

The beach of Trengandin is located in Noja, a small coastal village located 43 kilometers east of Santander. Noja is mostly famous thanks to the beach of Trengandin. The beach boasts fantastic golden sand and it extends from the end of Noja to a hill called El Brusco. On the other side of El Brusco the also beautiful beach of Berria awaits you (located in the neighboring town of Santoña, also in Cantabria.

Trengandin beach – Things to do

Enjoy the views:  The beach is surrounded by hills and forest and the view gets even better at low tide, when numerous rocks become visible. These rocks are largely covered by algae and their bizarre shapes contribute to an overall magical landscape. 

Enjoy a walk to El Brusco

Enjoy a walk to the El Brusco hill. The walk takes you from Noja through a forest all the way till you get to el Brusco. This is a 7 kilometer walk (one way) so in case you would prefer to walk less you can start from an area closer to El Brusco. The path starts from the residential area of Helgueras. From this area you will also find less people at the beach of Trengandin than if you try to access the beach from Noja.

Enjoy a bath in the sea

The water is exceptionally clear in this beach. This permits to identify where most of the rocks are, but you should always be very careful before you enter the water to avoid any problem. There are less rocks in the are closer to El Brusco.

Where to stay near Trengandin beach?

We strongly recommend to stay one or two nights in the area near Trengandin beach. This could be a day excursion from Santander, but it could also be a fantastic stop during a road trip in Northern Spain. Besides the beaches, Santoña is a gastronomy hub, famous for the quality of its anchovies, the best ones in Spain. Its harbor, natural reserves, the bay or the forstress all make of Santoña a very interesting tourist attraction. 

Our favorite hotel in the area is the traditional and charming hotel Posada la Robleda.

La playa de Itzurun – otherworldly beach in Zumaia

La playa de Itzurun – otherworldly beach in Zumaia

If you visit Itzurun beach unexpectedly your visit will be, for sure, one of the highlights of your trip to Spain and the Basque country. This beach is simply amazing and it should be on your priority list of things to visit while you stay in the city of San Sebastian or nearby.

What makes Itzurun beach so special?

This is one of the most spectacular beaches in the North of Spain and by extension in the Basque Country. Beaches in the Basque country are amongst the best ones in Spain. La Concha beach in San Sebastian is probably the most famous example, but it is by no means not the only one!

Itzurun beach is beautiful and otherworldly, so much so that is was chosen as one of the filming locations in Spain for Game of Thrones. This beach is not the only filming location for Game of Thrones in the area. Not too far westwards and north of Bilbao you will find San Juan de Gaztelugatxe or dragon stone: a spectacular small church located next to cliffs also in the Basque country region. 

Coming back to Itzurun beach, this small beach (250 m) features fine golden sand is surrounded by impressive geological formations and cliffs. 

The coastline here is defined by a geological formation called the Flysch. To explain what the Flysch is think about a continuous formation of rocks that seems to have no end. Place it between the sea and sand of the beach and you start to get an idea of what the Flysch is all about.

How to get to Itzurum beach?

You will need to drive to the town of Zumaia. This is a short, 30 minutes drive from San Sebastian. However, we would strongly recommend taking the time to drive outside of the highway and enjoy the coast all the way from San Sebastian to Getaria (a small famous fishing village).

At Zumaia you will not be able to park near the beach. You will need to walk from Amaia Plaza and park in the parking area in the town center of Zumaia.

Services in Itzurum beach

The beach receives a good number of tourists and it has many services like toilets, showers, bicycle parking or bars. Nevertheless, all these services do not prevent that you will get the impression you are in a different world.

Watersports in Itzurum beach

Many surfers gather in Itzurum beach every day and this is one of the most famous beaches for surfing in Northern Spain.  Depending on the tides the waves will vary a lot. The western part requires more skills as a surfer to enjoy it. During high tide, bodyboarders will be able to enjoy waves formed close to the shore.

PLAYA DE OYAMBRE – Large and beautiful beach in Cantabria

PLAYA DE OYAMBRE – Large and beautiful beach in Cantabria in Northern Spain

Oyambre beach is located in Cantabria and we have included it in our selection with our most recommended beaches in Northern Spain.

Between the municipalities of Comillas and San Vicente de la Barquera, near the Parque Natural de Oyambre, you will find one of the best beaches in Cantabria.

The beach of Oyambre is part of the natural reserve of Oyambre, which obtained this status in 1988. This natural reserve occupies an extension of 196 hectares and consists of five different ecosystems (cliffs, sea beaches, inland beaches, estuaries of San Vicente and La Rabia, and the dunes) The diversity of ecosystems explains the diversity of flora and fauna located in this relatively small piece of land.

The beach of Oyambre occupies two kilometers of white sand and dunes and its spectacular natural beauty makes this beach a must if you are in the area.

The beach offers golden sand, perfect to relax. You can expect mid-sized waves (which makes this a good beach to initiate yourself surfing) and it offers many services, including toilets, showers, restaurants, and bars. 

In winter, this tranquil beach becomes a surf hot spot and is considered a top surfing beach in Northern Spain.

How to get to Oyambre beach?

Oyambre beach is located 40 kilometers from the city of Santander in Cantabria (one of the most elegant cities in Spain) and also at some 40 kilometers from the National park of Picos de Europaone of Spain´s most important national parks and also amongst the richest in terms of the variety of the Spanish animals that are found inside the park. 

Our recommendation to get to Oyambre beach is to get there from San Vicente de la Barquera. The other option would be to arrive from Comillas. This makes more sense if you are driving from Bilbao or Santander. However, if you get from San Vicente de la Barquera you will enjoy the national park of Oyambre on your way. 

Where to stay near Oyambre beach?

Unless you stop at Oyambre beach during a road trip in Northern Spain (arriving from Santander for instance) what makes more sense if you would like to spend a bit of time in this fantastic area is to either select Comillas or San Vicente de la Barquera. Both towns are an excellent choice. 

Hotels in both San Vicente de la Barquera and Comillas offer in average good quality and value for money, However, if you are looking for something really special we would recommend the hotel el Molino de Bonaco, an amazing place where you will be able to relax and stay at a fantastic environment.

Playa de Gulpiyuri – small hidden beach near Llanes

Playa de Gulpiyuri – small hidden beach near Llanes

This beach is, for lack of a better word, odd. It is, in fact, a saltwater beach although the actual coast is 10 minutes away! Gulpiyuri is on our list of top beaches in Northern Spain

Besides being odd, Gulpiyuri is also a small beach. It is actually tiny, with just 50 meters of pristine white sand. Many people think this is the smallest beach in Northern Spain, but in fact, this is not the case.  This peculiar beach was formed by the water from the nearby Cantabrian sea seeping through the coastal cliffs and heading inland. If you visit the beach you will soon understand why this is one of the beaches most frequently photographed in Spain. 

After centuries of erosion, the beach was formed. For this reason, the beach is categorized as a National Monument, and the only way to reach it is by foot, through the surrounding pastures. At Gulpiyuri you will get the strange feeling that you are in a beach that faces the cliffs. Make sure you visit when the tide is high since otherwise, you may risk not finding water on the beach!

How to get to Gulpiyuri beach?

Since the beach cannot be accessed by car, you will need to walk 1 kilometer to reach Gulpiyuri. The closest village is Naves.  There are no services, so make sure you bring along water and any food you may need.

Where to stay near Gulpiyuri beach?

The best option in our view is to stay in Llanes. Llanes offers a fantastic medieval district, some great beaches nearby, and a fantastic gastronomic offer: a great place to enjoy local fish, Asturian specialties and its famous cider!

From Gulpiyuri and from Llanes you will be able to enjoy a day excursion to the National park of Los Picos de Europa. Los Picos is one of Spain´s best natural parks and famous for its famous Lakes at Convadonga. 

Playa de Poo – Beautiful beach in Asturias

Asurias travel guide- Playa de Poo – Beautiful beach in Asturias

This Asturian beach has an odd beauty. Located next to the Vallina river outlet, the beach is shaped like a funnel, and surrounded by green hills, making it so that the ocean isn’t visible from the beach during the low tide.

The water that filters inland and bathes this unusual beach is calm and has hardly any waves, making it ideal for families with kids. This beach is quite popular, so you better wake up early to get a nice spot. The beach is at 5 minutes by car from the beautiful Asturian town of Llanes and 15 minutes drive from Gulpiyuri beach

How to get to Poo beach?

Poo beach is located neat the famous village of Llanes. The beach of Poo is at one kilometer from the village of Poo which is located 2 kilometers west of Llanes. Getting to the beach of Poo from Llanes will take you no more than five minutes. There is a small parking on the beach. Charges may apply to park during the summer season. It takes some eight minutes to walk from Poo to the beach.

Poo beach – Things to do

During the high tide, the beach of Poo becomes one of the safest possible beaches in Northern Spain for children. The water from the sea penetrates the rock channel and forms a safe pool of up to 150 meters long: a children´s paradise with no waves!

From the beach of Poo there is a small path that provides with the opportunity to admire an interesting (though short)w walk. It starts from the right end of the beach and you will be able to admire the nearby cliffs and also up to four small islets. Beautiful landscape and picture opportunities!

Showers are available at Poo beach, but not much more. You should make sure you bring water and some food. You will be able to find restaurants and bars in Poo. 

Where to stay near Poo beach?

The most logical option is to stay in Llanes where you will find services, restaurants, and a good Asturian atmosphere.

our favorite hotel in the area is the Sablon hotel. It offers breathtaking views of the sea and the beach nearby. It is a bit outdated, yet charming and offers a good breakfast. There are other more luxurious options but we believe the views at Sablon are too good to be missed. 

PLAYA DE LAGA – a great beach near Bilbao

Located in the Biosfera de Urdaibai nature reserve, near cape Ogoño, north east of Bilbao city (45 minutes drive)  you will find one of the top beaches in the Basque country. It is located near San Juan de Gaztelugatxe (featured in Game of Thrones)  and Bermeo

La Playa de Laga features beautiful dunes of fine golden sand. It is also one of the best beaches in northern Spain for surfing.

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