Southern Spain could be considered the soul of Spain. It is the birthplace of Flamenco, Bullfighting, and Tapas among other things, which is no small feat. It is also a region of Spain well known for its laid back vibes and bubbling nightlife. One huge factor that contributes to this “good times” culture are the amazing beaches that line the Mediterranean coast. It is hard to get stressed out when you live next to a spectacular, golden sand, turquoise water, beach. Add a beachside shanty that serves cold drinks and some Paella, and you have a recipe for easy living. Check out our guide to the amazing beaches in Southern Spain.
List of best beaches in Northern Spain
This beach is perfect for families, and one of the most popular beaches in Huelva. It’s considered one of the best beaches in Andalucía.
The beach is 5 km long of fine sand one of the biggest of the Costa de la Luz. This beach features a large peculiar stone that sticks out of the beautiful golden sand.
This odd feature is in fact the ruins of the old Torre de la Higuera guard tower, which fell after the Lisbon seaquake of 1755.
Almeria has some of the best beaches in Spain. The Playa de los Genoveses, is located in the Cabo de Gata natural park in Almería.
The bay is stunning and has been used in many movies because of it. It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Andalicía.
Fine gold sand, otherworldly surroundings and the warm Mediterranean Sea, it doesn’t get much better.
Playa de Los Muertos beach is a large stretch of completely straight beach that is more than a kilometer long and has some of the clearest blue water you will find in the amazing region of Andalucía.
This little slice of paradise has a somewhat terrifying past as we will see further on, but this beautiful beach still consistently pops up on all the lists of the best beaches in Spain.
It is also one of the more secluded beaches you will find as it is kilometers away from both Agua Amarga and Carboneras (the nearest towns).
Playa de Los Muertos, or the beach of the dead, gets its ominous name because, back in the day, when maritime travel wasn’t as safe as it is today, bodies would consistently wash up on the shore of this particular beach.
Gruesome history aside, The beach is spectacular with pebbly sand, that gets finner and finner the closer you get to the water.
The beach is 800 meters long and isn’t your traditional fine golden sand beach but it feels great underfoot and washes off much more easily.
The water is truly stunning. The shore is uneven at points and drops off steeply, so this beach isn’t the best for kids, but it is simply gorgeous.
On days with bad weather, the waters can become choppy and the waves can get pretty strong so, if you were planning on swimming, make sure you go on a nice day.
All this being said, this beach really does feel like a tropical island lost in the middle of a vast ocean. The beautiful surroundings, the secluded setting, and the fact that the beach rarely gets crowded make it an ideal place for a romantic getaway.
How to access the beach?
In the summer months, parking costs just € 5 all day. Now, once you have parked your car, getting to the beach is going to take a bit of effort. There are three pathways you can take:
The first starts at the information point and it is 700 meters with several ups and downs.
The second leaves from the end of the parking area and although it is 100 meters shorter than the first it is much steeper.
The third path is near a popular viewpoint and is made up of some old stone stairs that are quite irregular, so be careful.
Access by sea
Due to the fame that this beach has acquired in recent years, there are some companies that offer a transfer service to the beach by boat from the port of Carboneras.
Other nearby beaches and coves
- Cala del Peñón Cortado: On the right-hand side of the beach, you will see are a couple of huge rocks in the middle of the sand. Between these boulders, there are about 90 meters of beach that is known as Cala del Peñón Cortado, if you want the ultimate secluded experience.
- Cala de las Salinicas: To the left is the Cala de las Salinicas, a cove with similar characteristics to La Playa de Los Muertos. You can access the cove by sea or on foot. On foot, take the path that leaves the parking lot towards the viewpoint. After about 500 meters you will be just above Cala de las Salinicas. The path down to the beach is about 200 meters. It is quite steep and with some challenging sections.
Near the magical city of Granada, in the town of La Herradura, and part of the municipality of Almuñécar, there is one of the best beaches of all of Andalucía: Playa de la Herradura. It is a large urban beach, with dark sand and calm crystal clear water.
The tranquil waters of Playa La Herradura make it ideal for families or if you’re just looking to lay back and relax. The beach is over 2000 meters long and 40 meters wide, so even if the beach gets crowded, there is always enough space for everyone. The surrounding mountains make for a stunning backdrop and protect the beach from the wind contributing to the sense of tranquility, and to the subtropical climate, the area enjoys.
What to do at Playa la Herradura?
La Herradura Beach has all types of activities that everyone can enjoy. It has a wide promenade, walkways to the beach, beach bars, a play area for the younger beach-goers, and numerous companies that provide water sport activities.
If you’re just looking to kick back and chill, there is also the possibility of renting hammocks and umbrellas during the day.
If you are looking for a more adventurous experience, diving is, without a doubt, the star activity at Playa La Herradura.
The area enjoys a great richness of marine flora and fauna as the area is a protected natural habitat. There are many amazing places to scuba dive in Spain, but the pleasant temperatures throughout the year and the clarity of its waters, make this beach a favorite destination for divers. In addition to diving, you can enjoy snorkeling, kayaking, and paddle surfing.
Near La Herradura beach, you can explore some magnificent natural areas. There are many hiking routes that will take you to the nearby Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara, and Alhama Natural Park.
Where to eat?
There are beach bars and restaurants located right on the beach that are well worth your while:
Chambao de Vicente is a classic in the area, you will find this restaurant on the Andrés Segovia promenade, at the foot of the famous Cerro Gordo. The views from here are really spectacular. It has both a terrace and an indoor lounge and a capacity for over 100 people. On summer nights they set up a terrace for drinks on the first floor. Its specialties include piquillo peppers stuffed with seafood, grilled fish, seafood zarzuela, and scrambled eggs with salmon and prawns.
La Esquina de Peña Parda is located at the end of the promenade and with a large covered terrace overlooking the sea and offers traditional Andalusian cuisine. Its menu includes seafood paella, fresh fish, and lamb with avocado with prawns.
Chambao de Joaquín is located right at the beginning of the promenade, at the foot of the beach. It features a lounge area with umbrellas that invite you to spend a few hours enjoying the views, a cold drink in hand. It is one of the oldest establishments in the area. Chambao de Joaquin opened it’s doors in the 50s and stands out because of its peculiar decoration. Its specialty is paella, although grilled meat and fresh fish also stand out. Also, at night, you can enjoy flamenco shows.
Mesón El Tinao. This place opened its doors more than 30 years ago, in 1988. It is also located on the beach and has traditional Alpujarra cuisine.
Where is La Herradura Beach?
La Herradura beach belongs to the province of Granada, specifically to the town of La Herradura, in the municipality of Almuñécar. La Herradura is also just one hour from the amazing city of Málaga.
How to get to La Herradura beach?
To get to Playa de la Herradura by car, you will have to take route 902 from Granada, joining the A-44 and then the A-7. The Drive from Granada takes approximately 50 minutes.
If, on the other hand, you want to go by public transport, Alsa (a bus company) connects Granada directly to Almuñécar. The bus makes the trip 9 times a day and ticket prices vary between € 3.30 and € 8.45, depending on the date and time you want to leave. The trip lasts an hour and a half.
Once in Almuñécar, there are numerous urban lines that connect the center with different beaches. Line 2 is the one that will leave you in La Herradura beach.
Playa La Caleta is located in the city of Cádiz and it is its most emblematic beach. It reflects the heartbeat of the city and the idiosyncrasy of the neighborhood that lays just behind it, La Viña, the epicenter of the city’s Carnaval celebration.
Its ideal location protects it from the strong Levante winds which make beach-going uncomfortable in other areas of Cádiz. The beach is perfect for families, with calm waters and soft golden sand.
The beach is 500 meters long and 50 meters wide and extremely lively. There is never a shortage of locals enjoying the sand and rare is the occasion when you won’t find street musicians serenading beach-goers with their guitars.
Overlooking the beach is a beautiful and recognizable building. An opulent, Victorian building, the old Spa of La Palma y el Real is the centerpiece of the beach.
This scene is so beautiful in fact, La Caleta is one of the sites in Spain that has been featured prominently in a Hollywood movie. You may remember a scene from 007: Die Another Day, when Pierce Brosnan (James Bond) watches Halle Berry (Jynx Johnson) swim in the ocean. Brosnan was seated in the Spa and Berry was on Caleta Beach.
Also, one of the wings of this building is home to the Center for Underwater Archeology, which preserves a myriad of treasures that had been lost at sea.
Two different castles overlook the beach. La Caleta has always been an important strategic site of the Mediterranean Coast. Santa Catalina Castle, to the north and San Sebastián Castle to the south. Overlooking the beach is the University of Cádiz’s business school, founded in 1903.
How to get to Playa La Caleta?
Most of the streets of the La Viña neighborhood are pedestrian and many others do not have parking. Therefore, it is always a good idea to leave your car in the parking lot next to Campo de las Balas or the one behind the Genovés Park, both just a short hop from the beach.
Also, Line 2 and Line 7 of urban buses run through a good part of the Cadiz capital and stop right in front of La Caleta.
What to do near Playa La Caleta?
Of course, sunbathing, taking a dip, or simply taking a nap on this amazing beach is probably first on the list but visiting the castles is a great option if you want to site-see. Also, you can head on over to Genovés Park to cool off in the shade or visit the humid grotto with dinosaur sculptures.
But if you get tired of the sand your best option is to get lost down the narrow streets of the La Viña neighborhood and visit the charming Plaza el Tío de la Tiza.
Where to eat near Playa La Caleta?
Enjoying some tapas near La Caleta is a pretty unique experience. The La Viña neighborhood has a high number of bars, taverns, and restaurants, so you should have no problem finding great places for a bite to eat.
Right on the beach, you should find Bar Club Caleta, which offers some excellent fresh seafood and a variety of grilled meats which are simply excellent. Also worth a try is Quilla, which also offers top-notch food and an inviting and relaxing ambiance that is hard to beat.
When to visit Playa La Caleta?
Cádiz is a city that can be visited at any time of the year. It offers beach-worthy weather from mid-spring to well into fall, although of course summer is its peak season and it can get very crowded.
The rest of the year you might not be able to enjoy the beach but it is worth taking a walk through the sand, sitting down to enjoy the waves, or walking the Paseo Fernando Quiñones.
Playa Carolina is part of what is known as the “Cuatro calas” (the four coves), in the province near the border with Almeria, Andalusia
Playa Carolina is considered one of the best beaches in Múrcia, an un-touched little piece of the Mediterranean.
The area is under the protection of the Red Natura 2000 because of its biodiversity.