The Spanish Coast is one of the world’s longest and most famous, offering kilometres long sandy beaches from Costa Brava in the North next to the French border to the famous Costa del Sol and Costa de La Luz in the south on each side of the strait of Gibraltar. Spain is blessed with some of the most amazing beaches as well many picture perfect white washed towns. It got something for everyone’s taste , from all night party metropolis to deserted pieces of paradise. Discover our guide and decide what is best for you, your partner or you family.
The following are the top holidays regions on the Spanish coast from the border with Portugal in the South West to the rugged beaches past Barcelona in the North East:
Costa de La Luz
The Costa de la Luz which can be translated to the Coast of Light is the further west coastal region in Spain. It is part of the bigger Andalusia region and it is the only coast facing the Atlantic ocean. It extends from the Guadiana River in the North to Tarifa in the south along the Province of Cádiz of Huelva.
Although less popular then its famous neighbour Costa del Sol, it has become more visited in the last couple of years especially with French and Germans tourists. It is the perfect place for nature lovers, blessed with an unparallel beauty and offering many protected natural reserves such as the Donana National Park, home to deer, mongoose and flamingos. It is the land of small fishing villages, set between pine forests and wild, unspoilt sandy beaches.
The Costa de la Luz is also one of Spain’s top destinations for sport lovers with an abundance of sporting activities such as kitesurfing, boating and golf. Surfer will be especially happy with the region’s large Atlantic ocean waves.
The top places in Costa de la Luz include:
- Punta Umbria
- Conil de la Frontera
- Los Canos de Meca
Punta Umbria is the largest modern resort of Costa de la Luz, which compared to other Spanish touristic destination might appear small, but offers a special charm with fantastic restaurants and beaches.
Cadiz is a walled port known for its long tradition starting with the Phoenicians some thousands years ago. This port is also famous for Puerto Santa Maria, the famous starting point of Columbus exploration of the new world.
Other great coastal villages include Conil de la Frontera, Canos de Meca, and Zahara de las Atunes.
Tarifa is known to be the windsurfing capital of Europe and the Playa Los Lances and Playa Valdevaqueros are definitely worth discovering if you are looking for a bit of action.
In terms of food, seafood is obviously on the menu, but so is the chilled gazpacho soup, traditional Spanish omelette, local chorizo sausage and other tapas. As for refreshments, the region is home to the Manzanilla sherry.
Costa De La Luz is a great destination if you are looking to get away from the crowds and be submerge in natural beauty or water sports.
Costa del Sol
The Costa del Sol which can be translated to the "Coast of the Sun" is the most popular of all the coastal regions. It is set between less touristic Costa de la Luz to the East and Costa Tropical to the West and is part of the bigger autonomous community of Andalusia. It extend from Punto Chullera in the west to the cliffs of Maro in the East. What was once a land of small quiet fishing settlements, became in the last century, one of the most known holiday destination in the world. Indeed it has today become the land of major touristic hotels and resorts development, high rise apartments, restaurants, bar, nightclubs and many other touristic attractions.
The Costa del Sol has a very rich history dating back to the Bronze Age. It has been ruled with many different cultures including the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Visigoths and Moors, making it a truly unique destination.
The top 5 places in Costa del Sol include:
Malaga is the primary arrival hub to Costa del Sol with millions of people arriving at the International airport annually. They are numerous resorts located along this stretch of coastline from Manilva in the west to Nerja in the east. Tourists resorts aside, Malaga is a beautiful place to visit with plenty of cultural sites and the astonishing Moorish palace of Alcazaba at its heart.
Marbella is famous in the Costa del Sol region to be the playground of the rich and famous with plenty of deluxe accommodations, restaurants and nightclubs to choose from.
Costa del Sol is Spain ideal region to enjoy a sun and sea holiday, with an abundance of various resorts and hotels and a variety of tourist attractions .
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The Costa Tropical is the eastern neighbour of popular Costa del Sol part of the larger Andalusia region. It is often referred to as “Costa de Granada” because of the importance of it s major city Granada. Unlike its resort developed neighbour, the Costa Tropical is made up mostly of agricultural zones and small resort towns and villages.
The Costa Tropical is one of the richest regions when it comes to historical sites. Indeed it is known for its pre-historic cave paintings close to Nerja as well as many Roman ruins such as roads, bridges, buildings, fish salting factories and irrigation systems, some even used to this day. The region is also rich with an abundance of Arabic architecture remains.
The top places in Costa Tropical include:
- Sierra Nevada
Motril is the largest town in Costa Tropical and principally known as a manufacturing and agricultural centre. It offers some great shopping locations, nice bars and restaurants, as well as being home to a charming seaport. There are also some amazing attractions near Motril including the San Miguel Castle or the various bars in Marina dell Esta.
Almunecar is primarily a resort town and tropical fruits centre, with the summer-time vacation population more than tripling the town’s population. The city recently underwent a construction boom with a variety of hotels and resorts available from all inclusive deals to self catering apartments. Almunecar has also a famous place in history, known for being the entry point and power base for Abd ar-Rahman.
What makes the Costa Tropical truly unique is the beautiful mountains of the Sierra Nevada, which is an ideal place for a day trip away from the coast.
The Costa Tropical is the ideal place to relax away from the crowds. It offers idyllic beaches, combined with clear blue water and an average of 320 sunny days a years, making it the perfect holiday destination.
Costa de Almeria
The Costa de Almeria is 217 kilometres (135 mi) of Mediterranean coast, from Adra on the border with the province of Granada to the province of Murcia in the East. The land is blessed with a variety of beaches from the deserted ones within the Natural Parks to those enjoyed by numerous vacationers with golden sand and clear sea waters.
Costa de Almeria is the perfect place to enjoy a diversified holiday from the beautiful beaches on the coast to the Sierra Mountain. It also has a variety of great restaurants serving freshly caught seafood and a great variety of local wines. It is the ideal place for a family vacation with less of the clubbing scenes then in other Spanish regions and more of the charming and romantic places to enjoy a relaxed evening.
The top places in Costa de Almeria include:
- Sierra Nevada National Park
- Natural parks and reserves
The region offers a variety of exciting destinations from natural parks and hidden coves to bustling holiday resorts, but perhaps the most famous of its natural attractions is the Tabernas, Europe’s only desert. It is possible to visit this long stretch of sand as well as explore the various film sets left behind the numerous Western movies shoot there.
The city of Almeria is a great place to visit if you’re a fan of archaeological and architectural sites, with fabulous buildings and remains left by the various conqueror of the region.
Adra is a beautiful fishing town known for its charming port and ideal for a perfect evening in one of its great seafood restaurants.
The Sierra Nevada National Park is perhaps one of the most popular natural sight in the region. Situated only a couple of drives from Almeria it is the ideal place to discover a unique wildlife or go hiking. In the winter, part of the park turns into a great skiing destination, famous for being Europe’s most southern ski resorts.
The Costa de Almeria is blessed with plenty of Natural areas including the Punta Entinas-Sabinar Nature Reserve, the Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park and the amazing Isla de San Andrés.
The Costa Calida which can be translated to the "Warm Coast" is part of the province of Murcia and covers more than 250 km stretch of Mediterranean coastline. The region is blessed with a micro-climate featuring comparatively hot mean annual temperatures and a relative degree of aridity. The Costa Calida extends from the town of Aguilas in the south bordering the region of the Almeria province to El Mojon in the north near the province of Alicante.
The region offers beautiful beaches along with a variety of fishing ports and dramatic scenery. It is the perfect place for water sport lovers with plenty of great locations to choose from, as well as for culture enthusiast with great sights to be discover such as the Velez Castle ruins. Finally the Costa Calida is the place to enjoy a variety of delicious wines with well known winemaking areas all around it.
The top places in Costa Calida include:
- Mar Menor
- La Manga
Cartagena is the biggest Seaport of the Murcia region, with thousands of years of history and blessed with outstanding buildings and archaeological sites. It is the perfect combination of cultural and historical attractions with the charm of a typical bustling port city.
Mar Menor which can be translated to the "Little Sea" is the coastal saltwater lagoon which is known to be the largest of Europe’s with some 170 square kilometres. It is known for its therapeutic value, with its mineral-rich waters. This large lagoon is also ideal for trying and learning some new water sports.
La Manga is one of the top destinations on la Costa Calida where most of the tourist resorts are located. It is a 22km-long narrow piece of land that separates the Mar Menor from the Mediterranean sea.
Murcia is the nearest big city to Costa Calida known for its beautiful cathedral, many museums and plenty of boutiques to find the perfect gift. The city is at the heart of one of the best know winemaking areas in Spain, making it the perfect place for sampling products from the local producer.
Costa Calida is blessed with unspoilt beaches with golden sands and impressive lighthouses such as the one at Puerto de Mazarrón, making it the perfect laidback holiday destination.
Costa Blanca which literally means "White Coast" refers to over 200 kilometres of coastline from Pilar de la Horadada in the southern Costa Calida to Denia in the north. It is part of the Province of Alicante and includes the major tourist destinations of Benidorm, Alicante, Denia and Xabia. It is the land of beautiful beaches, clear blue waters and friendly local people, making it a much sought after destination especially with British and other northern European vacationers.
The top places in Costa Blanca include:
Benidorm is perhaps one of the most popular and known city of Costa Blanca, offering a wide range of activities for both families as well as the younger crowd, with a mix of traditional Spanish restaurants, jazz bars and all night discos.
Calpe is another paradise destination in the heart of Costa Blanca offering two long stretch of sandy beaches, making it the ideal place for an all-inclusive holiday. The nearby smaller town of Altea with its whitewashed houses and narrow street is also worth discovering.
Costa Blanca combines some of Spain best beaches and nightlife with a beautiful mountain scenery in the background. It is the perfect place to enjoy a stress free holiday.
The Costa Dorada which can be literally translated to the "Golden Coast" is set in the beautiful region of Catalonia within the province of Tarragona. It is situated south from Barcelona stretching over 200 kilometres between Cunit and the mouth of the Ebro River. This amazing coastal region is home to many great beach resorts, the Universal Port Aventura, the Aquopolis water park and trendy seafront towns with a vibrant nightlife.
It is perhaps the most popular shopping location along the various coastal regions offering visitors more that they can bargain for. From the world’s top designer brands in Barcelona to the local boutiques in Tarragona, passing by Cambrils traditional markets, Costa Dorada has something for every taste and budget.
The top places in Costa Dorada include:
- Cap Salou
The wonderful city of Tarragona is mostly famous for its hilltop cathedral and Roman remains. After a day of sightseeing head to the port to enjoy a drink in one of the numerous Spanish bars.
Sitges located only a few kilometres south of Barcelona is perhaps the most popular tourist resorts in Costa Dorada. It is home to important historic sites such as the Church of Sant Bartomeu as well as offering charming shopping streets packed with good restaurants and cafes. The club scene is one of the most important in the area offering a variety of location to party all night.
Cap Salou is perhaps one of the best marine destination in the area offering an amazing sandy beach and Europe’s largest theme park. The nearby fishing village of Cambrils is definitely worth a visit, known for having some of the best seafood restaurants in the area.
Salou has a reputation of one of the liveliest of all the resorts with plenty of attractions for the visitors from happy hours and British-style pubs to karaoke bars and discos.
Barcelona is a truly unique place not only in Spain but within Europe as well. It is famous for its outstanding architecture, such as Gaudi’s breathtaking masterpieces or the iconic Sagrada Familia cathedral, as well as for its vibrant café culture and nightlife on and around the Ramblas. The unique city of Barcelona is an absolute must when visiting the Costa Dorada.
The Costa Dorada, with its long golden beaches, charming villages, a lively and vibrant nightlife and easy access to the remarkable Barcelona is the perfect place for a great holiday, combining the excitement of the city with the relaxing atmosphere of the coast.
The Costa Brava, which can be literally translated to the “rugged coast” is the further east of all the Spanish coastal regions. It is part of Catalonia in the province of Girona and stretches from Blanes, 60 km (37 mi) northeast of Barcelona, to the French border. It is the land of remarkable beaches and hidden villages along the coast, as well as a variety of historical and architecture sites worth discovering. One such example is the small towns of Cadaques near the French border where artist such as Picasso and Dali looked for inspiration.
The top places in Costa Brava include:
Figueres is known for being home to the Dali Theatre and Museum, one of the most important and visited attractions in Catalonia.
Blanes is a famous seaside resort town offering a variety of hotels and apartments. The beautiful fishing villages of Tossa de Marand and Lloret de Mar nearby are also very interesting places to discover.
Girona is ideally situated between the excitement of Barcelona and the calm of the Pyrenees. It is known for its breathtaking views and archaeology sites. It is worth coming on a Sunday where the main shopping street, the Ramblas is transformed into a beautiful flower market.
Banyoles is the perfect place for a family adventure where its lake, the primary attraction offers a variety of water experiences.
Cadaques is a beautiful coastal town offering sandy beaches and clear blue water, as well as charming narrow streets. By night, the town is known to offer live jazz session, making it ideal to relax and enjoy a pitcher of Sangria. The nearby Portlligat town is also worth visiting, famous for having the house where Salvador Dali’s lived.