Maspalomas, Gran Canaria
Our top 5 Spanish Beaches
Like most British holidaymakers, our customers love Spain! With warmer climates than the UK, it's perfect to visit all year round - so here's the lowdown on our top 5 Spanish beaches.
Barceloneta beach, Barcelona
The great joy of Barceloneta - Barcelona's most popular beach - is that, unusually for a top European beach, it's a proper urban beach that's incredibly easy to get to as part of a Barcelona city break.
Practically in the city of Barcelona, Barceloneta is a twenty to thirty minute walk from Las Ramblas. You can catch the Metro (yellow line or the L4), getting off at Barceloneta stop, if you want to skip the walk - but for most visitors part of the charm of visiting the beach is exploring the alleyways of the C18th neighbourhood before you reach the seafront itself.
The Barceloneta neighbourhood was traditionally a fishing district, so it's definitely the place to come if you're looking to sample traditional Catalonian seafood. The fresh fish and paella are considered amongst the best in Barcelona, and the signature local tapas is a ball of potato filled with meat and spicy sauce called a "bomba".
The Barcelona local authorities are proud of the facilities they've put in place at Barceloneta for people with disabilities or reduced mobility. There are support services available to help get into the sea, so if you'd like to try the water but need assistance to do so Barceloneta may be a good option.
Barceloneta is the most famous, and most popular, beach in Barcelona. That means it has the best food and entertainments including local sand-artists, hawkers and some of the city's best bars, clubs and restaurants, as well as facilities for sports and gymnastics. But it's also therefore often crowded with tourists, and the quality of the sand is a matter of local debate. If you'd like a more relaxed day at the beach on your visit to Barcelona, a few hundred yards north through Port Olimpic is the quieter Platja de la Nova Icària.
Maspalomas, Gran Canaria
In Gran Canaria you will find a huge seven-and-a-half-mile stretch of golden sand, at many points 100 yards wide - these are the seemingly endless dunes of Maspalomas. A unique, otherworldly desert landscape on the southern coast of the largest of the Canary Islands, Maspalomas is perfect for sunbathing and watersports but most of all for losing yourself amidst the remote beauty of nature.
What makes this beach special isn't just the size and the natural splendour. Maspalomas includes two protected nature reserves - the Maspalomas Natural Dune Reserve, separated into three areas Palmeral, Charca and Dunas (palms, ponds and dunes), and Charca, a reserve for birds migrating from Europe to Africa. The old lighthouse (construction started in 1861 and took 28 years to complete) is another point of interest and landmark to help you orient yourself as you navigate the miles of rolling dunes.By Miguel Angel López, on Flickr
British tourists often comment on the handful of nudists who make use of the beach, but really Maspalomas beach is so large that if there's anything you don't want to see you can always stroll a few yards (or miles, according to taste!) further along and you'll soon be on your own again.
The beach is divided into four "zones": one for families with children, two more secluded areas which allow nude bathing and sunbathing, and one which is noted for being popular with the LGBTQ+ community. Something, therefore, for everyone to enjoy, which on top of the nature reserves and the sea itself make this one of the most interesting and varied beaches you'll find in Europe.
Torremolinos, Costa del Sol
Our third pick is not one beach but several - the beach resort of Torremolinos on the ever-popular Costa del Sol.
Torremolinos was the first of the Costa del Sol resorts developed for tourism, beginning in the 1950s, with visitors drawn by the long, dry summers, low humidity, cool breezes off the sea and relatively brief, rare rains and sea fogs. With one of Spain's longest traditions of catering to the British and Scandinavian tourists, as well as a large ex-pat community, Torremolinos has extensive facilities including the sun coast's largest waterpark and a weekly English-language newspaper. Recent redevelopment in the town has improved and updated the facilities, so this is a great time to visit and see Torremolinos looking the best it has for years.
There are six named beaches on the seafront at Torremolinos and the recent renovation project means they are all now linked. The coast is one almost unbroken line of sand running for about five miles, taking in the beaches east of the Castillo Los Alamos, Playamar and Bajondillo, and west of the Castillo La Carihuela, Montemar and El Saltillo.
The three beaches to the west are busiest in the summer months, and are closest to the larger hotels and tourist facilities. The further east you walk the quieter they become, although this also takes you closer to the flight path for the airport and into some of the secluded nudist beaches. The two beaches to the east of the Castillo, La Carihuela and Montemar, take you to the old fishing village of Carihuela itself, and it's possible to carry on as far as Benalmadena Marina where you'll find more bars and seafood restaurants.
Like most of the Costa del Sol, Torremolinos is normally reached via Malaga airport which is a few miles up the coast. Parking near the beach in the summer months is notoriously difficult, unless you use the underground car parks, so most visitors take a transfer from the airport to their hotel and then walk or use public transport while they're here.
Ca'n Pere Antoni, Mallorca
Between March and September every year Mallorca becomes Holiday Extras' customers' single most popular destination and one of the main reasons to head out to Mallorca is to enjoy the beaches. Ca'n Pere Antoni is our favourite.
White sands and clear waters? Of course. More to the point, Ca'n Pere Antoni is the closest beach to Palma, where most visitors stay, but far enough to make it a pleasant stroll or bike ride from the centre.
A cycle path and promenade run the length of the half-mile of sand, and one beach club as well as bars and restaurants round off the facilities. A couple of miles from the city centre and just one from the cathedral La Seu, the views of the cathedral from the beach are superb.
About half a mile further from town is a second beach, Portixol, where you can enjoy excellent bars and restaurants as well as extensive watersports facilities.
Playa de las Teresitas, Tenerife
Let's finish off with a hidden gem in a popular destination - Playa de las Teresitas in Tenerife.
At the far northern tip of the island, Playa de las Teresitas is a very far cry from the crowded tourist spots of Tenerife south. Five miles north of the provincial capital of Santa Cruz and just outside the pretty village of Andrés, the beach is not exactly unknown - it was the setting for the promotional video for the third season of Geordie Shore - but for most of the year it's a good spot to bathe and swim in peace. Compared to Cristianos and Vistas to the south of the island, it's a haven.
Playa de las Teresitas is one of the few white sand beaches in Tenerife - not a quirk of geology but a deliberate decision by the local authorities to ship more than quarter of a million tons of white sand from what is now Western Sahara in Africa in the 1970s. Combined with the breakwaters built out in the bay to calm the waves, this is a beach for gentle and peaceful enjoyment. A pleasant change to the black sands that characterise much of the rest of this distinctively volcanic island, and softer too on the feet, you'll apprecicate this decision as you stroll the white sands!