Spain’s best-kept seaside secrets to discover this year
Island of Arousa, Galicia
In the cove of Ria de Arousa in the Salnés area of the Rias Baixas, the small island is connected to the town of Vilanova de Arousa by a bridge, so it is easily accessible. The southern part is a nature reserve, with white sand beaches flanked by dunes and dense pine forests. You can walk or cycle all around the island, or spend the day diving, snorkeling or fishing. Ride a boat to see how oysters and mussels are farmed on thick ropes suspended from wooden rafts, and watch skilled women known as mariscadoras harvest clams from the sand at low tide. Then devour huge plates – with a nice bottle of Albariño of course.
Nearest airport: Santiago de Compostela
Base on: Parador de Cambados (parador.es/en/paradores/parador-de-cambados).
Cabo de Gata-Níjar, Andalusia
Among the most remote beaches in Spain are those bordering the only true desert in Europe, at the southeastern tip of the country. Ocher cliffs and sharp rocks define the landscapes of Cabo de Gata-Níjar National Park, but it’s the sands that attract those willing to brave the bumpy access road, including the directors of Lawrence of Arabia and Indiana Jones movies. Playa de los Genoveses, near the village of San José, is the most accessible, but head to Playa de Mónsul, separated by a large volcanic rock. If the wind is not blowing, it offers excellent swimming in shallow seas. Explorers will discover several small coves hidden under the cliffs.
Nearest airport: Almeria
Base on: Barcelo Cabo de Gata (barcelo.com).