Spain is well known for its sun, sea and sand. But beyond the Costa del Sol, there are lesser-known beach towns just waiting to be uncovered. From a surfer’s paradise near San Sebastián to the historic town of Cadaqués near Barcelona, we’ve chosen the most beautiful seaside resorts for a beach holiday away from the crowds – and we’ve recommended the places to stay, bookable with Culture Trip.
Among Spain’s high-rise hotels and tourist hotspots are a host of untouched seaside havens. We’ve lined up the best resorts by the sea, including boutique hotels and quiet coastal towns on the south coast and colourful fishing villages on northern Spain’s rugged shores.
Hotel Maria Cristina, a Luxury Collection Hotel
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Courtesy of Hotel Maria Cristina, a Luxury Collection Hotel / Expedia
Turn-of-the-century grandeur meets Hollywood glitz in San Sebastián, one of Spain’s most glamorous seaside resorts. Channel old-school luxury at the Hotel Maria Cristina, welcoming guests since 1912. Rooms and suites feel palatial with contemporary touches, such as feather duvets and luxury bath products. The hotel bar has a regal atmosphere, while the restaurant, Café Saigon, harks back to Southeast Asia with a pan-Asian menu. The Hotel Maria Cristina is also just a short walk to La Concha beach.
Just 20 minutes outside San Sebastián, in the Basque countryside, the Arima Hotel offers a tranquil stay. Panoramic windows highlight the natural landscape, while the rooftop pool makes you feel like you’re practically swimming among the treetops. The purpose-built hotel also boasts some seriously impressive green credentials. It’s heated geothermally and has water reuse systems in place, and there are also electric charging points for cars and bike hire.
Any seaside resort worth its salt knows the importance of a warm welcome. The Zenit, set right in the centre of town, is an inviting base to stay as you explore San Sebastián. Contemporary guest rooms are comfortable with all the modern conveniences, while the hotel restaurant highlights local produce on its seasonal menu – think freshly caught calamari with spring greens. The jewel in the crown is the rooftop pool and solarium, an ideal place to soak up the Spanish sun.
On an unspoilt stretch of the Andalucian coast, the Hotel Mazagonia holds a privileged position, just a stone’s throw from the beaches of Mazagón. A fantastic budget-friendly option, it offers light-filled rooms that are simple and reasonably priced. Hire a bike from the hotel to explore the nearby Doñana National Park. When you get back, you can flop by the rooftop pool and admire the sea views.
Parador de Mazagón is a resort-style hotel with a distinctly Andalucian twist. The restaurant menu reflects the hotel’s position between land and sea – prawns and scallops are served alongside Iberian ham and cured meats. The pools and wellness centre are the perfect places to cool off and get some exercise, while the virgin beaches of Costa de la Luz are just a short walk from the hotel.
A small fishing village on the banks of the Odiel River, Punta Umbría is an unassuming seaside resort with pristine beaches often named among the best in Spain. The Barceló Punta Umbría Beach Resort is a family-friendly property packed with a kids’ club, multiple pools and restaurants, and a spa. Interconnected rooms and an all-inclusive package option make this an excellent choice for a stress-free escape.
This 18th-century family farmhouse has been transformed into a charming boutique bolthole in the historic centre of Cadaqués, a whitewashed fishing village on the Catalan coast where Salvador Dali once lived. The adults-only Hotel Horta d’en Rahola houses rooms decorated in Mediterranean blue and white, and each one comes with town views. Take advantage of the outdoor pool surrounded by a pretty garden.
This hotel brings barefoot chic to the heart of Cadaqués. Understated luxury reigns among the 14 rooms, decorated with soothing tones, exposed brick walls and quirky furnishings. Couples should book the Suite Gala with its large bathtub and balcony. Explore the town and the nearby Cap de Creus National Park on two wheels, thanks to the hotel’s complimentary bike hire. Too hot? Tuck into cold slices of watermelon by the outdoor pool.
The privileged hillside setting of Hotel Rec de Palau is the best vantage point to soak in views of Cadaqués and its dramatic coastline. Expansive gardens filled with olive trees, grapevines and outdoor pools give the hotel a secluded, tranquil feel. Opt for a private bungalow built in the typical whitewashed style of the area. Each one comes with a barbecue and a walled garden shaded by olive trees. The nearest beach is just a four-minute walk away.
On the eastern edge of the Asturian coast is the unpretentious seaside town of Ribadesella. It’s near the Picos de Europa National Park, making it a great location for those who like their beach holidays with a side of adventure. After a day hiking or cycling in the “peaks of Europe”, there’s no better place to rest up than the Hotel La Piconera and Spa. Recuperate in the wellness centre, then replenish at the hotel restaurant – a stunning terrace setting serving local Asturian produce.
The Hotel Don Pepe knows what visitors want from a seaside resort – sea, sea and more sea. This beachfront hotel in Ribadesella has unbeatable views of the Cantabrian coast, and perks include 24-hour room service. Treat yourself to a sea-view room with a balcony. Afterwards, spend the day exploring the sandy beaches of Asturias or the Palaeolithic caves that dot the nearby landscape.
The Cantabrian coast is – to those in the know – one of the best places to surf in Spain. The Hotel Villa Rosario II near Ribadesella is a surfer’s dream, complete with direct beach access. The contemporary guest rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows, perfect for checking the surf before you’ve even left your room. Rituals bath products and fluffy robes add a luxurious touch. The pet-friendly policy means you can also bring your furry friends along for the ride.
On the northernmost tip of Fuerteventura – sandwiched between volcanoes and the sea – is the coastal resort of Corralejo, home to the adults-only Hotel Boutique La Marquesina. This bright, almost playful hotel is decked out with candles, fresh flowers and nautical touches. Start your day with a dip in the rooftop pool, then catch the boat to the Isla de Lobos, a now uninhabited island that has been transformed into a nature reserve.
If you prefer your seaside getaways with a serious dollop of luxury, the Gran Hotel Bahía Real (Ex Atlantis) in Corralejo is the place for you. Opulent interiors give way to uninterrupted views of the Isla de Lobos across the sea. Little ones will be delighted with the kids’ club and water sports on offer, while parents can choose to spend a day in the spa or relax at the Coco Bahía lounge. The hotel can also arrange excursions further afield, such as mountain bike trips or jeep hire to explore the island.
This all-suite hotel in Corralejo is ideal for families looking for an activity-filled holiday by the sea. The Alua Suites Fuerteventura (formerly the Suite Hotel Atlantis Fuerteventura Resort) is set in lush, tropical gardens, with all rooms having a garden or pool view. The hotel boasts a plush wellness area, a kids’ club and five different restaurants. If you fancy something a bit more adrenaline-fuelled, the beach next to the hotel offers kitesurfing and windsurfing.