Among Spain’s high-rise hotels and tourist hotspots are a host of untouched seaside havens. We’ve lined up 10 of the best alternatives to mass tourism, from boutique hotels and quiet seaside towns on Spain’s south coast, to colorful fishing villages on northern Spain’s rugged, less visited coastline.
Though it’s a busy seaside town, beautiful Llafranc has thankfully evaded the worst of mass tourism and remains a traditional, laid-back spot on the Costa Brava. A golden, sandy beach is lapped gently by the beautiful blue waters of the Mediterranean and flanked by a pretty promenade and a town square that is home to restaurants serving some great local food.
Nestled between the Serra de Tramuntana mountains and the Mediterranean Sea, Sa Pedrissa is a romantic retreat on Mallorca’s northwest coast. Located in a beautifully renovated 17th-century house full of rustic charm, Sa Pedrissa has just nine rooms and is known for its stunning clifftop pool with panoramic sea and mountain views and lush gardens.
Known for the beautiful, brightly colored casas colgadas (hanging houses) that dot the steep hills winding up from its natural harbor, Cudillero is one of the most photographed coastal towns in northern Spain’s Asturias region. A walk through Cudillero’s pretty, winding streets brings visitors to landmarks such as the 13th-century Romanesque church Capilla del Humilladero, while Cudillero’s lighthouse, located on a rocky peninsula just outside the village, offers stunning views of Asturias’ dramatic coastline.
Located between Marbella and Sotogrande on southern Spain’s lovely Andalusian coast, Finca Cortesin is an award-winning luxury hotel, golf, and spa destination set on a huge 532-acre estate. The 67-suite hotel is surrounded by lush gardens, two swimming pools, a spa featuring Turkish baths and saunas, and an 18-hole golf course. Traditional Spanish cuisine, Japanese dishes crafted from local produce, and Italian fare are served at its restaurants.
An age-old fishing village steeped in history, Tossa de Mar is a jewel on the Catalonian coast. You’ll find remnants of its rich history dotted around town, from Roman villas dating back to the first century to the beautiful Vila Vella, Tossa de Mar’s 13th-century walled old town. Vila Vella is bordered by two beautiful beaches: the busy Platja Gran and the picturesque cove of Platja d’es Codolar. Delightful restaurants await in town, serving traditional Catalan cuisine and local seafood.
Nestled in the cobbled streets of Getaria, Saiaz Getaria Hotela resides within a Gothic house dating back to the 15th century, which has been beautifully renovated in a style that pays homage to its medieval history while offering contemporary comforts. There are 17 rooms and guests can choose to stay in the hotel’s historic Gothic tower or opt for a sea-facing room with stunning views out over Getaria’s Gaztetape Beach and the Bay of Biscay.
Huddled around the mouth of the River Sella and set against the dramatic backdrop of Asturias’ Picos de Europa mountains, Ribadesella is a picturesque fishing town known for its culture, history, and gastronomy. Santa Marina, Ribadesella’s main beach, is a long, golden stretch of sand, flanked by rows of 19th-century Indiano mansions.
Located on Tenerife, the biggest of the Canary Islands, Gran Hotel Bahía del Duque Resort is an exclusive hotel and complex that first opened to guests in 1993 and has since become a benchmark of hotel luxury here. The beautiful Playa del Duque is a short walk from the main complex and hotel guests have exclusive access to beach huts and watersport facilities.
Formerly a sleepy fishing village, Nerja is now a bustling coastal town of 20,000 inhabitants and brims with beauty, history, and culture. But those looking for an atypical tourist experience won’t be disappointed: this jewel remains untouched by the mass tourism that has consumed much of the Costa del Sol and boasts unspoiled beaches and picturesque, historic old town quarters.
A laid-back retreat on the Costa Brava, Hostal Sa Rascassa is the perfect destination for tranquility and rural, coastal charm. Located under a canopy of pines, the intimate hotel features just five cozy rooms, ensuring guests a relaxed, quiet stay. Its onsite restaurant is hailed as one of the best in the area and serves traditional, local cuisine with a special focus on seafood.
Reachable only by boat, the beautiful Playa Blanca is a sheltered white sand beach surrounded by dense wild vegetation. Located 20 minutes away from Portobelo, it features some of the most colourful reefs between Colón and the San Blas archipelago and is a great place for both relaxing and snorkelling.