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.
About the place:Beach, Romantic
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.
Tossa de Mar
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.
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.
About the place:Modern, Stylish
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.