The Best Beaches in Southern Spain
The southern coast of Spain is filled with amazing beaches and if you don’t know the area well, it can be hard to choose the right one. It is also an extremely popular tourist destination so you have to find a good balance of “secluded-ness”, amenities and proximity to civilization, and since this is Wine Tourism Spain, proximity to amazing wine.
If you want to check out our list of the top beaches in Northern Spain, check it out here.
And if you are interested in the tours we offer in the South of Spain, check them out here:
This being said, let’s get into it:
La Barrosa, Chiclana de la Frontera, Cádiz
La Barrosa is always in the conversation for the best Beach in Spain. It has a lot of things going for it: beautiful sand and scenery, very close to Cadiz which is gorgeous and filled with great food and wine, very close as well to Jerez (the sherry capital of the world) and plenty of beachside chiringuitos (bars on the beach).
You can easily enjoy the beach, visit Cádiz, visit a sherry winery and have tapas for dinner in the port of Santa Maria in one day. Not bad.
Nerja, Costa del Sol, Andalusia
Nerja is a great alternative to the expensive and overcrowded beaches of the uber-popular Costa del Sol. The Costa del Sol is a very popular tourist destination and it can get quite crowded and lodging can get rather expensive. However, Nerja is a great option to find a more secluded and lest expensive alternative, without sacrificing charm and beauty. The town is a typical small white coastal town and the beach is pristine.
Playa del Cristo, Málaga
Playa del Cristo is located in a small cove just west of Estepona. It is a great beach to go and relax and enjoy the sun the sand and the warm waters of the Mediterranean. There are several bars on the beach and plenty of space to lay back and relax.
When you are all done relaxing Estepona is a nice typical town in southern Spain with white houses all around and great food.
La Playa de Cristo is also within the Málaga wine region, so there should be no shortage of good wine and sherry.
Playa Zahara de Los Atunes, Cádiz
The one problem with this beach is that it’s a well-known oasis, so it can get crowded in high season, but by no means is it one of the more crowded beaches in the south of Spain. The beach is quite large so there is no problem to find a peaceful bit of Sand, even at its busiest. There are plenty of water sports you can enjoy including sailing, bodyboarding, and windsurfing.
There's a good number of restaurants and bars in the surrounding area and it's just an hour's drive away from Cadiz and a bit further From Jerez.
Playa de Bolonia, Cádiz
Also in Cádiz is Bolonia beach. It is not as well-known as other beaches in the area but this also means that it has been kept more or less pristine and feels hidden away and secluded. It’s so pristine in fact that there is a local heard of cattle that often make their way down to the sand to chill with the rest of the beachgoers. The beach is stunning with white sand and crystal-clear water, and, not even 5 minutes inland on foot, you will find an ancient Roman village. It's like something out of a dream.
If to this you add the great food you can find in the surrounding bars and restaurants, its proximity to Cádiz and Jerez and the relatively inexpensive lodging, you have a winner.
Tarifa, Cádiz, Andalusia
Before we get into it, Tarifa can get very windy so if you just want to lay in the sun, this might not be the place for you. Once we have gotten that out of the way it’s a top destination for water sports lovers, in particular, windsurfers. The town has great food and nightlife and you can enjoy activities like whale watching, fishing trips, etc. Plus Tarifa is only 1 hour down the coast from Cádiz and 1 hour and a half from Jerez.
Sherry in Jerez, tapas in Cadiz and surfing on an idyllic beach? Sound like a good time to me.
Playa de Los Muertos, Almería
Another hidden gem of the southern coast of Spain. If you were taken there blindfolded, you would think you had been dropped off in the Caribbean. The serene beach is surrounded by dramatic jagged scenery which makes the place all the more special. It’s a bit of a trek to get to the actual beach but it's worth the effort. Just make sure not to forget anything in your car.
The beach is just an hour away from Almeria which is a good place to go explore and have something to eat. It’s also 2 hours away from Granada if you feel up to the drive.
Playa El Palmar, Cádiz
El Palmar is one of the least crowded beaches on this list but it has a good amount of amenities and things to do. The beach itself is almost 5 km long so you will have plenty of real estate to choose from on which to set your towel down for the day.
There are a bunch of good places to find fresh seafood right on the beach and you can also find activities like windsurfing to enjoy if you want to do something other than chill and eat. In the evening the beach side bars have music and dancing if you want to enjoy the local nightlife.
It’s also just a 40-minute drive from Cadiz and Jerez.
Platja d'Illetes, Formentera, Baleares Islands
This is one a bit of a cheat. The Baleares Islands in the southern half of Spain, but they aren’t obviously part of the southern coast. But this place is so spectacular we will make an exception.
The Baleares Islands are well known as a summer destination. Mallorca, Menorca and especially Ibiza are prime summer vacation destinations, however, the lesser-known Formentera, perhaps because of its “undiscovered” status, has the better beaches. If you have never been or you have never seen images of the Beaches of the Baleares islands, you are missing out. The one drawback they have is the tourist. In Formentera, you avoid the crowds and get the amazing beaches to yourself if you are willing to catch the ferry from Ibiza.
Hopefully, this article has helped you find the beach for you and to plan your vacation in the south of Spain. If you want any help planning your tip, let us know.