A seaside holiday in Spain, what do you think of? Perhaps beaches filled with sun loungers and 50,000 other people, backed by a soundtrack of thumping chart hits and the smell of frying bacon.
It’s true. The Spanish Costas have been package tour territory since the 1960s when the whole concept began and plenty of places are chock-a-block with high rises and British pubs.
But with a little effort there awaits a whole load of places where you can have the beach to yourself, the lager louts replaced by wildlife and the techno replaced by birdsong.
Here are a few to get you started…
Cabo de Gata
Covering 45,663 hectares in the south east of Spain, this is Andalucia’s largest protected coastal area. Here you will find some of Spain’s least crowded beaches, strung between crumbling cliffs and red and black volcanic hills. You can even walk all the way from Retamar to Agua Amarga on a sometimes nerve wracking coastal path.
Playa de Rodas, Las Islas Cres, Galicia
Accessible only by ferry, these isles were once favoured by Julias Ceasar. They have a warm microclimate, clear waters and soft white sand. Take the ferry from Vigo or Baiona.
Playa de las Catedrales, Ribadeo
When the tide retreats it reveals fantastic rock formations resembling cathedrals, hence the name. You could spend hours among the cliffs and coves here but just make sure you head back before the time comes in.
Aigua Blanca, Catalonia
Hidden away among steep cliffs this is quite a busy spot in July and August but blissfully quiet compared to other places along this stretch of coast. There are also a few delightful seafood restaurants if you fancy a nibble.
Playa del Silencio, Asturias
Despite its outstanding beauty, the beach of silence is strangely deserted even at the peak of summer. Located near the fishing village of Cudillero, just north west of Oviedo. It has magnificent views of the surrounding cliffs and the curve of the bay makes it pretty sheltered too. From the car park wander along a winding coastal path through pine forests.
Poo beach, Llares, Asturias
Don’t let the name mislead you, this fantastically clean, sheltered cove is pretty much perfect, with magnificent mountains as a backdrop. It has road access from the AS-263 and facilities nearby if you need them. The only thing lacking is people.
Zahara de los Atunes and Bolonia, Cadiz
The beaches are deserted but the fish restaurants are packed. This foodie haven has a huge white sand beach, a brilliant climate and just a few chiringuitos strung along the beach to grab a cool drink if you’re parched. Just down the road you have Bolonia with fantastic beach side Roman ruins and a huge sand dune to roll down after.