We all want something different from a beach. Whether you prefer facilities, peace, privacy or entertainment here are a few Spanish beaches which come highly recommended.
.... to go with children
Look for beaches with fine sand, without stones or pebbles and with wooden walkways to the shore because these are easier to walk on. The best beaches for children are those which have shallow water and only very small waves. In addition, access should be easy and comfortable for buggies and it should have good facilities: foot washers, showers, easily visible danger signs, assistance points, play areas and shady places. If children are small, it is important to check out nearby toilet and changing facilities. To keep them amused, choose beaches with activity centres and supervised courses for windsurfing, swimming or fishing.
La Costilla y El Rompidillo on the Costa Ballena (Cádiz)
Situated between Rota and Chipiona, there are seven kilometres of fine sandy beaches, which are not dangerous and which have all sorts of facilities. The children can be kept amused for hours watching the corrals, small stone walls in the sea where fish, shrimps and crayfish are trapped at low tide.
....in the city
Do you prefer not to lose sight of civilization while you swim? Then city beaches are for you. The best thing is that you don't have to go far to find them - they are separated from the shops and offices by a promenade, from which you can access the sand by means of ramps and steps.
La Concha in San Sebastián (Guipúzcoa).
Queen María Cristina elevated it to the status of "the" place to spend summer, at the end of the nineteenth century and, from that time, it has kept its charm. Framed by its two mountains, Igueldo and Urgull, the beautiful beach is bordered by superb decorative walkway. In the centre of the bay is Stanta Clara Island and lighthouse, which can be reached by ferry in the summer.
If when it gets hot, you find clothes are too much, you'll surely enjoy naturism, which consists, among other things, of living the beach experience in your birthday suit or "how your mother brought you into the world" as the Spanish put it. Well, you can wear a thong if you want. In Spain there are several hundred beaches with a nudist tradition which goes back to the 1960s, the majority with difficult access and unspoilt scenery. As well, there are those which must live with the "textiles" (as naturists call those who don't go nude) in separate zones, including certain remote caves in which there is a natural mixture of bathing costumes and exposed skin. You can also find areas of coast specifically for nudism; authentic naturist centres, equipped with all types of set up (hotels, supermarkets, swimming pools) for those who go around completely naked.
Cala Fonda, in Altafulla (Tarragona).
Also known as Waikiki Beach, it is situated in the middle of a leafy pine grove and sheltered by a vertical cliff which makes access difficult. Precisely because of the complications of getting here (it is necessary to walk more than a kilometre through woods), it has become a complete nudist paradise. There are more than 200 metres of fine sand with clear water and absolutely nothing else.
...for friends of the wild and the natural
The more difficult the paths are to negotiate, the more possibilities you have to have the beach to yourself. These coastal spots well deserve a hike of several hours, but to be remote from civilization as well implies a total absence of infrastructure, so don't forget to carry a good supply of water with you and whatever you need to give you some shade. The locals know the best places and how to get to them, so use your charm to get the information from them.
Los Genoveses, in San José (Almería).
Positioned in the heart of the Parque Natural del Cabo de Gata, you get there by a small earth road, signposted from the town of San José. The small bay of Los Genoveses (so called because in its day, it was an anchorage for pirate ships) opens up to the left of the road and has an improvised parking area. It is a beach of dunes, surrounded by vegetation.