18 best Spanish coastal towns & cities to visit

Little touristic town Nerja in Costa del Sol,

Spain’s coastline is home to some of the most picturesque and charming towns in Europe. From the rugged cliffs of the north to the sandy beaches of the south, I’m always impressed by the number of stunning Spanish coastal towns that are worth a visit. 

Sample the famous pintxos in Basque Country’s San Sebastian, experience true Andalusian culture in Málaga’s historic centre or party the night away in Ibiza Town – the choice is yours.

Art lovers are in for a treat, with Spanish beach towns like Cadaques celebrating artists such as Salvador Dalí and Pablo Picasso.

I love that the beach towns in Spain offer a unique way to experience Spanish tradition, each with their own quirks.

In this article, I’ve brought together some of the best beach towns in Spain to add to your travel itinerary, based on my own personal favourites as well as recommendations from fellow seasoned travellers.

Author Bio: Jessie Moore

Jessie Moore is a luxury travel expert with years of experience travelling the world to find the best destinations, hotels and adventures.

1. Cadaqués

Best for: Salvador Dalí fans

Nearest airport: Girona (1 hour)

Where to stay: 

Cadaqués is a charming Spanish coastal town located in the province of Girona in Catalonia. It’s perched on a rocky peninsula, surrounded by white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters speckled with boats. 

With its idyllic Mediterranean charm, Cadaqués has long been a haven for artists and creatives. It’s widely known as the place where Salvador Dalí spent most of his summers, and I can see why he was so inspired by this picturesque town.

As you wander through the winding mediaeval streets, you’ll find stunning homes painted in shades of white and pastel, with vibrant vines and flowers cascading down the facades.

I love that the whitewashed town centre is reminiscent of those iconic Greek Islands, but with a more tranquil, laid-back vibe.

Experience the rich history, take in the breathtaking views and indulge in freshly-caught seafood. In fact, the town is well known for its delicious seafood and local wines. All in all, I think Cadaqués is a real gem on the Spanish coast. 

Cadaqués Spanish coastal town

Top three things to do in Cadaqués

1. Visit the Casa-Museu Dalí

This museum was once the home of Salvador Dalí and his wife, Gala. It’s now a museum that showcases some of his most famous works, including sculptures, paintings, and drawings.

Visitors can explore the rooms where Dalí lived and worked and get a glimpse into his creative process.

2. Go for a swim at one of the beaches

Cadaqués has several beaches, each with its own unique charm. Playa de Cadaqués is the most popular beach and is located in the heart of the town. It’s a great spot for swimming and sunbathing.

For a more secluded option, I’d recommend heading to Cala Jugadora, a small cove that’s only accessible by foot.

3. Take a stroll around the town

Cadaqués is a beautiful town with narrow streets and white-washed buildings. I’d advise simply taking a leisurely walk around the town and explore the local shops and restaurants.

Stop by the Church of Santa Maria and the lighthouse for some gorgeous views of the town and the sea.

Good to know: Cadaqués is not that easily reachable but is a popular day trip from Barcelona. There are no direct trains but it takes about two hours by road, and there are a number of guided tours which include getting to and from this Spanish coastal town:

2. Sitges

Best for: LGBTQ+ acceptance

Nearest airport: Barcelona–El Prat (24 minutes)

Where to stay: 

Sitges is a charming Spanish coastal town located just 35 kilometres southwest of bustling Barcelona.

It has become a firm favourite for both locals and tourists, and I’d recommend visiting for its beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, and rich cultural heritage.

Flying the Pride flag high, Sitges is known for being LGBTQ+ friendly, with a prominent LGBTQ+ community. Hailed for their inclusive attitudes and welcoming nature, in my opinion the people of the city only increase its charm.

This Catalonian haven on the Mediterranean Sea combines the buzz of the city with the peace of a seaside town. From lounging and soaking up the sunshine on one of the many sandy beaches to dancing the night away in one of the chic bars, I think Sitges encapsulates the essence of Spanish tourism. 

Sitges coastal town in Spain

Top three things to do in Sitges

1. Visit the beaches

Sitges is home to more than a dozen white sand beaches, each with its own unique character and charm.

Some of the most popular beaches include Platja de la Ribera, Platja de la Fragata, and Platja de Sant Sebastià.

You can enjoy a dip in the sea, top up your tan, or for the adrenaline junkies, take part in various water sports while visiting.

Top activity to book: Guided 3-Hour Kayak Tour between Sitges and Vilanova i la Geltrú.

2. Explore the old town

The historic centre of Sitges is a maze of narrow streets lined with white stone houses, quaint squares, and brightly coloured buildings.

I’d suggest taking the time to wander through the streets of the old town, browsing the trinkets and ornaments in the independent shops, and sampling the tempting local cuisine in the inviting cafés.

Top activity to book: Self-Guided Audio Tour of Sitges.

3. Attend a festival

Lively festivals and cultural events bring the Spanish flavour to Sitges. One of the most famous festivals is the Sitges Carnival – an eclectic celebration that exudes flamboyance and exuberance.

This takes place in February and sees hoards of visitors flooding to the Spanish coastal town.  

Top activities to book in Sitges:

Good to know: Sitges is also home to several museums and art galleries, including the Cau Ferrat Museum, which proudly showcases the work of Modernist artist Santiago Rusiñol.

3. Málaga

Best for: Andalusian culture

Nearest airport: Málaga-Costa del Sol (14 minutes)

Where to stay: 

One of the most popular Spanish coastal cities, Málaga offers visitors a perfect blend of bold cosmopolitan energy and historical charm. The beaches here are iconic, with people flocking from near and far to get their hit of Andalusian sun.

While there’s history and culture to spare, I simply cannot talk about Málaga without mentioning the nightlife! Energy fills the air at night, with chic bars welcoming you with open arms.

Culinary excellence is on the menu here, as tapas bars fill the city with enticing aromas of traditional Spanish cooking. You simply won’t be able to resist.

Malaga coastal city

Top three things to do in Málaga

1. Visit the Alcazaba of Málaga 

A stunning example of Moorish architecture, the Alcazaba of Málaga is truly a must-see. As you look out across the Mediterranean sea, embrace the history and significance of the fortress.

To really get an insight into the strategic importance of the fortress, I’d recommend booking a guided tour with a knowledgeable local guide

2. Relax on the beaches

No trip to the Spanish coastal town of Málaga would be complete without relaxing and unwinding at some of the most beautiful beaches in Andalusian Spain.

I’d advise heading to Playa de la Malagueta, a popular beach that is easily accessible from the city centre.

3. Explore the historic centre

Málaga’s historic centre is where several star attractions in the city lie. The Cathedral, Picasso Museum and Roman Theatre are all within just a few minutes walk of one another.

But if you do need a refreshment along the way, there are plenty of cafés and tapas bars to visit

Top activities to book in Málaga:

Good to know: Málaga is also known for its delicious cuisine, including fresh seafood and traditional dishes like gazpacho and paella.

You can enjoy the local cuisine at one of the many restaurants in the city, and might even be lucky enough to catch a Flamenco show while you dine.

4. San Sebastián

Best for: Stunning mountain views

Nearest airport: San Sebastián (24 minutes)

Where to stay: 

San Sebastián, sometimes known as Donostia-San Sebastián, is another of my favourite Spanish coastal towns in the north of the country

Located on the Bay of Biscay and overlooking azure waters, San Sebastián is part of Spain’s Basque autonomous community.

Framed by golden sand beaches and soaring mountain peaks, I love that this city offers something for everyone to enjoy.

Whether you prefer the nightlife to the history or would rather sample the famous pintxos (Basque tapas) in one of the many bars and restaurants, I’m sure San Sebastián will become a firm favourite in no time.

Summer in San Sebastian Donostia, Spain

Top three things to do in San Sebastián

1. Take a trip to La Concha beach

San Sebastián is undeniably one of the best beach towns in Spain, namely because of the iconic crescent-shaped beach, La Concha.

With crystal-clear waters to admire from the promenade and exhilarating water sports such as surfing and kayaking to enjoy, I think San Sebastián is a quintessential Spanish beach.

2. Visit the old town (La Parte Vieja)

The history is part of the charm with San Sebastián – and you don’t have to look far to see it. Right at the heart of the old town lies the Plaza de la Constitución (Konstituzio Plaza), a former bullring that now hosts the Tamborrada drum festival.

Sampling the famous Basque tapas is a non-negotiable, and you’ll find many pintxos bars dotted about the old town. 

3. Go hiking at Monte Urgull

Rising to 123 metres above sea level, Monte Urgull is located in the heart of the Basque city’s old town. Even if you aren’t much of a hiker, trust me when I say that the striking panoramic views of the city and the bay make the effort worthwhile.

Explore the castle (Motako Gaztelua) and get a feel for the history of this Basque community. 

Top activities to book in San Sebastián:

Good to know: San Sebastián is simply a foodie’s paradise! If, like me, you love fine dining, there are several Michelin-starred restaurants and traditional Basque taverns serving up delectable dishes.

Make sure you save time to try the local delicacies, including pintxos, bacalao al pil-pil, and txakoli wine.

5. Barcelona

Best for: Culture to spare

Nearest airport: Barcelona–El Prat (21 minutes)

Where to stay: 

Spirited and vibrant, the streets of Barcelona exude tradition and culture – without compromising on style. This is hands down my favourite city to visit in Spain!

The Catalonian capital boasts an incredible nightlife scene that complements the electric atmosphere when the traditional festivals come to town.

Where culinary excellence meets traditional Spanish cuisine, the Michelin-starred restaurants in Barcelona are a reason to visit in themselves.

Add in a luxury hotel where you can relax after a day of exploring the bustling city and I think you’re in for a trip of a lifetime.   


Top three things to do in Barcelona

1. Visit the Sagrada Familia

This iconic unfinished church is largely regarded as Antoni Gaudí’s best-known work, and has become one of the top attractions to visit in Barcelona.

In fact, the Crypt of the Sagrada Familia is actually a UNESCO world heritage site. Expect crowds, but it’s definitely worth seeing!

Book a Sagrada Familia Entry Ticket with Audio Guide

2. Explore the Gothic Quarter

Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter showcases the very best of mediaeval and Gothic architecture.

Seamlessly blending the cosmopolitan energy of the city with an undeniable old-world charm, the Gothic Quarter is home to many boutique tapas bars and local independent shops.

3. Soak up some sun on the beach

A beautiful Spanish coastal town with a Catalonian flare, Barcelona has three wonderfully golden miles of coastline.

You have several options when it comes to Barcelona beaches, from tranquil relaxation spots to lively spaces with water sports on offer.

Personally, I love Barceloneta Beach, as it’s really in the heart of things. Whichever you choose, you’ll glimpse teal waters and feel the embrace of the Spanish sunshine. 

Top Barcelona tours to book:

Good to know: Barcelona is also known for its plethora of world-class museums, such as the Picasso Museum which houses an extensive collection of the artist’s work. Other museums that I’d recommend visiting include the Joan Miro Foundation and the Moco Museum.  

Read my guide to choosing between Barcelona and Seville.

6. Cádiz

Best for: Atlantic views

Nearest airport: Jerez (28 minutes)

Where to stay: 

One of southwestern Spain’s most charming coastal towns, Cádiz welcomes visitors from near and far. The town is my favourite day trip from Seville, after tourists have exhausted the top attractions there.

Visiting the Spanish beach town from Seville means you can experience the history and culture, while returning back to your luxury hotel in Seville in the evening. 

Known for its port and historic roots, the city exudes both culture and local pride. From wandering the narrow streets and picturesque squares to perching on a sun lounger, I think Cádiz offers a wonderful insight into Andalusian culture, without the hordes of tourists. 

Panorama of Cadiz, Spain

Top three things to do in Cádiz

1. Explore the historic centre

Cádiz’s charm lies in its quintessentially Andalusian historic centre. Staggering architecture meets local pride as family-owned tapas bars line the cobblestone streets.

If you’re seeking less touristy beach towns in Spain, I’d recommend Cádiz as a great choice. 

2. Lounge on the beach

Away from the cobblestone streets and ancient city walls, you’ll find a host of idyllic beaches along the Atlantic coast.

From windsurfing for the adrenaline junkies to golden sands for the sun seekers, the beaches in Cádiz won’t disappoint. 

Discover more of the best beaches near Seville.

3. Visit the Torre Tavira

The Torre Tavira is a historic tower that was once the highest in Cádiz, offering stunning views of the city and landscape.

Tourists travelling from nearby cities flock to this landmark to take in the breathtaking panoramic views and look out across the Atlantic Ocean – and I can see why.

Top Cádiz tours to book:

Good to know: While Cádiz is quieter than other Spanish coastal towns, its charm and history more than makes up for it. 

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7. Ribadesella

Best for: Immense history

Nearest airport: Seve Ballesteros-Santander (1 hour 8 minutes)

Where to stay: 

On Spain’s northern coastline – sometimes named the Jurassic coast for its intriguing fossil finds – lies Ribadesella. In my opinion, it’s one of the most picturesque Spanish coastal towns, and is located in the Asturias region of Spain. 

Known for its beautiful beaches, stunning coastline of low-lying cliffs and rich cultural heritage, Ribadesella is certainly worth a visit.

Follow in the footsteps of the dinosaurs, embrace immense heritage, and rest and recuperate at the serene beaches at this often underrated coastal town in Spain.

Aerial view of Ribadesella

Top three things to do in Ribadesella:

1. Visit the Tito Bustillo Cave

The Tito Bustillo Cave is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site (Cave of Altamira and Paleolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain) and is home to some of the most impressive prehistoric cave art in the world.

Visit the cave, marvel at the magnificent examples of Upper Palaeolithic art and connect with the humans who inhabited the cave before the year 10,000 BC through their artwork.

2. Explore the pretty beaches

If you’re looking for the less touristy beach towns in Spain, I’d recommend Ribadesella as a solid choice.

With some of the most beautiful beaches in northern Spain, the town combines the prehistoric and mediaeval with the boutique and modernist.

The Playa de Santa Marina is by far the most popular beach in the area and is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and surfing. 

3. Walk along the coastal path

The coastal path is a scenic walking trail that runs along the striking coastline of Ribadesella. Offering beautiful views of the sea and staggering cliffs, this is a great way to explore the area, following in the footsteps of the dinosaurs.

I’d also recommend taking a boat trip along the coast to see the town from a unique perspective.

Good to know: Adrenaline junkies will love the opportunity to go canyoning in the Asturias area. Prepare for an unforgettable adventure complete with incredible views of the Spanish northern coastline.

8. Ibiza Town (Eivissa)

Best for: Unbeatable party atmosphere

Nearest airport: Ibiza (22 minutes)

Where to stay: 

Vibrant with an eclectic mix of people, Ibiza Town is one of the most intriguing Spanish coastal towns to visit. As the capital of the Balearic island of Ibiza, the town is not on mainland Spain – but don’t let that deter you from visiting!

Located on the southeastern coast of Spain, Ibiza Town is a lively place with an allure that draws visitors from all over the globe.

While I appreciate that it’s typically known for its world-class nightlife, don’t forget about the incredible architecture and scenic beaches. 

Eivissa - the capital of Ibiza, Spain

Top three things to do in Ibiza Town:

1. Lounge on the beautiful beaches

The beautiful beaches of Ibiza bring hordes of visitors each year, eager to appreciate the crystal-clear waters and white sands along the shore.

Whether you prefer to relax and sunbathe or get active in the sea with some watersports, the Ibiza beaches won’t disappoint.

Book a beach hopping cruise complete with paddleboarding, food and drinks.

2. Explore the old town

Ibiza’s charming old town is a recognised UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for its stunning architecture and immense historical significance.

Here, you’ll find many striking buildings and significant landmarks. These include the Ibiza Cathedral and the Castle of Ibiza which offer unparalleled views, and the archaeological site of Necropolis del Puig des Molins. 

I’d recommend booking an Ibiza Town private sightseeing tour by bike to experience the town on two wheels.

3. Party the night away

Dance to the tune of some of the world’s top DJs who have taken up residence in sunny Ibiza. Vibrant, lively, and vivacious, the nightlife scene in this Spanish beach town is truly second to none.

You’ll find everything here from booming beach parties to exclusive nightclub events with celebrity guests.

Top activities to book in Ibiza:

Good to know: Ibiza Town isn’t solely about partying: even with its impressive nightlife, visitors flock to the UNESCO appointed World Heritage Site of the old town. I’d advise sparing a day or two to soak up the history and culture of Ibiza. 

9. Nerja

Best for: Panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea

Nearest airport: Málaga-Costa del Sol (49 minutes)

Where to stay: 

A Spanish coastal town of choice for families, couples, and solo travellers alike, Nerja’s laid-back atmosphere appeals to visitors craving a relaxing Andalusian holiday.

However, this doesn’t mean the town is devoid of nightlife! You’ll find many boutique bars playing live music and serving up a cocktail or two. 

Rich in history and with culture to spare, I love that Nerja has something for every taste. Take the time to explore the mouth-watering local cuisine for a window into authentic Spanish life. 

Little touristic town Nerja in Costa del Sol,

Top three things to do in Nerja

1. Visit the Balcony of Europe

The Balcony of Europe (Balcón de Europa) is undoubtedly one of the most famous attractions in Nerja.

A beautiful viewpoint offering unparalleled panoramic views of the water and the surrounding mountains, the spot is especially magical at sunset.  

2. Explore the caves of Nerja

The caves of Nerja (Fundación Cueva de Nerja) are a natural wonder and a must-visit attraction located in Maro, close to the town of Nerja.

The caves are home to a plethora of Upper Paleolithic cave paintings and offer a truly unique experience for visitors.

Time it right and you can catch a once-in-a-lifetime concert inside the caves’ natural auditorium. 

3. Take some ‘me time’ on the Beach

I don’t think any visit to one of the best beach towns in Spain would be complete without a day soaking up some sun and marvelling at the crystal-clear Mediterranean sea.

Burriana Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Nerja where adrenaline junkies can enjoy exhilarating water sports. While less adventurous visitors can enjoy a dip in the sea.

Good to know: Water sports are popular in Nerja, with many tourists and locals alike forgoing the sunbathing for something a little more daring in this Spanish coastal town.

I’d advise trying your hand at sea kayaking, paddle surfing and snorkelling in Nerja for a thrill. 

10. Estepona

Best for: Nature lovers

Nearest airport: Gibraltar (40 minutes)

Where to stay: 

Estepona is a charming Spanish coastal town situated on the famous Costa del Sol – known around the world for its beautiful beaches, sunny weather, and vibrant nightlife.

I think this beach town in Spain is a perfect destination for those looking for a relaxing and peaceful holiday, away from the hustle and bustle of the big city.

Foodies, I’ve got you! Estepona is also well-known for its excellent cuisine, with many restaurants serving up mouth-watering fresh seafood and traditional Andalusian dishes.

The town has a lively marina, Puerto Deportivo de Estepona, where you can enjoy the thrill of water sports activities.

Here you’ll also find various bars and restaurants with stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea.


Top three things to do in Estepona

1. Visit the old town

Estepona’s charming old town is filled with quaint streets lined with white-washed houses and vibrantly coloured flower pots.

The town’s main square, Plaza de las Flores, is a wonderful spot to sit back and relax with a cup of coffee – or a glass of wine – while enjoying the age-old art of people-watching.

2. Take a dip in the sea

Estepona is gifted with a gorgeously long coastline with some of the best beaches in the Andalusian region.

I’d recommend stopping by Playa del Cristo – it’s a romantic and secluded cove with calm waters, perfect for swimming and sunbathing alike.

Whereas Playa de la Rada is a more lively beach where you’ll find plenty of bars for top ups, restaurants, and water sports activities for your adrenaline fix.

3. Visit the Orchid House

The Orchid House (El Orquidario de Estepona) is a unique and beautiful botanical garden dedicated to orchids.

The unmissable glass domes house more than 1,300 species of orchids from around the globe, as well as other vibrant tropical plants and flowers.

This is simply a must-visit Estepona attraction for nature lovers and gardening enthusiasts.

Top activities to book in Estepona:

Good to know: A short drive from Estepona is Selwo Aventura, a popular zoo with special conservation programs for endangered species. 

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11. Moraira

Best for: Secluded beaches

Nearest airport: Alicante (1 hour 7 minutes)

Where to stay: 

Located in the province of Alicante in the famous Costa Blanca region, Moraira is one of my favourite less touristy beach towns in Spain.

Here, you’ll find beautifully secluded beaches, a simply stunning coastline, and a laid-back atmosphere – making it the perfect destination for laid-back tourists.

If you’re on the hunt for a relaxing beach holiday with no shortage of culture and history to explore, I’d really recommend the Spanish coastal town of Moraira.

Beautiful El Portet Beach in Moraira

Top three things to do in Moraira

1. Snorkel at Playa del Portet

Playa del Portet is a small, secluded beach in Moraira with wonderfully calm waters, perfect for swimming and snorkelling.

Whereas Playa de l’Ampolla is the largest beach in Moraira, making it one of the most popular, Playa del Portet is noticeably less touristy and much more relaxing. 

2. Explore the Castle of Moraira

This one’s for the history buffs! Take a trip to the Castle of Moraira for an insight into how the 18th century fortification helped to protect the town from fierce pirate attacks.

Today, the castle site is a cultural centre hosting brilliant art exhibitions, concerts, and other events throughout the year.

3. Indulge in some local cuisine

Moraira is known across the region for its delicious local cuisine, which includes delectably fresh seafood, flavoursome paella, and appetising tapas.

There are many restaurants and bars across this Spanish beach town where you can sample the local dishes and enjoy a tipple or two while gazing out to sea.

Good to know: While one of the less touristy beach towns in Spain, during the peak summer season Moraira can still become busy. 

12. Marbella

Best for: True luxury

Nearest airport: Málaga-Costa del Sol (36 minutes)

Where to stay: 

For a true taste of luxury, Marbella is the Spanish beach town of choice. Located on the Costa del Sol, the luxurious resort town attracts visitors from all over the world seeking a glimpse of the high life. 

With boutique high-end shopping, fine dining and opulence at every corner, it’s no wonder why Marbella is such a popular tourist destination.

Away from the grandeur of Puerto Banus is the historic old town, where old-world charm meets an undeniable Spanish flare.

Aerial view of Marbella

Top three things to do in Marbella

1. Wander the old town

Stroll through the winding alleys of Marbella old town and discover hidden gems such as the Plaza de los Naranjos, a picturesque square lined with beautiful orange trees.

Don’t forget to sample the delicious local food in the many tapas restaurants and shop for unique handmade gifts at local boutiques.

I’d recommend booking a sightseeing walking tour to make the most of your time in this Spanish coastal town. 

2. Relax on the beach 

Undoubtedly the most popular beach in Marbella is the Playa de la Fontanilla, which boasts clear azure waters and soft, golden sand.

Soak up the Spanish sunshine and sip on a refreshing cocktail from one of the plethora of beachside bars. 

For a fun activity with unbeatable views, try stand-up paddle boarding at sunset.

3. Visit Puerto Banus

Puerto Banus is Marbella’s glitzy marina, home to some of the most lavish and luxurious yachts in the world – and there’s no shortage of sports cars either! Take to the water yourself with a sunset sail in Puerto Banús

You can take a stroll along the waterfront and soak up the glamorous atmosphere by indulging in some high-end shopping at the designer boutiques.

Why not try a guided bicycle tour to Puerto Banús to work up an appetite? Then take the time to refuel by enjoying a scrumptious meal at one of the many upscale restaurants. 

Top activities to book in Marbella:

Good to know: Because of its glamour and luxury, I warn you that Marbella is one of the more expensive Spanish coastal towns to visit.

13. Alicante

Best for: Street entertainment

Nearest airport: Alicante (18 minutes)

Where to stay: 

One of the most endearing Spanish beach towns, Alicante is a bustling city that offers tourists from near and far a taste of Spanish culture and heritage.

With popular beaches such as Playa del Postiguet, San Juan Beach, and Almadraba Beach nearby, you can escape the crowds and soak up some sun. 

I’d advise exploring the old town for delightful local cuisine and delving into Alicante’s archives with a trip to the impressive Santa Barbara Castle. 

Aerial view of Alicante

Top three things to do in Alicante

1. Visit Santa Barbara Castle 

The stunning Santa Barbara Castle (Castillo de Santa Bárbara) sits atop Mount Benacantil and offers picture-perfect panoramic views of the city and the Mediterranean Sea.

Here, you can learn about the castle’s rich history and explore various parts of the castle including the Renaissance Cistern, Watchtower and Weapons Courtyard.

I’d recommend booking wine tasting and tapas at Santa Bárbara Castle.

2. Stroll Along the Explanada de España 

One of the most iconic sights in Alicante, the Explanada de España is lined with palm trees as well as intricate and colourful mosaics.

Here, you can find an eclectic mix of street entertainers, artists and local food stalls. This wavy walkway is the perfect place to take a leisurely stroll while enjoying the fresh sea breeze.

3. Explore the old town 

Alicante’s old town (Barrio Santa Cruz) is awash with narrow streets and historic buildings to admire as you wander around.

Sat at the foot of the striking Santa Barbara Castle, you’ll find charming local boltholes serving up delicious food and drink, as well as a plethora of family-run businesses to support.

Top activities to book in Alicante:

Good to know: The food and drink scene in the Spanish coastal town of Alicante is an important part of the town’s culture. I’d recommend embracing the local cuisine with a food tour or wine tasting tour

14. Tenerife

Best for: UNESCO World Heritage sites

Nearest airport: Tenerife Norte Airport (1 hour 35 minutes) or Tenerife Sur Reina Sofia (1 hour 50 minutes)

Where to stay: 

Whilst not a Spanish coastal town on the mainland, the otherworldly landscapes and splendid beaches have made it impossible for me not to mention the small Spanish island of Tenerife. 

The island is simply a must-visit destination for anyone looking for a mix of extraordinary natural beauty and sleek modern amenities.

You’ll find epic beaches where you can soak up some vitamin D while sipping on a cocktail, enjoy an amazing nightlife scene, and discover rich cultural heritage and history.

Landscape with coastal village at Tenerife

Top three things to do in Tenerife 

1. Visit Teide National Park

Teide National Park is a proudly recognised UNESCO World Heritage site and home to the highest peak in Spain, volcano Mount Teide.

Here, you can take a handy cable car to the summit to enjoy the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape and wonderful variety of flora and fauna.

Top tours to book in Teide National Park:

2. Relax on Playa de las Américas

Located on the southwestern coast of Tenerife, Playa de las Américas is a popular beach resort known for its golden sands and brilliant blue waters.

Switch off and sunbathe or try your hand at some water sports like jet skiing and parasailing. Relaxing or adventuring, the many beach bars and restaurants can offer much-needed refreshments. 

3. Explore Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the island’s capital and vibrant cultural hub. The city is home to a variety of museums, galleries, and theatres for those wanting to soak up some culture, as well as a bustling shopping district.

You can explore the city’s historic old town, sample some tasty local cuisine at one of the many restaurants, or take in a show at the iconic Auditorio de Tenerife.

Top activities to book in Santa Cruz de Tenerife:

Good to know: Tenerife island is just a short ferry ride from La Palma island, where volcanic activity has drastically shaped the land.

Local guides offer day trips to the La Palma volcanic landscapes to witness the power of nature. 

15. Vigo

Best for: Family beach days

Nearest airport: Vigo (18 minutes)

Where to stay: 

Situated in the province of Pontevedra in Galicia, Vigo is a vibrant Spanish coastal town that seamlessly blends history, culture, and natural beauty.

With a bustling port and picturesque old town, I think Vigo is a must-visit destination for anyone exploring the Spanish coast.

Whether you’re hoping for a sunny beach holiday or an authentic Spanish trip, I love that Vigo has something to offer everyone – both young and old.

So, why not add this charming Spanish beach town to your European bucket list?

Vigo, Spain

Top three things to do in Vigo

1. Visit the Castro Fortress 

An impressive 17th-century fortress overlooking the city, the Castro Fortress was built during the Portuguese Restoration War for protection and is a must-visit attraction in Vigo.

You can walk through history and step back in time as you explore the fortress. Add in the unparalleled views of Vigo and its surrounding landscape, and you’ve got a memorable trip. 

2. Take a stroll in the old town

Vigo’s old town sits in a quaint neighbourhood that’s packed with historic buildings, impressive Spanish architecture and plenty of brilliant restaurants, cafés and bars to pop in to.

Make sure you leave time to wander through the old town, embracing the delicious homemade local cuisine and soaking up the traditional atmosphere.

3. Relax on Samil Beach 

Samil Beach is a beautiful sandy beach located just a few kilometres from the city centre in Vigo.

With a well-maintained promenade, several children’s play areas and plenty of bars and eateries in the area, Samil Beach is the ideal place to lie back, relax and unwind to the tune of the crashing waves.

Top activities to book in Vigo:

Good to know: Vigo is incredibly close to the border with Portugal, meaning trips into the neighbouring country are possible. 

16. Palma

Best for: Gothic architecture

Nearest airport: Palma de Mallorca (13 minutes)

Where to stay: 

Capital city of the Balearic Islands, Palma is a beautiful Spanish coastal town with a rich history, picturesque architecture, and breathtaking views across the Bay of Palma.

Palma is also known for its delicious cuisine, with a wide variety of fine dining restaurants serving traditional Spanish dishes and fresh seafood.

When you wander through the old town and stop off at a local café, don’t miss out on trying the tasty local speciality: ensaimada is a sweet pastry that is a staple of Mallorcan cuisine. Trust me when I say that it’s delicious!

Panoramic view of Porte de Soller, Palma Mallorca

Top three things to do in Palma

1. Visit the Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma

This spectacularly grand Gothic Roman catholic cathedral is a must-see when visiting Palma. Sometimes known as La Seu, the cathedral is famous for its stunning stained glass windows and a large rose window which reflects rainbow hues about the place.

Book Skip the Line entry tickets for the Cathedral or join a guided walking tour of Palma, the Cathedral and Valldemossa.

2. Explore the old town

Palma’s old town is not only home to some of Palma’s main tourist attractions like the cathedral, but is a place to visit in and of itself.

Discover hidden courtyards holding immense history, art galleries showcasing the best of the best and a relaxed café culture. 

I’d recommend exploring this Spanish coastal town by segway or booking onto a foodie tour of the Old Town.

3. Relax on the beach

Palma boasts a host of beautiful beaches, including Playa de Palma and Cala Mayor. Spend a day soaking up the sunshine, swimming in the crystal-clear waters, and enjoying the stunning unspoilt views of the Mediterranean Sea.

Take to the skies with a parasailing experience or book one of these boat tours:

Good to know: Palma isn’t lacking when it comes to water sports and thrills: think quad biking, snorkelling and cliff jumping

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17. Valencia

Best for: Paella lovers

Nearest airport: Valencia (18 minutes)

Where to stay: 

One of the most vibrant Spanish coastal towns on mainland Spain, Valencia is famous for its white sand beaches, rich cultural history, intense local pride, and especially for its delicious traditional paella dishes. 

The foodie scene in Valencia is incredible and renowned all over Spain, with flavoursome freshly-cooked paella being served up left, right and centre.

I’d advise leaving some time to check out the old town for charming cafés and eateries, owned by members of the local community. 

View on Peniscola  from the top of Pope Luna's Castle, Valencia, Spain

Top three things to do in Valencia

1. Visit the City of Arts and Sciences 

This futuristic complex is a must-see attraction in Valencia, with something to engage the whole family.

The City of Arts and Sciences houses several attractions and activities, including: the Science Museum, the Hemisferic IMAX cinema, and the Oceanogràfic, the largest aquarium in Europe.

2. Explore the old town

As if the squares and grand architecture of Valencia’s old town weren’t impressive enough, it is also home to many amazing and popular tourist attractions.

You’ll find the Cathedral of Valencia, the Central Market and the Silk Exchange here – which are all worth a visit in their own right!

I’d suggest booking an Old Town tour complete with wine & tapas in an 11th century monument.

3. Visit the beautiful beaches 

Valencia has several beautiful beaches, such as Malvarrosa and Patacona, where you can enjoy the sun and the sea.

Easily accessible by public transport and offering a wide range of facilities, it’s easy to see why the Valencian beaches are so popular. Take to the seas with a sailing catamaran cruise featuring a swim stop.

Top activities to book in Valencia:

Good to know: You can explore Valencia easily using public transport, allowing you to see more of the wonderful city in a shorter period of time. Or book a 24 or 48-Hour hop-on hop-off bus ticket to take in all the sights. 

18. Dénia

Best for: Fresh seafood

Nearest airport: Alicante (1 hour 7 minutes) and Valencia (1 hour 10 minutes)

Where to stay: 

Dénia is a beautiful yet sometimes forgotten Spanish coastal town located in the province of Alicante. Situated on the Costa Blanca, it’s no surprise that Dénia has several gorgeous beaches for you to enjoy. 

Dénia is a popular tourist destination, and I can see why. From relaxing on the sandy beaches to exploring the town’s rich history or indulging in delicious food, Dénia has something for the whole family to enjoy. 

Denia Port

Top three things to do in Denia

1. Go paddleboarding at the beach

Dénia boasts over 20 kilometres of stunning coastline, which means there are plenty of beaches to choose from at this Spanish coastal town.

The most popular beaches in Dénia are Les Marines, Les Rotes, and Els Molins, which are all perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. Boat tours regularly embark to explore the coastline.

Top boat tours in Denia to book:

2. See the Castle of Dénia

The Castle of Dénia is a top attraction in this Spanish coastal town, and for good reason! Located in the heart of the city in the Les Roques neighbourhood, this impressive castle was built in the 11th century and played an important role in the history of Denia. 

3. Experience world-class gastronomy

A true foodie’s paradise, the town is home to many excellent restaurants serving up delectable dishes. Trying the local seafood, especially the red prawns and the Dénia squid, is a must if you want to experience living like a local.

The annual Dénia Gastronomy Festival takes centre stage in autumn, showcasing the very best local dishes.

Good to know: Near to Dénia is L’Albarda Garden, a demonstration garden boasting over 700 species of native plants. A perfect way to unwind. It’s definitely worth a visit. 

Looking for more beautiful beach towns in Europe? Discover my guides to the best Italian coastal towns and the best French coastal towns. Or for more Spain inspiration, discover my Barcelona travel guide

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Jessie Moore
Jessie Moore

Jessie is a luxury travel expert with years of experience travelling the world to find the best destinations, hotels and adventures.

Find me on: Web | Instagram


Want up to 25% off hotels?

Subscribe to my newsletter and get immediate access to my guide on how to save money on flights and hotels. Our weekly emails are filled with adventure inspiration, insider travel tips and exclusive discounts.