I know that the rain is Spain falls mainly on the plains but for me, Madrid is hot and dusty and not really the top of my destination list in Spain at all. Most people go straight for Ibiza or the Canary Islands but the following five are my favorite Spanish beach destinations.
Barcelona – I’ve heard some people claim that Barcelona has become too saturated, it is past it’s prime and that it is no longer the place to visit. I heartily beg to disagree. Barcelona is seeped in art and everything from the paving stones to the upper stories of grafitti speak to the creative. From the Sagrada Familia to the bars and clubs along the shore. This is a city that you don’t want to miss! I love Barcelona and you will too. Spain’s second city, full of modernist buildings and a vibrant cultural life, nightclubs, and beaches
Granada is the ultimate destination for cheap Spanish holidays with free tapas and cheap drinks but there is more to this city than just a great vacation destination. This stunning city in the south, surrounded by snow capped mountains of the Sierra Nevada, home of La Alhambra and a sizable population of gypsies. In fact, Granada holds the Alhambra, one of the most beautiful palaces of Europe, built by the Moors when they occupied Spain and once lived in and rhapsodized about by Washington Irving. Add to that the usual beautiful cathedrals, the nearby Sierra Nevada mountains, and the gypsies of San Bernadino and suddenly, you are in love with Granada.
Alicante is a town I think of and then I think of Popeye the sailor. Maybe it’s the Popeye cafe or the Popeye Hotel or maybe the fishing boat called Popeye – but that’s the truth. In fact, this is a magnificent coastal town only recently discovered by tourism. Amazing hilltop fortifications and castle, magnificent beach. Yes, Alicante well deserves to be on this list.
Valencia. Paella was invented here.. My first visit to Valencia was far too short. I didn’t get into the undercurrents of dance, romance, and technological verve that serves this city. Home of the first oranges in Europe and home to some incredible monuments and cathedrals, classic Spanish architecture and the far out City of Arts and Science.
Tarifa is a city best experienced in the warm months. If you head there in January or February (like I did the first time), you are likely to find it all closed up and looking windy and grim – but head there in the warm months and the city earns it’s nickname of the Hawaii of Europe. Sure, nothing compares to Oahu or Maui, but Tarifa is a fun place with plenty of pubs, nightlife, great wind surfing and easy day trips to Morocco if you have a mind to take one. Spain is a country that is best experienced slow and low – so don’t try to see it all in two weeks!