By Cat Gaa
As temperatures soar, cities around Andalusia become ghost towns. Pedestrians hug buildings, vying for the little bit of shade that the powerful sun pelts, or steer clear of the street until night falls. On the weekend, caravans of cars flock to the coast to cool down, and Andalusia’s 500-plus miles of coastline are home to some of Spain’s top beaches. Listed below are some of the best.
La Victoria (Cádiz): Best City Beach
Few cities are privileged to have one of Spain’s top-rated beaches at the foot of its business center, but Cádiz’s location on a thin peninsula means that the beach is practically right outside your door. The long strip of sand hosts seafood kiosks, called chiringuitos (beach bars), and paddle-boat rentals.
Los Caños de Meca (outside Barbate): Best Chill-out Beach
Hippie communes camp out among the pine trees at Los Caños, a beach that hosts as many campsites as ocean-side chiringuitos. The site of the Trafalgar battle, Los Caños forms the golden triangle of beaches along with Zahara de los Atunes and Barbate, and is among the best beaches for nightlife on the Costa de la Luz.
La Antilla (outside Lepe): Best Family Beach
The abundance of childcare centers and day camps in Lepe give fair warning: La Antilla and its neighbor, Islantilla, are family beaches. La Antilla is laid-back, relatively cheap and full of campsites, too. From La Antilla, Portugal is a short car ride away.
Punta Umbría: Best non-Beach Activities Beach
At just 20 kilometers from the province capital, Punta Umbría is a paradise for activities, from boating down the Río Tinto, cycling through the pine trees or playing golf. When you’re tired of the wide strips of soft sand, there’s plenty to explore in this lazy beach town.
Nerja (Nerja): Best Natural Beauty Beach
Málaga, home to the Costa del Sol, has become a hot-spot for Northern European travelers. On a trip a few years ago to Fuengirola, I was shocked at the enclaves of Scandinavians who had made their home on the coast here, which lent itself to a lack of Spanish food and even a US consular agency. Nerja, located at the very Western tip of the Málaga province, is an exception to the rule: though many expatriates make their home here, the breathtaking natural beauty of this hilly town makes it a lovely sojourn.
Mojácar (Mojácar): Best All-Around Beach
Some say that Mojácar is the Ibiza of the peninsula: a quaint hillside village throbs with disco beats at night. The pueblo blanco (white village) seems to spill down the hill, right into the ocean, and jasmine and bougainvillea tumble from wrought iron fences and climb up whitewashed homes. Mojácar’s Mediterranean beach is something to write home about, too: the 17 kilometers are relatively untouched by tourism, and horses and fisherman are a common sight.
What are your favorite beaches in Andalusia?
Upon receiving an offer to work at a radio news broadcast center in Chicago, Cat Gaa turned it down and turned up at the Consulate of Spain. She writes at Sunshine and Siestas . Follow her on Instagram and twitter at @sunshinesiestas.