Northern Spain is a region that is becoming world famous for its spectacular and less crowded beaches compared to those beaches you’ll find in the south of Spain. So if you do find yourself in Northern Spain and would like to check out the most incredible beaches on offer, be sure to pay a visit to the following 10 highlights:
1. Playa el Sardinero, Santander
Santander is a short flight from the UK or an increasingly popular choice is to journey by car ferry from Portsmouth or Plymouth direct to Santander with Brittany Ferries – especially convenient for family holidays in Spain. Santander is home to what is widely considered to be the single most beautiful beach in all of Spain.
The long curving arc of the Playa el Sardinero is a truly captivating and inspirational sight in its own right – the fact that it is situated so conveniently close to the city centre serving as an added bonus.
Playa el Sardinero, Best beaches in Northern Spain by Pedro Lopez
2. La Franca Beach, Asturias
Many of the very best beaches in Northern Spain can be found around Asturias and Cantabria. For families in particular, La Franca is absolutely superb, with calm and sheltered waters that are safe to swim in and beautiful green wooded hills surrounding the glorious white sands of the beach. The amenities are also first-rate.
Playa de la Franca, Best beaches in Northern Spain by Elena Merino
3. San Vicente De La Barquera Beach, Cantabria
One of the best things about San Vicente De La Barquera Beach is that if you time your visit right with a particularly clear day, you’ll be blessed with truly breathtaking views of the Picos de Europa.
This beautiful, long and well-patrolled beach is just as much of a hit among surfers as it is with those looking for total escapism and relaxation. San Vicente de la Barquera is just a few minutes away on foot when those hunger pangs kick in.
San Vicente De La Barquera, Beach Best beaches in Northern Spain by Nacho Castejón Martínez
4. Buelna Beach, Asturias
Small in size but enormous in appeal, La Playa de Buelna is something of a hidden secret that tends to escape the attention of most tourists.
A wonderfully secluded beach that’s perfect for family days out and watching the locals do what they do best, there aren’t many amenities within easy reach so be sure to take refreshments along for the ride.
La Playa de Buelna, Best beaches in Northern Spain by Guillén Pérez
5. Pechon Beach, Cantabria
Back in Cantabria once again, the challenging descent on the way down to Pechon beach makes your arrival even more rewarding.
The village itself is also nothing short of stunning and has some glorious cafes and restaurants – none of which charge the kind of tourist rates you might expect elsewhere.
Pechon Beach, Best beaches in Northern Spain by Iñaki Gandariasbeitia
6. Gaztelugatxe, Bay of Biscay
Though not specifically a beach in the traditional sense, the small peninsula island of Gaztelugatxe is nonetheless home to an incredible array of stunning coves and dramatic coastline.
Suitable for more adventurous types, one of the biggest bonuses here is the way in which you can crawl into a quiet corner when the tides are on your side and have the entire place to yourself!
Gaztelugatxe, Best beaches in Northern Spain by Santi Díaz
7. Niembro Beach, Asturias
Another highlight of Asturias is Niembro – an absolutely stunning beach accessed by first driving through the quaint and pretty village of Niembro itself.
The sands and waters alike are perfect for families, the views from the top of the hill are spectacular and as it is in a relatively secluded location, the beach never gets particularly busy – even at the height of the season.
Niembro, Best beaches in Northern Spain by Pedro M. Martínez Corada
8. Bilbao’s Beaches
There’s really no sense in narrowing down the beaches of Bilbao to a single frontrunner – every single one of them has its own unique charms and appeal.
Also within easy reach of the UK again thanks to Brittany Ferries running ferries from Portsmouth to Bilbao, this glorious coastal city is home to Las Arenas, Ereaga, Arrigunaga and Gorrondatze-Aizkorri (Getxo), Barinatxe-La Salvaje and Arrietara-Atxabiribil (Sopela) and Plentzia and Gorliz beaches.
Ereaga, Bilbao, Best beaches in Northern Spain by Roman San
9. Poo Beach, Asturias
Quite possibly the most misleading of all Spanish beaches by way of its name, Poo Beach does not give visitors an accurate idea of what to expect.
Instead, this glorious little beach is situated close to Llanes features perfect waters for swimming, beautiful white sands and two simply fantastic restaurants situated right next to the beach!
Poo Beach, Best beaches in Northern Spain by Iñaki Queralt
10. Torimbia Beach, Asturias
Last but not least, we thought it’s important to include a beach that may appeal to those who prefer to hit the sand and sea wearing absolutely nothing whatsoever!
Torimbia is by far one of the most beautiful beaches in Astorias and while it does attract a large contingency of nudists, there are no rules as such and you are perfectly welcome to visit wearing as much (or as little) clothing as you like!
Playa de Torimbia, Best beaches in Northern Spain by Stefan Trauth