Spain is flanked to the east by France and the Pyrenees and to the west by Portugal, but most of the country is ringed with sand, rock, and seawater.
Costa de la Luz
This stretch of coastline in southwestern Andalusia and boasts long stretches of sand, almost constant sunshine and blue Atlantic waters, which can sometimes be rough. The region is near to several historic cities, including Cádiz and Seville. This area is less developed than the more popular Costa del Sol.
Costa del Sol
Stretching east from Gibraltar along the southernmost coast of Spain, the Costa del Sol is the most famous and overdeveloped string of beaches in Iberia. The beaches feature superb sand, and the Mediterranean waters are calm and warm throughout most of the year. This is the most congested string of coastal resorts in Europe. The most popular resorts here are Marbella, Torremolinos, Málaga and Nerja.
This southeastern coast embraces the industrial city of Valencia, but its best known resorts, Benidorm and Alicante, are packed with sun-seeking holiday makers every year. The surrounding scenery isn’t really spectacular but the water is a beautiful blue and the sand is white. The area has a very low annual rainfall.
The cliff-edged Costa Brava stretches from Barcelona to the French border.
The Costa Brava is rockier, more serpentine, and without the long stretches of sand that mark the Costa Blanca, although it does have lovely sandybottomed coves dotted along the coast.
Although there are fewer undiscovered beaches here than along Spain’s Atlantic coast, the Costa Brava still retains a sense of rocky wilderness. One of the more eccentric-looking villas along this coast belonged to the late Salvador Dalí, the region’s most famous modern son who lived much of his life near Cadaqués.
The Costa Verde (Green Coast) is very different from the dry and sunbaked coastline of Andalusia and has not been overwhelmed with tourists. It is temperate in summer, when the rest of Spain can be unbearably hot. Much of the coast is within the ancient province of Asturias, a region rife with Romanesque architecture and medieval pilgrimage sites. Resorts include some districts of Santander, Gijón, and, a short distance inland, Oviedo.
The Balearic Islands
A rocky, sand-fringed archipelago just off the coast of Catalonia and a 45- minute flight from Barcelona. The Mediterranean climate is warmer here than on the mainland. The city of Palma de Majorca has the greatest number of high-rises and the most crowded shorelines. During the summer Ibiza attracts many young people and gay visitors. Sleepy Minorca offers more isolation.