Beaches along the Iberian Peninsula
The beaches of Spain and Portugal offer you the brightest of the Atlantic beaches and some favorite Mediterranean seaside playgrounds. Whether you want empty, open expanses or a non-stop beach scene, the Iberian Peninsula is the place to come for sun and sand.
Spain’s three coastlines offer every opportunity for beach and offshore pleasure that you can dream of. Slightly cooler weather and more boisterous waves prevail on the Cantabrian beaches, which face the Bay of Biscay, and around Spain’s Atlantic seaboard on the Rias Altas, Costas da Morte and de la Luz. On the Mediterranean Costa Brava, perfect for families and near fabulous Barcelona, or further south on the Costas del Almeira or Blanca, prepare to bask. There’s sun and more sun faced by the almost tide-less sea. Wherever you go, you’ll appreciate the fine quality of maintenance and services at these natural playgrounds, where the “Q” for quality designation signifies the utmost in beach conditions.
The Costa Verde, Costa Prata, Sintra, Alentejo, Algarve: these entrancing names are the mainland regions of Portugal from north to south, and they all have miles of Atlantic beaches. This oceanic orientation means excellent surfing beaches in Portugal, but if you fancy a sunbath and less adrenaline, rejoice! The wide ribbons of sand interspersed with undulating rock formations and grottoes are bathed in sunlight from spring to autumn, so your beach craving can be assuaged in Portugal for a good part of the year. Among your choices are 18 Blue Flag beaches, the protected dunes of the São Jacinto Nature Reserve, and a backdrop of gaily painted traditional wooden houses on the Costa Nova.
And what about all those exotic islands? The stunning Azores, far out in “the drink” (that’s sailor talk for the ocean) and the lush Madeira Islands belong to Portugal; the relaxing Canary Islands in the Atlantic and the famous Mediterranean Balearics form part of Spain. On these beautiful isles you’ll find an assortment of pebbly beaches, golden sands and volcanic rock. You can practice all the water sports, visit vineyards, party all night at discos, or go for a walk on the cliffs - there’s a little bit of everything. The best part is the warm Iberian welcome, fantastic seafood, and that gorgeous sapphire saltwater.