Where are you thinking of going on your first post-lockdown foreign holiday? Scroll through this spellbinding picture portfolio of pristine beaches and the answer will very probably be Spain, if it wasn’t before.
The pictures are courtesy of traveller John Weller and appear in a guide he’s co-authored with half-Spanish former stand-up comic Lola Culsan called Hidden Beaches Spain (Wild Things Publishing) that’s simply breathtaking in scope.
It details 450 beaches that pepper 5,000km (3,110 miles) of coastline on mainland Spain and the Balearics, from grand sweeping crescents of golden grains to remote and little known coves requiring hikes along smugglers’ paths to reach. Some are so secret they don’t have a name.
The tome reveals which beaches are nudist, best for families and perfect for snorkelling – and it has taken London-based John and Lola literally years to research. Their efforts to document Spain’s finest strips of sand and precisely how to get to them (there are even GPS co-ordinates) included a year roaming its coasts in a campervan. Have they got the sand out of their feet yet?
They told MailOnline Travel: ‘Yes, but not the twinkle from our eyes or the smiles from our faces. We did a whole lap of the Spanish peninsula and the Balearic Islands. We drove our campervan and hiked to secluded beaches, all wild, exciting and unspoiled. We swam in indescribably turquoise blue water and wallowed in rock pools left by the receding tide. We met an eclectic bunch of international adventurers, “campervanistas”, surfers, pilgrims and long-lost relatives – all happy to share food, drink and travellers’ tales beneath the Spanish stars.’
Scroll down for a peek at some of the amazing pictures that appear in the book, which is out on March 1 and perfect, say the authors, ‘if you’re up for wild adventures well off the beaten track, or just looking for a quiet beach to spend the day with family’. MailOnline readers get a 20 per cent discount and free P&P using code MailHiddenBeach21. Ready the buckets and spades!
PLAYA MEXOTA, TAPIA DE CASARIEGO, NORTHWEST SPAIN: This beach is ‘one of the finest in Asturias’ declare the authors, who add that ‘its golden islet stands like a monumental slice of abstract art in the dazzling turquoise sea’. Safety tip – don’t swim too far out from the headland
CALA BRAFI, FELANITX, MALLORCA: This ‘unspoiled sandy cove’ has ‘breathtakingly clear water’ enthuse the authors. To the rear are olive trees and small caves, they add
PLAYA SAN JULIÁN, LIENDO, COSTA CANTÁBRICA: Beachgoers here are afforded ‘spectacular’ views along the Cantabrian coast and the Bay of Biscay. The authors reveal that on their visit here they watched ‘acrobatic wild goats scrumping juicy, fat figs’ from the surrounding hillsides
PLAYA DE FUENTES, SAN VICENTE DE LA BARQUERA, CANTABRIA: This gem vanishes at high tide, while at low tide it’s divided by karst formations into ‘intimate enclaves where families or couples can find solitude or shade’. As a bonus, a small stream ‘trickles musically into the left cove’
CALA MITJANA, MALLORCA: A ‘secluded and unspoiled beach’ that’s ‘great for snorkelling’
CALA DEL POZO DE LA AVISPA, CAMPILLA DE ADENTRO, COSTA CALIDA: This ‘isolated cove’ that’s enveloped by yellow fossilised dunes has ‘clear blue water’ and from here you can apparently swim around to Cala de las Chapas
PLAYA DE COVACHOS, SANTA CRUZ DE BEZANA, CANTABRIA: It seems this beach lured the authors’ jaws towards the ground. They write: ‘One devastatingly beautiful beach with seductive sand spit beneath tall cliffs blooming with wild carrot and heather’
PRAIA DO ANCORADOURO, COSTA GALICIA SOUTH: This sandy cove within the protected area of Cabo Udra is surrounded by wind and wave-eroded granite formations, write the authors, who add that a more intimate cove can be found by clambering over the rocks to the left
PRAIA DE MEDIABRIL, BUEU, COSTA GALICIA SOUTH: A petite cove frequented by nudists, we’re told. The boulders provide some respite from the afternoon sun
PRAIA DE COUSO, COSTA GALICIA SOUTH: This remote pocket of soft sand is accessed along an ancient woodland trail that few venture along, we’re told
PUNTA D´ES CALÓ/COSTA DELS PINS, MALLORCA: The authors recommend booking a sea-kayak tour with kayakexcursionmallorca.com to explore the coves and caves near these ‘unspoiled’ beaches
CALA PUDENT, NORTH-EAST MENORCA: Behold the authors’ favourite Spanish beach. They told MailOnline Travel: ‘It’s just the right mix of soft sand, turquoise sea and wild landscape. Perfect for a paddle, a long swim or chilling on the beach. Well off the beaten track’
PLAYA DE MERÓN, VILLAVICIOSA, COSTA VERDE ASTURIAS: Golden grains, eucalyptus woods and a sea pool with a sand bar at its centre that’s revealed at low tide
PRAIA DE SAN MIRO, MALPICA DE BERGANTINOS, COSTA VERDE WEST: ‘Enjoy awe-inspiring views over the Atlantic from a beach backed by huge cliffs, smothered in ubiquitous eucalyptus and pines that offered welcome shade on a late August afternoon,’ write the authors. ‘A small waterfall and two streams provide extra charm’
PLAYA DE LA ALMENADA, LLANES, COSTA VERDE ASTURIAS: This eye-catching double-beach is shy, it only appears at low tide and then is accessible only from Playa el Portillu
CALA DES TALAIER, CIUTADELLA, MENORCA: An enticing white sandy cove with intensely turquoise shallow waters and plenty of shade
PRAIA DO SARRIDAL, ORTIGUEIRA, COSTA VERDE WEST: This ‘vast and remote beach’ sits in front of a block of volcanic rock with two holes in it called Peña Furada. But the authors have a warning – the climb down to the beach is dangerous. However, they say, ‘you can still enjoy beautiful views atop the Ribeira Peninsula’
ES PORTITXOL, IBIZA: Portitxol’s almost circular shoreline is lined with traditional Ibizan fishermen’s huts, the authors write. And ‘her perfectly calm, turquoise and untroubled waters offer some of the best swimming on the island’. Top tip – it’s a longish 1.6-mile (2.7km) walk along a rocky track to reach it, so ‘wear suitable shoes and bring lots of water’
CALA ARENAS, ALGECIRAS, COSTA DE LA LUZ: This sandy Cove is surrounded by ‘lush hillsides of the Parque Natural del Estrecho’. What’s it good for? ‘Solitude, nature and views of North Africa’
CALA DE LOS AMARILLOS, COSTA ALMERIA: This beach stole the authors’ hearts. They write: ‘A simply ravishing beach beneath cliffs of yellow fossilised dune and lava. Rocky islets and gin-clear water complete the picture. We walked to the left of the beach between the rocks to discover a narrow inlet of water for jumping and diving with spectacular views out to sea. Low visitor numbers are guaranteed owing to the difficult and dangerous descent down the cliff – not for the faint-hearted, this beach is one of our favourites’
PLAYA DE LA FLECHA DEL ROMPIDO, COSTA DE LA LUZ: This ‘vast and remarkable sand spit’ is ‘unadulterated by bars or sunbeds and one of the finest beaches in Andalucia’, the authors enthuse. But they warn that you’ll need plenty of food and water and your own shade
CALA JOVERA (TAMARIT), TARRAGONA: Golden sand? Tick. Double-sided cove beneath a romantic seafront medieval castle? Naturally. Calm waters? You’ve got it. Huge hollowed rock to explore or jump from nearby? Of course. Any warnings? Just this – do watch the locals jumping from that rock first
CALA FONDA (OR WAIKIKI BEACH), TARRAGONA COAST: This ‘deep beach’ has ‘lovely golden sand… edged with white-flowering myrtle bushes’. The authors reveal that it’s reached ‘after a longish walk through a beautiful protected pine forest’ and flanked by ‘impressive cliffs formed from fossilised dunes’
PLAYA DE GULPIYURI, LLANES, COSTA VERDE ASTURIAS: This astonishing circular inland beach is fed by water from subterranean tunnels beneath the sea, reveal the authors. Arrive early, they say, to enjoy it in all its geological magnificence
PLAYA DE TORIMBIA, LLANES, COSTA VERDE ASTURIAS: This 500m-long (1,640ft) croissant-shaped beach is ‘spectacular’ declare the authors, who warn that you’ll need to arrive early to snare a good parking spot
CALA CAP DE PLANES, PALAMOS, COSTA BRAVA: This ‘serene natural sea pool’ is perfect for snorkelling thanks to its generous volumes of underwater flora
PLAYA DE SOMOCUEVAS, PIELAGOS, CANTABRIA: The authors loved this ‘wonderful sun-warmed, sandy beach’ carved out of a hillside that boasts ‘startlingly clear and deliciously cool water for swimming’
PLAYA EL PORTILLU, LLANES, COSTA VERDE ASTURIAS: ‘Low tide reveals this magnificent sandy beach with rock pools,’ say the authors. ‘Perfect for families’
PLAYA DE SANTAMARINA, PONTECESO, COSTA DA MORTE [COAST OF DEATH – THERE ARE MANY SHIPWRECKS HERE]: This narrow beach sits in front of a small fishing port and features in several hiking trails, the authors reveal, including the RC-2 Coastal Route and Camarinas Blue Coast Path
AREA GRANDE, COSTA DA MORTE: John and Lola encountered a solitary nude female sunbather at this ‘very hidden, seemingly forgotten beach’. Be aware of tide times so you don’t get trapped, they add
PRAIA DE TALON, FISTERRA, COSTA DA MORTE: Come here for 70 metres (229ft) of ‘finest Galician sand’. And a ‘good view of Faro de Fisterra, the “lighthouse at the end of the world”‘
PRAIA DO BARREIRINO, COSTA GALICIA NORTH: This rural ‘secluded soft white sand beach’ is ‘great for families and snorkelling’ say John and Lola
PRAIA ABELLEIRA, MUROS, COSTA GALICIA NORTH: ‘A profoundly beautiful cove hidden and sheltered beneath a canopy of ancient pines,’ is how the authors describe this beach. One-way ticket to Spain?
Hidden Beaches Spain – 450 Secret Coast and Island Beaches to Walk, Swim & Explore by Lola Culsan and John Weller is out on Monday, March 1 (www.wildthingspublishing.com), £18.99. Use MailHiddenBeach21 for a 20% discount and free P&P