There is nothing like wild nature in the North of Spain: Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, Pais Vasco – these Spanish regions are full of landscapes, which seem completely out of this world. Let me share with you the top Northern Spain beaches to awaken your wanderlust.
Northern Spain Road trip
During one of my favorite road trips in Spain across Northern Spain, I was able to experience so many unique places: to discover for myself the most beautiful villages in Asturias, to wander inside the Burgos Cathedral (one of the most epic cathedrals in the whole of Spain), to feel the romantic side of Spain in San Sebastian, to marvel at the GOT filming location of Gaztelugatxe, to stroll along the colorful streets of Hondarribia. But what a trip without Spanish natural wonders, right?!
Besides numerous Spanish landmarks visitors can discover across Northern Spain, one of the biggest gems of the area is its dramatic rugged coastline, full of impressive cliffs and off-the-beaten-path beaches. For more details, check out my Ultimate Northern Spain Road Trip Itinerary.
Let me share with you some of the most impressive Northern Spain beaches, which definitely belong on every Spain Travel Bucket List.
Top Northern Spain Beaches
1. Playa de las Catedrales / Lugo, Galicia
The Region of Galicia ranks globally for some of the highest cliffs in Europe and represents the most unique rugged coastline in Spain. Playa de las Catedrales is located in the Lugo Province, 10km from Ribadeo. The area is sprinkled with mysterious caves, arches, and peculiar rock formations, while the Cantabrian Sea simply dazzles one with its magical turquoise color.
Keep in mind that you can only explore the caves when the tide is low.
2. Playa de Torimbia / Llanes, Asturias
Located 10 km from the small town of Llanes in Asturias, Playa de Torimbia has been one of the most popular nudist beaches in the region since the 60s. When I visited Asturias at the end of July, this magical shell-shaped beach was completely empty during the week (plus that day was not sunny either). Therefore, I was lucky to enjoy the epic natural setting of Playa de Torimbia all for myself.
The nudist beaches in Spain often get me confused, as the last time I traveled to Lanzarote and visited its Playa de la Cera, there were several people enjoying nude sunbathing (while the beach was not on the list of the island´s nudist beaches).
3. Playa del Silencio / Cudillero, Asturias
Playa del Silencio is one of the most impressive Northern Spain beaches, which can be translated as “a silent place ” in Spanish. This place does not have the best access, as you leave your car in the small town of Castañeras and walk down steep stairs for 10 mins towards Playa del Silencio. This is probably the reason why Playa del Silencio is still not overcrowded despite its unmatched natural beauty.
4. Playa de Zumaia / The Basque Country
The filming of Game of Thrones in Spain has brought a lot of international attention to the divine nature of the Northern regions of the Iberian Peninsula.
Zumaia Beach without any doubt is a Spanish landscape that looks out of this world. The unique rock formations extend from Zumaia to Deba. These Spanish cliffs doubled in GOT for the Dragonstone surroundings. A series of strata formations rise vertically from the sea while creating an ultimate unearthly effect. Usually, layered rocks form when particles settle from water or air.
Also read: The Most Beautiful Gardens in Spain
In summer Zumaia beach gets crowded so make sure you visit at low tide (many rocks are submerged under the sea every time the tide comes in).
5. Playa de la Griega / Lastres, Asturias
Playa de la Griega is a gorgeous 820-m-long beach with a semi-urban setting. It is also famous for unique sightseeing nearby, as at the eastern end of La Griega there is a trail taking one towards the dinosaur footprints, the largest ones discovered to date.
6. Playa de Santa Marina / Ribadesella, Asturias
Playa de Santa Marina is an urban beach of Ribadesella with a gorgeous backdrop of colorful houses and villas. The Local Sella River flows onto the beach while making the landscape even more unique. While Playa de Santa Marina is quite popular in the summer months, its 1150 m of golden sand and gorgeous natural setting make this place one of the must-see Northern Spain beaches.
Don´t miss nearby Playa de Santa Marina – some of the most beautiful cliffs in Spain Acantilados del Infierno and La Cuevona, the hidden cave entrance to the small town of Cuevas.
7. Playa de Gulpiyuri / Llanes, Asturias
Playa de Gulpiyuri is one of the most unusual Northern Spain beaches, located near Llanes. It is the shortest beach in the world, as it´s barely 40m in length. Playa de Gulpiyuri is fully tidal due to the tunnels carved by the salt water of the Cantabrian Sea.
8. Playa del Sablón / Llanes, Asturias
Playa del Sablon is a cute small beach located in the heart of the small town of Llanes. However, it has a huge stone wall on the left protecting it from waves, which is a huge plus when comparing it to other Nothern Spain beaches.
9. Playa de Trengandin / Noja, Cantabria
Playa de Trengandin is one of the largest and most famous Northern Spain beaches, located near Noja, in the Province of Cantabria. Unfortunately, during my last Northern Spain Road trip, we made a stop in Santoña ( known as the world capital of preserved anchovies) but didn´t get a chance to visit Playa de Trengandin, as it was raining way too heavily.
10. Playa de Rodas / The Cies Islands, Galicia
Another unique destination that is still on my Spain Bucket List is The Cies Islands, one of the most unique National Parks in Spain. It is located in the Galicia Province, right opposite the Spanish town of Vigo. The Cies Islands is one of the top nature gems in Spain. Therefore many mention it among the best Spanish Islands. During the Roman times in Spain, these tiny islands were called “the islands of Gods”.
Playa de Rodas is located on Isla de Monteagudo, which belongs to The Cies Archipelago. Its crystalline waters and white sands will bring you some Caribbean vibes, very much like the Mediterranean gem of Formentera.
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