Set on the Catalan coastline of northeastern Spain, Barcelona enjoys bright sunshine and temperatures topping 28C in the summer. All the better for enjoying Barceloneta – the city’s best beach. Its golden sand stretches for over 1km and is dotted with modern art sculptures to give your sunbathing a cultural twist.
Pop over to Port Olympic next door for a brilliant choice of bars and seafood restaurants. Continue along the coastline to reach the quieter Icaria Beach. All in all, Barcelona boasts seven shores with soft sand that are just perfect for a fine time at the seafront.
La Rambla - the city’s main thoroughfare mixes street performers, market stalls and classic restaurants. It’s just 2km from the beach.
Picasso Museum – only a 1.4km from Barceloneta, this famous museum boasts more than 4,000 works by the master artist Picasso.
Tapas – this classic Spanish cuisine is just perfect for bringing with you to the beach. Stock up on bite-sized portions of calamari or chorizo from Port Olympic.
Churros – it’s easy to find your favourite churro bar on the nearby Las Ramblas streets. This deep-fried pastry is delicious dipped in hot chocolate sauce.
Combine sightseeing and sunbathing at Palma’s main beach. Ca’n Pere Antoni is a 750m-long slice of golden sand with a gorgeous view of La Seu Cathedral at the western end. The beach has been awarded a Blue Flag for its cleanliness and safety too. Further east, a short drive away, lies a 6km shoreline that makes up Playa de Palma.
If you fancy taking a closer look at the cathedral, you’ll be less than twenty minutes away from admiring its incredibly decorative interior. You could also enjoy a drink or two at the waterfront bars by Palma Harbour. Later, head into the Old Town to enjoy traditional tapas.
La Seu Cathedral – this grand cathedral dates back to the 13th century. It boasts beautiful spires and an interior designed by Gaudi, just 2km away from Ca'n Pere Antoni.
Palma Aquarium – an hour’s walk east along the coastline will lead you to this large aquarium that houses over 700 sea creatures.
Pa’amb oli – this bread topped with garlic, tomato and olive oil is just perfect for a snack when you’re taking a break from the beach!
Sombrassada – a delicious pork and paprika cured sausage is the ideal Majorcan treat if you’re feeling peckish.
Alicante is on the Costa Blanca, part of Spain’s famously sunny southern coastline. Alongside the city’s yacht-lined marina, you’ll find Postiguet Beach. Its smooth, honey-coloured sand leads to the sparkling blue waters of the marina. You’ll also be close to the Explanada de Espana, a gorgeous palm-lined promenade that follows the waterfront.
For the best bird’s eye view of the beach, scale the heights of Santa Barbara Castle atop Mount Benacantil. In fact, there are six beaches around Alicante, including Playa de la Albuferata and Playa del Coco. You can also easily catch the tram to Playa de San Juan, or enjoy an even bigger choice of beaches in nearby Benidorm.
Santa Barbara Castle – you can see this spectacular building from the beach. This grand stone fortress dates back to the 16th century.
MARQ Archaeological Museum – you’ll be less than 10 minutes away from this European Museum of the Year winner.
Paella – this Spanish classic is said to have been invented in nearby Valencia. Enjoy a plate of saffron rice served with generous helpings of shellfish.
Turron – try this sweet bar of hard nougat made locally in Alicante with almonds and honey.
Malaga is much loved for its Moorish fortresses, Roman ruins and grand cathedral but its coastline reveals another fine side to the city. There are a whopping 15 beaches within reach. Playa de la Malagueta is the most convenient, as it lies just east of the modernised Muelle Uno harbour.
You’ll also love popular Playa de la Caleta and the rolling waves of Playa de la Misericordia. With some of the warmest weather in Europe, Malaga is a great place to break for the beach. But remember, you could always visit the local Picasso galleries or Pompidou Centre for some cultural time out of the sun.
Malaga Cathedral – located in the heart of the city’s Old Town, this magnificent cathedral is just 2km away from the beach.
Alcazaba Fortress – this beautifully preserved Moorish fortress has an 11th century heritage. It’s mere minutes away form the cathedral.
Sardines – freshly grilled sardines are something of a speciality in Andalusia. You can enjoy them cooked from the base of a fishing boat at chiringuitos directly on the beach.
Gazpacho – fancy cooling down after a long day on the beach? Stock up on Gazpacho, a refreshing vegetable soup served cold.
Nice’s Bay of Angels stretches 7km to create one of the most iconic seafronts in Europe. There’s the lovely Promenade des Anglais to complement it too. It’s still lined by elegant hotels and casinos, giving the beach a continental flair.
While you’re in town, be sure to explore the Old Town or pick up some Provencal delights from the Cours Saleya market. Although if you’d prefer sand over pebbles, it may be worth making the journey to Cannes. Here you can enjoy the smooth sandy shores of La Croisette and Plage du Midi before discovering the historic district of Le Suquet.
Old Town – this compact, characterful quarter of Nice is made up of weathered palaces, old bakeries and tempting wine bars.
Opera House – for a refined evening out, head to the 19th century Opera House. It’s based right on the promenade, so you won’t have far to walk from the beach.
Salade Nicoise – this world-famous dish is the perfect accompaniment to a day on the sunny Cote d’Azur. It’s made with tomatoes, boiled eggs, runner beans and tuna.
Ratatouille – a delicious side or perfect as a light meal, Ratatouille is a fragrant mix of vegetables and herbs in a rich tomato sauce.
The capital of Gran Canaria, Las Palmas is known for having one of the world’s best urban beaches. Playa de las Canteras lines of the northern tip of the city with a wide dusting of golden sand. It’s deservedly been awarded a Blue Flag for its cleanliness and safety.
At one end, you’ll find the huge Las Arenas shopping centre, while at the other, there’s the stunning Alfredo Klaus Auditorium.
To start sightseeing in the sun, you can head south to discover markets, cathedrals and historic houses.
Cathedral of Santa Ana – this magnificent structure is so grand, it took over four centuries to build! The facade is a gorgeous centrepiece of the square.
Casa de Colon – this museum tells the story of Christopher Columbus, as the great explorer stayed at this house in the 15th century.
Papas arrugadas – try the famous Canarian dish of salt-wrinkled potatoes served with spicy mojo sauce.
Tropical fruit – it’s worth visiting La Vegueta Market to see the sheer variety of fresh tropical fruit on offer.