The most beautiful places on the Spanish Atlantic coast: swimming, surfing or just enjoying the day. Travel tips for a varied vacation by the sea in Spain.
The Spanish mainland borders the Atlantic Ocean to the north as well as to the south. Between them lies a land mass of almost 1.000 kilometers. These geographical distances make a noticeable difference in terms of weather, climate and therefore optimal travel times.
Southern Atlantic Coast
The southern section of Spain’s Atlantic coast is the Costa de la Luz, which stretches from the Strait of Gibraltar, the border between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean near Tarifa, in a northwesterly direction to the Guadiana, the river that borders Portugal.
The beaches of the Costa de la Luz, which for Spanish standards untypically extends over two provinces – namely Cadiz and Huelva – are predominantly wide and fine-sanded.
Weather and bathing time on the south coast
The bathing season starts in the middle of June and officially ends in September. Even in the high season you can still find free beach sections that are not overcrowded.
The southern Spanish Atlantic coast is characterized by predominantly pleasant temperatures. Many a campground has good occupancy, especially in winter, with campers from the north wintering here on the coast. In summer, light and steady winds make the summer heat in Andalusia still bearable.
Vacation on the Costa de la Luz
One of the most popular resorts on the Costa de la Luz is Conil de la Frontera, which can get crowded during the Spanish vacation month of August.
On Spain’s Atlantic coast in the south are the port cities from which Christopher Columbus and his crews discovered the New World and later conducted maritime trade with the overseas colonies. Andalusian cities like Cadiz or Sevilla still benefit from the wealth and splendor of this time.
Northern Atlantic coast
The Spanish Atlantic coast in the northwest of the country follows the usual pattern for Spain in the designations for the coasts, each community has its own coast, whereby there are even three in Galicia.
The Spanish north coast begins in the Basque country at the border to France with the Costa Vasca, which is followed in western direction by the coast of Cantabria, the Costa de Cantabria. Then in Asturias follows the famous green coast, the Costa Verde. The coasts of these three communities are all located on the Bay of Biscay, which Spain shares with France. In these sections, formations of cliffs alternate with smaller and larger sandy bays and deep estuaries. Stronger currents and winds offer like e.g. in the Basque Mundaka excellent conditions for surfing.
The Atlantic coast in the northwest in Galicia is divided into three sections: The RIas Altas in the north, with the highest cliffs; the Costa da Morte in the northwest, characterized by storms and strong currents; and the calmer and warmer RIas Baixas in the west.
The typical rIas are river courses flooded by the sea, some of which stretch deep into the country like fjords. The Atlantic coast in Galicia is among the most diverse coastal landscapes Spain has to offer.
Weather and bathing season on the north coast
The bathing season here in northern Spain begins only in July and ends in September. The weather and climate are much harsher, so the Spanish north coast is mainly a summer vacation destination.