The kids have returned to school and everybody is back at work. After a long, hot summer, the waters off Spain’s coastline are warmer than they were in June. And as the season comes to a close, there are bargains galore to be found in hotels and apartments. So why not enjoy one last weekend break in the sun?
1. Mallorca’s deep south
Es Carbó (Colònia de Sant Jordi, Ses Salines, Mallorca)
Mallorca’s southernmost coastline, close to S’Avall, the estate owned by the powerful March family, is largely unspoilt. Start your trip by parking next to the beach down by the port and then walk for around half an hour to the Es Carbó beach, leaving behind around half a dozen fishermen’s houses. The beach is quiet enough to attract nudists. Off shore are the tiny Na Moltona islets.
2. One of Spain’s best
En Turqueta (Ciutadella/Ciudadela, Menorca)
There was a time when some landowners on Menorca charged motorists a toll for driving on to certain beaches in summer, right up until October 12, proof that the good weather extends well into the fall. During the summer months, the En Turqueta beach on the island’s southern shoreline is crowded, but by October it is strangely quiet. There is plenty of room for parking, and the best time of day is after lunch, to avoid the boat trips from Cala’n Bosch and Ciudadela. The gentle wash of the waves, the turquoise light shining up from the sea floor, and the warm waters all make this one of the best beaches in Spain.
3. The perfect cove?
La Mar Menuda (Tossa de Mar, Girona)
The sandstone outcrops at the northern end of the bay at Tossa de Mar are irresistible to those searching for the perfect cove. Protected from the offshore winds and connected to the old town via a promenade, the Mar Menuda offers warm shallow waters. The beach provides the perfect spot to enjoy the last of the summer while taking in the rocky backdrop. After October 15, parking is free.
4. A clean dream
Puerto de Sagunto (Valencia)
The beach at Sagunto’s port is among the cleanest in Spain, and has been awarded any number of certifications. The port itself acts as a barrier against the Mediterranean’s currents, while the 100-meter-wide beach runs for more than a kilometer. Some of the restaurants to be found in the dunes are open all year round – Candela is among the best, and if it’s an ice cream you’re after, try Venetta.
5. The red cove
Estany Podrit (L’Ametlla de Mar, Tarragona)
Considered among the loveliest coves in Catalonia, l’Almetlla de Mar has been declared a conservation area. The Estany Podrit is in the Santes Creus zone. Its red-colored cliff face offers privacy to bathers, while the beach sand is exceptionally fine. It has the double advantage of being away from housing developments and protected by pine forests. The only noise comes from the local trains that run along the coast. Nearby is the Ametlla camp site, which has a good restaurant.
6. Unspoilt La Manga
Cala del Pino (Cartagena, Murcia)
There are probably beaches with more amenities in this finger of land on Murcia’s coastline, but none more natural, with Mediterranean pines coming down to the shoreline. Cala del Pino is a reminder of what this now over-developed area was once like – turtles once nested here. That said, the presence of German and British tourists means the area remains immaculate. As with all the beaches in La Manga, the waters are warm and shallow, and it’s possible to walk far out into the sea, making it the perfect spot for learning to swim.
7. Cocktails under the tower
El Tesorillo (Almuñécar, Granada)
Protected by the 18th-century Tesorillo watch tower, the promontory of which acts as a parapet against the winds from the east, this wide beach spreads down to what eventually becomes the beach at Velilla known as El Silencio. El Tesorillo, which gets crowded in summer, is quiet in the fall, and popular with Germans and British nationals who live here all year round. The most popular restaurant is a beach bar called Uha, which has been serving fresh food and cocktails since 1987.
8. Secret Ibiza
Cala Salada (Sant Antoni de Portmany, Ibiza)
Once the high season is over, Cala Salada, a protected cove in the north of Ibiza, returns to peace and quiet. Local fishermen keep their boats along its 200 meters of beach, but there is plenty of room to stretch out between dips in the warm azure waters. A little further along, past the pines and over the rocks, is the Saladeta cove, which is increasingly popular with nudists. Take a selfie from the Cala Salada restaurant (971 34 28 67, closed in November), which perches over the cove and has been offering rice and fish dishes since 1982.
9. Sudden beauty
Cala del Mascarat (Altea, Alicante)
This rocky stretch of the Alicante coastline, between Altea and Calpe, has been heavily developed, but the Mascarat cove is an exception. Head to Marina Greenwich (Campomanes) and turn left toward the Barra beach until you reach the Mascarat beach bar. From there, carefully make your way along the foot of the cliffs to a place that seems a million miles from the hustle and bustle of Altea.
10. A snorkeller’s paradise
Cala del Cuervo (Las Negras, Níjar, Almería)
The San Pedro cove is far and away the most popular spot in Las Negras, but just round the corner is this easily accessed spot, close to the La Caleta campsite, which offers unique access to the beaches. The Cala del Cuervo cove sits at the bottom of a steep incline, and is popular with snorkellers and scuba divers alike.