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Travel: 10 enchanting Spanish bays
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Travel: 10 enchanting Spanish bays

From the breathtaking coves of Menorca and Pontevedra to the inlets of Alicante, get the most out of these scattered beaches this May and June

  • A jewel set along the breathtaking Migjorn coast (South Menorca). With its blinding white sand and tame, shallow tide that rolls under a blazing sun, the Es Talaier cove is home to a pool-like body of water, almost shaded by the nearby pine trees. The crags that pass through its scarce 50-meter-long beach prevent the docking of boats along with the trail they leave along the shore. The best time to visit is after 6Pm, the opposite time tourists would normally choose to go. Accessibility: starting May 2, buses will run from Ciudadela to the Son Saura sandbank. Something new this year are the walkways that protect the Son Saura dunes, which start from the the Camí de Cavalls and end at Cala (approximately a 15 minute walk).
    1Es Talaier (Ciudadela, Menorca) A jewel set along the breathtaking Migjorn coast (South Menorca). With its blinding white sand and tame, shallow tide that rolls under a blazing sun, the Es Talaier cove is home to a pool-like body of water, almost shaded by the nearby pine trees. The crags that pass through its scarce 50-meter-long beach prevent the docking of boats along with the trail they leave along the shore. The best time to visit is after 6Pm, the opposite time tourists would normally choose to go. Accessibility: starting May 2, buses will run from Ciudadela to the Son Saura sandbank. Something new this year are the walkways that protect the Son Saura dunes, which start from the the Camí de Cavalls and end at Cala (approximately a 15 minute walk). Alamy
  • Up to nine coves at the feet of a slope spread across this coastline, where you can get a taste of the blue hues of the Atlantic Ocean. In order to reach these bays, which are free of construction, there are three possible paths that flank the flora of the sea juniper, almost extinct on the coast. Centennial trees grow about 200 meters away from the lighthouse. The straight-lined Tío Juan de Medina cove (pictured above) has a staircase that lets you count the reddish ledges that the waves gouge out in plain sight and whose clay-like tones light up with the sunset. If you do go to Roche, you must stay until the end of the day. Los Enebros, Princesa Alejandra, and El Pato trace out a semi-circle. El Frailecillo offers a lot of sand even in high tide. The most urbanized and wide bay of all is El Áspero. The Venta Cabo Roche restaurant (caboroche.com) is known for its fish. Accessibility: The Roche cape lighthouse, seven kilometers away from the center of Conil, is the starting point of the coves.
    2Roche Bays (Conil de la Frontera, Cádiz) Up to nine coves at the feet of a slope spread across this coastline, where you can get a taste of the blue hues of the Atlantic Ocean. In order to reach these bays, which are free of construction, there are three possible paths that flank the flora of the sea juniper, almost extinct on the coast. Centennial trees grow about 200 meters away from the lighthouse. The straight-lined Tío Juan de Medina cove (pictured above) has a staircase that lets you count the reddish ledges that the waves gouge out in plain sight and whose clay-like tones light up with the sunset. If you do go to Roche, you must stay until the end of the day. Los Enebros, Princesa Alejandra, and El Pato trace out a semi-circle. El Frailecillo offers a lot of sand even in high tide. The most urbanized and wide bay of all is El Áspero. The Venta Cabo Roche restaurant (caboroche.com) is known for its fish. Accessibility: The Roche cape lighthouse, seven kilometers away from the center of Conil, is the starting point of the coves. Alamy
  • Few would think, if they were brought here blindfolded, that they were in Santander. Mataleñas is hidden in the rugged simplicity of various cliffs on whose slopes several ferns, tamarinds, pampas grass, and a few dispersed pines are threaded. The beautiful mountainous makeup of Mataleñas and the fine golden sand are the highlights of this Santander cove. Various lookout points are an alternative for those who refuse to descend 157 steps down to the cove, the price that beach-goers have to pay (there was even a plan to install an elevator). Among the things that define this cove, is its impeccable cleanliness, the safety of a tide that breaks at the bottom of the cliffs, turning it into a pool at high tide. There is no beach visit without a portion of fried squid from the cafe bar El Faro. Accessibility: park between the Minor and Major capes, next to the golf links. Its a good idea to get there from the shore path that starts at Sardinero beach.
    3Mataleñas (Santander, Cantabria) Few would think, if they were brought here blindfolded, that they were in Santander. Mataleñas is hidden in the rugged simplicity of various cliffs on whose slopes several ferns, tamarinds, pampas grass, and a few dispersed pines are threaded. The beautiful mountainous makeup of Mataleñas and the fine golden sand are the highlights of this Santander cove. Various lookout points are an alternative for those who refuse to descend 157 steps down to the cove, the price that beach-goers have to pay (there was even a plan to install an elevator). Among the things that define this cove, is its impeccable cleanliness, the safety of a tide that breaks at the bottom of the cliffs, turning it into a pool at high tide. There is no beach visit without a portion of fried squid from the cafe bar El Faro. Accessibility: park between the Minor and Major capes, next to the golf links. Its a good idea to get there from the shore path that starts at Sardinero beach. Alamy
  • Lanzarote’s southeastern region looks golden with sand, feels cool because of the aquamarine tones of the Atlantic, tastes salty, sounds breezy due to the trade winds and smells like burnt sand under the African sun. With Fuerteventura and the Lobos islet in the background, Papagayo Cove, the most photogenic and shallow, giving a name to the rest of the beaches along the natural Ajaches monument, was used as anchorage until the middle of the 20th century. Everything comes second to the panorama that can be viewed from the natural terrace that is formed into the cliff, next to the beach bar. The view is best at dusk. Accessibility: An asphalt and later dirt path branches out from the Playa Blanca enclave. An environmental charge of €3, just for cars, is levied between 9am and 4pm (and until 5.30pm starting in June). Bicycle rentals available at Papagayo Bike (papagayobike.com). Steps and wooden posts have been added to the descent.
    4Papagayo Cove (Yaiza, Lanzarote) Lanzarote’s southeastern region looks golden with sand, feels cool because of the aquamarine tones of the Atlantic, tastes salty, sounds breezy due to the trade winds and smells like burnt sand under the African sun. With Fuerteventura and the Lobos islet in the background, Papagayo Cove, the most photogenic and shallow, giving a name to the rest of the beaches along the natural Ajaches monument, was used as anchorage until the middle of the 20th century. Everything comes second to the panorama that can be viewed from the natural terrace that is formed into the cliff, next to the beach bar. The view is best at dusk. Accessibility: An asphalt and later dirt path branches out from the Playa Blanca enclave. An environmental charge of €3, just for cars, is levied between 9am and 4pm (and until 5.30pm starting in June). Bicycle rentals available at Papagayo Bike (papagayobike.com). Steps and wooden posts have been added to the descent. GETTY
  • Halfway between Agua Amarga and Plomo bay, the purity of the Cabo de Gata-Níjar natural park is conserved. In its left flank, you can see seascapes carved into sandstone. On the right-hand side there is a quaint cavity where the waves reverberate. The rocky plates from which a clear sea plunges and the ashen color of the fine sand on the shore give this cove an air of magic and mystery. Accessibility: 300 meters before Plomo Bay is the start of the 1.7 kilometer path (about 25 minutes) to Enmedio Cove. It is a tougher route from Agua Amarga (a 45 minute trek).
    5Enmedio Cove (Níjar, Almeria) Halfway between Agua Amarga and Plomo bay, the purity of the Cabo de Gata-Níjar natural park is conserved. In its left flank, you can see seascapes carved into sandstone. On the right-hand side there is a quaint cavity where the waves reverberate. The rocky plates from which a clear sea plunges and the ashen color of the fine sand on the shore give this cove an air of magic and mystery. Accessibility: 300 meters before Plomo Bay is the start of the 1.7 kilometer path (about 25 minutes) to Enmedio Cove. It is a tougher route from Agua Amarga (a 45 minute trek). Getty Images
  • In San Vicente do Grove just as much as in Arosa island, the Galician coves are a highlight. The relevance of A Barcela (colloquially named the French cove), supported by a rocky point, is due to the glazed sand and the natural cover that it draws into the estuary, used as anchorage for dornas, a type of boat originated from primitive Norman ships. A seductive invitation to sunbathe between eye-catching crags, in front of the houses that now occupy what once was a sardine salting factory from the mid-19th century. Another curiosity in A Barcela is the turquoise water. You can also nap under the pine trees of the adjoining Berreiriño cove, in bacchanal bliss with the Atlantic. The nearby Parilla Tango restaurant, an Argentine grill set in the sand that also serves as a beach-hut bar, is a good option for food. Accessibility: In O Grove, just leave the Área Grande exit to your right and pass San Vicente church, and you’ll see the parking area to your left. From there you’re 200 meters away from the sea.
    6A Barcela (O Grove, Pontevedra) In San Vicente do Grove just as much as in Arosa island, the Galician coves are a highlight. The relevance of A Barcela (colloquially named the French cove), supported by a rocky point, is due to the glazed sand and the natural cover that it draws into the estuary, used as anchorage for dornas, a type of boat originated from primitive Norman ships. A seductive invitation to sunbathe between eye-catching crags, in front of the houses that now occupy what once was a sardine salting factory from the mid-19th century. Another curiosity in A Barcela is the turquoise water. You can also nap under the pine trees of the adjoining Berreiriño cove, in bacchanal bliss with the Atlantic. The nearby Parilla Tango restaurant, an Argentine grill set in the sand that also serves as a beach-hut bar, is a good option for food. Accessibility: In O Grove, just leave the Área Grande exit to your right and pass San Vicente church, and you’ll see the parking area to your left. From there you’re 200 meters away from the sea.
  • An old haven for fishermen and smugglers – and an excellent zone for splashing around in crystal-clear water – Estreta peeks out from the end of a a path embellished with pines. In terms of purity, what it has to show for it are the three small bends in which sandy bottoms reign over rock. One of them (pictured above) is shielded by a mound where the water falls and the absence of rocks and urchins makes it perfect for families. It also still serves as a fisherman’s refuge. Facing the cove, the Formigues isles are a meeting point for mermaids during the night of San Juan. And perfect for rest and repose is the La Malcontenta hotel. Accessibility: starting in June, traffic will be prevented from circulating around Estreta and parking will be available at Castell beach. In the Iberian settlement, take Camí de Ronda for about 1.5 kilometers (about 40 minutes) until you reach Estreta.
    7Estreta Cove (Palamós, Girona) An old haven for fishermen and smugglers – and an excellent zone for splashing around in crystal-clear water – Estreta peeks out from the end of a a path embellished with pines. In terms of purity, what it has to show for it are the three small bends in which sandy bottoms reign over rock. One of them (pictured above) is shielded by a mound where the water falls and the absence of rocks and urchins makes it perfect for families. It also still serves as a fisherman’s refuge. Facing the cove, the Formigues isles are a meeting point for mermaids during the night of San Juan. And perfect for rest and repose is the La Malcontenta hotel. Accessibility: starting in June, traffic will be prevented from circulating around Estreta and parking will be available at Castell beach. In the Iberian settlement, take Camí de Ronda for about 1.5 kilometers (about 40 minutes) until you reach Estreta. Alamy
  • The Fonda inlet – also known as Waikiki – is the most iconic virgin cove between Castellón and Costa Brava. Its rich interior, complemented by meadows of posidonia oceanica, is owed to the Marquise of Mas Rabassa, who refused the blank check offered in exchange for construction there, in the first recorded environmental act of the Tarragon coasts. It flaunts dunes colonized by aquatic fennel, as well as pinyon pines, carob and olive trees. Under the accentuated yellow-tinted slope, protected by wind and the sound of the highway and train, Fonda cove is particularly appealing to those who flee from the beach-hut bars and prefer to just bathe. The descent to the sand is very difficult. Accessibility: parking at Platja Llarga, just pass the Las Salinas campsite. The rest is 1.8 kilometers by foot.
    8Fonda inlet (Tarragona capital) The Fonda inlet – also known as Waikiki – is the most iconic virgin cove between Castellón and Costa Brava. Its rich interior, complemented by meadows of posidonia oceanica, is owed to the Marquise of Mas Rabassa, who refused the blank check offered in exchange for construction there, in the first recorded environmental act of the Tarragon coasts. It flaunts dunes colonized by aquatic fennel, as well as pinyon pines, carob and olive trees. Under the accentuated yellow-tinted slope, protected by wind and the sound of the highway and train, Fonda cove is particularly appealing to those who flee from the beach-hut bars and prefer to just bathe. The descent to the sand is very difficult. Accessibility: parking at Platja Llarga, just pass the Las Salinas campsite. The rest is 1.8 kilometers by foot. AGE FOTOSTOCK
  • There are various snippets of fine white sand belonging to Platges de Comte. The emerald sea, of pristine waters, strongly penetrates your eyes from these interconnected bays with rocky entrances. If you look up at the swath of the smaller 11 islands, you’ll see the mass of Des Bosc island partly hidden by the other island of Conejera. Beyond that, you’ll see the islets of S’Espartar and, towards the West, Ses Bledes. The small cove of Racó d’en Xic harbors the Cala Escondida beach bar (calaescondidaibiza.com). And to enjoy and dine under epic sunsets you can go to Sunset Ashram (sunsetashram.com). Accessibility: The Comte exit is 4 kilometers away from Sant Antoni. From Sant Antoni to the Conta cove there is a boat route.
    9Conta cove (Sant Josep, Ibiza) There are various snippets of fine white sand belonging to Platges de Comte. The emerald sea, of pristine waters, strongly penetrates your eyes from these interconnected bays with rocky entrances. If you look up at the swath of the smaller 11 islands, you’ll see the mass of Des Bosc island partly hidden by the other island of Conejera. Beyond that, you’ll see the islets of S’Espartar and, towards the West, Ses Bledes. The small cove of Racó d’en Xic harbors the Cala Escondida beach bar (calaescondidaibiza.com). And to enjoy and dine under epic sunsets you can go to Sunset Ashram (sunsetashram.com). Accessibility: The Comte exit is 4 kilometers away from Sant Antoni. From Sant Antoni to the Conta cove there is a boat route. Alamy
  • It’s not so much for diving in, as much as it is for walking along the beach and relentlessly photographing. Such is its wild power to evoke emotions. You reach Cuberris beach in no time, to look over this sweet spot positioned under protective cliffs. The urban developments seen at the Ajo cape do not so much as hint at the pristine setting and calm that the surfers from the Ajo Surf School (ajosurfschool.com) and seagulls get to enjoy. The majority of visitors don’t descend to the sand (during high tide the staircase with a railing does little to avoid getting your feet wet): it’s enough just to stare in awe from afar. The perfect selfie. During the course of the ebb and flow of the tide, it flaunts its most spectacular sandy beach, and is when its caves can be explored. During high tide, it might be better to stick to the path that runs through the higher part of the cliffs. Accessibility: In Cuberris beach, in front of the Ajo Beach campsite, there is a small parking zone. A 300 meter path leaves you in Antuerta.
    10Antuerta (Bareyo, Cantabria) It’s not so much for diving in, as much as it is for walking along the beach and relentlessly photographing. Such is its wild power to evoke emotions. You reach Cuberris beach in no time, to look over this sweet spot positioned under protective cliffs. The urban developments seen at the Ajo cape do not so much as hint at the pristine setting and calm that the surfers from the Ajo Surf School (ajosurfschool.com) and seagulls get to enjoy. The majority of visitors don’t descend to the sand (during high tide the staircase with a railing does little to avoid getting your feet wet): it’s enough just to stare in awe from afar. The perfect selfie. During the course of the ebb and flow of the tide, it flaunts its most spectacular sandy beach, and is when its caves can be explored. During high tide, it might be better to stick to the path that runs through the higher part of the cliffs. Accessibility: In Cuberris beach, in front of the Ajo Beach campsite, there is a small parking zone. A 300 meter path leaves you in Antuerta. GETTY