Spain summer holidays guide
Planning a holiday to Spain? Read how to book the best Spanish summer beach holiday, with recommendations on great resorts and hotels, our experts' favourite seaside towns and villages, and the best tour operators. By Telegraph Travel's Spain experts.
With more than 5,000 miles of coastline, Spain has thousands of beaches, from tiny rocky coves to long strips of golden sand. Blue Flag status was awarded to 579 beaches around the country and the islands last year, guaranteeing not only water quality but also, in most cases, access for people with disabilities. Valencia boasts the most Blue Flags, with more than 129 awarded to its spectacular beaches including Las Arenas, Malvarrosa and El Cabanal.
In the south, the coast of Andalusía measures around 500 miles. Even in developed areas like the Costa del Sol, there are quiet bays in between the family resorts and beach clubs. The Costa de la Luz curves around the Atlantic through the provinces of Cádiz and Huelva, with some of the best beaches in Spain, particularly for water sports.
Scroll down for a list of tour operators offering beach holidays to Spain
The Basque coast on the Bay of Biscay has some of the best waves for surfing on its 40 beaches. Zarautz, a low-key resort, has the longest beach in the region, with several schools offering tuition for all levels. Experts rate the lefthand wave in Mundaka, at the mouth of the Gernika estuary in the Urdaibai nature reserve, as one of the best in the world.
Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands, with more than 150 beaches along its 220 miles of coast, is fast becoming one of Spain’s most popular seaside destinations. There are superb conditions for kiteboarding, windsurfing, diving and other activities, particularly in the resort of Corralejo.
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Tour operators offering beach holidays to Spain
Main sun-and-sand companies
TUI (0203 636 1931; tui.co.uk) offers an enormous choice of holidays to the mainland costas, Balearics and Canaries. Accommodation ranges from TUI Sensimar – contemporary-styled beachfront hotels exclusively for adults – to TUI Family Life, with childrens' clubs. Flagship properties include the Sensatori Ibiza. Charter flights are offered in summer from 25 UK airports. The website is excellent both for finding deals and swotting up on hotels (there are videos and customer reviews).
Turn to sister company First Choice (0871 200 7799; firstchoice.co.uk) for all-inclusive holidays in large, family-oriented hotels: SplashWorld properties have a water park either on site or nearby with unlimited access to at no extra cost.
Thomas Cook (0844 412 5970; thomascook.com) has a similar range of Spanish holidays, with many hotels pitched at families and couples, and packaged with flights from 23 UK airports. There are additional family-friendly SunConnect Resorts at a number of destinations, including Menorca and Ibiza, that feature various online facilities and activities.
For both companies, enquire about child-goes-free deals on some holidays for early bookings.
To package budget airlines' flights with hotels, turn to:
Upmarket hotel stays
For packages to a big choice of four- and five-star hotels in the Balearics, Canaries and Costa del Sol:
Classic Collection Holidays (0800 047 1066; classic-collection.co.uk)
Prestige Holidays (01425 480400; prestigeholidays.co.uk)
Sovereign (01293 839594; sovereign.com)
Western & Oriental (0203 553 9464; westernoriental.com)
Kirker Holidays (020 7593 1899; kirkerholidays.com) is a good choice for best hotels in the Costa Brava, Majorca, Tenerife.
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Castaways (01737 812255; castaways.co.uk) Large choice of upmarket coastal hotels (and rural ones) on Majorca.
Cachet Travel (0208 847 8700; cachet-travel.co.uk) Characterful hotels and self-catering, some off the beaten track, on all the Canary Islands.
Corona Holidays (0800 567 7688; coronaholidays.co.uk) Extensive choice of hotels and apartments across the Canaries.
Stowaway Travel (01992 581303; stowawaytravel.co.uk) Costa de La Luz specialist.
Leading camping operators Eurocamp (01606 787 125; eurocamp.co.uk) and Canvas Holidays (0345 268 0827; canvasholidays.co.uk) offer packages to large seaside campsites, mostly on the costas Brava and Dorada.
If you want to camp independently – and there are lots of campsites elsewhere, such as in northern Spain – alanrogers.com is the best online source for recommendations.
Villas, cottages and apartments
Some of the better accommodation websites let you search using filters that show up properties near a beach. On direct-booking website spain-holiday.com, you can narrow down your search to places to stay that are no more than 100 metres from the beach.
Tour operator listings by Fred Mawer