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The sand between your toes, salty tang in the air and the sound of waves lapping the shore - a beach epitomises relaxation. It's unsurprising then that holidaymakers are drawn to the coast, and Spain beach holidays are topping travellers' wish lists. The sun-soaked Costas and Balearic Island beaches have long had a place in British holidaymakers' hearts. From long stretches of pristine sand, to hideaway coves with not another soul in sight, you could spend an entire holiday hopping from beach to beach.
Here at James Villas, Spain beach holidays are one of our specialities. Whether you want the coast on your doorstep or are happy to explore to find that coveted, secluded spot, we can find you the perfect villa and the best flight options from many airlines across 25 UK airports. We can even sort your car hire, transfers and insurance - pretty much any aspect of your holiday that you want to place in our expert hands.
All that remains then, is to decide where in Spain?
Spain's longest coastline, it's little wonder the famed Costa del Sol is a magnetic for those who love sun, sea and sand. It's said to enjoy an incredible 300 days of sunshine per year, so you'll have plenty of opportunities for beach bathing on holiday. From the glamourous beachfront promenades around Marbella, to pristine and protected natural dunes, the choice between lively sands and secluded swathes is yours.
Playa del Cristo can be found near to Estepona, gently curving around the cobalt waters of the Mediterranean. Fine sand feels fabulous beneath your feet, while the calm sea makes it a dream for swimming and snorkelling. Facing west, it's the perfect place to linger as the sun sets.
Playa Nagüeles is one of the most exclusive beaches on the Costa del Sol on Marbella's 'Golden Mile'. Sun bathing, people watching and soaking up the glorious Spanish sun are the order of the day here.
Playa Puerto Banus neighbours the Costa del Sol's most famed marina and is also known as Playa de Levante. With fine sand and calm waters it's a beach mecca for families. The promenade behind makes for a delightful stroll. Throughout the summer you can amble the craft stalls and cross the wooden footbridge over the Rio Verde.
Get a bite to eat from one of the 'chiringuitos', or beach bars. Look out for fresh fish, sardinas al espeto - cooked over an open fire - and delicious tapas dishes.
Few beach holidays in Spain offer a more brilliant backdrop than Andalucia. Pretty beaches and coves of golden sand scatter the long, sun-soaked coastline on either side of Nerja. Peppered with white-washed towns and striking rock formations, it's the mountain ranges behind and sapphire blue Mediterranean beyond that complete the panorama.
Playa de Maro can be found east of Nerja. Protected from development this beautiful cove is home to an abundance of fish, making the clear waters popular with snorkelers. With hills and cliffs rising quickly from the surroundings, the secluded and idyllic scene is completed by a cascading waterfall which you can see from a hired kayak.
Playa Calahonda is a few kilometres in the other direction from Nerja and can only be described as postcard-pretty. Relax in the small cove with charming fisherman's huts perched on its rocks. The beachfront restaurant is great for a bite to eat, and often treats sun-seekers to live music and flamenco.
Andalucia's rock formations extend below the sea, making the rugged sea bed a haven for marine life. The Acantilados de Maro-Cerro Gordo stretch is a protected area with many opportunities for snorkelling or diving.
More low-key than its sister island, Mallorca, Menorca's gently shelving sands and shallow, warm waters are eternally popular with families. Like many Spain beach holidays, you can take your pick of lively, sandy beaches, or hunt out the north's exquisite local secrets - tiny bays and pebble-strewn coves amid a wild pine backdrop.
Es Grau can be found in the northeast within the protected nature reserve of S'Albufera des Grau. An unspoilt and unpretentious crescent of sand, the shallows waters are eye-rubbingly blue and perfect for paddling.
Macarella has powder-white sands - pristine and only rivalled by the perfect crystalline quality of the waters. Clasped between white, tree clad rocks, few places on the island deserve the accolade of 'paradise' more than here.
Pregonda is a natural spectacle where pink-hued rocks challenge the ochre-golden sands for the mantle of 'most colourful'. With a backdrop of dunes and fields, the blue horizon is interrupted only by the rocky islet in the middle of the bay. The price of seclusion - a 30 minute walk from the car park. It's worth it however, so pack up your picnic and your shade and settle down in a little piece of paradise.
If your exploration of the northern beaches takes you near the fishing village of Fornells, you simply must pick up some fresh seafood to cook up back at your villa.
From sweeping sands to perfect horseshoe bays, beaches in Mallorca are as beautiful as they are plentiful. The most popular areas around Pollensa and Alcudia in the northeast offer long, white sands with excellent facilities. The southeast of the island meanwhile is home to Cala d'Or - the aptly name 'golden bay' - and other smaller, picturesque coves.
Playa de Muro is a 6km expanse of white sand and every bit deserves its Blue Flag status. Quieter than other beaches around Alcudia, if you walk the shoreline towards Can Picafort you'll leave the residential area and come to the stretch known as Es Comu, which is wonderfully unspoilt.
Puerto Pollensa is one of the most striking beaches in Mallorca. This 1.5km Blue Flag stretch is blessed with white sands and an impressive Tramuntana mountain backdrop. Free parking, watersports and a wealth of shops and restaurants mean sun-worshippers are well looked after.
Cala Llombards is a narrow cove of white sand idling on the southeast coast, 30 minutes from Cala d'Or. Backed by pine trees and cradled by two shelf-like rocky outcrops, the turquoise waters are calm, sheltered and inviting - worth the effort of getting there for a glimpse of one of Mallorca's finest.
See the island's beach beauties from a different perspective on a boat trip up to the Cap Formentor - the tip of Mallorca's northern peninsula - or around the coves of the south, stopping off for a secluded swim or lazy lunch.
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