Hello and thanks in advance for your suggestions! I have 10 days to spend in Spain in early June. I have seen (and loved) most of the major cities (Madrid, Barcelona, San Sebastian, Granada) and am looking this year for a charming town (ideally on the coast -- I love beaches and coastal life) that will be interesting to explore and will provide a base to explore via public transportation, a couple of surrounding spots of interest. My interests include food, wine and local culture. But the main goal is to chill out in a small town and get to know its rhythms. I can arrive/depart from any part of Spain at this point. I appreciate your help!
Why don’t you spend a least some of that time in Mallorca? That will be the best coastal vacation you can have. It’s a short and cheap flight from Barcelona.
Then forget about the northern coast, water will be chilly at that time of the year and weather is very unpredictable, with frequent rain. But if you like a relaxed environment, in June, with beautiful landscapes and unspoilt beaches and no high rise apartment blocks, you have wonderful locations in Galicia (freezing cold water, though), Asturias, Cantabria and the BAsque Country.
It would be hot, but maybe a town along the Costa Caliente, e.g., Mojacar. Few tourists make it to that part of Spain. Nearby medium sized cities are Almeria and Lorca.
I think it matters a lot whether you actually want to go in the water.
Hi everyone, and thanks for your thoughts so far. I would, actually, like to be able to get into the water, and agree, the northern coast may have to wait for a high summer trip. I have been to Mallorca and really enjoyed it - returning there is a good idea. However, I was hoping to see a new region. I have spent alot of time in Barcelona, so have been to Stiges (south) and Torres del Mar (north), so am thinking exploring beyond Cataluna would be good. The coast south of Stiges would all be new to me. Is Malaga or one of the beach towns near it a good idea? I think that public transport to the surrounding area is pretty good. I also thought of Cadiz, but are there other spots within striking distance of public transport that would make some day trips (or overnights) a fun option? The Almeria coast would definitely be new to me. Can you tell me a bit more?
We enjoyed Malaga very, very much! I think it's an under-rated city. The pedestrianized city center is beautiful and clean with lots of restaurants, shops, and cafes. For sightseeing, there are many small art museums (we liked the Picasso Museum), the Cathedral, Ataranzas Market, promenade along the port, and we were really impressed with the Alcazaba, located on a hill. The uphill walk is wonderful, with lush greenery, beautiful flowers, small patios, fountains, and stunning views of the port and Mediterranean. I know there are ruins of a Roman theater, but somehow we missed those.
The beach is very nice. We were there in September but we didn't swim because we didn't have bathing suits. We walked along the beach and had dinner one night at an outdoor seafood restaurant on the beach. By the port, there is a ferris wheel, if that interests you.
For side trips, I know you could visit Granada or Seville for a few nights if you wish. You can take the AVE train to Seville. I don't know if the train is running from Malaga to Granada, but you can definitely take ALSA bus to Granada.
Based on your additional information, I'd recommend Peñíscola, just north of Valencia. With its cobbled streets and whitewashed houses, the old town of Peñíscola sits on a big rock that juts out into the sea. The town is dominated by a large Knights Templar castle that looks like something out of the Crusades. Recently, Peñíscola was used as a filming location in the T.V. series Game of Thrones. It has a nice sandy seashell-shaped beach and plenty of shops and restaurants. Peñíscola is located on the Costa del Azahar (Orange Blossom Coast), a stretch of coastline dotted with ancient olive trees, citrus groves, sandy beaches, lazy beach towns, time-warped castles, and Roman Ruins.
The town is dominated by a large Knights Templar castle that looks like something out of the Crusades
That's because it was! ; )
Yes I guess one can count the Reconquista as part of the larger campaign of the Crusades! ;-)
I spent a few days in Costa Del Sol and was not impressed at all with the beaches. There are far nicer beaches in the USA in California and the Gulf, or even some in the Atlantic. The Caribbean has fantastic beaches.
Sorry, but if you are entered in local culture going to a beach resort you will find more Germans and British than locals.
If you Malaga is OK, Rhonda is nice, but Seville is wonderful for all its history.
I suspect that if you want great beaches, you would probably have to go to the Balearic Islands, like Mallorca or Minorca.
Cadaqués...without a doubt...Cadaqués.
Rizell, others -- if I did select Majorca, would you stay in Palma? or another of the towns?
Instead, if looking for an island scene, I would actually try Mallorca's smaller brother Menorca, recently honored on NY Times's top 52 places to visit in 2020. Menorca is more laid-back, less developed, and off the radar compared to the likes of Mallorca or Ibiza. You could base yourself in the capital of Mahon (where mayonnaise is from!), or the ancient town of Ciutadella on the western side, or even try to rent/AirBnB some apartment in one of the smaller Calas (coves) that dot the island.
In response to your question, between mid-May and mid-September, the area around Cadiz (Costa de la Luz) is very busy with tourists, and lodging prices will be fairly high. If you wanted to avoid tourists, Cadiz is not the place to go. A few years ago, the majority of tourists came from Germany. As its name suggest, the Costa Caliente would be very hot as that part of Spain is warmer than most other parts of Andalucia. Personally, I don't go in the Mediterranean near any large city because of pollution concerns, but that's just me. East of Malaga over to Cartagena are many small coastal towns that will be very lively in June. The tourists visiting that area will generally be Spanish, since that coast isn't on most tourists' radar. In Almeria, there is a nice indoor market and its Aláczar is amazing. The city itself isn´t all that large and can be seen in a day. There is a castle at Lorca and worth visiting that time of year because it has people dressed in period costumes and events taking place. It has a fairly hefty entrance fee as castle entrance fees go. By late September, the re-enactors are gone and the castle isn´t worth the admission price. I´m not certain how well that coast is served by public transportation because we had a car. You'd need to check that out. We stayed at the Parador (hotel) in Mojacar. It has its own pool and right across the street is the Mediterranean if you care to swim in it. During the summer months there are a number of restaurants within walking distance, so you wouldn't need to go far to dine out, unless you wanted to.
I've been to both Malaga and Valencia, but in March. Both cities have a lot to offer besides the beaches.
If deciding on Mallorca I wouldn't consider staying in Palma but look more at somewhere such as Pollença, Port de Soller, Port d’Andratx which although primarily a port and marina with some small beaches there are larger beaches nearby or Cala d'or in the south. It has a small cove beach but larger, unspoilt beaches such as Es Trenc and Mondrago are within an easy driving distance.
Plenty of small fishing villages all around the island providing great little stop offs for lunch, coffee or a glass of wine plus the larger inland towns and their fantastic weekly markets.
Personally it's such a compact island with so much of everything to offer that I'd take it over mainland Spain any time. Menorca is much quiter and the pace of life slower than that of Mallorca however it doesn't have quite so much variety to offer as Mallorca.