Heading to Spain for the first time in later September or October. Wondering if the beaches are still swimmable at that time and any recommendations for a place to spend a couple of beach days. Will probably stay in Spain 3 weeks and hope to cover Andalucia and Barcelona at a minimum. Thanks for your input.
Hello MaryJean, You live in a favorite town of ours. BTW: With Rick's HQ so close by it may be worth scheduling a visit with one of their experts. Last October we traveled to Spain for two weeks (Oct 1 through 15). We started in Madrid for five days then went to Malaga (where we day tripped to Granada and Ronda, then spent a night in Seville). First, the water will be cool and few were entering the sea. Second, beaches in Andalucia are more the consistentcy of course sand with alot of pebbles.
Third, the weather was terrific. We were blessed with all sunny days with lows at night in the 60's and days in high 70's. If you would like additional info on our itinerary we will be glad to share. Steven
The weather will be warmer the further south you go - so probably Basque or Catalon beaches aren't going to be a good choice for warm water. Barcelona's beaches aren't particularly nice, more dirt than sand. If the weather is really nice, however, a short train ride up or down the coast will get you easily to nicer beaches. When you go south, you have a choice of Costal del Sol or Costa de la Luz. The dividing line is roughly Gibraltar, west is de la Luz, east is del Sol. I'm not sure which will have warmer water. del Sol is all resorts, condos and golf courses. de la Luz is sparsely populated (and the beaches are nice sand). We skipped del Sol in favor of de la Luz - because sparsely populated is more my style.
Weather at that time of year can be anything and everything - hot, cool, breezy, rainy, and any combination thereof. It's my favorite time of year to travel that region, but you need to be prepared for anything. What kind of a "beach day" are you expecting? I think when most Americans think of "a nice beach" they are thinking of Hawaii, Mexico, etc. - broad swaths of fine, powdery, white sand, with plenty of room and clear water. That's generally not what you're going to find in Europe (no offense intended to those who enjoy European beach time). If, on the other hand, you're OK with pebbles, rows of rented chaise lounges lined up right next to each other...then maybe you'll be happy. It'll certainly be a better "beach experience" than a day at the beach in Seattle. Just set your expectations accordingly. Personally, I think it's foolish to waste a day at "the beach" when in Europe. There are too many other, better things to see and do there, and frankly, if you're looking for a "great beach experience" you're probably going to be disappointed. If you want a beautiful beach, go to the Caribbean or Thailand. When you're in Europe, there are better ways to make the best use of your time - at least that's true for me.
I agree, it is foolish to waste a day at the beach even in the South, I dont advice to take a bathing suit, but do take comfortable walking shoes, there is a lot to see and do.
Thanks for all the input. Sounds like we should find another way to get a little time out from a heavy sightseeing schedule. Further input would be welcome.
People who say Europe doesn't have nice beaches have never been to Costa de la Luz. The area reminds me of Baja California (or at least what Mexico was like when I was a kid), miles of sandy beaches with regular cliffs and coves and very few people to share it with. The water was cold when I was there in April (as it would be on the Baja coast in April), but it was still my idea of what a beach should be. It's true that many beaches in Europe are made up of dirt, grittier sand, pebbles, or rocks. I've noticed that in many areas, but not at every beach. It's also true that many of the "popular" beaches are private, access often means renting chaise lounges for the day. None of that was true for the vast majority of Costa de la Luz.
Maryjean,, do me a favor,, google " images of Tossa de Mar Spain".. .breathtaking,, no KFCs there, no Starbucks or McDonalds, just a beautiful little town only 1.5 hours away from Barcelona by bus.. we loved it. People who says its a waste of a day to plan some down time , also known as a "beach day" are likely the type that only get 10 day vacations and feel they must cram in major sightseeing every single day to make the trip "worth it". I am not one of those people. We did 26 days in Europe last summer, Paris, Amsterdam,, Nice, Barcelona, BUT the best most relaxing days were the 5 days we stayed in Tossa.. it was wonderful to wander the little streets, eat amazing food, and sit on the beach,, which was not fine sand, but it was SAND , and enjoy the warm water,, not sure how warm in October, but there again, google is your friend.. simply google " average temps for Tossa De Mar Spain in October".
My first trip to Spain, I took a walk to the beach, only to find a large group of people in the ocean.....It was February and at most 50 degrees. I was in a winter coat...go figure
Kelly, Those were Brits. The fact that they had ice cream cones in their hands would have been the dead give-away.
Thanks to everyone who took the time to provide your thoughts. I appreciate it very much.
Maryjean, did you look at Tossa, De Mar, its like my fantasy return spot..
I would stick to September, later then that you may take you chances on weather.
I guess the term 'beach day' has different meanings for everyone. To me it incorporates a variety of experiences which involve going to the ocean/sea/water. I love just wandering on the beach, relaxing and writing in my journal, taking a bottle of wine to watch the sunset, or a cup of coffee to watch the sunrise, and I never feel it is a waste of time. For me, it is actually a priority to spend a few hours at the water. Some of my best memories are of experiences near the water, so I would never travel and not spend some time enjoying nature. Whether it is a cold and rocky and desolate beach in Ireland or a great little beach town in the Carmague it is always a destination for me.