12 pictures that show the true beauty of northern Spain’s beaches

The wild beaches of Spain's northern coast offer dramatic coves, wild rock formations, long stretches of fine white sand, and best of all, hardly any people.

12 pictures that show the true beauty of northern Spain's beaches
The Playa de Rodas on Galicia's Isla Cies is considered one of the best beaches in Spain. All Photos: Richard Logan / The Beach Hunter

Richard Logan from South Lanarkshire in Scotland travels the world on a quest to discover the most beautiful beaches and posts his photographs on his facebook page The Beach Hunter.

He shared with The Local some of his favourites beaches in northern Spain and explained why Spain’s Atlantic coast had so much more to offer than the Mediterranean.

“Northern Spain is a region that is becoming world famous for its spectacular and less crowded beaches (with a few exceptions), compared to those beaches you will find in the south of Spain,” Logan explains.  

“The rugged green shores of the Atlantic coastline in the north and north-west present incredible views of natural beaches framed by lush and dramatic landscapes, yet to be overpowered by mass tourism.”

Here are some of his favourite  beaches visited on a trip through the regions of Galicia, Asturias and Cantabria.


Playa de las Catedrales, near Ribadeo

Praia das Catedrais, commonly known as Cathedrals Beach, or As Catedrais beach has been declared a National Monument by the regional government of Galicia. These names are a result of the giant rock formations that resemble the flying buttresses found in cathedrals.

This amazing natural wonder actually goes by many different names, but its official title is Praia de Augas Santas which translates to Beach of the Holy Waters. The beach is located in the Ribadeo municipality, in the province of Lugo.

Playa de Rodas, Cies Islands

Three islands that make up the Cies Islands were created into a national park in 2002 limiting the number of visitors to the islands to 2,000 a day. 


Portiellu de Cue, Llanes

Reached by a footpath, this sandy cove with its rolling Atlantic waves is framed by verdant green hills and dramatic cliffs.

Playa La Franca, Ribadedeva

A long golden stretch of beach that is one of the most popular in eastern part of Asturias, when the tides out, various coves become accessible. 

Playa de Torimbia, Nueva de Llanes

With crystal clear waters and golden sand it’s no wonder this 500metre curve of a beach is considered one of the most spectacular in the Asturias region.

Playa Rodiles, near Villaviciosa

This beautiful sandy beach offers shade within the trees of the pine forest that lines the shore. 

Playa Barayo, near Luarca


Located between Navia and Valdés, this beach is reached via a long winding footpath or via a staircase cut into the rock of the cliffs. Popular with nudists and surfers.

Playa del Silencio, Castañeras

This stands out from other beaches on this stretch of coast because it isn’t sandy but instead a pebble. While that might be everyone’s idea of a great beach, the stony seabed makes it a brilliant place for snorkelling beneath the dramatic cliffs at high tide and exploring in rock pools when the tide is out.

Santa Marina, Ribadesella

This beautiful stretch of fine sand lines the delightful coastal town of Ribadesella, a picturesque Asturian fishing port on a curving estuary.


The neighbouring region of Cantabria offers wonderful sandy beaches and dramatic coves where the cliffs tip into the Atlantic that are great for surfing and fishing. it also boasts some of the best city beaches in Spain. 

El Sardinero, Santander

Named for the abundant sardines fished in these waters, this most famous of Santander’s beaches is a wide stretch of golden sand that gets packed out during the summer months.

Playa Del Camello, Santander

Named because of a rocky outcrop that resembles a camel, this beach in Santander is popular for the game of palas, a popular beach tennis particular to Santander. 

Playa de Mataleñas

Reached via steep stairs, this beach is also in Santander located near the Cabo Mayor Lighthouse.

To see more of Logan’s favourite coastal spots, follow his Facebook page The Beach Hunter.

Do you have a favourite beach in Spain? Why not tell us in the comments below.

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Which Spanish regions are likely to allow people to remove their masks outdoors?

As Spain's vaccine campaign gains speed and the infection rate drops, there are indications that facemasks will very soon no longer be compulsory outdoors in several Spanish regions.

Which Spanish regions are likely to allow people to remove masks outdoors?

Spain’s Health Emergencies chief Fernando Simón said at a recent press conference that he is hopeful about relaxing the rule about the use of masks in outdoor spaces, as long as the safety distance of 1.5 meters can be guaranteed.

“It is very possible that in a few days the use of a mask outdoors can be reduced. Of course, always guaranteeing that the risks are decreasing,” he said.

However, Simón also added that “reducing one measure does not mean that the same should be done with all measures”. In addition, he asked citizens to go “step by step and be careful until we see the effects that mean we can relax the restrictions”.

Although this will be decided in the next few days Simón does not want anyone to “fall into false assurances”.

Face masks have been compulsory in public in Spain since May 21st 2020, and since March of this year, you are required to wear them in almost all indoor and outdoor settings, even if you’re sticking to the safety distance, unless the activity is incompatible with mask-wearing such as eating, drinking, sunbathing, running etc. 

Regions that could possibly relax restrictions on the use of masks outdoors

If the mask restrictions are relaxed by the government and the health authorities, the regions that could already qualify because of their low-to-medium risk epidemiological situations include Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, Castilla y León, Castilla La-Mancha, Extremadura, the Valencian region, Murcia, the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands.

Which regions are in favour of the move?

Both Catalonia and Galicia have said that they would be in favour of dropping the use of masks outdoors.

The Catalan government was one of the first regions to open the discussion on relaxing the use of masks outdoors.

According to Catalan Regional Health Secretary MarcRamentol, the Catalan government considers that with at least 30 percent of the population fully vaccinated and more than half of the population having received at least one dose, the matter is worth discussing. 

Not having to wear a mask outdoors will help the summer “feel more like 2019 than that of 2020”, said Ramentol.

President of the Xunta of Galicia Alberto Núñez Feijoo, said last week that he expects the use of masks outdoors will be abolished in July, however on Tuesday, May 18th at the Hotusa Group Tourism Innovation Forum in Madrid, he insisted that it is only “a matter of weeks”.

Although Valencia currently still has some strict rules in place, Regional President Ximo Puig has stated that he is in favour of the mask not being compulsory in open spaces. “We know that in open spaces there is a much lower possibility of contagion and I have been supporting this for a long time – it is not necessary to use the mask in some open spaces, natural spaces or on the beaches,” he said.

Which regions want to keep making masks compulsory in outdoor spaces

Regional authorities in Madrid and the Basque Country, the regions which the highest infection rates in Spain have criticised the national government’s position regarding masks, arguing that’s it’s too soon for masks to no longer be obligatory outdoors.

Andalusia is also against the proposal. Jesús Aguirre, Minister of Health and Families in Adalusia, has said that it would be a mistake since the mask is “the most powerful weapon” with which we have to avoid possible infections within the region.