Saying that it’s hot in Andalusia during the summer is very much an understatement.
It’s rare for there to be a year where July or August temperatures in Spain’s biggest region don’t sail past 40C.
Seville, the region’s inland capital, is regularly referred to as Spain’s ‘frying pan’, but Córdoba could just as easily be named the ‘Iberian oven’ and Écija the ‘Andalusian microwave’.
With such unbearably hot weather, it’s logical for Spaniards and foreigners to flee to the coast for the summer, which in turn means crowded beaches along Andalusia’s 1,000km-long coastline.
The pandemic and ongoing travel restrictions also means many Spaniards are spending their holidays in the country, and the Andalusian coast is popular among national tourists, just as it is with foreign visitors.
For peace seekers, that unfortunately means packed beaches and the usual hustle and bustle that comes with life in Spain.
However, Andalusia’s coastline has lots of fairly unknown beaches and coves where you are less likely to encounter big crowds, especially on weekdays and when the peak summer season is over.
They may not all have fine white sand and all the usual amenities but their ruggedness and natural beauty are part of the charm.
Here are ten playas (beaches) and coves (calas) in Andalusia where you may find the peace and quiet you’re after.
Cala de Cabo Roche, Conil (Cádiz)
One of several small yellow-sand coves surrounded by vegetation and steep cliffs that are off the beaten track for most tourists.
Playa de Doñana (Huelva)
The longest beach in Spain at 28km is located in Huelva’s Doñana National Park; so you’re guaranteed plenty of space as well as breathtaking natural beauty surrounding you.
Photo: Elvira Nimmee/Flickr
Playa de La Rijana, Gualchos (Granada)
A dramatic wall of interesting rock formations provides protection from the wind and currents to beachgoers at his small pebble and sand beach. It can get busy at weekends during the summer.
Photo: Francisco Liebana/Flickr
Playa de El Cañuelo, Tarifa (Cádiz)
Hidden behind a pinetree forest, this beautiful beach can only be accessed on foot, which keeps visitor numbers low.
Photo: Consuelo Ternero/Flickr
Playa del Barronal, Cabo Gata-Níjar (Almería)
Spectacular lava formations add a uniqueness to this beach which is rarely crowded as the road to get there can be a bit arduous.
Photo: Marc Capdevila/Wikipedia
Cala de Barranco de Maro, Nerja (Málaga)
One of several coves and beaches found in a protected area where difficult access generally means fewer visitors.
Playa de Nueva Umbría, Lepe (Huelva)
Located in a protected natural park, this beach of endless dunes and vegetation is the perfect place to find peace and quiet as no beach bars or other tourist attractions are allowed.
Playa de Cantarriján, Almuñecar (Granada)
A nudist beach (clothed beachgoers also welcome) which can be accessed by bus or car but generally only gets busy at weekends during the summer.
Playa de la Alberquilla, Nerja (Málaga)
Sometimes referred to as Las Alberquillas, this 400-metre-long rock beach has crystal clear waters and few visitors, given that it’s located in a natural park and has no amenities. It’s also a nudist beach.
Photo: Por los caminos de Málaga/Wikipedia
Cala de Enmedio, Cabo de Gata-Níjar (Almería)
Otherwordly fossilised cliffs and rock formations surround this fantastic but small beach that can get busy during the summer months.
Photo: Mir Zab/Flickr