Top 10 Beaches in Northern Spain

We love the beach! We always seen to plan our trips along some coastline somewhere. We spent two and half weeks making our way across Spain’s northern coast which just may be the most beautiful place we have been yet! Here is our list of the top 10 beaches we visited:
1. Playa de Torimbia: This beach is incredible. It is quite a hike down so do be prepared for that. Once you are on the beach you feel like your on another plant which such tall rock walls all around you. There is a small restaurant, more of a beach shack offering small plates, snacks and drinks. The hike down and back up does take some time but you will get amazing views along the way!
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2. Zumaia beach: This beach was featured on Game of Thrones. The rock formations that come right up to the water are like nothing we have ever seen. There is a restaurant overlooking the beach where you can grab lunch or a few drinks. This is also a great beach for surfing!
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3. Cathedral beach: The rock arches at Cathedral beach do not disappoint! You do need to plan your trip ahead of time as the number of people they let visit each day is limited. check out our blog post here for more details on this incredible place: Cathedral Beach: everything you need to know before you visit
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4. Gulpiyuri beach: This is a small, “hidden” beach off the coast. The waves crash through the rocks creating a small, shallow pool of water surrounded by a small sand beach. There are signs leading you down a dirt path to the beach.
5. Zurriola: This is the surfing beach in the city of San Sebastian. Great for surfing with tons of places nearby to rent board at. The beach is full of surfers all day long. This was our favorite beach in San Sebastian. It is bigger so it’s easier to feel like you are not right in the city while you are here.
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6. La Concha: This is the main beach in the city of San Sebastian. Here is where you go for swimming and other water activities. The beach overlooks La Isla de Santa Clara and you can see Mont Urgull and Mont Igueldo on either side
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7. Zarautz: This is another great surfing beach! The beach is huge offering lots of space for everyone. Also a great place for a beach walk. The small town of Zarautz has a great beach town feel but do pay attention to where you are parking. We unknowingly parked in a residential zone and ended up with a 20 euro parking ticket.
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8. Playa de Ballota: We passed this beach along the Camino del Norte, it is just before you reach the town of Llanes. It is another beach with quite a hike down but worth it for sure! There we alot of surfers there when we passed by. There is a campground nearby as well.
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9. La Isla: La Isla is a small beach town along the Camino del Norte route. This rock formation you can access at low tide but as the tide comes up it becomes a small island out in the water. there are a few small hotels, hostels and restaurants/cafes right along the beach so you can sit back and watch as the tides change.
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10. Playa de Vidiago: This was one of the first beaches we passed on our three days on the Camino del Norte. We were super impressed with this place! We kept walking and found the beaches only get better as we went!
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There are so many beaches along this coast, we definitely didn’t hit them all! If you are going through Asturias we would also recommend the AsturPlaya app to help you find all the best beaches!
-TFWYs
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Cathedral Beach: Everything you need to know before you visit

Somewhere along the way during our research into Northern Spain we saw a picture of Cathedral beach and decided we had to go! We added it to our list of places to see and left it at that. As our trip grew closer we happened to read somewhere that you need tickets to visit the beach since Galicia, Spain does monitor and limit the number of people who can visit each day. This led to much more research to make sure we had everything figured out before we left. This post will outline what you need to know to make sure you make the most of your visit to this amazing beach!
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First of all it is worth it! The beach really is incredible and if you are in the area we would highly recommend a visit. Plan to spend at least an hour down on the beach itself. It is much larger with more rock formations, arches and caves to explore than we realized.
Booking Tickets: 
During the spring through fall months you need to have tickets to visit the beach. You cannot book your tickets until 15 days prior to your visit. You will need to enter names and passport information for each person visiting. Then you will get an email with a barcode which they will scan when you enter the beach (so make sure to print it or save it on your phone).
Use this website to book your tickets:
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When to visit the beach:
Cathedral beach is different than most beaches in that the time of day and time of month really matter for your visit. The beach is only accessible at low tide. At high tide the water is too high to walk around the rocks. Low tide happens twice a day. The tides will be predicted on tide tables about two weeks ahead of time on the website listed below.
It’s good to know a little bit about the tides when you’re visiting this area. The tides have different heights based on the lunar phase. The best time to visit the beach is at the full moon or the week after. This is the time of the month when the difference between high and low tide is the greatest. Generally speaking that means low tide is lower and high tide is higher. That means there will be more beach to walk on during low tide at this time of the month. The week before the full moon is the worst time to visit the beach as this week the difference between high and low tide is at it’s lowest. During this week you won’t be able to walk on the beach without getting wet, even at low tide.
The tide table on this website is in Spanish. The bajamar column is low tide and the pleamar column is high tide. The altura or height column shows the height the sea will reach. It varys each day based on the lunar phase. The closer that number is to zero, the lower the tide/the better the day is to visit.

Use this website for tide tables and general info: http://ascatedrais.gal/ascatedrais/portada.php?idioma=en

 

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During your Visit:

Once you scan your ticket and head down to the beach you won’t be allowed to go back down a second time, so take your time! Even though the number of visitors is limited each day it will be crowded. The beach is large with lots to explore but do be aware it can be difficult to get a picture of the rock formations without anybody in them. Most of the large arches you will have seen pictures of before you go are to the right of the stairs down to the beach. But trust us walking the entire length of the beach in both directions is worth it. We recommend wearing shorts or pants that can easily be rolled up and wear shoes you can easily kick off. We visited the week after the full moon at low tide (the best week to visit) and while the beach was mostly dry there are rock formations closer to the water so if you want to see it all you may have to walk through some shallow water.

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There is a restaurant at the top of the stairs to the beach if you want lunch after you explore. We didn’t eat there so cannot recommend it. There are also picnic tables with better views of the beach so we would recommend taking a picnic lunch or some snacks to enjoy there before or after your beach walk. There are bathrooms you can use while your there but do be prepared, you will have to pay a small amount so do bring some small change.

We hope this helps! Go and explore this incredibly beautiful beach!

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-TFWYs