THEY’RE environmental gems, protected in national parks and UNESCO biosphere reserves. Some are Natural Monuments.
They’re also public beaches just begging to be enjoyed in June when you can almost have them to yourself.
Not strictly virginal – their charms have been discovered by birdwatchers, naturists, hard-core hikers and Spanish tourists – these pristine playas play it very hard to get, hiding below towering dunes or across marsh and scrubland, away from tarmac roads and civilisation as we know it.
So no showers, mojitos or muzak.
No lifeguards, first aid posts or safety flags either.
What you need, you lug with you and back again, plus rubbish (no bins) along trails more suited to Indiana Jones than the average extended Spanish family of abuelos, niños-in-arms and half the kitchen sink.
But the effort will overwhelm you with wow factor (unless you’re a sulky teen); sand dunes as soft as icing sugar, rock pool aquariums and some of the most untainted coastline in Spain.
These hot heritage beach zones should float your boat.
A DIP IN DOÑANA
Rompeculos (Bum Breaker Beach) is just one pearl in a 25km string of playas fringing Doñana National Park, a sunset strip book-ended by the frenetic summer resorts of Mazagon and Matalascañas.
There are dirt track turn-offs along the A494, then it’s a 20-minute hike through stone pine forest – Iberian lynx territory. Seriously!
The grassy bridges over the main road are lynx crossings although you’ll be lucky to see any.
If you find yourself looking over a 100 metre cliff you’re standing on a national monument: the Acantilado de Asperillo, a 12km range of fossilised sand dunes that took 15 millennia to make.
ROMPIDO ARROW AMOR
La Flecha is one of the Seven Wonders of Huelva and, like Cupid’s arrow, this sensational 13-kilometre sandbar induces love at first sight.
Aside from jaw-dropping beauty, this natural marshland spit offers the novelty of swimming in the River Piedras on one side and the Atlantic on the other.
It’s a chameleon beach, home to the colour-changing reptiles and a shapeshifter itself, changing with the tides so you never see the same peninsula two years running.
With regular 15-minute ferry crossings from the town of El Rompido you’ll have to share the love but, on the plus side, a frozen daiquiri is never far away.
AWESOME ANCHOVY POINT
Cadiz has its own spectacular sandbar flanked by the Atlantic on one side and the Bay of Cadiz Natural Park on the other, an estuary sanctuary that’s seafood heaven for birds and humans. The dune cape of Punta del Boqueron at the tip is a natural monument offering up Instagrammable views of Sancti Petri island castle from a Caribbean-copy beach.
Walk it barefoot from San Fernando or catch a ferry from the phantom pueblo of Sancti Petri near Chiclana, abandoned in the ’70s when it lost its almadraba tuna fishing industry but now being revitalised to catch tourists.