Friday, 28 July 2023, 18:06
Scars that the sea has chiselled at whim. Aquatic cavities surrounded by rocks that are sought out by bathers in search of the peace that cannot be provided by the endless stretches of sand with deafening bustle and an 'aroma' provided by tonnes of sun cream.
These are the hidden coves that dot the Spanish coastline. Some require skill, strong legs and patience to find. Others are easier to get to, but there are those that can only be reached by boat.
Perhaps that is what adds to the charm. Cala del Barronal, for example, is one of many coves in the Cabo de Gata-Níjar natural park in Almeria. It is not as well known as its nearest neighbours - Mónsul, Cala Carbón and Cala del Plomo (not to mention Genoveses and Los Muertos), but that's exactly why it's worth finding your way there to rest on the 800 metres of sand and bathe in the crystal-clear waters, Levante wind permitting.
Still in Andalucía, the province of Cadiz boasts several coves and beaches that, believe it or not, maintain their peace and quiet, unlike the same coast's famous and busy Bolonia beach and its infinite sands.
Roche, Milla de Plata and Enebro are all good examples of cosy coves on the Cadiz coastline, although undoubtedly the one to visit is Cala de los Alemanes, near Zahara de los Atunes, in the municipality of Tarifa, between the points of Gracia and La Plata.
Watched over by Camarinal lighthouse at one end, the bay stretches for 1,500 metres of soft sand (it is 50 metres wide) which, even in the height of summer, is peaceful with none of the usual noise suffered by bathers on busier beaches.
For the next visit we head north, to Cedeira (Galicia) and Cala de Sonreiras, one of the 177 beaches along the coast of A Coruña. Hidden away, the steep cliffs protect a thin and secluded strip of sand bathed by the chilly waters of the Atlantic.
There lies one of the reasons why this cove is silent and solitary, the other being the difficulty in actually getting there, although steep, wooden steps have now been provided, making a visit just a little bit easier. And, as with all quiet off-the-beaten-track coves, there are no bars or kiosks, so the climb down is made more complicated as bathers struggle with picnic bags and, above all, water, to last the long day on the beach. A way of avoiding the steps is to rent a small boat in nearby Cedeira and approach the cove from the sea.
Moving across the map towards the east we reach the Costa Brava. In the seaside town of Roses (Girona) we find Cala Canyelles which has not lost its charm, despite being a favourite haunt for many holidaymakers in the summer.
Here, what was once a virgin coastline (is there anything virgin left in this world?) has gained showers, a chiringuito bar and sun loungers, but even so, we remain attracted by its 380 metres of sand and its waters, and these are the most important ingredients at the end of the day.
But if you are searching for more solitude, just a stone's throw away there are quieter coves: Illa Roja, Estreta, Aiguablava, Aigua-Xelida and Rustella (also in the municipality of Roses).
Over the horizon from Cala Canyelles lie the Balearic Islands and, on one of them, Formentera, most certainly the least known and most special, we find Cala Saona. This small sandy cove snuggled between cliffs is considered the jewel of the west coast of the island
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