Quiet Beach Towns/Resorts on Southern Spanish Coast or Balearic Islands?
August 4, 2021 5:26 PM   Subscribe

Future Mrs Bassooner (FMB) and I are getting married next spring and starting to plan a June 2022 European honeymoon (pandemic permitting, obviously). Our current rough plan is to spend 5 days in Paris, 5 days in Barcelona, and 3-4 days lying on a beach doing nothing. What beach should that be?

Relevant criteria:

* We'd prefer not to rent a car or add a ton of extra travel time so as to maximize beach time. Tentative itinerary at this point is US -> Paris -> Barcelona -> Beach -> US (via Barcelona), so that probably means staying somewhere at most 3-4 hours away from Barcelona by plane/train/bus. Would be open to other itineraries though.
* FMB and I are both Anglophones. I have very rusty high college Spanish, she has very rusty college French, and neither of us knows any Catalan. However, we're both fairly comfortable navigating travel where we only know very rudimentary phrases in the local language.
* We're definitely looking for a hotel or resort rather than an apartment rental.
* We'd like to stay either on the beach or steps away from the beach. Preferably the beach would be swimmable and have rentable loungers/umbrellas.
* We want peace and quiet (as much as is realistically possible at the beach in June). An adults-only hotel is a plus but not a requirement. Conversely, a buzzing nightlife is a minus but not a dealbreaker as long as we're staying far enough away from the nightlife to not hear it.
* Since it is our honeymoon and we'll have been forgoing all travel for 2+ years at that point, we're willing to splurge. It would be nice to keep the lodging cost under $400/night but we're willing to exceed that for the right place.

Suggestions for regions, towns, and specific hotels/resorts would all be helpful. Thanks!
posted by bassooner to Travel & Transportation around Spain (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Hotel Ponent Mar in Mallorca is friendly, efficient and clean. Within your budget I think. I've stayed there several times.
posted by JimN2TAW at 7:50 PM on August 4, 2021

Congratulations and lots of love to you and future Mrs Bassooner. Your plan sounds excellent - Barcelona post-pandemic has become much more of a real city and less overwhelmed by tourism so I am sure you’ll have a blast.

Regarding the beach, I’m going to suggest that you don’t need to head over to the Balearics or southern Spain to find what you want. But you do need to hire a car. If you know where to look there are wonderful beaches within about an hour or two’s drive from Barcelona. (It would take you that to get to anywhere in the Baleares or the south anyway).

You need a car because although the Costa Brava has lovely beaches, the best ones are not served by trains - and the ones that *are* can get rather crowded. (Although in June it’s likely to be OK apart from the week around the festival of Sant Joan when the entire world heads on to the beaches to party and set off fireworks. It’s fun if that’s your thing but it’s very overwhelming and you won’t sleep at all on the night of the fiesta itself. Not ideal if you want to relax and since you said you don’t want night life it sounds like you’d best avoid it). Sant Joan 2022 will be the 24th June so avoid that date and a couple of days either side if it’s not your thing.

My favourite part of the coast is the area around Calella de Palafrugell. It’s a very pretty little town with almost no nightlife but a couple of decent restaurants and some very beautiful little coves with quiet beaches. Should be quite chilled in June. There are good hotels that will certainly fall in your price range for the time of year you’re travelling. Hotel Sant Roc is one that you could check out.

Along the coast from Calella de Palafrugell are some other small towns like Tamariu and Llafranc that are also nice but a little busier. You can walk there along the coast from Calalella.

If you want to be away from a town altogether you could go a little further up the coast and check out the beach called Aiguafreda which has a hotel perched right above it called Cap Sa Sal Luxury which looks gorgeous. Never stayed there, but have been to the beach at aiguafreda many times. Bring mask and snorkel as the area is good for snorkelling. And if you decide that small sheltered coves are not your thing, you can drive up to Pals which has huge long very fine sandy beaches about a 10 minute drive away.

Hope that you have a magnificent time. Happy to help with any specific questions you might have - hit me up via memail.
posted by JohnnyForeign at 1:34 AM on August 5, 2021

I would recommend L'Estartit, which is about 100 miles along the coast from Barcelona. By Spanish resort standards, it's quiet - it doesn't have the hordes of British tourists that you get in places like Magaluf, Ibiza, etc, so no nightclubs blasting out music until 5am. It's more of a Spanish resort, so there are lots of local restaurants and a street market.

I stayed there a few years ago and loved it. It has lovely beaches, water sports and snorkelling/diving, and isn't far from Girona, which is a lovely medieval city, and fun to explore on a day out.

I stayed at this hotel, which was just fine, with a buffet restaurant for breakfast and, if you wanted it, dinner. There is a pool, but it's just a short walk to the beach.

ETA: Everyone spoke English in restaurants, stores, etc.
posted by essexjan at 2:54 AM on August 5, 2021

It was 25 years ago, but I honeymooned in Mallorca. We stayed in Palma and just drove to various beaches. (though there was a little rocky beach at our hotel) There some that are overrun by German and/or English tourists, but we went in July and were still able to find a number of quiet out of the way spots with nice sand and warm calm waters.

Mallorca is nice, has things to do - the pearl factory was interesting, as well as caves and such to explore.
posted by rich at 11:58 AM on August 5, 2021

Could I convince you to skip Barcelona and spend the whole trip in France? There's so much to see and do in the Hexagon and you can concentrate on one language. You could fly into Nice and then go to the secluded Plage de la Garoupe in a cove on Cap d'Antibes. That's where we stayed, there are many hotels on the beach, and a number of them rent loungers and umbrellas by the day. It's a different than the beaches in Oregon, more people, but I'm not sure there is anywhere on the Mediterranean mainland that is uncrowded. June is not peak season, though. It was a really wonderful feeling to stroll around, looking at the menus. No transit, unfortunately. The town of Antibes is a short cab ride away, with a Picasso museum, a fort, etc. If you get bored Monte Carlo and its casino and palaces is an hour and $10 by train. Have a salade nicoise in Nice. Then you can take the TGV direct to Paris, through some lovely countryside. If you really want a third city, make it Lyon, the heart of French bistro cooking. Easy train connections to Paris and the Cote d'Azur. English is universal in tourist areas, but the French are proud of their language and even making an effort puts you ahead of the masses of UK holidaymakers who don't even bother with the formalities.
posted by wnissen at 2:16 PM on August 5, 2021

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