Where: Cabo de Gata
At the southern end of sun-scorched Almería is Cabo de Gata, Andalucía’s largest coastal nature park, now protected for its flora, fauna and underwater wildlife. Agua Amarga is the nicest village in the region, and hotel El Tío Kiko is right at its heart, offering elegant rooms with four-poster beds, jacuzzis and private terraces. The bay itself is sheltered by two cliffs and fringed by 800 metres of fine sand and turquoise waters, which can be seen from the hotel’s sea-facing rooms. Head here if you’re a couple in search of romance, or a recluse in need of a beach break.
Sant Josep de sa Talaia
On the west side of the island, near to but worlds apart from the carnage of San Antonio (aka Sant Antoni), the village of Sant Josep de sa Talaia boasts a privileged natural setting surrounded by swathes of green vegetation. The beach lies just 200 metres away, and a regular bus service takes sun-lovers to the coves of Cala Comte, Cala Tarida and Cala Bassa – all great for ogling the famous Ibizan sunset. For those who fancy something more lively once the sun goes down, the island’s nightlife options are only a taxi ride away.
Hotel Ses Pitreras is located in a 1970s building that combines traditional Ibizan architecture with a trendy Modernist style. With just seven rooms, decorated by respected texture-obsessed interior designer Joan Lao, and individual terraces, the hotel retains an intimate feel, and is the perfect respite from some of the more intense aspects of the Ibizan experience.
Mijas Costa, Marbella
On the outskirts of the village of La Cala, the Beach House is located in a pocket of tranquillity, about halfway between the bustling port city of Málaga and Southern Spain’s most upscale resort, Marbella. This small, tastefully understated hotel has a clean, modern design and just ten bedrooms, giving it the ambience of a private villa. A private doorway leads right on to a beach used solely by a few locals, while La Cala resort and its amenities and beaches are only a short walk away.
Tarifa, in Cádiz
Windy and wild Tarifa forms the most southern point of Spain, just before the Costa de la Luz joins its more notorious neighbour, the Costa del Sol. This stretch of coast boasts expansive beaches empty of sunbeds and the shadows cast by high-rise hotels. Strong winds from east and west have made Tarifa the region’s kite- and windsurfing capital, bringing with it a surfer-hippie vibe that is laid-back by day and buzzing by night. Head here if you’re into watersports. Naturism is also big on some stretches.
The Posada La Sacristia is an oasis of calm offering some time out from the sometimes too lively town. A charming touch here is the inner courtyard-cum-restaurant, with its ancient well and Andalucian arches. Rooms are chic yet simple, with four-poster beds, Moorish architecture and ethnic-inspired decor.
Stay at Posada La Sacristia (+34 956 68 1759, www.lasacristia.net).
Cover photo: Castillo de Santa Bárbara, via Ayuntamiento de Alicante / Ernesto Caparrós