Untouched Costa del Sol

Even the Costa del Sol has stretches that feel unspoilt. Most are hard to get to, but the long sandy Playa de las Alberquillas in Nerja, east of Malaga, is enclosed by headlands, backed by a natural reserve and is virtually drive-in. Combine splendid isolation with a cool beverage at the chiringuito (beach bar) on Playa de Maro, 5km west.

The bell tolls in Biscay

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe at Bermeo, Bay of Biscay, is a church perched on a rock rising from the sea and connected to the mainland by a man-made bridge. It’s traditional to cross the bridge, climb the 241 steps, ring the bells and make a wish. If it’s to have lofty views of rugged coast and lungfuls of bracing sea air, it will be granted. Park at restaurant Eneperi.

Huelva’s giant dunes

A 1km wooden boardwalk takes you up and over the duna del Asperillo, at Matalascanas, before depositing you on a vast, empty beach. There’s nothing but pines, sea and deep cream-coloured sand, wafted into massive dunes, some over 100 metres high, as far as the eye can see.

Galician wilderness

Isla de Ons, off the coast of Galicia, is wild and special, and Playa Melide, a 40-minute hike north from the dock, is especially so, with white sand, dunes and few people. There are restaurants and chiringuitos nearer the dock (try the octopus at Casa Acu-a , which also has rooms). Take a boat from Portonovo, Sanxenxo, Bueu or Vigo ( isladeons.net ).

Eat fish in Andalucia

Restaurante Isleta del Moro is a fabulous fish restaurant with tables squeezed onto a rickety wooden terrace right over the sea in an isolated harbour in Cabo de Gata, Almeria. Tiny and locally famous, so book ahead (+34 950 38 97 13). Sorrel Downer