5 must-see Spain beaches: From popular hot spots to off the beaten path locations.

With over 5,000 miles of shoreline, Spain offers some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. There are beaches that draw crowds to take part in the many water sport activities and beach parties. On the other hand, there are "off the beaten path" spots that are made for sunbathers who enjoy privacy and an opportunity to get away from it all. The top five beaches in Spain have one thing in common. They are scenically gorgeous, offer clear waters, and range from quite active with crowded shorelines to less populated spots in more remote areas.

Playa de Las Catedrales - Galicia

1. Playa de Las Catedrales - Galicia
UNESCO named Playa de Las Catedrales or 'Beach of the Cathedrals', is a World Heritage Site because of its astounding rock formations. Stretching along the coast of Galicia, this beautiful beach is situated in the municipality of Ribadeo. The best time to visit Playa de Las Catedrales Beach is at ebb tide, because high tide claims most of the beach. The wind, waves and water are responsible for the marvelous formation of this area, and it is said that a whistling sound can often to heard when the wind blows.

kitesurfing Tarifa Beach Spain

2. Tarifa
If you're young and looking for a real hot spot to mix with the rich and famous, Tarifa Beach is the place to sunbathe. The beach is well maintained as is the surrounding area of Nerja located in Andalusia. Tarifa is popular among wind surfers because of windsurfing conditions that surpass most other places in Europe. Located eleven kms across the Straits of Gibralta, its narrowest point 'the Med' meets the Atlantic Ocean producing fabulous views of the Rif mountains of Africa. Many bird watchers flock to Tarifa because the area is populated with a variety of species. Others come to enjoy activities like horseback riding, kite surfing, rocking climbing and hang gliding.

3. Playa de los Peligros & Playa de la Magdalena
These beaches are located in the capital of Cantabria in an area known as Santander. Beach lovers love lounging on either beach to take in the sites of boats passing and the spectacular views of the mountains. Playa de los Peligros and Playa de la Magdalena are popular photographer destinations because of the many beautiful scenic sites including Bahia de Santander Bay. Close by is Sitges, considered a party town and home to a number of gay individuals. The beaches are pristine and clean and welcome a diverse group of people.

4. Playa de la Victoria
Located in Cadiz, Playa de la Victoria is another fun beach that draws a college crowd during semester breaks. The beach is surrounded by hot night spots including several bars and clubs. It also draws those who enjoy hiking along rugged terrains enjoying the many scenic splendors of the area.

5. Playa de Sotavento - Fuerteventura
This breathtaking beach is frequented by sunbathers and those who like to stroll along the seashore. It is quite popular among scuba divers and snorkelers as well. The beach attracts divers from all over the world interested in exploring the beauty of the many underwater sites waiting to be discovered. The beach is not heavily populated and is relatively quite. There are a few places to dine around the beach as well a a few bars. There is also a lagoon, which is a popular swimming spot.