LA CONCHA BEACH, SPAIN
Forget the crowded Costa Del Sol – northern Spain is where it’s at. In particular, the flat golden sand of La Concha Beach in San Sebastián. Lapped by gentle waves and overlooked at either end by the forested mountains of Urgull and Igueldo, this sheltered stretch of sand is regularly voted one of Europe’s best beaches. In the middle of the bay lies the rocky island of Santa Clara – if the water’s calm, it’s possible to swim there – and there’s a long promenade to meander down, too.
La Concha’s proximity to San Sebastián means you’ll get a beach holiday and a city break all rolled into one. Win-win. Famous for its amazing food scene, San Sebastián lays claim to a lot of Michelin stars. Book a table at Arzak (Arzak.es) for cutting-edge Basque cuisine (think dishes like lobster topped with edible wild flowers) by a world-renowned female chef. For cheap bites, hit the pintxo bars and order tasty tapas. Ganbara (Ganbarajatetxea.com) in the city’s old town is a local favourite.
WHERE TO STAY LASALA PLAZA HOTEL
It’s all about the outdoor rooftop pool at this hotel, which has panoramic views of La Concha and San Sebastián. When you’re not Instagramming yourself floating above the city or sipping cocktails on the terrace, there are plenty of other make-your-friends-drool photo opps. The bedrooms come with city or sea views, vintage black-and-white photos on the walls and cloud-like bedlinen, while restaurant La Jarana Taberna overlooks the port and serves cake and sparkling wine at breakfast. Just saying. From £106 per night; Lasalaplazahotel.com.
Pretty guesthouse Casa Nicolasa is located in the city’s historic old town, just a five-minute walk from La Concha Beach, and boasts 11 beautifully styled bedrooms with exposed-brick feature walls, wood floors and elegant white bathrooms. It’s not a hotel, though, so don’t expect breakfast in the morning – though there is a coffee machine at reception, and your mini bar will be stocked with free water, soft drinks and cava. Don’t mind if we do. From £135 per night; Pensioncasanicolasa.com.