Beaches and Playas

I’ll just address the nudity thing right away. Not every single person in Europe goes topless or naked on the beach. Neither is everyone who does so old and wrinkly, as many are quick to point out when someone (usually a guy) remarks on the TOPLESS BEACHES on the Continent. But beach etiquette is a bit different between Europe and the US, and the most striking difference does involve nudity. Mainly: if it happens, it happens! If you want a better tan without all those tan lines, or you need to change your clothes, or you’re under the age of six, go ahead and take your shirt off. No one will care.

Apart from the nudity, beaches in Spain are very similar to beaches in America, although I have to say I’ve never seen a beach bar in the US that serves pinxtos like the ones in San Sebastian. In honor of it being July, here are some photos of the beach, a la española.

Rota, Spain in December. It was windy but not that cold (about 60 F) and close to deserted, although those high rise hotels are just waiting for summer.

The “Camel Beach” in Santander in late February. It was cold, but peaceful, and I got an awesome seashell.

The Malvarrosa Beach in Valencia in June. It was much more crowded than this picture makes it look like.

“Seashell Beach” in San Sebastian in early June. Probably my favorite beach of the entire trip.

The beach in Cádiz. It’s surprisingly hard to find in the middle of the night.

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