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Spain's secret beach - Shhh!

Mention Spanish beaches and most people instinctively think of the Mediterranean. Yet the wilder, stunning Atlantic coastline of Galicia, just north of Portugal, has far more dramatic playas – with far fewer people on them.

One of the jewels of this coast is on Las Islas Cies, a 40-minute boat trip from the pretty town of Baiona. Once a pirates' haunt, Cies is now an uninhabited and pristine national park, open to the public only in summer.

Galegos come here to spend long, lazy summer days on the Praia das Rodas, a perfect crescent of soft, pale sand backed by small dunes sheltering a calm lagoon of crystal-clear sea. Locals call this their 'Caribbean beach', and the water is turquoise enough, the sand white enough to believe the comparison … until you dip your toe in the water. Then it feels more like Skegness! Pack the wetsuit.

You can sleep in an idyllic campsite, shaded by tall pine trees, with a view over the ocean. And, this being Spain, there's even a proper restaurant serving great seafood. In fact, there is more seafood than a whale could consume in a year, and all having literally jumped out of the sea onto your plate – there’s nothing fresher. All washed down with Galicia’s regional wine and an ‘aguardiente’ (that’s Spanish for hooch) to polish you and your dinner off.

Camping Islas Cies is open Easter week and June-September, CampingIslasCies. Ryanair it into Santander or Biarritz and you're there in under an hour.

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