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Sponsored: Take a closer look at the cities sitting on mainland Spain's dazzling Mediterranean coast.
By Alex Martin | September 23 2020
The Mediterranean is arguably the world’s best summer yachting destination. From exploring tiny Greek islands to dropping anchor in buzzing Ibiza, the islands have something for everyone in summer. But the vast majority of yachts are congested around small patches of water as many choose to stay around the Balearic Islands. Meanwhile, some of the best mainland ports are left surprisingly quiet throughout peak season. Here, we explore some of Spain’s best coastal cities that are perfect stops during a week of cruising.
Where better to start than the cosmopolitan city of Barcelona? The capital of the Catalonian region, Barcelona is one of the world’s most visited cities and is most loved because of its proximity to the balmy Mediterranean waters. Marina Port Vell is popular among superyacht owners due to the state-of-the-art services and its proximity to Las Ramblas, the hub of the city. The marina has 410 berths for yachts of up to 590ft and is the perfect base from which to explore the city. Not only are there a number of wondrous sites to explore, but there is also a thriving fine dining scene. Barcelona has 20 Michelin-starred restaurants, including two (ABaC and Lasarte) with the maximum three-star rating. If fine dining isn’t your thing, head to the Gothic Quarter and explore the narrow streets until you find one of the many fantastic tapas bars selling delicious small plates and beautiful Spanish wine in a suitably atmospheric environment.
Exchange a thriving metropolis for one that is steeped in tradition. Tarragona will feel like a step back in time compared to Barcelona. Its history stretches back to Roman times, and the wealth of ruins located in and around the city are some of the most important in Europe. Marina Port Tarraco is a modern harbor that offers berths for yachts up to 426ft, meaning the vast majority of superyachts can moor up and explore the city’s charming winding streets. After a day exploring Roman ruins, relax on the city’s golden sands before heading to one of the city’s best restaurants. Arcs is renowned for serving modern interpretations of classic Spanish dishes in a traditional stone wall dining room.
Head down the coast to Spain’s largest, and most advanced, city. Moor up in the marina Valencia Mar, which offers berths for vessels up to 393 feet, and head into the nearby city center. Valencia is known for its penchant for technological innovation. It has redirected its flood-prone river away from the center and commissioned a raft of futuristic buildings. Many of these buildings are located in the City of Arts and Sciences, but the city has also mixed some fascinating contemporary architecture alongside its Romanesque and Gothic structures. One building that cannot be missed is the North Station, which is one of the finest examples of Spanish Art Nouveau design. Leave your yacht behind and head down to Dénia to experience one of the best restaurants in the world, Quique Dacosta. This three-Michelin-starred restaurant is a regular entry in the Elite Traveler Top 100 Restaurants in the World. The chef of the same name is known worldwide for pioneering the use of molecular gastronomy within traditional Spanish cuisine. It is well worth a special trip.
Leave city life behind and head to Malaga for a big slice of relaxation on the Costa del Sol. Malaga is actually one of Spain’s oldest cities, but it is nothing like Barcelona or Valencia. Malaga has been designed for relaxation with myriad golf courses, a selection of beautiful wellness resorts and an innovative culinary scene. IGY Málaga Marina welcomes yachts upwards of 328 feet and a concierge service offering information on where to go in the city. For dinner, head to the city’s only Michelin-starred restaurants, the eponymous José Carlos García. The restaurant has a beautiful terrace and the spectacular sunsets are included in the price. Diners have one choice, a tasting menu, which changes regularly according to local produce. Expect expertly crafted seafood made with that day’s catch.
Finish your week in style with an extended stay in the Costa del Sol’s center of glamor, Marbella. The hedonistic town offers everything from private beach clubs to traditional tapas bars. Berths at Puerto Banús are available for yachts up to 164ft while larger yachts can moor up offshore. This is the time to leave your yacht behind and head to some of the finest wellness retreats Spain has to offer. The Marbella Club has both world-class spa and golfing facilities, making it the perfect stop for couples. To top it off, it also has one of the best restaurants in the region, The Grill. Settle in for a relaxing night in one of the hotel’s sumptuous suites to bring the week to the perfect close.