You don’t have to travel far to see the majesty of a sand dune. We are not going to deny you that in Peru, Argentina, China, Iran, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, Namibia, India, Mongolia, the United States or Morocco you will find the most spectacular dune deserts in the world. But if you are looking for a much more accessible and affordable trip, in Spain you also have a good number of dunes at your fingertips.
From the Canary Islands to Galicia, here are some of the most spectacular dunes in the Spanish geography. Some are mobile, others are fixed, some are tall, others are long, but if there is a common denominator among them, it is that they are all on the coast at the mercy of the wind that shapes and molds them. So a visit to one of these dunes can be a great summer plan in which to also enjoy the beaches that accompany them. Take note, because even on a reduced scale, these dunes can take you to some of the largest deserts in the world just by imagining it.
The dunes of Corralejo, in Fuerteventura
The landscape that the Natural Park of Corralejo leaves us, in the northeast of Fuerteventura, is simply spectacular, because its size sometimes makes us feel in the middle of the desert itself. It is the largest dune complex in the Canary Islands and it is very easy to access it, as the coastal road crosses it. The park itself measures 2.5 km wide by 10.5 km long, although at its southern end the volcanic rocks continue to resist the advance of the sand. Along the coast there are several beaches, where the turquoise water of the Atlantic bathes fine white sand. In front of us, the small and charming island of Lobos is not far away.
The dunes of Maspalomas, in Gran Canaria
If there is a particularly famous dune complex, due to its size and above all its beauty, that is the one found in Maspalomas, in the south of Gran Canaria. Although it is surrounded by one of the most touristic areas of the island, its protection as a special nature reserve allows its 400 hectares to house a large beach, a field of living dunes of organic sand, a forest of palm trees and a brackish lagoon. A path connects Maspalomas beach with Playa del Inglés and leads us through the different types of dunes in the reserve.
The dunes of the Doñana National Park, in Huelva
In the Doñana National Park is the most important system of living dunes, or mobile dunes, in the Iberian Peninsula. From the town of Matalascañas, a 1.5 km marked trail begins that allows us to enter on our own through its enormous extension and see how the sand, carried by the wind, accumulates in any small obstacle in the relief, creating small dunes. , which advance to create huge complexes that go hundreds of meters inland. Another option to get to know them is to take part in a guided tour aboard an all-terrain bus and, from the heights of the dunes, see how the pine trees are devoured by the advancing sand.
The dune of Bolonia, in Cádiz
The Bolonia dune needs no introduction in Cádiz. It is located about 25 km from Tarifa and with its more than 30 meters high, 500 wide and 200 long, it dominates the landscape from Bolonia beach. The easterly wind pushes the pine forest sand inside until it exceeds the height of the trees, so that the strongest winds carry the remaining sand away from the dune. Nearby is the archaeological complex of Baelo Claudia, a Roman city from the end of the 2nd century BC.
Liencres Dunes Natural Park, in Cantabria
Within the municipality of Piélagos, very close to Santander, the Dunas de Liencres Natural Park covers an area of 195 hectares and is made up of coves and two beaches of great beauty: Valdearenas and Canallave. The dunes are behind the beaches and are one of the most important in northern Spain due to their high geomorphological interest. Here the wind is responsible for bringing together the sands of the coastal currents and those of the Pas river to create two types of dunes, some mobile ones that were fixed in 1949 by planting a forest mass of maritime pine and other fixed ones that cling to different plant species.
The Fangar dunes of the Ebro Delta, in Tarragona
Punta del Fangar leaves one of the most striking landscapes of the Ebro Delta. It is the most desert and sandy part of the delta and its dunes contain a high natural value, since they are the largest and best preserved of the entire Catalan coast. Among them you will see two types of dunes, some fixed with vegetation and others mobile with loose sand that do not allow anything to cling to them. The Fangar lighthouse is one of its main protagonists, as are the numerous birds that delight ornithology lovers.
The dunes of Corrubedo, in A Coruña
In Corrubedo, between the Arousa and Muros e Noia estuaries, we find a large mobile dune 1 km long, 250 meters wide and 20 meters high of pristine white sand. Between legend and exaggeration, it is documented that at the end of the 19th century it exceeded 60 meters in height, but whether it is true or not, the truth is that today it is the largest dune in Galicia. It is accompanied by two lagoons, the saltwater Carrregal and the freshwater Vixán, which are a refuge for numerous species of birds.