These are the worst seaside towns in Spain – as well as the best

The worst – and best – seaside towns in Spain for holidays have been revealed, with a sun-filled spot known for fast cars and luxury fashion branded “a seedy dump”.

Puerto Banus, popular with celebrities and with a marina home to some of the world’s most expensive boats, has been given the unwelcome accolade in a study by a UK consumer group, with a score of just 55 per cent.

Which? spoke to more then 1,200 travellers, asking them to rate their experiences of Spanish coastal towns, judging 11 criteria including the quality of the beach and seafront, safety, food and drink, accommodation and value for money. This led to a total city score, based on overall satisfaction and likeliness to recommend.

At the other end of the scale, San Sebastian – the beachside spot renowned for its culinary prowess – snatched top spot.

Despite it’s glitzy reputation, Puerto Banus, on the Costa del Sol and not far from central Marbella, was branded “overpriced”, scoring just one star on value for money – the only destination on the survey to do so, with the high price tag attached to dining out or shopping a recurring theme.

The glamour of Puerto Banus failed to win over a large group of travellers (Getty Images)

It also scored just one star for tourist attractions, with people-watching and parties the main draws over cultural attractions – which might also explain the one-star score for peace and quiet.

It also received just two stars for safety, attractiveness and friendliness, with one respondent saying how their experiences of the town had “deteriorated” over their years of visiting, lamenting that “it’s still a place for the rich and to be seen but has become tacky”, while another said “it is a seedy dump”.

It fared moderately better for its beach, seafront, food and drink and shopping offerings, scooping three stars in each of these categories, with some responses praising the “great atmosphere” and “great range of restaurants”.

La Manga, on the Mar Menor saltwater lagoon in the Murcia region, just edged Puerto Banus with a score of 56 per cent. It picked up just one star for tourist attractions, but two stars for its seafront, overall attractiveness, peace and quiet, and value for money.

It was also labelled “faded” and “tacky” while being criticised for having “too many high-rise hotels”. However, some felt it was a “home from home” and appreciated the “traditional Spanish restaurants, cafes and bars”.

Topping the table was San Sebastian, with an overall score of 88 per cent, raking in a full five stars for its beach, attractiveness and food and drink – the latter coming as no surprise, given the Basque city has the most Michelin stars of any in Spain, and is among the cities with the most Michelin stars per capita in the world.

San Sebastian scored highly across the board (Getty Images)

According to Which?, visitors “raved about the local snacks, pinchos, and choice of top tier restaurants”.

It scored four stars for its seafront, safety, friendliness, accommodation, tourist attractions and shopping, with only value for money bringing in three stars. One visitor described to San Sebastian as “small enough to walk round easily”, while “the beach and surroundings were beautiful, and it felt very safe”.

In second place with a score of 81 per cent is Nerja, surpassing its Costa del Sol neighbours, such as Marbella and Torremolinos. It is the “perfect spot for those looking to fly and flop”, said Which?.

It received a four-star rating for its seafront, safety, friendliness, food and drink and accommodation, with respondents saying it felt like a “traditional unspoilt Spanish town”.

Tied in third place are Cartagena, Javea and Sitges, with a joint score of 80 per cent.

Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, said: “This survey shows that there are plenty of fantastic Spanish beach resorts that will easily beat the best-marketed destinations like Marbella and Torremolinos. You don’t even need to look far, with beautiful Nerja and its quaint white washed streets also to be found on the Costa del Sol.

“For those looking for a city break with a dose of sea and sunshine, San Sebastian can’t be topped – it’s rightly famous for its excellent restaurants and authentic cuisine, and comes complete with a pretty old town and fantastic beaches.”

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