Which Spanish shores see the most sharks?

Where to see sharks in Spain

A basking shark close to the beach. Credit: candiche/Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

In 2023 reports of shark sightings saw an increase along Spanish shores.

From the Balearic to the Canary Islands, and along the coasts of the Valencian Community, Catalonia, Granada, Galicia, and Asturias, sightings of these marine creatures have become more prevalent.

The rising tide of shark sightings

Sharks, with their migratory nature, traverse vast distances for breeding, feeding, and in response to changes in water temperature. While not inherently dangerous to humans, sharks have garnered a fearsome reputation.

The Mediterranean Sea is home to up to 45 shark species, many of which, like the peregrine, the dogfish, and the blue shark, pose no threat to humans.

Over the last decade, a surge in shark sightings has been attributed to climate change, overfishing, and enhanced monitoring efforts.

Hotspots for shark activity

The majority of shark activity in Spain is concentrated in the Cantabrian and Mediterranean Seas. However, the cooler, deeper waters of the Atlantic and Cantabrian Sea are known to host larger species.

Meanwhile, the Mediterranean Sea tends to harbour more benign species. The Nautical Channel highlighted Galicia for its extraordinary sightings of white sharks in the Vigo estuary, with some reportedly exceeding 10 meters in length and 100 kilos in weight.

Moreover, shark encounters have been reported on the beaches of Patacona in Alboraia, Las Arenas in Valencia, and around Alicante and Tabarca. One individual even suffered a bite from a blue shark.

Sharks and Spanish beaches

In the Balearic Islands, like Ibiza and Mallorca, shark sightings are common but typically involve smaller, harmless species.

In June 2023, a blue shark was spotted in the port of Ciutadella, Menorca, and shortly afterwards, a grey cannabota shark near Cape Formentor, Mallorca.

Granada’s beaches also saw an influx of basking sharks during the pandemic, particularly at La Mamola and Calahonda, due to the reduced human activity.

The Canary Islands are renowned for their diversity of marine life, documenting up to 86 species of sharks and rays, including the angelshark, hammerhead, sunray, and whale shark.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.