Gross - Spain

Complete description of case study





Title Gross
National level Spain
Regional level Vasque Country
Local level San Sebastián


Gross Beach, in Zurriola Cove, is situated in the locality of San Sebastian on the Cantabrian coast (province of Gipuzkoa), in the northern part of the Iberian peninsula. Gross Beach is a relatively open beach with a strong swell, and is located on a sandy substratum formed by fluvial contribution. The main cause for the erosion of Gross Beach is the gradual human invasion of the beach throughout the 20th century. The wall serving as a boundary for the esplanade and the breakwater for the Great Kursaal Casino area at the west the end of the beach were both causes of erosion and sand loss, provoking movement perpendicular to the shore. The breakwater had a pernicious effect by provoking the refraction of incidental swell, mainly at high tide.

Tourism and recreation are the area's main economic activities. The fishing industry is hardly relevant in this area nowadays. The situation of instability in which Gross Beach found itself and the risk of the beach being submerged made the government instigated the Gross Beach Regeneration Project. Different alternatives were studied for carrying out the regeneration project. Finally, the measures which were taken were mixed, on the one hand a dike being designed to support the beach, and on the other its regeneration through the addition of sand. The regeneration satisfies the idea which led to the promotion of the original project, incorporating a new leisure space and economic zone related to the sectors which boost the economic development of the area.


Coastal characteristics
  • Study area: 800m
  • Type of coast: hard rock coast, beaches (fine to medium sand)
  • Tidal regime: maximum 4.5m
  • Range of waves: about 6m; predominant wave direction: NW (swell)
Policy options Hold the line
Socio-economic activities Tourism
Engineering techniques Nourishment , jetty


Name Inmaculada Rodríguez Santalla
Institution Universidad Rey Juan Carlos
Escuela Superior de Ciencias Experimentales y Tecnología
Address C/ Tulipán, s/n; 28933 Móstoles
Madrid (Spain)
Telephone / fax +34 91 488 70 17 / +34 91 488 74 90