Best Beach Destinations in Europe
There are many gorgeous beaches in Europe. Some became such a famous and popular beach destinations among tourists. However, travelers always eager and love to explore even some off the beaten path beach holiday destinations. How about you? Whether you are looking for some best beach destinations in Europe or completely less touristy beaches, you’re in the right place to select the perfect one for you. Check out this complete beach destinations guide to get all tips and enjoy your best beach vacations in every budget.
Though summer is the high time for beach holidays, you shouldn’t miss exploring your favorite beaches even in an offseason. You’ll be happy to find the whole beach is entirely for you and also possible to get minimum price rate on accommodations. Read inside more and get to know thrifty travel tips on beach resorts and restaurants, best beach holiday essentials, activities and facilities to afford your best beach holidays in Europe. You’ll also be introduced to some hidden and unique beaches along with luxury and affordable beach destinations.
Table of Contents
- 0.1 Sardinia, Italy
- 0.2 The Algarve, Portugal
- 0.3 Cyprus
- 0.4 Costa Brava, Spain
- 0.5 Corfu, Greece
- 0.6 Albanian Riviera, Albania
- 0.7 St Tropez, France
- 0.8 Antalya, Turkey
- 0.9 Malta
- 0.10 Maspalomas in Gran Canaria, Spain
- 0.11 Tenerife, Spain
- 0.12 Cinque Terre, Italy
- 0.13 Odessa, Ukraine
- 0.14 Sao Miguel in Azores, Portugal
- 0.15 Calanques, France
- 0.16 Mondello in Sicily, Italy
- 0.17 Milos, Greece
- 0.18 Pembrokeshire Coast in Wales, UK
- 0.19 Mykonos, Greece
- 0.20 Tarifa, Spain
- 0.21 Nice, France
- 0.22 Crete, Greece
- 0.23 Sa Calobra in Mallorca, Spain
- 0.24 Naxos, Greece
- 0.25 Sopot in Poland
- 0.26 De Haan, Belgium
- 0.27 Tropea in Calabria, Italy
- 0.28 Golden Sands in Varna, Bulgaria
- 0.29 Formentera Island, Spain
- 0.30 Cornwall, UK
- 0.31 Culatra Island in Olhao, Portugal
- 0.32 Taormina in Sicily, Italy
- 0.33 Etretat, France
- 0.34 Lungomare Cristoforo Colombo in Cefalu, Italy
- 0.35 Port Cros, France
- 0.36 San Sebastian, Spain
- 0.37 Peniche, Portugal
- 0.38 Sitges, Spain
- 0.39 The Costa Vicentina in the Algarve, Portugal
- 0.40 Ile de Ré, France
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Sardinia is the ultimate beach destination in Europe, if not in the world. Located at the heart of the Mediterranean basin, the island is part of Italy yet a world apart, thanks to its unique landscape and its ancient culture. It can be reached either via a 12 hours ferry ride or by a one hour flight from the mainland. Several budget airlines connect it to the rest of Italy and Europe, too.
What makes Sardinia one of the top beach holiday destinations is the variety of incredible beaches it offers. Lovers or long, white sandy beaches won’t be disappointed, as many places are perfect to relax under the sun and to swim in the crystal clear waters.
Those who prefer smaller coves will be delighted to find that there are many smaller bays and possible to reach by car, boat or even better via a hike.
Many beaches surmounted by Spanish towers, a legacy of the Spanish and Aragonese domination of the island. It is possible to visit them, and the view is usually breathtaking from them.
In all cases, the water in Sardinia is always clean and transparent, and there’s plenty of opportunities to go snorkeling and diving in search of incredible marine life or shipwrecks. Depending on the winds, Sardinia offers plenty of opportunities for sports such as windsurfing, kite surfing or surf.
To top this off, the food in Sardinia is delicious (make sure to try the “fregola con le arselle,” a thick couscous – like kind of dish, with clams and tomatoes), and there are plenty of beautiful villages to visit.
Claudia from My Adventures Across The World
The Algarve, Portugal
I spent around three days in the Algarve a few years ago, and I definitely think it is one of the best beach holiday destinations in Europe. The entire coastal region of the Algarve is one surprise one after the other. With so many beaches to select from, you can decide to spend the day in a quiet offbeat beach, or you can even head to the more popular ones. Take a boat ride along the coast, and you will be mesmerized by the beautiful turquoise waters, golden cliffs, and hidden coves. You also have an option to go on numerous hiking trails along the coast. I drove a lot when I was in the Algarve, and I kept finding so many gorgeous hidden beaches.
If you have to choose only five beaches to visit, then my top picks would be Carvoeiro beach, Praia De Marinha, Praia De Benagil, Praia De Beliche, and Praia Dona Ana.
If you get a chance, try to take a boat ride to the world famous Benagil Caves. Most people tend to miss out on the Sagres beaches. However, the landscape in that area is entirely different from the rest of the Algarve. Tavira is also famous for its beaches which located on a sandbar island, but I couldn’t visit when I was there.
I stayed at the Tivoli Carvoeiro which was a budget hotel with all the amenities. That is the beauty of the Algarve; you can enjoy cheap beach vacations here. You can choose from backpacker hostels to some luxurious golf resorts in the Vilamoura region. Algarve also has a rich historical side and don’t forget to explore this part of the Algarve while you are there.
Soumya from Travel, Books and Food
Cyprus is one of our favorite beach holiday destinations in Europe. This small island country in the southeast Mediterranean has an incredible year round climate, with winter temperatures rarely dropping below 20 degrees (68 Fahrenheit) and staying in the 30s (86+ Fahrenheit) for most of the year.
Cyprus has some of the best beaches we’ve ever visited, particularly on the Eastern side of the island. Some of our favorite beaches here include Konnos Bay, Nissi Beach, Fig Tree Bay and little-hidden gems like Cavo Marris, MAD beach and many more.
The Eastern side of Cyprus is also an ideal beach destination because it has some of the best Tavernas in the island-like Mousikos in Sotira. It is also very popular for nightlife with some of the most famous clubs and DJs in the world performing at places like Guaba in Limassol and all across Agia Napa.
The Cyprus Municipality maintains excellent beach facilities at all the official beaches on the island, charging €2.50 for an umbrella and €2.50 for a sunbed.
The best beach resorts/accommodation options can be found in Agia Napa on websites like TUI, who offer various packages. For a more local and budget-friendly experience, we recommend renting an apartment just outside of the tourist hotspots of Agia Napa, like in Paralimni.
A big tip for all travelers to Cyprus, it is imperative you rent a car to get around the island. Public transport is minimal and scarce, and you’ll get the most out of your trip by having your own set of wheels.
Stefan and Sebastien from Nomadic Boys
Costa Brava, Spain
The Costa Brava encompasses 60 kilometers of Spanish coastline from the French border to the town of Blanes. It’s a popular beach destination in Europe, with plenty of beautiful beaches in addition to the rocky coastline. You won’t be short of activities in the Costa Brava! As well as relaxing on the beach, kayaking, or swimming, you can visit the birthplace of Salvador Dalí and his Theatre-Museum, walk along some of the coastal paths that travel along the whole area or explore many of the medieval villages.
Girona is not far from the coast and has an international airport, or the Costa Brava is also easy to reach from Barcelona. Blanes, Tossa de Mar, and Lloret de Mar are some of the most popular places to stay while you’re there.
While the sea is cooler than in Southern Spain, it’s still a sunny destination throughout most of the year, and you don’t have to contend with as temperatures as hot as in the south throughout July and August, although it does reach around 30 degrees Celsius.
There are also several beautiful gardens along the coast when you feel like stepping away from the beach. The Santa Clotilde Gardens in Lloret de Mar are beautiful are year round and have unique statues and stunning views of the sea from the cliffs.
The food in the Costa Brava is just another reason to visit! Furthermore, an abundance of fresh seafood options you can expect Catalan dishes like black rice. Moreover, don’t forget the Sangria!
Sonja from Migrating Miss
Corfu, the island with a rich history that’s drenched in Greek Mythology and dripping in European culture from Poseidon to the Venetians and it’s the enchanting refuge where the shipwrecked hero Odysseus was washed ashore. The Greek island of Corfu is an affordable beach destination and a little piece of paradise in the Ionian Sea. It’s no surprise that it’s also a perfect beach destination with an average temperature of 78-degree Fahrenheit. Stunning, glittering beaches line the island’s 217 kilometers of coastline.
The most popular and the most beautiful beach on Corfu is Paleokastritsa. Its sandy beaches are surrounded by lush, green, cliffs, and it has many sea caves that are accessible by boat. If you’re not looking for something overcrowded, head to Halikounas. Long golden, sandy beaches mark this secluded spot, and you can see lots of windsurfers in the nearby water. Arillas Beach offers water sports like jet-ski rentals and is located between two small peninsulas which keep the waters calm.
For one of the best spots on the island, make your way to the south of the island to Gardeno. Largely undiscovered by tourists, Gardeno’s long sandy beach, natural landscape, and glass-like water will make this your new favorite quiet spot. Hike 40 minutes south of Kavos, and you’ll find yourself at Arkoudilas Beach, a pristine cove surrounded by white cliffs and sparkling clear-blue water.
Whether you are looking for secluded and romantic or rocky and adventurous, you’ll find it here. On Corfu, there is a different shade of perfect blue water for beachgoers of every taste.
Chrysoula from Travel Passionate
Albanian Riviera, Albania
If you’re looking for an off the beaten path beach holiday, then look no further than the Albanian Riviera. This expanse of coastline on Albania has the same beautiful blue waters as Croatia or Greece, but at a third of the price and with a tiny fraction of the tourists. The Albanian Riviera roughly stretches between Saranda in the South and Vlora halfway up the coast. Saranda is easy to get to from Greece, as Corfu is less than 50 kilometers away. In Saranda, there are lots of beach options, but people’s favorite beach tends to be Ksamil, which has a few islands you can swim to, bright blue water, and plenty of delicious restaurants serving up fresh fish for low prices. However, if you get away from Saranda and head up north to the beachside city of Himara, you’ll find plenty more beautiful beaches with even fewer people.
Himara is an extremely affordable destination, with hostels costing around $8 per night and double hotel rooms starting around $20 per night. From Himara, you can walk to the beach in town, or you are located within a short drive of several fantastic beaches, including Livadhi, Jala, and Gjipe. Gjipe is my personal favorite – to get there, you have to do a 1-hour hike down (and to leave, a 1-hour hike up!). The walk alone keeps many people from coming to this beach, even though it is one of the most beautiful in all of Albania.
Spending the day in near privacy on Gjipe Beach is a real pleasure – try to find a beach as beautiful and people-free anywhere else along the Ionian and Adriatic coast! Heading up further along the Albanian Riviera, you can find the more upscale beach town of Dhermi, which also has several beautiful beaches nearby it.
Allison from Eternal Arrival
St Tropez, France
Add glamour and beach and what do you get? St Tropez of course. This fishing hamlet-turned-exotic playground of the rich and famous are known to almost everyone. That is a compelling enough reason to make the journey to St Tropez on the French Riviera. After all, who doesn’t want to live like royalty for a few days?
If you’re lucky and wealthy, make sure you stay near the Old City port. The region has access to everything nearby. If not, look for a place in nearby Ramatuelle. Be advised that public transport is very limited in this region, ostensibly to let the fast cars ride without slowing down!
Once you explore the port side of town, make way to the actual beachside that’s about 8-10 kilometers from St Tropez. The beach stretched for a good five kilometers and divided into several parts. Nikki Beach, Pampelonne Beach and the most famous one, Tahiti Beach that was popularised by Brigitte Bardot in And God Created Woman. This movie is the single reason for St Tropez turning into a glam destination so make sure you stop by here.
Be careful about the other beaches though. Nudism is a way of life around Pampelonne Beach, and you will be met with glares and rude comments if you walk with clothes on and gawk at those sunbathing. On the other hand, feel free to indulge in water activities like windsurfing and canoeing from the many licensed operators along the beachfront.
For such a happening destination, it’s curious knowing that St Tropez has no railway station or airport. There are fixed schedule buses from St Raphael, the closest railhead about 40 km from St Tropez. Be sure to plan accordingly.
Priyanko from Constant Traveller
Antalya is a darling town on the southern coast of Turkey. The old central city sits right on the sea and is filled with cobblestone streets, shops, and lively bars and restaurants. Not only do tourists love to have a beer at the open-air bars, but locals like to hang out here as well as it’s perfect for people watching. Many of the restaurants in the old town are pricey by Turkey standards, but just a few blocks away is Can Can Restaurant which is delicious and cheap!
While you’ll find the old town to be a bustling place in the evenings, there is virtually no one there during the day. They are generally relaxing at their hotel pool or one of the many nearby beaches.
Lara Beach is just a 20-minute bus ride from the center of town. It’s packed with locals who have come to BBQ their families and cool off in the sea. The beach gets packed, but there are plenty of lounge chairs available for rent and cold beers for sale. Plus the beach is sandy which is pretty uncommon for European beaches.
Kemer Beach is a short drive west of Antalya. This is an incredibly favorite spot with tourists as there are many all-inclusive resorts and beach bars packed along with this stretch of sandy beach. If you’re not staying in one of the resorts, you’ll want to head to the public beach area, at the far west end of the beach. There is even an open pool with a waterslide, perfect if you have kids!
The most amazing beaches in this area of Turkey located along the beautiful stretch of coastline between Antalya and Kaş. Rent a car, and you can stop whenever you see a beautiful lookout or a deserted beach along the 4-hour drive.
Olympos & Cirali are two small towns just about 2 hours west of Antalya that are popular with backpackers looking for a little relaxation. You’ll find shops, restaurants, bars, and even treehouse-style bungalows. However, there are far fewer people, and the beaches are less crowded than Lara or Kremer Beach.
Save some time to check out another darling town in the South of Turkey, Kaş, which is just about 4 hours west of Antalya. The pedestrian-friendly downtown area is filled with rooftop bars and live music. Moreover, the nearby beach, Kaputaş Plaji, is one of the most spectacular beaches in all of Turkey!
Nick and Val from Wandering Wheatleys
An island country Malta in the Mediterranean Sea comprising of 3 islands: Malta, Gozo, and Comino which together make for the 250 km of beautiful coastline. The golden and white sandy beaches of Malta with deep blue color water of the sea makes it one of the famous beach vacation destinations. Malta has around eight blue flag beaches which also makes it a perfect family destination. You get a varied choice of beaches in Malta from a long stretch of sandy beaches to pools, bays and small coves.
While the island of Gozo has some of the quieter beaches, the popular being the Ramla Bay, the tiny Comino island is not to miss for the beautiful Blue Lagoon. Blue Lagoon is a small shallow bay with crystal clear turquoise waters which is ideal for swimming. There are caves around the bay which can be explored by snorkeling or boating.
Golden Bay with a stretch of golden sands and deep blue waters is a famous beach on the main island of Malta. The beach is trendy and is mostly gets crowded. If you want to avoid the crowd, you can head to Ghajn Tuffieha which is a short distance away. Both the beach have all facilities, but Ghajn Tuffieha is comparatively less crowded.
Other famous beaches of Malta are St George’s Bay, Paradise Bay, Sliema Beach, and Ramla Bay. The favorite activities around these beaches are swimming, diving, snorkeling, boating, windsurfing, kitesurfing, waterskiing, kayaking, and parasailing. Most of the beaches let you rent sunbed, umbrella, and water sports equipment.
Rashmi and Chalukya from GOBeyondBounds
Maspalomas in Gran Canaria, Spain
Gran Canaria is a large island with many, many beaches, but the area of Maspalomas is a natural choice if you’re looking for a great beach destination. Located in the south-east of the island, Maspalomas ideally placed for the best of everything: beautiful sandy shores, very little rain and pleasant temperatures all year round.
However, it’s not just the beach that might bring you to Maspalomas. Yes, the beaches here are great, but there are so many other things to do in Maspalomas. The most famous attraction of all is the Maspalomas dunes – a 1000-acre area protected as a nature reserve since 1987. The dunes are even more impressive in real life than they are in photos, and seem never-ending once you begin to explore.
Aside from the famous sand dunes, Maspalomas has everything you could want from a beach destination: great restaurants, a right amount of nightlife (but not too much!) and plenty to keep the whole family entertained. A real highlight is the Moonlight Cinema, the only outdoor cinema in the whole of Europe to open 365 days per year. Moreover, if that doesn’t attest to the fantastic weather in Maspalomas, I don’t know what will.
Maspalomas also makes an excellent base for exploring the rest of the island of Gran Canaria. It’s within easy reach of some of the most popular spots in the south, including the Venice-like port of Mogan and other famous coastal towns such as Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria. It’s also easy to get to Las Palmas, the capital, to see a completely different side of Gran Canaria.
Jodie from ALAJode
My favorite beach destination in Europe is definitely Tenerife from the Canary Islands in Spain. On Tenerife, you can find a beach for literally every taste. You can spend a week on the island and enjoy the best cheap beach vacations visiting them all. You will have a hard time to choose only a few. You have some with black volcanic sand like Playa Las Arenas; you have some that are particularly suited for watersports like El Medano, others are particularly suited for families like Playa Chica.
Other beaches like El Duque or Fanabé are mainly known for their beach clubs and festive moods. Here you can order the most sophisticated cocktails while enjoying a sunset with hip clubbing beats in the background.
However, Tenerife also boasts many more secluded beaches. Spectacular ones can be seen in the north. Nestled below the dramatic cliffs of Benijo Beach or El Bolullo are hidden gems and oasis of peace. It’s all about nature in its purest form, and both beaches are great places to watch the sunset.
Besides windy and dramatic beaches, Tenerife also has beaches with golden sand like Abama beach, or Las Teresitas is close to the capital of Santa Cruz. Whereas Abama beach is very calm and tiny, Las Teresitas beach is one of the most extensive beaches on the island. On Sundays, the food stalls serve delicious Canarian food like papas asadas while people are dancing to hot Salsa rhythms. Lastly, no worries about accommodations in Tenerife, you’ll find many affordable best beach resorts to stay.
Paulina from Paulina on the Road
Cinque Terre, Italy
Fierce waves are crashing on the roughed cliffs where cute pastel colored houses hang on for dear life. The sun shines abundant, and the smell of basil and pasta is everywhere. That is Cinque Terre in Italy. A string of 5 little coastal villages, connected by a hiking path and each with its own character and feel. Although all are situated atop the cliffs that hang over the sea, only Monterosso el Mare has a strip of sandy beach that attract beach lovers from afar.
Monterosso al Mare in Cinque Terre, Italy is one of the best beach destinations in Europe. The small town is easily accessible from the other villages by train and the rest of Italy. It has two broad sandy beaches where you can bask in the sun, enjoy a dozen gelato shops and stroll around until your feet are sore and need to sit down for more gelato and pasta.
Monterosso al Mare has a unique feel. Due to her beaches and colorful striped umbrellas, it caters to a sophisticated set of people. 100-year-old villas are combined with fine dining to rent, and the opportunity to stroll the boardwalk from one part of town to the next is the ultimate luxurious summer retreat. However, due to fact traffic is limited to train travel and hiking in Cinque Terre and steep hills dotted with grapevines surround the village, it still feels like a hidden treasure along the coast of Liguria without the package holidaymakers and big all inclusive hotels.
Add crystal clear water, daily boat taxis and relaxing boat tours and you have the perfect recipe for the best beach holiday in Europe. Read 15 things I didn’t expect in Cinque Terre to help you prepare for your trip to Monterosso al Mare in Cinque Terre.
Naomi from Probe around the Globe
Not many people choose Odessa as the beach destination, but this is actually the biggest seaside resort in Ukraine and has plenty to offer. Since this is one of the biggest cities in the country, you definitely won’t be bored here. Part of Odessa called Arkadia has everything a tourist needs: sandy beaches, endless water activities, numerous seaside restaurants and bars and something going on for all the time. You will find even more beaches as well as the dolphinarium closer to the center.
However, the best part about holidays in Odessa, one of the cheapest cities in Europe are the prices. For a few years now Ukraine is dealing with the economic crisis and hryvnia dropped a lot. Nowhere else possible to find such an excellent service for so little! Everything, from accommodation to activities, from restaurants to going out is really very affordable! Recently for a day at the beach, with rented sunbed and umbrella, I paid around 5€ only! That’s a bargain!
However, Odessa is more than just the seaside! The city is incredibly beautiful and has a long and exciting history. Be sure to stroll down pedestrian Deribasovskaya Street, especially in the early evening – it’s like a showroom in the city! If you fancy an evening with the culture, the opera is your place to go (the building itself is really stunning too!). If you decide to visit Odessa, Ukraine you won’t be disappointed for sure!
Kami from Kami and the Rest of the World
Sao Miguel in Azores, Portugal
Sao Miguel in the Azores is not the place that people think of when they think of beaches in Europe. Many of the beaches are rocky, have sharp cliffs, or are too rough to swim in. However, they are still a beach and amongst some of the most beautiful in the world that I have ever seen. The Azores sits in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean between Europe and the United States and is owned by Portugal. But the islands march to a different beat and maintain a vastly different lifestyle. It is known for its unique cuisine, volcanic and geothermal activity, and its extremely blue waters, hence the name in the first place.
Sao Miguel island is particularly mindblowing as you can see all of the best landscapes in the world on one small island and this includes beaches. While sandy beaches aren’t at every corner (but trust me, they do exist!), the coolest thing about some of the beaches on Sao Miguel is that they are naturally heated. The locals have created little rock pools on these areas where they can relax and enjoy the ocean water while it’s warm and heated by the volcanic energy inside of the earth.
When on Sao Miguel, the best place to stay is at one of the Santa Barbara Eco-Resort properties. Both have ocean views (and even one has a little surfing!), are environmentally focused, and are the perfect Azorean experience. Getting up to the sound of the water really is what made me addicted to the Azores. Moreover, both located by stunning beaches and places to swim and enjoy the blue waters.
Megan from Megan Starr
The Calanques National Park is one of the best beach destinations in Europe by far. Calanques are fjord-like bays that were created in the Mediterranean coastline over 12,000 years ago. The Calanques National Park is a long stretch of coast stretching from Marseille to Cassis in the South of France, which is made up of multiple Calanques. There are around 18 Calanques in total in the park made up of various sizes; some cut in a striking manner deep into the coastline, whereas others are more like small creeks. All the Calanques are accessible either from Cassis or Marseille.
The Calanques National Park offers up a great variety of beaches. Calanque de Sormiou is the most popular tourist destination, accessible by car and offering up a free parking zone for visitors. There is a bar and plenty of space for families to spend the day relaxing and playing games in the docile sea. Surrounded by the stunning rustic landscape and idyllic terracotta rooftops, it’s a picturesque beach spot.
If you’re more into active days out, the Calanques also has something to offer you. Home to a plethora of hiking trails, there’s a lot to keep you on your toes. To see the beauty of the Calanques National Park the best is to take a day-hike through the verdant scenery to one of the secluded Calanques. Calanque d’En Vau is only accessible via hiking trail or boat. However, the hard work rewarded upon reaching the isolated sandy beach, and clear turquoise waters buried deep within the limestone cliffs. On a hike through the Calanques National Park, you may even be lucky enough to come across an empty beach to spend a day relaxing alone or with your loved ones!
Natasha from World Inside My Pocket
Mondello in Sicily, Italy
Mondello in Sicily is merely a beautiful beach: white sand, turquoise waters, enframed by palm trees. What else does a great beach need? Well, in this case, it does get better. The beach is several kilometers long and invites for a beautiful stroll along the seafront promenade. Just enjoy the walk, let your eyes wander over the sea, and listen to the sound of the waves. That’s my favorite activity in Mondello. If you think that’s too boring, you can windsurf or kitesurf (if you’re lucky with the weather at least). In the spring and autumn, sand artists are making amazing sculptures that will make you stand in awe. In summer, you will see many events happening, like concerts or volleyball tournaments.
The promenade of Mondello beach is one of the gems of the Art Nouveau style in Europe. At the end of it, when the sand part of the beach ends with a small marina, there are many bars – which is how Italians call their cafés – and restaurants. If you like seafood don’t miss out on the super fresh mussels and squid. If not, just enjoy a refreshing Gelato with a view on the Charleston, the Art Nouveau building in the middle of the beach built right in the water that is the symbol of Mondello, and behind it the Monte Pellegrino. Upon taking a closer look at the mountain, you will see that it looks like a sleeping dog. Goethe called this the most beautiful promontory in the whole world. And I absolutely agree with him.
All this is making Mondello beach my favorite beach and, maybe, also my favorite place in Europe in general.
Barbara from Barbaralicious
There’s some pretty stiff competition when it comes to which island has the best beaches in Greece, but Milos is a more than worthy competitor. With over 75 different beaches to choose from, you could stay for two weeks and still not be able to visit them all! Varying from the easily accessible to the iconic, the quiet to those that can only be reached by sea, here’s a quick look at my top choices and best beaches in Milos.
Sarakiniko Beach is probably the most Instagrammable beach in Milos, Sarakiniko is famed for its almost lunar landscape. Smooth white volcanic rocks dominate the area, acting as a perfect contrast to the blues of the Greek sea. My advice – You have to visit but don’t plan on spending longer than half a day. It gets scorching with the sun reflecting off the rocks.
Kleftiko Bay is another iconic area; the bay can only be visited by boat. Technically, it’s not a beach, but no trip to Milos is complete without diving into the waters and swimming between the rock caves.
Agia Kyriaki is actually my favorite beach on Milos. It’s quiet with a long stretch of sand, and the nearby tavernas serve fantastic food! Visit outside of August to fully appreciate the tranquility of it all!
4WD or quad bike can only reach Thiorichia beach, but it’s in an incredibly unique setting. The backdrop to the beach is an old abandoned sulfur mining operation (that can be explored at your own risk!), and the colors of the surrounding rocks make it feel like you’re on another planet!
Dave from Dave’s Travel Pages
Pembrokeshire Coast in Wales, UK
When you think of the best beach destinations in Europe, Wales might not be the first place to spring to mind! However, if you love to mix a beach holiday with maybe a bit of hiking and exploring the area, then the Pembrokeshire Coast in Wales is a wonderful destination.
Whitesands Beach is one of my favorite beaches in the area, pictured above on a cold autumn day, a great beach to visit any time of the year. A couple of miles from the UK’s smallest city St David’s, Whitesands Beach is a Blue Flag beach and a popular summer destination but also makes for a wonderful destination since it’s located in the middle of the 186-mile coastal path. In both directions, you can walk along the high coastal path overlooking the beach, round to the rugged St David’s Head heading north or heading south a couple of miles you reach St Justinians Lifeboat Station. Also, the location where boats leave for the beautiful Ramsey Island Nature Reserve.
The beach is also famous for surfers since there are some high waves. There’s a pretty big car park with a cafe and a small shop next to the beach, but in the summer months, it can get prevalent.
Becky from Becky The Traveller
Mykonos is one of my favorite Greek islands, and beaches have something to do with it. The reason why I love it so much is that there’s a beach for every mood – for when you want to party, relax, spend some quality time with your significant other, swim, snorkel… you name it, and in Mykonos, you’ll be able to find the perfect beach for it!
There are also beaches for families, LGBT-friendly beaches, and even beaches for nudists. There are so many best beaches in Mykonos narrowing down is not an easy task! The best places to head to if you’re planning a party are definitely the super famous Paradise and Super Paradise beaches, which are very busy and offer many things to do all day long – and even at night.
Super Paradise is exceptionally beautiful, but if you don’t like crowds, you may want to go somewhere else. Ornos Beach is much quieter and still comfortable to access, and it’s an excellent option for families with lots of water activities, whereas if you’re after a more tranquil atmosphere with excellent swimming and snorkeling opportunities, you can try Lia beach.
Another great option is Elia Beach, often mentioned as the best beach on the island because of its clear waters and white sand!
Margherita and Nick from The Crowded Planet
Looking for a unique beach vacation destination in Europe? Tarifa, Spain may be just the ticket! It is a fantastic option for those who love active holidays while still having plenty of choices for those looking for relaxation.
Tarifa situated at the southernmost tip of mainland Europe, at the narrowest point of the Gibraltar Strait. Tarifa sits where the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean meet. The small Mediterranean beach is blessed with bright sun and calm waters while the long, wide Playa de Los Lances is the hub of activity. With miles of undeveloped white sand and winds that blow over 300 days a year, Tarifa is the number one spot for kitesurfing and windsurfing in Europe. Other watersports include surfing, diving, and fishing.
If you prefer land-based activities, Tarifa is positioned between two national parks, Parque Natural del Estrecho, and Parque Natural Los Alcornocales. These are the perfect places for hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, and many more adventure activities. The boardwalk in town is excellent for longboarding, bikes, scooters and running. It’s also an excellent area for birdwatching.
At just 14km away from the northern coast of Africa the views across the Strait to the Atlas Mountains are stunning. The old town is worth a stroll, with narrow streets, whitewashed buildings, cute shops, and even a castle. Thanks to the many people that come for kitesurfing and don’t leave, there is an excellent community for digital nomads with plenty of options for food and drinks.
A car would be helpful to get into the mountains and surrounding area but not necessary. If you do have a car, some of the best places to stay are just out of town. We booked Hostel Margarita simply because it was the cheapest option within walking distance of the town and beach. We were so surprised we extended our stay for an extra week!
Terry and Claire from Past The Potholes
The expansive beaches in Nice are trendy and well loved by locals and visitors coming to the Cote de Jour for sun and fun. Expansive beach, beach promenades and historic buildings fronting the coastlines make this classic beach area a must see and experience even if you’re not a beach person seeing the famous Cote de Jour. A visit and maybe a nice meal at the iconic hotel and restaurants at Hotel Negresco is a fun and delicious visit to this classic hotel on the strip.
The beach portion of Nice itself has a variety of set cabana and seating/umbrella areas, private clubs and open areas for you to choose from depending on whether you want the see and be seen venues or just spread out a towel on the mostly beach. The mostly graveled beach is unexpected but easy to walk on, and the water and views are just spectacular wherever you decide to lounge in a more upscale type of setting or merely handing out by the water’s edge.
Sunset or sunrises are merely a spectacular time also to go back and visit the beach with fewer crowds during that timeframe to find a perfect spot to enjoy the end or start of the day.
Noel from Travel Photo Discovery
If I had to choose one of the best beach destinations in Europe, it would most definitely be the Greek island of Crete. Crete is the biggest island in Greece and filled with some of the country’s most stunning beaches. The island is vast, stunning, rugged, and filled with friendly Cretans. We spent every day exploring a different beach. Our favorites would have to be Elafonsi, Stefanou, and Balos beach.
Elafonisi Beach is a well known pink sand beach where if you catch it right at the right time it is a light pink. The pink sand caused by the coral being broken down into tiny fragments. Balos Beach is a blue lagoon perfect for swimming in the warm Mediterranean waters, while Stefanou is our favorite as it is secluded and hard to reach – keeping it beautiful.
You will need a car to make the most out of your time in Crete and to see all the beaches! It’s a big island that can look deceiving on a map, but it can take hours to drive across. Once you have your set of wheels and a well-plotted map you will be able to explore some of the gorgeous beaches in Europe!
Natasha and Cameron from The World Pursuit
Sa Calobra in Mallorca, Spain
The Sa Calobra is a part sand-part pebble beach that satiates the Vitamin Sea in all beach lovers. Being one of the famous spots in West Mallorca, the place has been a source of inspiration for famous artists. Approach to the beach is through a secret tunnel with green laser lights guiding you. The tunnel provides breathtaking views onto the cove. It situated at the end of a gorge made by the stream Torrent de Pareis, which results in 2 separate beaches in this cove.
There’s a smaller section of the beach that lies between two cliffs and is situated right in front of the sea. It’s separated from the more extensive part of the beach by a water stream.
There aren’t any sun-beds on the beach, so you’ll have to bring something to sit or lie. The water’s clean and great for a swim. The natural scenery makes for a landscape photographer’s dream.
The streets leading to the venue are winding and can get adventurous. The place gets crowded in the afternoon. However, try to get there early in the morning, by say 9 am, then you’ll have the place entirely to yourself. Best way to get here is by a boat from Port de Soller.
Washrooms are located on the way to the beach. Several restaurants/cafes provide great seafood buffets so enjoy your prawns, salmon, classic Mallorcan Tapas and top it up with a beer or a breezy cocktail!
Vaibhav from The Wandering Vegetable
While most people have heard of Mykonos and Santorini, few have heard of the nearby island of Naxos. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though: accommodation in Naxos is typically more than half that of Mykonos or Santorini, and the island has a much less touristy vibe.
Like many of the islands nearby, Naxos is a fantastic beach destination. Saint George Beach is located just a few minutes from Naxos Town Centre, and you can easily walk there in less than ten minutes. Saint George is one of the top-rated and most popular beaches on the island of Naxos, and it’s great that it’s so accessible from the Town Centre.
The very best beaches, however, are located further down the coast particularly on the South Western side of the island. Plaka Beach, in particular, is worth making a unique journey. The beach is just fifteen minutes by car from Naxos, and it’s also possible to get there by public transport. You can even hire bikes from Naxos Town Centre. Roundtrip it’s just over 13 km, which is just about the right length for a holiday.
As well as beaches, there’s plenty to see and do on the island. It’s home to some fantastic ruins, notably the Portara which is easily accessible from the town center. There’s also Zeus’ Cave where, according to local legend, Zeus was given the lightning that he holds today, and the Statues of Kouros are also worthy of your time.
James from This Travel Guide
Sopot in Poland
When people think of beach destinations, Poland rarely comes to mind. This is a real shame because Poland is home to some stunning white sand beaches that are yet hidden and need to be discovered by beachgoers. Although Poland’s beaches lie on the Baltic coast, making the water colder than Mediterranean beaches, the splendor of Poland’s vast coastline more than makes up for it.
Poland is the home to the most expensive real estate, as well as glitzy cocktail bars and centuries-old spas, Sopot has been dubbed the ‘Polish Monaco’ but don’t let that put you off – prices in bars and restaurants in Sopot are not much different from the rest of Poland! Sopot is also a real cultural hub, with films shown on huge screens on the pier during the summer months and the ‘Sopot International Song Festival,’ which is one of the most significant song contests in Europe!
If for some reason, you tire of all that, you’ll be pleased to know that Sopot is also the perfect location for a day trip to Hel. Yes, you read that right. You can buy a ferry ticket to Hel while you’re enjoying your holiday in Poland! Hel is a 35km long sandbar that stretches out into the Baltic Sea, with unspoiled white sand beaches on both sides and stunning pine forests in the center. The ferry from Sopot to Hel only takes around 1.5 hours so you can easily spend the day soaks up the sun on Hel before returning to Sopot in the evening for fine dining and a spot of celeb-spotting.
Dani From Travelling Jezebel
De Haan, Belgium
The canals of Bruges, the architecture of Brussels, the diamonds of Antwerp, the hippie city of Ghent – for all these Belgium became popular among tourists. However, when it is about beach destinations, Belgium is not the country that you’re likely to think. So let me introduce you the De Haan, the largest beach in the Flemish coast of the North Sea with tall dunes of white sand, chilly wind, and absolute bliss.
De Haan is a coastal municipality of Flanders region of Belgium which is a 15 km drive from Bruges city center. Neatly tucked away from the tourist spotlight, this place is a serene, dreamy wonderland with a beach that is never overly crowded. One side of the beach is a party zone with lots of activities like paragliding, skiing, and jetboat riding etcetera, while the other hand remains quiet, with families sitting enjoying quality time with their kids and some joggers.
As you move towards the west in this 12km long beach, it gets busier and at the far west lies the only nude beach of this coast. We went there in the April just before summer kicked in and enjoyed the chilly coastal wind on a sunny day – it was something we had never experienced before. It is indeed the cleanest public beach even during the summer when it is the busiest.
Next time you head to Belgium do not forget to spend some time in this blissful beach of the North Sea in one of the many beach resorts available for all budget sizes. I’d also recommend exploring the coastline on the tram that starts from Oostende railway station.
Sinjana from Backpack & Explore
Tropea in Calabria, Italy
If you haven’t been to Italy’s south, you are missing out. In the very south of Italy on the toe of the boot, you can find the somewhat the untouched region of Calabria where you can see some of the best beaches in Italy.
Tropea is a gorgeous clifftop medieval town with a stunning view of the coastline and Santa Maria della Isloa, which is a fairy tale like a church you can see perched on a hill in the sea.
Tropea is a popular beach holiday destination and comes alive in the summertime where tourists flock to enjoy the heat, take a swim in the crystal clear water, and enjoy some of the region’s cuisine including their famous sweet red onions.
With a large variety of restaurants in the town center, finding quality Italian food is not difficult. In the evening you can have an “aperitivo” and enjoy watching the sunset over the sea.
While tucked away in Italy’s south, Tropea is just 40 mins from the nearest airport. It is a large enough town to the base as a holiday destination, with enough to do in and around to keep you busy, including boat trips, and excursions to other nearby beaches such as in Capo Vaticano.
With the southern Italian sun, a beach holiday in Tropea can be enjoyed from the end of May until September however it can be more expensive during the months of July and August.
Chontelle from Mum’s Little Explorers
Golden Sands in Varna, Bulgaria
Golden Sands is a largest seaside resort town on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. It is adjacent to a national park of the same name in the city of Varna.
It is located 19 km north of downtown Varna, but a continuous strip of resorts and villas on the route joins it to the city. A popular tourist destination, it draws many visitors from neighboring countries as well as from the United Kingdom, Russia, Scandinavia, France, the Persian Gulf, and Israel among other countries.
The name “Golden Sands” comes from an old legend: Pirates dug in huge golden treasure in the seaside north from Varna. The land took revenge on the bandits and transformed the gold into wonderful sand glowing like gold. The area is famous for the beautiful sand on long beaches of the Black Sea coast and is kept clean and pollution free. Golden Sands also offers an aqua park and several water sports to practice. The resort is abundant in lush vegetation and with the numerous bushes and trees resembling a real park.
There are lots of ancient mineral water springs as well as a spa. Golden Sands is the perfect relaxing beach getaways for family and has been awarded the prestigious Blue Flag international ecology prize several times.
For stay, there are tens of hotels of different categories and budget. There are regular buses of Varna public transit system connecting Golden Sands with Varna city.
Nisha and Vasu from Le Monde, A Poetic Travail
Formentera Island, Spain
If you look for a real paradise in the Mediterranean Sea, Formentera, the smallest Balearic Island, is one of the best choices. This relatively small island has some of the most beautiful white sand beaches in Europe that will remind you of the Caribbean. You can hire a motorbike or a car and explore the most beautiful beaches in Formentera, amongst which Playa de Ses Illetes situated on a long peninsula is probably the most popular one, and it’s actually a natural park. Nevertheless, if you look for more a more remote paradise, you can go to Es Caló Mort, a small beach only accessible on foot.
Apart from relaxing on the most beautiful beaches, you can do snorkel in crystal clean water or do scuba diving. There are several dive centers in La Savina, the main port of the island. You can also explore the vineyards by renting a bike and old constructions in the interior of the island. There are also two old lighthouses in the two different tips of Formentera, and from the Cap de Barbaria Lighthouse you can enjoy one of the most beautiful sunsets in the Mediterranean.
Formentera is only accessible by boat from either Ibiza or during the summer there are also direct connections with Barcelona. The best place to stay at depends on your taste: if you look for the party, the area around Es Pujols is the best, while the South of the Island is much calmer and has a more local vibe. Our favorite place is Hotel Cala Saona, situated in one of the most beautiful coves on the island
Gábor from Surfing the Planet
If you think of Cornwall, it won’t be long before you get excited about seeing St Michael’s Mount. It is a fairytale island, with a castle, cut off from the inhabitants of Marazion by a causeway which is only revealed by the tide for a few hours each day. It’s just a couple of miles from Penzance, and wow is it worth the trip!
However, just across from the island is a fabulous stretch of pristine white sand, ringed by dunes. It’s here at Marazion Beach that jolly fishing boats leave for the island, kids play games, families get out their deck chairs, and the good vibes just keep on coming. Grab a pasty and dig a sand castle or walk the length of the front listening to the locals’ accents. This feels like a place where time will forever stand still.
What makes this beach so special? It’s not just the fabulous view of the island. Parking is just behind the dunes, the conditions are ideal for windsurfing, kitesurfing, jet skiing and outside of peak season, dogs roam freely in the sand.
Plus, what makes things here totally unique is the enchanting rock pools formed around the causeway – ideal for kids to explore and catch tiny sea creatures. As the tide goes out, you can walk to a craggy isle that’s even closer than the mount, called Chapel Rock. From there, Cornwall looks mighty fine. Of course, there are daily boat rides and several walking periods too that will take you straight to St Michael’s Mount, also.
Danni from Live in 10 Countries
Culatra Island in Olhao, Portugal
Visiting Culatra island is one of the best things to do in Olhao. Olhao is a fishing village very close to Faro. It’s also the departure point of the ferry to Culatra Island. The ferry ride from Olhao to Culatra island takes about 30-45 minutes. While most of the Algarve has beautiful beaches, the coastline of Faro and Olhao is formed by the wetlands of the Ria Formosa National Park. The mainland here has no beach, but beautiful golden sandy beaches can be found on the barrier islands just off the coast.
In the summer months, many people go there to swim and sunbathe, although Culatra is supposed to be a bit less busy than nearby Armona Island. The ferry ride to Armona Island is a bit shorter, and it also has a fabulous beach, but this island is more touristy with lots of holiday houses and even a campground. Personally, I preferred the more authentic feel of Culatra Island with its fishing harbor and small fisherman houses. Armona Island is a bit larger and has more amenities.
However, we visited both islands and beaches in the winter and had the beach all to ourselves! We didn’t swim, so I’m not sure about the water conditions, but the beach itself is comprehensive and easy to reach. On both islands, it’s about a 15-minute walk from the ferry terminal to the beach, and there are boardwalks so taking a stroller or wagon is no problem. In the wintertime, the ferries run less frequently, so keep this in mind if you want to visit one of these islands.
Lisa from FlipFlop Globetrotters
Taormina in Sicily, Italy
The city of Taormina is not precisely a no. 1 go-to beach destination in Sicily. Once you’re done exploring Taormina’s Old Town, it’s time to hop on a cable car and descend to the seashore. You’ll be greeted by a tiny and ‘okayish’ beach called Mazarro. However, get straight past it and continue to Isola Bella Beach.
Isola Bella is a wide pebble beach forming a part of a beautiful bay. The water is pleasantly turquoise, and there’s plenty of space to spread around, even if you don’t want to rent a parasol.
At the time of our visiting, there were even Asian ladies offering massages. My husband had one done on his back and loved it 🙂 Proceed with caution, however!
You’ll find several bars and restaurants located along the beach. Shops are near too, as well as little vendors of anything your heart might wish.
From the beach, you’ll have a beautiful view not only of the sea but also of a cute little islet of the same name – Isola Bella. The island is accessible by foot, but you have to walk through water. The island itself is a protected area, and there’s a fee to access it. In my opinion, it’s money well spent. You’ll be free to explore the disheveled mansion of Isola Bella island left behind by a wealthy family who once lived here, as well as tens, perhaps hundreds, of different plant species.
Veronika from Travelgeekery
Etretat, is a beautiful beach on the coast of Normandy, in France. Its perfect location, at only 2 hours from Paris by car, makes of Etretat the perfect side trip from Paris to escape the city and get some fresh air.
Etretat is known for its characteristic chalk cliffs and coastal rock formations. All this beauty attired the Impressionist painters who enjoyed painting in “plain air” on the beach or the top of the clifts. Today, people can see Etretat in many museums around the world thanks to French painters like Gustave Courbet or Claude Monet. Monet was the artist who made Etretat worldwide famous, thanks to his series of paintings (1883-1885) focused on Etretat under different lights and moods.
Etretat has a cute historical center with beautiful Normand architecture and charming shops. Also, it is nice to visit the chapel Notre-Dame de la Garde, on the top of a hill you can enjoy magnificent views of the beach.
Finally, there are a couple of historical sights related to the WWI and WWII. Indeed, during the WWI, the English had a base in Etretat, and during the WWII many sea battles of the English or French against the Germans took place in front of the beach of Etretat.
Last time I was in Etretat was in the summer, in August. Despite that, the air was cold and windy, and people were happy just enjoying the view of the sea or taking pictures of the clifts. Also, I had a great time eating fish and seafood. I recommend the restaurants in front of the beach, with sea views.
Elisa from World in Paris
Lungomare Cristoforo Colombo in Cefalu, Italy
Looking for one of the top beaches in Cefalu, which has many activities to offer? Look no further! The Lungomare Christofo Colombo is just a visit away from it becoming our favorite beach in all of Cefalu. This specific beach is the main seafront beach of Cefalu and has a vast range of features and places nearby for you to observe and visit.
First, I loved the stunning ocean-view accompanied by the warm, soft sand. You can easily dig your feet into while you catch a little bit of sun. The view of the ocean is not the only view the Lungomare Cristoforo Colombo has in store for you. If you look around, you are sure to find stunning views of the old and historic part of the city that stands under a scenic cliff. I must emphasize that this beach is the best when it comes to photographing the old town – you won’t be able to capture the essence and magnitude of the cliff from any other angle. Trust me on that!
The Lungomare Cristoforo Colombo beach is also known because of the presence of many local beach cafés and restaurants. You can easily enjoy a cooled drink by the seaside or a light seafood dish. If you are traveling with your children, I am sure they won’t be able to resist a couple of scoops of silky ice cream from the gelateria nearby.
Lastly, the most popular feature of the beach is the long promenade. It’s perfect for walking off that lunch or just taking a pleasant walk with the sea breeze. Ultimately, this is the best beach and learn more about the top things to do in Cefalu.
Michelle from Greedy Gourmet
Port Cros, France
Port Cros is a protected gem in the Mediterranean Sea with the most natural landscapes and beaches of the region. The small island is a few kilometers away from the busy French south coast. You’ll only find a few buildings near the port with a couple of hotels and restaurants with sea views. The rest of the island is wild and pristine: no cars, no bicycles, no cigarette, and no phone coverage sometimes!
The small island can get busy during the day when it’s the peak season on the Mediterranean Coast. However, if you choose to stay overnight, you’ll experience the island differently after all the day visitors catch the last ferry back to the mainland.
You may choose to just lay on the beautiful sand next to the turquoise waters. It’s a top activity in the Mediterranean region. If it’s all you want to do, you may be better on the beaches of white sand of the neighbor island Porquerolles.
Indeed, the best way to experience Port Cros and its beautiful beaches are to be active and fully embrace all the nature-based experiences the island offers.
Hiking trails will take you to remote beaches where you’ll be by yourself in breathtaking landscapes with a dramatic coastline. It’s unbelievable to get such a sense of remoteness close to one of the most touristy coast. Bird lovers will have a fantastic time spotting the different species that choose Port Cros for breeding and nesting.
Don’t forget your snorkel gear: the island is as beautiful on land than underwater. Port Cros was made Europe’s first marine national park in 1963. They have a snorkeling trail close to the shore that will make you discover different species of fish and even other fascinating marine life like octopuses. Plus, the seagrass bed looks fantastic, and the rocks are colorful.
Eloise from My Favourite Escapes
San Sebastian, Spain
San Sebastian in Spain may not be the first place people think of when they are looking for a beach destination in Europe, but it is one of the best places to go on the continent.
The city doesn’t have just one beach in proximity to the city center; it has two! The main beach is La Concha, and it is a sprawling mass of golden sand. It gets hectic during the summertime, but that shouldn’t detract from its beauty.
There is much space on the beach, and you can easily play some beach games here. You can swim in the beautiful blue waters and treated to some fantastic views out into the Bay of Biscay.
San Sebastian’s other beach is smaller but no less impressive. Playa Zurriola is known as the surfing beach, and it is an excellent alternative to La Concha. If you’re a surfer, this is the place to go. The waves can get high year round, and whether you’re a beginner or more experienced, it’s a great place to go surfing. The beach also offers a fantastic place to watch the sunset before you head off for some pintxos!
With two fantastic beaches close to the city center, San Sebastian should be high on the list of your places to go if you’re a beach lover!
Tom from The Travelling Tom
Lisbon, Portugal’s beautiful capital, is by far the most picturesque and chilled city in Europe. However, once we leave the capital and hit the road, you’ll end up finding sleep villages and towns that’ll give you the shakes. Our favorite area in Portugal is located right on the beach. The small beach town Peniche is Portugal’s surf mecca and one that knows how to have romantic sunsets, amazing houses, and yummy food which will blow you away.
Whenever we are heading to Peniche, we spend most of our days in the water surfing. As we are both not the most prominent experts in surfing, we need those cute beginner beaches where waves are smooth, boards are big, and smiles given. Well, Baleal, an even smaller village right next to Peniche, is one of those places. We come here, rent out some boards, hit the waves and have enormous fun. After that, we hang out in one of the many bars and restaurants that are directly located on the beach and enjoy the view of the sea, keep on watching other surfers and sip on a typically Portuguese Galao, which is coffee with milk.
Baleal and Peniche are those places that give us heaps of energy as they are calm and relaxed, but still full of things you can do. Always coming back for sure!
Anne and Clemens from Travellers Archive
Sitges is a small town outside of Barcelona, Spain which has 17 beaches to explore. There are nudist beaches and family-friendly beaches. The closer the beach is to the city center the busier it will be. Some of the top beaches are Sant Sebastiá, Fragata, and Ribera beach.
Sant Sebastiá beach is sitting to the east of the Sitges church. It stands more on its own than the beaches on the other side of the church.
Fragata beach is popular with families and overlooked by the town’s whitewashed church. Volleyball nets and ice creams will appeal to children. It offers a lot more than many of the other beaches.
Ribera is one of the more extensive beaches and busy as it is close to the town. It appeals to all groups.
The beaches of Sitges are clean, lively and busy. You’ll feel so relaxed on all of Sitges’s beaches and the differences between them are not instantly noticeable. Do make sure you bring sunscreen as there is no shade at the beaches and the sun is intense in the summer.
Sitges is less than an hour train journey from Barcelona. If you are leaving from Estacio de Franca, it is 46 minutes, from Passeig de Gracia it’s 37 minutes and Estacio Sants it’s 30 minutes. A one-way journey is less than 5 Euro.
Nicole from Travelgal Nicole
The Costa Vicentina in the Algarve, Portugal
The Algarve, one of the most popular beach destinations in Europe, but few of its visitors’ venture to its wild west, the Costa Vicentina.
The Costa Vicentina is the wild coastline in the south-westernmost corner of Portugal. It starts in Burgau and continues round to Odeceixe. It’s part of the Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina, a protected area which extends north along the coast of the Alentejo province. It’s an area with very little development.
This coast gets the full force of the Atlantic Ocean, and much loved by surfers – there are surf schools at Sagres and Praia do Amado.
The beaches are breathtaking. Some are vast so never really fill up. We loved Praia do Tonel, the main surf beach in Sagres, which has excellent views to Cape St Vincent, which the Romans used to believe was the end of the world.
The best of them are to the north, a short drive from the town of Aljezur. Praia da Amoreira is outstanding, a vast sweep of sand with cliffs one side and an estuary the other.
However, our favorite of all is Praia do Amado, near the village of Carrapateira. It has a magnificent setting backed by cliffs of various colors and a vast swathe of sand.
David and Faye from Delve into Europe
Ile de Ré, France
The Ile de Ré sits just off the west coast of France, about 14 km west from La Rochelle. The island is a mere 30 km long and 5.5 km wide, and it’s an extraordinary place.
These days you arrive via a bridge rather than a boat, but then the gap between the mainland and the island is still enough to make you feel that you’re getting away from it all and going on holiday.
As soon as you reach, you realize beaches surround it. The question is, where to head first.
Our favorite beaches are in the southwest of the island where the beaches are long, sandy and backed by sand dunes. Pick one of the more popular areas around Le Bois en Plage, and you’ll find charming casual restaurants tucked away behind the sand dunes. Is there anything better than a glass of rose after a long walk by the waves?
The best thing is to hire a bike and get onto the island’s 100km of good quality, traffic free, mostly flat cycle routes. The network crisscrosses the island and takes you to some fantastic spots. We love the area west from Saint Martin de Ré: the bike paths around Loix, Ars en Ré, and Les Portes en Ré weave between watery salt beds and the sea. En route you’ll pass oyster shacks selling some of the freshest, tastiest oysters anywhere.
Alternatively, get adventurous and head to the northern tip of the island. Here you’ll find some of the island’s most beautiful beaches: Patache and Blanc du Bucheron. There’s also the striking Phare des Baleines lighthouse which you can climb. At the top, you get spectacular views across the island and the shimmering yellow beaches that surround it.
So if you love sand, pretty villages, superb restaurants, and fresh seafood, Ile de Ré is somewhere you have to visit.
Clare from Epic Road Rides
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