With summer just around the corner, what better way is there to spend some days than laying next to crystal blue water, white sandy shores and a cocktail in hand? With a new era of low-cost international flights and speedy connections, it’s easy to consider traveling afar nowadays. A Europe beach visit is considered one of the world’s best bets in terms of destinations, from the Mediterranean Sea and beyond.
Because there are so many options to choose from, it is hard to narrow it down just to one. But luckily for you, we’ve hand-picked some of the top beaches on which to soak in the sun, recommended by travelers such as yourself. So get your Instagram camera ready and get set to have it all with our list of the 20 top Europe beach destinations for this summer.
20.) Culatra, Algarve, Portugal
Along the southern side of the island there are golden beaches, with calm crystal clear waters while on the northern side there are the lagoons. The Ilha da Culatra is the location to head for to escape the crowds and even in the summer season peace and quiet can be easily found.
There are no paved roads on Culatra and the only method to reach the island is by ferry.
19.) Playa de Calblanque, Murcia, Spain
Protected natural beach of high landscape value. This beach is located within the regional park Parque Regional de Calblanque, one of the best preserved unspoilt natural landscapes on the coast.
Its enormous natural wealth is based on its arid mountains, its long, ochre and golden-coloured beaches as well as its lonely coves, the formation of its fossil dunes, its white salt lakes and its mountain massifs, which contrast with the blue sea.
18.) La Feniglia, Tuscany, Italy
There is a long expanse of fine sand beach that connects Argentario with the mainland. You can take a long walk, or go a short distance and find an isolated spot backed by natural pinewoods.
There are a few vendors that provide beach-side services like umbrella and chair rentals and snack bars, but much of La Feniglia is left in its natural state. It is part of the Riserva Naturale Duna Feniglia to protect its beauty.
17.) Plage du Lion, Gironde, France
Lion Beach in Lacanau is the southernmost beach, halfway between Lacanau-Océan and Le Porge. This fine sand beach is uniquely accessible by bike or foot.
This vast beach extends over several miles. Because it is far from downtown and its impossible access by car, there are not a lot of visitors on this beach. The environment is wild between pine forest and immense dunes. However, be prudent when swimming because this zone is dangerous and there is not a lifeguard.
16.) Bains Militaires, Nice, France
Bains Militaires Beach in Nice is located to the east of the city, between the harbor and Cap de Nice. This little stone beach is the closest to the harbor and is found at the edge of the pier for Corsica.
A sailing center is found nearby. Note that this beach was used in the filming of a French movie “Brice de Nice”.
15.) Posedarje, Croatia
The beautiful beach is a spot where the mountain climate and the Mediterranean climate mix.
Because of the mentioned location it is of crucial traffic importance since it connects the state roads that bind the south of Croatia with its north and west.
14.) Plaka, Naxos, Greece
The largest island in the Cyclades, Naxos has superb beaches of all sorts: wild bays for windsurfers, sandy dunes for toddlers, watersports for teens, quiet coves for nudists.
It is set among palm trees right on the beach and offering phenomenal sunsets. For sensational Greek dishes made with local, organic ingredients (baked figs with fresh goat’s cheese, goat en papillote), head to Axiotissa in nearby Kastraki.
13.) Playa de Carnota, Galicia, Spain
Carnota beach is stunning. It really is massive and it arcs its way around a large open bay. The sand is fine and white and the sea is crystal clear with every reflected hue of blue and the main boardwalk at Carnota green. Carnota, unlike many of the ria beaches, waves, but the seabed is level and there are no worrying undercurrents.
12.) Porto Badisco, Puglia, Italy
Swim in the sheltered waters of the bay, snorkel along the surrounding cliff edge and picnic in the pine grove on the promontory on the north side of the bay.
About one mile inland is the more elegant Masseria Panareo, a guest house with an excellent restaurant, serving a seafood-based menu
11.) Samoqueira, Alentejo, Portugal
This beach is formed by a small stretch of sand and rocks.
Not a lot of people go to this beach. It has beautiful scenery because it is secluded and all natural.
10.) Rabbit Beach, Italy
This tiny remote island is located off the coast of Sicily, next to Lampedusa. It is a gorgeous sight to see with its crystal-clear water and soft white sand. Rabbit Beach has become quite famous over the years and in 2013 was voted TripAdvisor’s best beach in the world.
People continue venturing out to Rabbit Island every summer for some rest and relaxation, away from most of civilization. Who wouldn’t want that?
9.) Cala Macarella, Spain
With its white sand and turquoise water, it’s no wonder this Cala Macarella is full of people each and every summer. Located on the beautiful island of Menorca, some say Cala Macarella offers a more relaxing experience than can be found on Menorca’s sister island of Mallorca and is less popular among the seasonal partiers.
With spectacular views and a natural bay, Menorca just invites you to spend the day admiring the views from the top of the caves and to soak in some much-needed sun.
8.) Praia DaMarinha, Portugal
This iconic and photo-worthy beach is recognized as one of the most beautiful Europe beach hotspots in the world by CNN and Lonely Planet. Located along the Algarve Coast, it is a draw among both locals and tourists.
Praia Da Marinha is surrounded by steep cliffs and stunning views. There are walking trails and frequent boat trips offered to visitors annually. Get ready to indulge in authentic Portuguese cuisine and a friendly atmosphere, too.
7.) Calanque d’En-Vau, France
If you are visiting the South of France, don’t hesitate to explore one of the most beautiful places in the country. Known for its white rocky cliffs and teal-color water Calanque d’En-Vau is not a beach to be missed.
A little difficult but not impossible to get to, there are two ways to arrive: by boat, or you can take one of the hiking trails. Be prepared to spend a few hours hiking if you choose that option or hop on one of the daily boats for a more relaxing experience. Either way, you can’t miss out on this experience!
6.) Fig Tree Bay, Cyprus
Fig Tree Bay has been described as “simply amazing,” on more than one occasion. Known as a relaxing beach to stroll along the golden sand and clear blue water views. This beauty attracts visitors from all around the world.
Rent a sunbed (but get there early, as they tend to fill up quick!) next to the waterfront and spend the day visiting the lovely little shops and restaurants.
5.) Myrtos, Greece
This natural beauty gained its reputation as one of the best beaches in all of Greece, which is quite spectacular, granted that Greece is home to many famous and extraordinary beaches.
Situated between the two mountains of Agia Dynati and Kakn Oros, Myrtos attracts many visitors each year to its location on Kefalonia Island. This dramatic white pebble beach has been featured and beloved throughout the world.
4.) Cala Mariolu, Sardinia, Italy
This charming beach is located on the eastern coast of the popular island of Sardinia. In the background, one can view the Supramonte mountains while relaxing on the white-sand shores.
Its blue and clear waters stretch out along the coast for about 60 meters. It is also known to be the best snorkeling beach of Sardinia and offers visitors a wide variety of activities to enjoy, from scuba diving to hiking.
3.) Falsterbo, Sweden
Located on the southwestern tip of Sweden, Falsterbo is full of colorful beachside huts and gorgeous white sand. A fantastic place to bird-watch and enjoy outdoor activities, this gem offers visitors the chance to relax and unwind only 35 km outside of the popular city of Malmo.
Go for mile-long walks along the sea and take in the natural settings it has to offer. Don’t forget to snap some shots of one of those lovely beach huts!
2.) Vik Beach, Iceland
Otherwise known as the famous black sand beach, Vik Beach is a breathtaking site to see. Surprisingly, Vik rests along the southern coast of Iceland, about 180 km from Reykjavik and home to only 300 residents.
Not only can one walk for miles along the black sand, Vik also is home to mile-high cliffs and ancient folklore. Vik attracts many visitors annually who want to come and experience this unusual and once-in-a-lifetime experience.
1.) La Concha Beach, San Sebastian
According to TripAdvisor, La Concha Beachis Europe’s best beach. “But, why?” one might ask. It is located in the foodie-haven city of San Sebastian, where one can indulge in the hunt for delicious pinxtos and tapas. San Sebastian offers visitors the opportunity to have a taste of the city and beach life at the same time.
La Concha is named after its shell-like shape, and is frequently featured in travel magazines and publications worldwide. It is 1,350 meters long and 40 meters wide, located in the center of the city where you can find people strolling along the coast. It is quite a busy place in the summer, bustling with a mix of tourists and locals.
Did you enjoy reading about our picks for the best beaches in Europe? We’d love to hear from you, so don’t forget to leave a comment below! Also, before you go, make sure to check out our other great summer guides such as The 10 Best Summer Vacation Ideas !