Best Beaches in Europe – 26 European beaches you must see
The arrival of summer for many means going on holiday to warmer climes, spending leisurely days of relaxation, fun, and even some excitement. This year, why not head to one of the best beaches in Europe, live it up and return tanned and refreshed? Here are our picks:
Best Beaches in Europe
1. Playa de Ses Illetes, Formentera, Balearic Islands, Spain
Ibiza is known as the party capital of the world and Mallorca is a must-do summer destination in Spain. They both are the best-known islands of the Balearic Islands. But it’s Formentera island that hides one of the best beaches in Europe.
Playa de Ses Illetes, Formentera, Balearic Islands, Spain, Best beaches in Europe by diluvi
Formentera has a pleasant May climate, with clear days and temperatures in the mid-twenties. From June to September, the weather is warm and pleasant. Beach temperatures range from the mid to late twenties, making it a perfect place to laze around and get tanned in the mornings, and partying in the evenings. The northern region has olive groves and wooded areas and is truly stunning.
The beaches are packed till August, and less crowded from September onwards, so if you cherish your peace and quiet, that’s when you should plan your trip.
Playa de Ses Illetes, Formentera, Balearic Islands, Spain, Best beaches in Europe by Vriullop
Playa de Ses Illetes, Formentera, Balearic Islands, Spain, Best beaches in Europe by Andrés Nieto Porras
2. Cofete beach, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, Spain
Well, this is more Africa than Europe, but actually, it belongs to Spain! So why not be inspired by some amazing beaches from this part of the world as well. Southwestern part of the island boasts Cofete beach which is among the most beautiful places that can be seen in the Canary Islands.
Fuerteventura is the driest, longest and the second largest island of the Canary Islands. It covers an area of 2,020 square kilometres and is a home to only 30,000 inhabitants.
Cofete beach, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, Spain, Best beaches in Europe by Hansueli Krapf
3. Stiniva Beach, Vis island, Croatia
Are you looking for a romantic swim beneath steep walls? It is possible on the island of Vis, which is located south-west of famous Split. Stiniva Beach was created by collapsing the ceiling of a large cave.
The rock walls that surround it, are over 30 meters high. The beach is not too long, just about 30-40 meters but the experience is unforgettable!
Stiniva Beach, Vis island, Croatia, Best beaches in Europe by Miroslav Vajdic
4. Pampelonne beach, St Tropez, France
St Tropez is one of the oldest tourist attractions in Europe, and where the A-list crowd prefers to go. This tourist attraction owes its popularity to the influx of artists and musicians after the Second World War.
It is known for its sunny beaches (with public tanning areas and private huts as well. The beaches also offer plenty of activities including windsurfing, sailing, yachting, diving and other water sports.
These beaches combine glamour, leisure, nightlife and other activities to make an irresistible package. Even though there are more beaches around St Tropez, Pampelonne beach is the most famous of them.
Pampelonne Beach, St Tropez, France, Best beaches in Europe by Matthew Riley
5. Sveti Stefan, Montenegro
With over a hundred beaches spread across just about 300 kilometres, Montenegro seems an ideal choice for a beach holiday. The region boasts a pleasant Mediterranean climate and sunny weather for over eight months a year.
Beaches and gardens, hospitable people, relaxing atmosphere and carnivals and festivals can give you the right mix of rest and excitement during your holiday.
It’s also recently become a favourite haunt if the celebrity pack – so best to find a secluded spot before the crowds start to join in. Montenegro cuisine, coupled with the local wines, will help put you into the mood of a relaxed, enjoyable holiday.
Once in Montenegro, you will want to be at the Sveti Stefan which is a town islet surrounded by amazing beaches and wonderful nature.
Sveti Stefan, Montenegro, Best beaches in Europe by Dirk.heldmaier
6. Cala Mariolu, Sardinia, Italy
Sardinia is one of the two islands that lie off the western coast of Italy (Sicily being the other) and is not as crowded as the other Italian hotspots. It has stunning white beaches punctuated by the little coves.
Apart from the obvious attraction of Mediterranean weather, Sardinia offers several attractions for the discerning tourist: from the Nuraghi (prehistoric cone-shaped buildings) to Nora, the archaeological sites where Carthaginian remains have been uncovered; from the Roman remains in Cagliari to the hillsides, meadows, and hamlets of Barbagia.
It’s not possible to choose just one from all those beautiful beaches that Sardinia has to offer, but you’ll definitely like Cala Mariolu beach!
Cala Mariolu beach, Sardinia, Best beaches in Europe by Roberto Cossu
7. Rabbit Beach, Lampedusa, Islands of Sicily
Even Sicily island has some of the best beaches in Europe. There are so many amazing beaches in Sicily and the islands that surround it, that it could not fit into this list. For this reason, I have created a separate article about Best beaches in Sicily.
However, here it is suitable to mention at least one of them, e.g. Rabbit Beach on Lampedusa island. This beach was declared the best beach in the world by the prestigious travel portal TripAdvisor.
Rabbit Beach, Lampedusa, Sicily, Italy, Best beaches in Europe by Sicilia!
8. Red beach, Santorini, Greece
Santorini in Greece, with its beaches, little hamlets, and even an active volcano, is one of the hottest summer vacation spots in Europe. Traditional buildings (from as early as the 16th century), wineries, ruins and restored villas, and villages with their cobbled pathways, cafes, and restaurants offer travellers a holiday they can cherish.
The weather is mild from April to June, and September and October are the best times to visit the island. The sunsets here are known to be among the most spectacular in the world, sitting in perfect isolation on the outer ring of the Cyclades.
Santorini has so many different beaches that you can visit a different world every single day and still be on the same island. Kamari Beach, Red Beach, Perissa Beach are all perfect!
Red beach, Santorini, Greece, Best beaches in Europe by Nikos Roussos
9. Navagio Beach, Zakynthos, Greece
The popular tourist destination in Greece is undoubtedly the island of Zakynthos. Wonderful sandy beaches, sea caves (especially Blue Caves), impressive cliffs, romantic bays, clear sea and plenty of greenery for which the island is nicknamed the “Green Island.” Zakynthos is a real holiday paradise!
And if you wish to come home with the most photogenic picture from your holidays, you have to visit Navagio beach. It is located on the north-west side of the island but is only accessible by boat (from Laganas as well as from nearby Porto Vromi). This 200 meters wide romantic beach is surrounded by steep limestone cliffs. Right on the beach is a wreck smuggling ship that wrecked here in the early 80s of the 20th century.
10. Praia da Rocha, Algarve, Portugal
It could never be a complete list if we would miss some beaches from Algarve. Praia da Rocha is probably the most stunning of them. Translated as the rocky beach, Praia da Rocha is among the most beautiful beaches of the Algarve, where the cliffs surround the long sandy beach.
Praia da Rocha is a modern beach resort with tall buildings and offers an abundance of entertainment activities. Praia da Rocha is the right place for the lovers of long nightlife because entertainment rarely ends at midnight here. By day, you can use a wide range of sports facilities, eg. tennis, golf, bowling and try a range of water sports.
Praia da Rocha, Algarve, Portugal, Best beaches in Europe by arlo
11. The Blue Lagoon, Comino, Malta
Malta’s island Comino is home to one of the most beautiful beaches on the planet – The Blue Lagoon! The water here is azure blue and the bottom of the sea is covered by fine sand.
In the summer months, the beach can be quite overcrowded as lots of tourists are coming here to enjoy swimming in this Caribic-like place.
The Blue Lagoon, Comino, Malta, Best beaches in Europe by Martin Lopatka
12. Nissi Beach, Cyprus
Even Cyprus boasts several amazing beaches in Europe. I chose one – Nissi Beach in Ayia Napa resort. It is a blue flag beach with crystal clear water which you should not miss while on your holidays in Cyprus.
This beach has also one rarity. It is often visited by large pelicans who walk between the chairs and look for something to eat.
Nissi Beach, Cyprus, Best beaches in Europe by CTO Zurich
13. Ksamil beach, Albania
South of Sarandë, which is the unofficial capital of the Albanian Riviera, and a stone’s throw away from the Greek border, one can find Ksamil beach. It’s a magnificent place – a turquoise bay featured with three small islands.
Albania is intensively developing tourism and building tourist resorts with excellent hotels not only on the Adriatic and Ionian Seas but also in the inland area such as the Albanian Alps.
Ksamil beach, Albania, Best beaches in Europe by Artur Malinowski
14. Irakli beach, Bulgaria
A narrow path from the parking lot leads directly to the beach, whose length easily rivals any resort, but there is not a single hotel! Sandy beach, wonderful sea, forest, rocks.
A must-see beach for everyone who wants to enjoy a peaceful holiday on the Black Sea Coast of Bulgaria. Few hours of rest at a place like this will recharge your batteries for sure!
Irakli beach, Bulgaria, Best beaches in Europe by alex yosifov
15. Ölüdeniz beach, Turkey
What a mistake it would be not to include Turkey on this list. Their Ölüdeniz beach is definitely one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe!
Ölüdeniz is a picturesque resort on the Aegean Riviera. It is surrounded by beautiful beaches and a lagoon, which was declared a nature reserve and is one of the most popular beach resorts of Turkey. It is the only lagoon in Turkey.
Ölüdeniz beach, Turkey, Best beaches in Europe by Fredi Bach
16. Hel, Pomeranian, Poland
You would not believe it but it is not only southern Europe that boasts beautiful beaches. One amazing beach is also more to the north – in Poland. Hel is a beautiful peninsula with a nice and almost horror name. However, despite its name, there’s no hell that you could find here.
This is indeed one of the most beautiful tourist sites in the northern part of Poland.
Hel, Pomeranian, Poland, Best beaches in Europe by tomo
While all these destinations can be stunning, it’s your interests and tastes that can make your holiday perfect. Choose what works best for you, pack your designer swimwear and head off on a holiday you’ll remember and boast about for years to come!
Europe’s Lesser Known Beaches
When hearing the words ‘beaches’ and ‘Europe’ it’s highly likely that you’ll think of the Costa del Sol, the Algarve or the Cote d’Azur. However, there are plenty of lesser known beaches throughout Europe that are just as nice.
The fact that these beaches aren’t so popular often means that a two-week stay beside them often isn’t realistic. There’s certainly nothing stopping you visiting these beaches as a day trip – so why not do a little exploring and uncover a hidden gem?
17. Scheveningen, Netherlands
This beach may not be able to boast the highest temperatures or the most picturesque seafront, but there are plenty of water sports to take part in and a number of bars and restaurants.
However, one of the most appealing things about Scheveningen is its location – you can easily have an early morning dip in the sea before visiting Anne Frank’s House in Amsterdam or one of the 17th-century palaces in The Hague.
Scheveningen beach with pier, The Netherlands, Best beaches in Europe by Christopher A. Dominic
18. The Curonian Spit, Lithuania
The natural, largely unspoilt beauty of this Lithuanian beach needs to be seen to be believed! Unfortunately, it’s a protected World UNESCO Heritage Site and sadly, as a result, there are certain areas that are a no go for tourists.
However, the parts you can access are absolutely worth the journey and this beach is a truly beautiful place to spend a day.
Curonian Spit, Lithuania, Best beaches in Europe by Bernt Rostad
19. Pembrokeshire, Wales
While you can never depend on a good weather in Wales you can certainly depend on absolutely stunning scenery in Pembrokeshire. If you’re not convinced take it from the National Geographic magazine, which voted it the second best coastal destination in the world.
It’s easy to fit in as part of a trip round the UK so there’s no excuse for not seeing the area for yourself.
Marloes Sands – Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK, Best beaches in Europe by David Evans
20. Barleycove beach, Ireland
Again, this beach may generally be cold, but the beautiful natural surroundings in County Cork is more than makeup for it. This beach could be the perfect antidote to a hectic weekend sightseeing and sampling Ireland’s famous Guinness beer in Dublin, which is only a few hours away by car.
Barleycove beach, Ireland, Best beaches in Europe by EHRENBERG Kommunikation
21. Pupnatska Beach, Croatia
The Dalmatian Islands off the coast of Croatia all boast delightful coastlines and, as a result, trying to pick out just one is mightily difficult.
However, Pupnatska beach, on Korčula Island is a definite contender thanks to its sapphire waters, stunning white sand, and a friendly, laid-back atmosphere.
Pupnatska beach, Croatia, Best beaches in Europe by Andrea Musi
22. La Rochelle, France
While the South of France boasts some mesmerising beaches, there are plenty of places on the west coast that can give the south a run for its money. La Rochelle is one such resort.
What many people will love about a holiday incorporating La Rochelle is the fact that the area is steeped in history. Many holidaymakers will only feel comfortable sunbathing once they are sure they have explored the town and learnt about its rich history.
La Rochelle, France, Best beaches in Europe by Guilhem Vellut
23. St. Brelade’s Bay Beach, Jersey, UK
Gorgeous views, interesting trails, lovely restaurants… there’s little if anything to fault with this beautiful beach. And, even better, being on an island the size of Jersey means there’ll be another great beach around every turn. So take a wander and you could find yourself your own private piece of beach!
St. Brelade’s Bay Beach, Jersey, UK, Best beaches in Europe by St. Brelade’s Bay Hotel
24. Pärnu Beach, Estonia
Even Estonia has its best beach and it can’t be other than one in the city of Pärnu. The city is a quiet seaside resort boasting the famous beach which can be quite overcrowded during the hot summer days.
The beautiful long sandy beach has been awarded the Blue Flag in 2001. Pärnu has for many years held a reputation as the cultural capital of Estonia. You can visit the many museums and galleries presenting art world.
Pärnu Beach, Estonia, Best beaches in Europe by Randveer
25. Sylt, Germany
Tired of crowded beaches and warm sea, where the water temperature is the same as in the heated pool? Do you like clean sandy beaches? Or you just want to try something new? Get rid of prejudices and enjoy undisturbed moments on German beaches!
You can find perfect 40 kilometres long sandy beach on the island of Sylt. Here you can enjoy the fresh sea air, colourful beach chairs and breathtaking views of the North Sea. This area is a popular holiday destination even among prominent German people.
26. Lhota, Czech Republic
Oh, what a surprise, the Czech Republic on the list of the best beaches in Europe? You must be crazy… Well… Maybe I am, but during my 8-years-long trip to Prague, I found lots of lakes around and the one I liked the most was that in Lhota village.
Warm water, sandy beach as well as the bottom of the lake, thousands of pine trees all around, good beer and so many people… If you are about visiting Prague this summer and need some refreshment and relax after hard sightseeing, try Lhota lake!
If you are taking one of the many tours around, do make sure to add a beach into your trip. Europe’s architecture, art, culture, food, and history are all wonderful of course, but everyone needs time to relax! And what better way to unwind and rest tired feet than on a beach with truly stunning scenery?