Trips to Europe are often planned for exploring historic cities, soaking up culture, and indulging in food and wine. However, there’s a whole other side of Europe for travelers to explore. European beaches might not always offer the same long stretches of golden shores of the Caribbean, but they do offer their own character and flair. These seasonal destinations attract a large audience during the spring and summer months, and will be of serious interest to travelers that want some arts, culture, and cuisine along with their sunbathing.
Every traveler will have their own opinion on the best beaches in Europe. For some, nothing beats the French Riviera, with its trendy resorts and yachting culture. For others, the best beaches are in Italy. Although Italy generally has a rocky coastline, the fresh seafood, beautiful beach villages, and romantic atmosphere makes up for a few pebbles. Travelers who prefer to get off the beaten path might vote for the isolated islands of Greece, or somewhere along the coast of Croatia. Wherever you kick off your sandals, you are sure to enjoy the culture along with refreshing afternoon swims.
If you’re looking for sandy shores, Spain has some fantastic European beaches. The islands of Ibiza and Mallorca are famous for their beaches, aquamarine waters, and fun under the sun attitude. Here you can find nightlife as well as beautiful places to spread your beach towel. On mainland Spain there are some great beach destinations too. The resort-heavy Costa del Sol, including Malaga, is popular for travelers seeking the convenience of resorts or for golf enthusiasts. There are also points popular for windsurfers and yachting enthusiasts too. From the incredible yachts on display in Puerto Banus to the historic alleys of Marbella, this section of Spain makes for a great beach vacation.
Many travelers would argue that the best beaches in Europe are in Italy. If you’re looking for sandy shores, head south to the island of Sicily for a relaxed atmosphere and wide expanses of beach. Adventurous travelers might prefer the isolated coves of Cinque Terre, where you hike to the beach and can swim in cool coves without many other visitors. Portofino is one of the most stylish resorts in the Italian Riviera, while many visitors praise the charms of the Amalfi Coast, even though beaches here are small and full of pebbles. From the islands of Capri and Ischia to the unspoiled beaches of Sardinia, there are endless places to work on your tan in Italy.
Just across the water from Sicily is the island of Malta. This independent nation has some incredible European beaches to offer, and as a former English colony, everyone on the island speaks English. Despite the language barrier, some visitors can’t get past the appeal of France. Nice France, Cannes, and Saint-Tropez are just a few favorites of stylish travelers seeking the trendy summer fun of the French Riviera. Often listed among the best beaches in Europe, these destinations also offer culture (such as the famous Cannes Film Festival), luxury hotels, opportunities for yachting, and delicious food too. Wherever you kick off your designer sandals in Europe, you will be in for a very different beach experience than the laid-back shores of the Caribbean.