Mediterranean beaches come in a variety of forms. Some are secluded and offer plenty in the way of natural appeal, while others are found in busy resort destinations and are more highly developed. Depending on the beach in question, it might have soft white sand, golden sand, or even red or black sand. On some occasions, pebbles take the place of sand. With this in mind, you have plenty of options when it comes to planning Mediterranean beach vacations. Also worth considering when trying to plan a beach vacation in the Mediterranean is the kind of cultural atmosphere you prefer. Many different countries with coastlines can be found in the Mediterranean region, so there are an array of cultural experiences to choose from.
The third largest of Spain’s Balearic Islands, this often riotous retreat offers a jagged coastline and some fine beaches to go with its renowned club scene. Recent moves have been made to convert Ibiza into a more relaxed, family-friendly destination, it should be noted, so it’s not only for the party crowd. Secluded bays help to characterize the landscape, as do cliffs, and among the manmade features are comfortable hotels and whitewashed houses. Beaches of choice on the island of Ibiza include Playa Talamanca, Ses Figueretes, Playa d’en Bossa, Cala Bassa, Cala Tarida. Travelers can find other Ibiza beaches to indulge in as well, including the long sandy cove at Cala Llonga and the nude sunbathing havens of Playa Cavallet and Aigues Blanques. Arguably the most popular Ibiza beach, however, is the white sand gem of Es Pujols.
The Balearic Islands are home to some of Spain’s most popular beaches. Beach enthusiasts can also consider heading to the country’s Canary Islands region. As for mainland Spain, it too impresses with its array of sandy stretches. Among the best places to go for some fun in the sun on mainland Spain is the city of Valencia. You can find a sandy beach with restaurants and other amenities just a 10-minute bus ride from the heart of the city. While this beach is pretty good, even better beaches can be reached if you are willing to spend a little more time on the bus or in the car. Among the best beaches near Valencia are El Saler and La Devesa. Both of these beaches are Blue Flag beaches and feature fine white sand dunes and pure blue waters. El Saler is the busier of the two and has more in the way of facilities. La Devesa is more natural and arguably worth the extra time that it takes to get there.
The French Riviera certainly offers some of the most famous Mediterranean beaches. These beaches, some of which are pebbly, have long been known for attracting celebrities and the jet-set crowd. The town of Saint Tropez is a perfect example of this. It attracts more than its fair share of famous and wealthy summertime guests. When the weather warms, many Saint Tropez visitors, regardless of their social status, head to the Baie de Pampelonne. This area to the south of town is where you will find the Tropezien beaches. Each of the area beaches are approximately 30 meters wide and feature their own beach huts. The tanning areas can be private or public, and as is common in Europe, some of the private beaches are popular with naturists. In addition to sunbathing and swimming, visitors to the beaches of Saint Tropez can enjoy such activities as water skiing, jet biking, sailing, canoeing, and windsurfing. Other French Riviera beach destinations include, but aren’t limited to, Cannes and lesser-known Cassis.
The Greek Islands undoubtedly offer some of the best Mediterranean beaches, and with so many islands to select from, the choices are almost endless. If you are targeting Greece for your Mediterranean beach vacation and need a recommendation, you might consider the island of Naxos. The largest island in the Cyclades island group, Naxos offers long sandy beaches that are known for their clear aquamarine waters and overall beauty. Among the more exotic beaches on the island is Aliko. Sand dunes and a cedar forest add to its scenic appeal. While some of the Naxos beaches are rather secluded and tranquil, others are more developed. Visitors can choose accordingly. The western side is more developed on the whole, while the eastern side is more secluded.
No discussion about the beaches of Greece would arguably be complete without mentioning the island of Zakynthos. Found in the Ionian Sea region of the Mediterranean, this island has a thriving tourism industry. One look at Navagio Beach, and it is easy to understand why tourists head there. This heavenly cove is about as picturesque as it gets. Only accessible by boat, it is isolated by limestone cliffs and features a small beach with soft sand and stunning turquoise water. Navagio Beach is one of the most photographed beaches in Greece. It is also worth noting that it is commonly referred to as Shipwreck Beach or Smugglers Cove, as it is home to a wrecked sea vessel that is believed to have been used by smugglers.
Much like Spain, France, and Greece, the country of Italy can be a great place to go if you are looking to enjoy a Mediterranean beach vacation. Among the country’s beach destinations of choice is Taormina. Found on the picturesque east coast of Sicily, Taormina boasts enticing beaches and coves. It is also known for its medieval quarter, its shopping, and its fantastic Mt. Etna views, among other things. To get to the largely unspoilt beaches of Taormina, it is possible to walk along paths that lead down to the coast. Other options include taking the cable car to the beach of Mazzaro or hopping on a beach-bound bus.
The autonomous Italian island of Sardinia is not to be overlooked if you are searching for the best Mediterranean beaches. Some of the most scenic beaches that you will find anywhere in the world call the island home. Many of these beaches are characterized by soft white sand, lovely dunes, and beautiful rock formations. Add in the aquamarine waters, and it only gets better. Secluded coves are easy to find around the island, and if you prefer a busier town beach, those are available as well.
The Croatian Island of Brac can be found off the southern coast of mainland Croatia in the Adriatic Sea – the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean Sea. A popular tourist destination, it beckons with its beaches, among the best of which is known as Zlatni Rat (Golden Horn). This golden shingle sandbar is hundreds of yards long and juts out into the water in spectacular form. Bordering it is a pine tree grove that features the remnants of a Roman villa rustica. When visitors aren’t relaxing and soaking up the beauty of Zlatni Rat Beach, they can engage in a variety of activities, including surfing and beach volleyball. A self-service restaurant and some cafes provide places to get something to eat or drink.
For many people, Israel probably isn’t the first country that comes to mind when thinking about Mediterranean beach vacations. The country has a rather extensive coastline, however, and can satisfy beach enthusiasts who are looking to enjoy some relaxation on the sand. The city of Haifa is arguably the destination of choice for Israel beach escapes. Because of its peninsular location, it is surrounded on three sides by the sea. Beaches are in good supply in the area, and on the cultural side of things, Haifa offers a delightful blend of European and Middle Eastern atmospheres.