Stretching from Asia to the Atlantic, and from Africa to the Arctic, Europe encompasses an area of 10,180,000 km square. Europe is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, Atlantic to the west and Mediterranean to the south. It’s a continent which comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia. More than 480 million tourists are welcomed to European countries per year. And, 7 of the 10 most visited countries are European nations. It’s one of the most sought-after destinations to date.
For decades, Europe with a well preserved cultural heritage and open borders did attract visitors to travel. Also, the efficient infrastructure makes travelling in Europe a breeze. Most of the countries within Europe are located just a few hours away from each other. You might receive a burst of different cultures if you are on a country-hopping spree when in Europe.
Every visitor would be awestruck seeing the epic history, stunning artistic and culinary diversity coupled with natural beauty. You can say, the wealth of European attractions is almost unimaginable – The beautiful meandering canals of Venice, Renaissance art of Florence, vibrant ambience of London or the pretty Swiss. And, while we are at it, there are other places as well in Europe which are worth a mention. The Moorish palaces of Andalucía or the lovely blend of East-meets-West of Istanbul in Turkey. Not to forget, Europe is blessed with thousands of miles of pristine coastline. It’s an extremely popular destination for beach lovers. In this article, we will cover some of the best beaches in Europe you should visit on your next vacation. From remote cold, rocky beaches to the most vibrant ones. There’s everything for all.
22 Best beaches in Europe
- Marasusa beach,Italy
- Cala Tonnarella Beach, Italy
- San Vito Lo Capo Beach, Sicily
- Isola Delle Correnti Beach, Sicily
- Isola Dei Conigli Beach, Sicily
- Durdle beach resort, Dorset
- Brela Beach Croatia
- Praia de Albandeira, Portugal
- Nissi Beach, Ayia Napa
- Elafonisi Beach, Crete
- Playa de Maro, Nerja
- Mylopotas Beach, Ios
- Plaka Beach, Naxos
- Platys Gialos, Mykonos
- Ornos beach, Mykonos
- Myrtos beach, Kefalonia
- Stafilos Beach, Skopelos
- Figueretas beach, Ibiza
- Sa Caleta Beach, Ibiza
- Es Codolar Beach, Ibiza
- Cala Jondal Beach, Ibiza
- Porto Badisco, Puglia Italy
1. Marasusa Beach, Italy
Located in the town of Tropea, Marasusa is widely regarded as the jewel of Calabria. Locally, the beach is christened as “La Costa Degi Dei” – The Coast of Gods. And, why not? The beach is home to scenic cliffs, white sand and tranquil turquoise waters. Marasusa is, in fact, one of the best white sand beaches in Europe. And, it’s also one of the best beaches in Europe for sure. There are ancient stone carvings and structures crowning the cliff tops. The Mediterranean blue is the best hue you can ever find anywhere. The ancient stone structures on the cliff also include the famous church of Santa Maria dell’ Isola. If you are lucky, you might even get to see the Lipari Islands at a distance from Marasusa.
- Activities to do: Snorkeling, Boat rides to Costa Degli Deli.
Also See: Top 12 places to visit in Italy in 2019
2. Cala Tonnarella Beach, Italy
Cala Tonnarella is one of the first beaches in Europe which you would come across in the Zingaro Nature Reserve. Getting there requires you to hike about an hour to Zingaro from the southern car park via road. In summer, the path is uncovered and really hot. Best time to visit would obviously be winter. Secluded and isolated, the beach is almost tucked inside the Nature Reserve. An ultimate oasis, Cala Tonnarella is a pretty view of a stretch of bone-white sand and Bermuda-blue water. Considered as one of the best white sand beaches in Europe, the clarity of the water is amazing. Moreover, you would get to see a lot of marine life close to the shore. The sea in this part of Europe gets deep very quickly. But, being bordered by the bay has it’s own benefits as well. The waves are not turbulent but, calm and tranquil.
- Activities to do: Learn about how Tuna fishing took place in the ancient tuna fishery of Sicily.
3. San Vito Lo Capo Beach, Sicily
Considered as one of the most attractive beaches in Europe, it is a 30-minute drive from the capital of Palermo. Basically, it’s a small seaside town in a valley burrowed between the mountains. One of the best sandy beaches in Europe, San Vito Lo Capo is a favourite among the locals. You can very well call it a sandy public beach. The town along with the beach is surrounded by mountains and bays.
Now, doesn’t it sound like one of those perfect holiday destinations? There are various comforting facilities that the beach offers for you to spend an entire day. Laze around, sip the best of cocktails, and take in the view of the crystal clear waters of the touristy zone. If you love adventure, there are various options for that as well. The coastal waters there are apt for underwater exploration with their fantastic coral reefs. Try out snorkelling or diving. The entire beach stretches out over nearly 1.8 miles. Isn’t that a plenty of space to find your ideal spot for the day?
- Activities to do: Snorkeling, Diving, Underwater exploration, Spending the entire day on the beach.
4. Isola Delle Correnti Beach, Sicily
A landscape lover would really fall in love with this beach. Nestled on the southernmost point of Sicily, Isola Delle Correnti is one of the best sandy beaches in Europe. It is the point where the Ionian and Mediterranean Seas meet. A picturesque view of turquoise waves splashing on the beach covered with golden sand. Really a sight to behold. It’s one of the most beautiful places in Italy.
In the middle of the sea, you would also get to see a small island with an old lighthouse. It would be best if you bring a pair of shoes, suitable for hiking. That way you can explore the beach both in and out of the water. Remote and isolated, the presence of the lighthouse adds further to the deserted feel. Once you reach there, the beach is all yours. Swim, snorkel or have fun.
- Activities to do: Snorkeling, Diving, Swimming, explore the Lighthouse.
Also See: Top Islands in Italy you must visit
5. Isola Dei Conigli Beach, Sicily
The unique location of Isola Dei Congli is what makes it so special. One of the best white sand beaches in Europe, it is located on the south-west coast of Lampedusa. With its rugged coastline, idyllic beaches and turquoise waters, it’s closer to Tunisia than Sicily. Lampedusa is one such place which is home to some of the best beaches in Europe. It’s between the months of April and September that you can see migratory birds and sea turtles laying their eggs.
Visitors are not allowed to go near the beach post-sunset during those months. But, you can very well explore the area throughout the day. The Isola Dei Conigli is home to the royal seagull. And you wouldn’t believe that the population is about 100 pairs. It’s an ideal place for snorkelling and diving. You can also go cruising around if swimming is not your forte.
- Activities to do: Snorkeling, Diving, Swimming, Cruising, and Bird-watching.
6. Durdle Door Beach, Dorset
A true beauty indeed, Durdle Door is one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. What’s unique about the place is also quite self-explanatory. Just look into any image, and you understand, what lures thousands of travellers every time. A magnificent arch leading into the clear aquamarine waters is a sight to behold. Straight out of that perfect landscape postcard, you can say.
The arch with its dramatic presence elevates the beauty of the place manifold. And to add to it, there’s the lush, craggy cliffs, and soft golden sand. The Marine Conservation Society recommends the beach for swimming. So, if you are an adventurous one, then this beach has a lot more to offer rather than just being a pretty picture. Also, did you know that the 95-mile coastline is also part of the Jurassic Coast? You would be amazed to find many spectacular fossils and geological features studded on the coastline.
Activities to do: Swimming, Photography, Fishing.
7. Brela Beach, Croatia
Home to around 1900 people only, Brela is a pretty tourist town in the Makarska Riviera area. That’s part of North Croatia. A world-class beach for sure, it’s one of the most uptown beaches in Europe. Also, Brela is more than just one beach. It’s basically a necklace of connected beaches that goes on for 6 km. Crystal clear waters through which you can view the seabed are the unique feature of this place. All the beaches stretch out on either side of Brela town. The most popular beach in this area would be Punta Rata. Forbes declared this as one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe as well as the world. Also, there are pine trees around the coastline which provides beachgoers with lots of shade.
- Activities to do: Swimming, Peddle Boating, Water Scooter.
8. Praia de Albandeira, Portugal
Located roughly midway between the resorts of Carvoeiro and Armação de Pêra, it’s one of the must-visit beaches in Europe. The beach is mainly famous for its stunning arch structure in the water. Compared to the other nearby beaches, Praia de Albandeira is still virgin and unknown. Secluded from the rest of the beaches, this place offers a stunning view of the Mediterranean. Infinite spread of turquoise stretching out in front of you is sure to leave you awestruck. Praia is also one of the best sandy beaches in Europe with fine and gold-coloured sand.
As the colour of the water is transparent, it’s a perfect place for swimming, diving and snorkelling. Because of the cliff-covering on the sides, the sea is mostly calm. But, while swimming, do check out for the rocks. During winters, the sea can be a bit rough. Also, there’s no lifeguard around there, so, it’s better to decide whether you would take a swim or not.
- Activities to do: Swimming, Snorkeling, Diving.
9. Nissi Beach, Ayia Napa
Kicking off the list for the best beaches in Europe in 2019 would definitely be Nissi Beach. It’s also one of the best white sand beaches in Europe. Acres and acres of white sand stretch through the southernmost tip of the Republic of Cyprus. Quite popular among tourists and locals, during the summer months, the beach tends to get crowded. If you wish to escape the crowds, plan your visit between mid-April and May. Or, sometime between September to mid-October.
That time, the water would be pleasant and also, the place less crowded. Because of its crystal clear shallow waters, sparkling in turquoise hues, it’s a true beauty for sure. The beach also has a lively clubbing scene, which has turned it into one of the most popular tourist destinations. Also, to be noted are the various cool facilities and myriad water activities. This is ‘the’ best place to be in Europe in 2019.
- Activities to do: Swimming, Snorkeling, Diving, Scuba Diving, Clubbing.
10. Elafonisi Beach, Crete
Hellas in Greece is home to some of the best beaches in Europe. And, to pick just one of them would be quite challenging. Located at the south-western periphery of the largest Greek Island, Elafonisi is one of the best beaches in Europe in 2019. Specifically, it lies in the southwestern side of Crete, about 75 km from the town of Chania. A magical place that consists of a small islet full of white and pink sandy beaches. It’s again one of the best white sand beaches in Europe. Elafonisi Island can be accessed on foot as the waters are shallow. The place is named by the word “elafi” which in Greek means deer. The beach also boasts vibes of a faraway oasis. One can also reach there by car. Also, there are few amenities for visitors such as public toilets, which are kept available for visitors.
- Activities to do: Swimming, Snorkeling, Diving.
11. Playa de Maro, Nerja
Playa de Maro or La Cala de Maro does deserve special mention the list of best beaches in Europe in 2019. Crystal clear waters, easy access and loveable scenery make this location a favourite of many. This beach has been repeatedly cited among the finest of beaches, Spain has to offer. Are you in for a wild beach experience? Then, yes, you are in the right place.
On the other hand, you need to know that ample amenities are not available around the beach. So, whenever you plan to land there, do make sure to take your own food, water and necessary stuff. Only a small beach bar located there serves local tapas and a good variety of drinks. It’s one of the best beaches in Europe for various water activities like snorkelling and scuba-diving. Colourful flora and abundant fauna are enough to leave you awestruck for life.
- Activities to do: Swimming, Snorkeling, Diving, Scuba Diving.
12. Mylopotas Beach, Ios
One of the most visited beaches in Europe, it’s located close to the main village, Chora. Best way to reach this place is to take a bus from Chora or walk around 20 minutes down the hill. Just after the Hermes Hotel, there’s an easy route to the beach. You can go there as well. A long beach with white sand, you can also rent sunbeds and laze around.
The location of the beach is the main reason as to why it’s so popular. Apart from being a beautiful place, the beach also has several eateries where you would find lip-smacking food. There are several beach activities like scuba diving, snorkelling, surfing as well for you to enjoy.
Activities to do: Snorkeling, Diving, Scuba Diving.
13. Plaka Beach, Naxos
What used to be a virgin beach is now one of the most popular beaches in Europe. And, also Naxos. The beach is a continuation of the beach of Agia Anna. The white expanse of sand and turquoise waters are the main feature of the beach. The best way to reach Plaka would be via the road that links it with Agios Prokopios and Agia Anna. Plaka beach extends almost up to 4 km, which does make it a long beach. Come summers, the beach resembles a highway with people going up and down, enjoying the sea water. A calm and endless sandy beach, you would also find flat stones and amazing clear blue waters.
- Activities to do: Swimming, Sunbathing.
14. Platys Gialos, Mykonos
Located to the south it’s one of the most popular beaches in Europe. As for Mykonos, Platys is one of the largest beaches there. The beach is situated almost 4.5 km from the main town of Mykonos. If you look from above, the beach resembles a half-moon. Long and stretched, the sand on this beach is a bit on the granular side. The good part about this is that it won’t stick to your feet. Also, there are no pebbles. So, you can easily walk and explore around.
The sand is golden, and it looks beautiful against the turquoise Mediterranean waters. The beach is specifically perfect for the tourists as the authorities have taken that extra effort to make it tourist-friendly. Sunbeds, parasols, beach bars, restaurants and mini markets. You would find them all. You can also enjoy various water sports like swimming, surfing, snorkelling and so on.
- Activities to do: Swimming, Surfing, Scuba Diving, Snorkeling.
Also See: Best greek islands on your next vacation
15. Ornos Beach, Mykonos
This is one of the most well-organised beaches in Europe and also in Mykonos. Touristy and just located around 2.5 km from Chora. Visitors can get to Orkonos Beach by catching a regular bus from Mykonos town. Located at a walking distance from the town makes it such a popular destination for tourists as well as locals. The beach does stretch out from one side of the island to the windy bay and beach at Korfos at the other side. There’s also a diving and sea-skiing school available on the beach. Locals really do have a good time there learning all the necessary skills. Also, there’s a huge hotel complex that offers various bars and restaurants.
- Activities to do: Swimming, Sea-skiing, Windsurfing.
16. Myrtos Beach, Kefalonia
Here, the beach is made up of round white cobblestones. As you approach the shoreline, the sediment gradually becomes smaller. Myrtos is one of the most renowned beaches in Europe. For more than ten consecutive years, it has ranked among the best worldwide. The wave energy in this part is quite high as there is a sudden drop in the slope angle near the edge. What has shaped the shore here is the longshore drift along with the wave energy. Myrtos is also one of the best white sand beaches in Europe. Deep turquoise blue waters coupled with the contrast of white sand leads to stunning white pebbles. Enough to keep you drool over the complete dramatic scene.
- Activities to do: Sunbathing, Sunsets.
17. Stafilos Beach, Skopelos
Located close to Skopelos town, Stafilos is one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. Europe does have its share of mesmerising shorelines. And, Stafilos is one of them. It’s a well-known, popular and most visited beaches in Greece. The name of the beach has been taken from king Stafylos. Hire a private car or just take a local bus from the main island and you are good to go. The approximate distance is just about 5 km from the Skopelos. There is a nice fish tavern which welcomes all the travellers to the beach with some wooden steps. As you descend down the pebbled bay, you would see that the sand here is the colour of light grey. The waters are crystal clear as it is with most of the beaches in Europe. You would also find rental facilities with a nice beach bar.
- Activities to do: Swimming, Sunbathing, Snorkeling.
18. Figueretas Beach, Ibiza
Located right next to the town of Ibiza, this is one of the most populous beaches in Europe. With a long stretch of coastline, Ibiza is also one of the best sandy beaches in Europe. A lovely palm-lined promenade makes it easy for the visitors to parade along. Well-made and well-organised, tourists mostly crowd this place for its location. Easy access and the availability of required amenities lures tourists who visit Ibiza town. The centrally located beach is further subdivided into rocky piers which serves a good play area for kids. The best time to visit this place would be in the evening when tourists come over for a lazy stroll around the place.
- Activities to do: Swimming, Sunbathing, Evening walks.
19. Sa Caleta Beach, Ibiza
Hire a car from Ibiza town to reach this beautiful beach of Sa Caleta. Located to the east of Cala Jondal, you can reach this beach by unsurfaced roads. The beach is also named as Es Bol Nou. An absolutely beautiful setting makes this one of the most favoured beaches in Europe. During the month of August, the beach tends to get a bit overcrowded. So, if you are travelling by car, then parking might be an issue. The beach is rough, sandy and relatively overcrowded for the north end of the island.
But, at the same time, tourists mostly use this beach as a base for covering the neighbouring coves. Backed by dramatic red cliffs, the whole setting of the beach with its horseshoe shape gives a sense of isolation. Although, that’s not the case. The shallow, clear water does make activities like snorkelling quite fun. During the weekend, this beach is quite popular for the locals and tends to get full.
- Activities to do: Snorkeling, Sunbathing.
20. Es Codolar Beach, Ibiza
This pebble beach is one of the least frequented beaches in Europe. Just a 15 mins drive from Ibiza town, visitors go to this place for pure relaxation. The base of the beach is covered with large grey pebbles, and this does make walking a bit difficult. But, if you can ignore this bit, the ambience of the place is absolutely soothing. You can just sit by the white painted benches put here and there and take in the gorgeous sunset. Yes, the beach looks the best during the golden hour. Either at the crack of dawn or just during sunset. Situated directly under the fly path to Ibiza’s airport, you can actually watch flights soaring high.
- Activities to do: Take a walk and watch the sunrise or sunset.
21. Cala Jondal Beach, Ibiza
Surrounded by pines and jagged cliffs. Cala Jondal is a beautiful beach. You can easily reach there from Ibiza town as it’s just a 15 min drive from there. Preferred by the uptown and elite, and boat owners, it’s an upmarket destination in Ibiza. You can find exquisitely architectured homes up on the surrounding green hills there. Going there would truly leave you astounded and give you a feel as if you are in paradise. Even this beach is pebbly with grey pebbles scattered. The beach is dotted here and there with pine trees providing shade before the base slopes down. Further down, the seabed is quite sandy which makes swimming fun.
- Activities to do: Swimming, Sunbathing.
22. Porto Badisco, Puglia, Italy
If you visit South of Otranto, then a trip to this beach is a must. Mostly frequented by locals, this beach receives very less amount of foreign visitors. It’s a beautiful bay and a great spot for snorkelling as well. You can say, it’s one of Puglia’s best-kept secrets. Visitors coming down to Italy are still not aware of this hidden gem. At least most of them are not. Still, this place does receive avid travellers who somehow discover and land up there. Encased by a low rough outcrop, swimming here would give you the feeling as if you are in a pool.
The water is crystal clear through which you can even see joining anchovies, and silver dotted sardines. And, that too right beneath you. Best way to reach this bay would be driving down there. A car parking with ample space is available. There’s also a lovely restaurant at the bay, which serves dishes of lobster linguine and spaghetti.
- Activities to do: Swimming, Trying out exotic dishes.
Europe has no shortage of beaches. Once you start to explore the continent, you would be amazed to find hidden gems. Even now, after so much has been discovered and promoted. If you are looking for the perfect dream holiday, then the beaches in Europe should be your destination. Plan for it, now!