With its diverse landscapes and breathtaking coastlines, Europe is home to some of the world’s most enchanting beaches. From pristine stretches of powdery white sand to rugged cliffs and hidden coves, the continent boasts a plethora of seaside destinations that cater to every beach lover. Whether you seek relaxation under the warm Mediterranean sun, thrilling water sports adventures, or cultural immersion amidst historic coastal towns, Europe has it all. Read on to discover some of the best beaches in Europe.
Ammoudi Bay, Oia, Santorini
Santorini, a captivating Greek island in the Aegean Sea, is renowned for picture-perfect beaches that showcase the island’s unique volcanic landscape. One such gem is Ammoudi Beach, nestled at the foot of towering cliffs near Oia. Accessible via a scenic stairway, this picturesque beach offers stunning views of the vibrant fishing harbour and the iconic Santorini caldera.
For those seeking a more secluded and off-the-beaten-path experience, White Beach (Aspri Paralia) is a must-visit. Located near the ancient site of Akrotiri, this secret beach gets its name from the striking white volcanic cliffs that surround it. Accessible only by boat or by hiking along a rugged trail, White Beach offers a serene escape from the crowds. The crystalline turquoise waters are ideal for swimming and the unique white pebbles make for an unforgettable day out.
Looking for a more adventurous beach experience? Cape Kouloumbo is an intriguing choice. Located on the northeastern tip of the island, this wild and untamed beach offers a dramatic landscape with its black volcanic cliffs and dark sand. Cape Kouloumbo’s powerful waves and strong currents make it a favourite spot for experienced surfers and thrill-seekers.
Where to stay:
Aigialos Hotel SantoriniEsperas Santorini
When it comes to choosing a place to stay on this magical island, Aigialos Hotel Santorini and Esperas Santorini are two historic establishments that offer a blend of luxury, comfort, and traditional Greek hospitality. Both hotels provide a memorable and enchanting experience, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the island’s rich history and charm.
Italy, renowned for its exquisite coastline, offers a multitude of stunning beaches that capture the essence of Mediterranean beauty. One such captivating destination is Isola Bella in Sicily, located near the charming town of Taormina. This small island, connected to the mainland by a thin strip of sand, boasts a pebble beach surrounded by lush vegetation and crystal-clear waters. Isola Bella’s natural beauty and the panoramic views of the dramatic coastline make it a spectacular spot for sunbathing, swimming and snorkelling. The beach is also home to a nature reserve, showcasing a diverse array of flora and fauna.
For a truly unforgettable beach experience in Sicily, a visit to Taormina is a must. Known for its attractive setting perched on a hilltop overlooking the Ionian Sea, Taormina offers a blend of history, culture, and of course beautiful beaches. The town’s main beach, aptly named Taormina Beach, is a popular choice. With its fine golden sand, azure water and a backdrop of the stunning medieval town, Taormina Beach is not one to be missed. Make time to explore the charming alleys and vibrant squares of Taormina, adorned with historic landmarks such as the Greek Theater and the Corso Umberto.
Where to stay:
Hotel Villa Schuler, a historic boutique hotel in Taormina, is nestled amidst lush gardens and offers up incredible coastal views. The hotel’s classic architecture, combined with modern amenities and attentive service, creates an atmosphere of refined luxury.
Connemara, a rugged and picturesque region on the west coast of Ireland, is blessed with stunning beaches that showcase the area’s otherworldly beauty. Renvyle House Hotel, located on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, is a stone’s throw from a dramatic large pebble beach. Fortune favours the brave here and a dip in the icy Atlantic waters, while taking in the panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, will almost certainly blow off any cobwebs.
Another notable beach in Connemara is Renvyle ‘Whitestrand Beach‘, located near the quaint village of Tullycross. This crescent-shaped beach boasts soft white sands that contrast beautifully against the vibrant turquoise waters. The calm and sheltered nature of the beach makes it ideal for swimming, sunbathing and beachside picnics. Surrounded by lush green fields and with the Twelve Bens Mountains as a backdrop, Whitestrand Beach offers a truly picturesque setting for beachgoers to chill and soak up the natural splendour of Connemara.
For those seeking a more remote and unspoiled beach experience, Glassilaun Beach is accessible by a scenic drive along winding coastal roads. Prepare to be captivated by its golden sands and crystal-clear waters. Glassilaun Beach is a paradise for nature lovers and photographers alike. The beach is framed by majestic cliffs and offers stunning views of the offshore islands, creating an unforgettable coastal escape in the heart of Connemara.
Where to stay:
When it comes to choosing a place to stay in Connemara, Renvyle House is an exceptional option. This historic hotel, situated on a 150-acre estate, overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and offers a unique blend of old-world charm and modern comforts. With its stunning location and warm hospitality, Renvyle House provides a perfect retreat for those looking to experience the beauty of Connemara and its remarkable beaches.
Vlore Radhime Beach
Albania boasts a stunning coastline that remains relatively undiscovered by tourists. One of the popular beach destinations in Albania is the private Adriatik Hotel Beach in Durres. Located just steps away from the Adriatic Sea, this beach offers a long stretch of golden sand and crystal-clear waters. Bask in the sun, take refreshing dips in the sea and enjoy beachside amenities and activities provided by this five-star hotel.
Another beautiful beach in Albania is Vlora, a coastal city known for its scenic beauty and rich history. Vlora’s beaches offer a mix of sandy and pebbly shores, fringed by clear blue waters. The city beach, in particular, is a popular gathering spot for locals and tourists alike. Unwind on the soft sand, swim or indulge in beachside dining at the nearby restaurants. Vlora’s beaches also serve as a gateway to explore the city’s historical sites, such as the Independence Monument and the Muradie Mosque.
Just a short drive from Vlora, you’ll find the charming beach town of Spille. Nestled along the Albanian Riviera, Spille boasts pristine beaches with a backdrop of lush greenery and rugged hills. The beach in Spille offers a tranquil atmosphere, making it an ideal destination for those seeking peace and seclusion. Take a leisurely walk along the sandy shores, soak up the sun or enjoy a picnic amidst nature’s beauty.
Where to stay:
The Adriatik Hotel in Durres is a top choice. This luxe family-friendly hotel offers stunning rooms and suites, excellent amenities and direct access to the Adriatik Hotel Beach. Indulge in the hotel’s spa facilities, dine in style at the on-site restaurants or simply relax by the pool overlooking the sea.
St Brides Haven Beach and Porthmynawyd Beach in Wales are jewels along this awe-inspiring, wild coastline, and shining examples of the untouched beauty of the country. St Brides Haven offers a picturesque sandy beach framed by dramatic cliffs and rolling green hills. This secluded bay provides a peaceful escape, allowing visitors to soak up the tranquillity and admire the stunning natural surroundings.
Porthmynawyd Beach, nestled near the charming village of Roch, is a small sandy cove surrounded by rugged cliffs and rock formations. Its remote location adds to its allure, creating an intimate and peaceful atmosphere. Both beaches provide opportunities for coastal walks, picnics and exploring the nearby hidden coves and caves.
Where to stay:
To fully immerse in the beauty of these coastal treasures, staying at Roch Castle, Penhriw Hotel, or Twr Y Felin Hotel is highly recommended. Roch Castle, a stunning 12th-century castle turned boutique hotel, offers luxurious accommodations with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and coast. Penhriw Priory Hotel, a 19th-century stylish retreat offers guests elegant rooms and serene gardens. Twr Y Felin Hotel in St Davids is a unique art hotel that combines contemporary design with historical charm.
Praia da Rainha Cascais
Cascais, Estoril, and Caparica are three enchanting beach destinations that lie within easy reach of the vibrant city of Lisbon, offering lots of opportunities for a sun-soaked day trip. Cascais, located on the picturesque Estoril Coast, enchants visitors with its vibrant beachfront promenade and golden sandy beaches.
Praia da Rainha, the Queen’s Beach, is a must-visit with its idyllic setting and calm waters. Along the coast, Praia do Guincho captivates with its wild and windswept beauty, making it a favourite spot for surfers and windsurfers. Moving along the coast, Estoril boasts the elegant Praia do Tamariz, known for its lively atmosphere, thanks to nearby cafes and restaurants.
Meanwhile, Caparica, situated on the south bank of the Tagus River, has a vast coastline and captivating beaches. Praia de Santo António and Praia do Dragão provide a mix of relaxation and exciting water sports activities.
Where to stay:
Solar do CasteloAs Janelas VerdesHeritage Hotel Avenida LiberdadeBritania HotelPlaza Hotel
To make the most of your city beach vacation, take your pick from our collection of Lisbon hotels including