When planning a sunny holiday on the Old Continent, the selection of places to go might seem overwhelming at first sight. With fantastic historical attractions, amazing natural landscape and impressive coastline, almost all European seaside countries are a great choice when it comes to summer playgrounds. To help you to make a decision, our team here features the best European beach vacation destinations!
Located in southwestern Europe and bordered by three different bodies of water (the Mediterranean Sea on the south and east, the Bay of Biscay on the north and the Atlantic Ocean on the west), Spain is a beautiful country with a vibrant culture and vast coastline that make it one of the most popular European beach destinations. Each area in Spain has its own distinct traditions and cuisines offering endless opportunities to explore and enjoy your vacation.
You can find many excellent beaches throughout Spain and its island territories. The southern coastline’s most famous resort area, Costa del Sol awaits visitors with year-round good weather and tons of things to do from hiking to marine life spotting in the Strait of Gibraltar.
The country’s northern region is somewhat overlooked if it comes to a beach vacation, but in fact, it has many vibrant towns featuring wonderful coastal scenery with impressive mountainous surroundings. San Sebastian with Concha Beach being the most captivating of them that even the Royal family has been visiting regularly.
Those who like to party find first-class beach clubs in the Balearic Islands including Ibiza which is known for its party-scene, while those who prefer active vacations will certainly fall in love with Spain’s volcanic archipelago, the Canary Islands.
When it comes to a summer holiday in southern Europe, an Italy beach vacation is never a bad idea! Including its islands, the country has over 4,500 miles of coastline that face four different seas.
With such a long and diverse seashore featuring impressive rocky and wonderful sandy areas, it is easy to understand why it is said that Italy has some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. You could spend weeks exploring the many beaches, and you will be amazed at the differences you will experience based on which part of the country you are visiting.
If you are a foodie who looks for an old-world charm destination, head to the famous Amalfi Coast that is a true gem in the Mediterranean offering idyllic beauty combined with Italian luxury. Those who seek for the finest white sand beaches in Europe should plan a beach vacation in Sardinia where you can feel like you are in the Caribbean!
Located in southeastern Europe, Greece is often considered to be at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. With wonderful historical sites to explore and a magnificent coastline, this country that counts 6,000 islands and islets in the Aegean and Ionian seas in its territory is an excellent choice for any type of vacationer.
A classical, well-known Greek island is Corfu that is perhaps the best European beach vacation destination for families where both kids and adults will enjoy themselves. You can explore the beaches and then indulge in some of the best Greek fusion foods. Corfu is proud to have the best-tasting olive oil, so make sure you take some home when you leave.
SeaSpiration Tip: if you prefer visiting a destination without crowds, see what the best winter sun destinations in Europe are!
Should you look for a vibrant, party-filled destination, the Cyclades Island chain’s hotspots, Mykonos or Santorini will not disappoint. With their traditional architecture and dramatic, volcanic landscape, your vacation photos taken at these famed destinations will certainly light up your Insta feed!
Counting 16 million visitors each year, Portugal, the most southwestern country in Europe is one of the best summer destinations in Europe with rich history, amazing culture and food that can only be described as fresh and delicious.
The most southernmost region, Algarve is the country’s most famous coastal region that features picturesque fishing towns for those who like visiting cultural attractions, nightlife for party-seekers, waterparks for families and some of the best beaches in Europe for honeymoon on its roughly 155 km coastline.
One of the most visited cities in the area is Lagos due to its variety of bars, restaurants and hotels and vibrant summer vibes. If you decide to come here, make sure to visit the famous Camilo Beach near the town that is simply breathtaking. Nestled between sandstone cliffs, this iconic small beach has bright white sand and clear blue water. The long walk down the winding stairs is well worth the effort.
France is known for its rich history, fine wines and food, but one thing most people do not associate with this country is the beach. This is really too bad because it has some hidden gems like the French Riviera (aka Côte d’Azur ) and shouldn’t be ignored when looking for the best European beach vacation destinations.
This 115 km / 71 miles long coastline – which has more than 300 days of sunshine per year – extending from Cassis to the Italian border is one of the country’s first modern resort areas. With wonderful natural features, it quickly became the favorite vacation hotspot of the Russian and British upper class in the 18th century.
Today, this region -that includes famous areas such as Cannes, Saint-Tropez or the microstate of Monaco- is a playground for the wealthy but can be a great choice for anyone who looks for fantastic beaches to get a bit of sun and sand.
Cyprus is an island nation in the eastern Mediterranean Sea near Greece and Turkey that has one of the oldest histories in Europe, with settlements dating back to 10,000 BC. The vivid culture and perfect weather make it a favorite destination for travelers who are looking for an authentic Mediterranean experience.
The island has something to offer for all types of beachgoers. Elderly travelers love the laid-back vibes of Paphos, activity and party seekers enjoy Ayia Napa, while if you are looking for the best beaches in Europe for families, head to Konnos Bay near Protaras.
The beach is wide and has a lot of beautiful white sand, and the water is clear and always calm which makes it perfect for children to play. There are many restaurants and shops located nearby, so when you are done with your day at the beach, you can have a fun and relaxing evening with your family in the nearby town.
If you planning to visit a truly Mediterranean destination, the best European beach vacation spot you can choose is Malta. This island archipelago consisting of 3 big islands (Malta, Gozo and Comino) and several smaller islets located in the Mediterranean Sea, only 50 miles south of Italy. It has only 500,000 residents, but over 1.5 million people visit each year to indulge in the architecture, cuisine, and beautiful beaches.
If you are looking for a great beach to spend the day on the main island, Golden Bay is a perfect choice in the northern part of Malta. It has beautiful blue water that is shallow for a way out, making it great for children.
The beach has facilities and sunbed rentals, and places to grab a drink or snack. It is perfect for snorkeling or just enjoying the sun all day. For those who are looking for a comfortable beach experience, Golden Bay is exactly what you are looking for in Malta.
With gorgeous beaches, extensive national parks and many historical points of interest, the central European Croatia is budget-conscious travelers’ favorite vacation destination in Europe. While to get to the country might be not that cheap if you need to book a flight, but other costs like food and accommodation are a lot more affordable than in other popular Mediterranean countries, especially if you come in the shoulder seasons.
If you are looking for the best beaches to enjoy in Croatia, you will have to visit Zlatni Rat on Brac Island in Dalmatia. The pure white silky sands with the crystal blue water give this unusual shaped beach -that is called Golden Horn too- an amazing look that is constantly changing with the wind and tide.
Zlatni Rat is perfect for swimming, windsurfing, and diving. Beach chairs and umbrellas are available, and there are facilities within walking distance. A perfect place to spend the day soaking up the sun and salt air!
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