Europe has a wonderfully diverse range of beaches many of which are quite breathtakingly beautiful. There are white sand beaches fit to rival those of the Caribbean along with rugged coastline with improbable rock formations sculpted by the elements.
Best Beaches in Europe
Best beaches in Europe
Tono Balaguer / 123RF
El Papagayo Beach // Spain
Set in Los Ajaches Nature Reserve near the southern tip of Lanzarote is El Papagayo beach. Actually there are four beaches collectively termed the Coasta de Papagayo but it is Playa de la Cera that is the best known. Frequently described as the most beautiful beach on Lanzarote Papagayo comprises a small crescent of white sand protected by cliffs... read more »
Sveti Stefan // Montenegro
The islet of Sveti Stefan (Saint Stephen) lies just a few kilometres along Montenegro's Adriatic coast from Budva. With such a stunning backdrop the beaches here wouldn't have to be up to that much to still get the thumbs up. However, with crystal clear turquoise waters, pink sand and backdrop of pine forest and mountains make Sveti Stefan a... read more »
Porthcurno Cove // UK
Porthcurno is one of the most westerly beaches in mainland Britain, just a few miles around the coast from Land's End. This cove is stunning in so many respects; the near white sand which is made from ground up sea shells, the clear turquoise water and the rugged granite cliffs that form a natural amphitheatre. The cove is not only a natural gem... read more »
Mogren Beach // Montenegro
Making up a particularly pleasant stretch of the Budva Riviera are the twin beaches of Mogren. Stretching for around 400 metres the beaches of Mogren 1 and Mogren 2 are connected by a cave-like tunnel through a small headland. It is worth walking the extra bit to the second beach.
Despite being just around the corner from the busy resort town... read more »
Jaz Beach // Montenegro
Jaz beach is one of many fine beaches on Montenegro's Budva Riviera. Within easy walking distance of the historic town of Budva itself the beach at Jaz has a bit of something for everyone.
Whilst on the one hand you will find plenty of opportunity to relax on a sunlounger, get a massage and take in the views of the clear, blue Adriatic Sea... read more »
Guincho Beach // Portugal
Guincho beach, near Cascais, is not what many people imagine when thinking of the archetypal Portuguese beach. Despite being within an hour of the capital, Lisbon, Guincho has a wild desolate feel. Well, except for the summer months when it doesn't!
This wide stretch of fine, golden sand sits in the shadow of the forested hills of Sintra, one... read more »
Alf van Beem
Kathisma Beach // Greece
On an island sometimes referred to as the Caribbean of Greece a beach needs to be pretty special to stand out. Kathisma, with its long stretch of white sand and turquoise waters is such a beach. Set on the "wilder" western coast of Lefkada the beach here is backed by rugged mountainous terrain and features some interesting rock formations to one... read more »
Michmuch06 / CC BY
Calanque d’En-vau // France
Set on the 10 mile stretch of coastline between Marseille and Cassis in southeast France are various stunning beaches, inlets and hidden coves. The calanques are fjord-like inlets carved into the white limestone by ancient rivers that have long since disappeared underground. Of all these deep inlets none is more beautiful than Calanque d'En-vau... read more »
Navagio Beach // Greece
The island of Zakynthos is home to one of Greece's finest and most easily recognisable beaches. It is not just the beach of Navagio itself that is unique but the fact that it is home to a shipwreck. The ship in question was the Panagiotis and it is believed that it was a smugglers ship that ran aground in stormy weather whilst trying to elude the... read more »
Wojtek Szkutnik / CC BY
Diamond Beach // Iceland
Diamond beach on the south coast is one of the most visited beaches in the whole of Iceland. About 6 hours from the capital Reykjavik this black sand beach sits at the mouth of the Jökulsárlón lagoon. Here huge chunks of ice gather from the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier which in turn is fed by the largest icecap in Europe - the Vatnajökull.... read more »