Best Beaches in Europe

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

  • Maspalomas beach dunes, Canary Islands Tono Balaguer

    Maspalomas Beach // Spain

    Set on the southern tip of the island of Gran Canaria is a little slice of the Sahara Desert. Over the centuries the fine golden sand here has been sculpted into an extensive network of dunes extending several hundred metres back from the beach. With a landscape like this you won't be surprised to know it hardly ever rains and the temperature... read more »

  • El Bollullo beach, Tenerife Tono Balaguer / 123RF

    El Bollullo Beach // Spain

    El Bollullo beach is located on Tenerife's north coast, a world away from the package-tours and resorts the island is often associated with. This small cove has a wild, natural feel right down to the black volcanic sand - there's no sprinkling golden sand imported from the Sahara here like on some of Tenerife's beaches.
    Set in the island's... read more »

  • Cofete Beach, Fuertaventura, Canary Islands eyewave

    El Cofete Beach // Spain

    Cofete Beach is located just around the headland from the southern tip of Fuertaventura. The bright lights and resorts to the north of the island will do nothing to prepare you for the awe-inspiring scale and wildness of this beach. The beach is a wide expanse of golden sand that continues for as far as the eye can see. Directly behind the beach... read more »

  • Forno beach, Elba, Italy Luciano Mortula

    Forno Beach // Italy

    The third and smallest of three beaches in Biodola Bay, Forno beach is also the best. Set in a picturesque little cove surrounded by forested hillsides and overlooked by fine villas this little beach also manages to escape the worst of the summer crowds.

    The beach here is fine golden sand and the warm Mediterranean water crystal clear, but... read more »

  • Matala beach, Crete

    Matala Beach // Greece

    The fishing village of Matala was just that until the 1960s. However, since then, like many other things, it hasn't been quite the same! It was then that Matala became a popular destination for hippy travellers attracting the likes of Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens and Joni Mitchell (who even wrote a song about it) in its heyday. Many of these hippies... read more »

  • Benirras beach, Ibiza Tono Balaguer / 123RF

    Benirras Beach // Spain

    The small secluded bay of Cala Benirrás is on the north coast of the party island of Ibiza. Set at the foot of a pine covered valley this sheltered cove is ideal for swimming and the crystal clear water makes for great snorkelling. Being sheltered it is also a popular spot for yachts and motor boats to drop anchor and take in the sunset.... read more »

  • Cala Mariolu Elisa Locci

    Cala Mariolu // Italy

    Not far along the coast from the stunning cove and rock formations of Cala Goloritze is another Sardinian gem, Cala Mariolu. This little beach is set at the foot of plunging limestone cliffs which contrast with the stunningly clear blue water of the Gulf of Orosei. So alluring is the water here that I challenge anyone to not take a dip. Given how... read more »

  • Shell Bay, Studland beach, Dorset

    Shell Bay, Studland // UK

    Shell Bay is at the very end of the beautiful, unspoilt stretch of golden sand that forms Studland beach. Despite being on the edge of the busy Poole harbour and opposite the super exclusive developments at Sanbanks, Shell Bay retains a feel of the wilderness. This is partly due to being owned by the National Trust with the extensive sand dunes... read more »

  • Phaselis beach, Lycia, Turkey Tatiana Popova

    Phaselis // Turkey

    Set on the aptly named Turquoise Coast and backed by pine covered mountain slopes are the three little sheltered bays which make up Phaselis beach. This area between Kemer and Olimpos is part of a protected national park and the scenery is everything you would expect. The beaches at Phaselis are a welcome relief from the somewhat overdeveloped... read more »

  • Saplunara beach, Croatia

    Saplunara // Croatia

    Set at the far end of the somewhat undiscovered Dalmatian island of Mljet is the seaside village of Saplunara. Even as Croatia edges its way from the peripheries of the tourist map Mljet remains one of the hidden gems of the Adriatic and this is despite being only 30 km from Dubrovnik. The northern end of the island is a national park but there... read more »

Pages