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

  • Elafonisi beach, Crete, Greece Halina Jasińska

    Elafonisi Beach // Greece

    The beach here is a strip of sand that just connects the tiny island of Elafonisi off the far western coast of Crete. This area has a wild, unspoilt feel to it and development has been restricted leaving the pristine beaches a beautiful spot to unwind. Whilst the sand at Elafonisi appears white at first glance you may notice a pink hue. This is... read more »

  • Holkham beach, Norfolk

    Holkham Beach // UK

    Holkham beach is widely regarded as the finest beach in Norfolk, and by some the UK. In fact a recent survey amongst travel editors and writers put Holkham beach right at the top of the list. Whilst I don't agree with this result, it is still a very fine beach.

    The beach at Holkham is a great expanse of fine golden white sand which stretches... read more »

  • Notre Dame beach, Porquerolles

    Notre Dame Beach, Porquerolles // France

    Set on the sheltered north coast of the island of Porquerolles is the stunning Plage Notre Dame (beach of Our Lady). Fringed with eucalyptus and pine forest the beach here is reminiscent of a Caribbean bay with the yachts bobbing in the clear turquoise waters of the French Riviera.

    The Île de Porquerolles is just over a mile from the French... read more »

  • Vai Beach, Crete Karapas

    Vai Beach // Greece

    Vai beach sits at the foot of the Vai palm forest, the largest of its sort in Europe. There are various stories of how the palm trees came to be here ranging from Arab pirates spitting date stones ashore to Phoenician traders planting them. The truth is though, they were always here and as a protected site will hopefully remain. Such a backdrop... read more »

  • Cala Mitjana and Mitjaneta, Menorca Tono Balaguer

    Cala Mitjana // Spain

    Located in a wide rocky inlet on the south coast of Menorca are two of the islands most beautiful beaches; Cala Mitjana and the tiny cove of Cala Mitjaneta. Here you will find a bay with brilliant turquoise sea which contrasts with the low white cliffs surrounding it. All around the beaches and bay are pine and olive groves and there is virtually... 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 »

  • 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 »

  • 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 »

  • 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 »

  • 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 »

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