Some of the best sand, sea and surf in Europe

SagresMost of the UK’s schools will have started their long summer break by the end of next week, meaning that the holiday season will be well and truly under way. As our thoughts turn to packing, and trying to make sure our bodies are ready to be unveiled in public, I have been looking into where the best beaches in Europe can be found.  So if you are looking for miles of golden sand and crystal clear water, read on.

La Manga del MarSpain’s La Manga del Mar, on the Costa Blanca, is a 24km long spit of land that juts out into the Mediterranean sea creating Europe’s largest sea water lagoon. The lagoon, known as The Little Sea by locals, looks like a large lake and is a haven for families with its warm, shallow water and sandy beaches.  The areas surrounding the two ends of the spit are protected salt flats and make up over 44km of protected bays, coves and beaches. For a hotel in La Manga del Mar try the four star Las Gaviotas Hotel which is just 50 metres from the nearest sandy beach.

Colonia Sant JordiEs Trenc is the largest beach in Majorca and the island’s only remaining long unspoilt beach.  It’s three kilometres of fine white sand slope gently down to the crystal clear water and its natural sand dunes are home to sea thistle, pine and tamarind trees. And at one end there is a naturist beach where you are free to bare all if you wish to. The four star Blau Club Hotel in Colonia Sant Jordi enjoys a great location just metres from the Es Trenc beach and includes a pine forest and playground for children to explore. Also popular in Majorca is the beach at Sant Elm, a small resort on the west coast. There are two parts of the beach to choose from and both are clean and well maintained with sparkling clear water. The larger area of beach is busier with plenty of sun loungers and a playground and the other, smaller, beach is quieter with just a few sun loungers dotted around. The four star Mon Port Hotel in the picturesque Port D’Andraxt is ideally located between the mountains and the sea.  It is a 15 minute taxi ride from Sant Elm and ideal for families.

Pousada De SagresWith around 600 miles of coast, and most of it sandy, Portugal is a great place for beach lovers. Unlike other countries in Southern Europe, its beaches face the wilder Atlantic ocean making it a surfers paradise. The small town of Sagres is home to remote, undeveloped beaches framed by towering orange cliffs and, with its rolling surf, is a favourite with surfers.  Perfect for getting away from the usual tourist hotspots, Sagres is also the gateway to the Costa Vicentina Natural Park, a wild and unspoilt stretch of land where building and development rules are extremely strict. The one star Pousada De Sagres Hotel, perched on the cliff top and overlooking Sagres fort, offers great value for money along with its breathtaking views.

Bulgaria offers the choice of a great beach holiday with a difference and the sand at the Golden Sands resort is said to be the best in Europe. This stretch of the Black Sea coast is surrounded by tree covered hills and clear blue sea. The resort has received numerous awards for its close monitoring of the water, efforts in maintaining the cleanliness of the beaches and its environmental awareness. The town of Varna, Bulgaria’s third biggest town, is just 16km away meaning both sun worshippers and sightseers are equally happy here. The Gradina Hotel, a three star hotel within the Golden Sands resort, is perfect for rest and relaxation and a short stroll from the beach.