The next time you’re planning your holiday, Europe is bound to be uppermost in your thoughts – and for good reason. It’s home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and phenomenal coastlines. So, if you’re looking forward to spending some time lazily reclining on golden sands, beside crystal blue waters, you’re in luck – check out this selection of 10 best beach holidays in Europe.
Mykonos is a firm favourite among celebrities and it’s not hard to see why. You don’t have to be an architecture fan to enjoy the sight of whitewashed Cycladic buildings dotted along the Island’s vast hills. Mykonos is for those who want a bit of glamour on their holiday and is a must visit for those who prioritise nightlife or shopping. There are plenty of dance clubs often featuring renowned DJs and designer shops for those who want to treat themselves.
There’s definitely not a lack of beaches in this part of Greece. Paradise Beach is the go-to area for young couples or groups of friends due to the extensive range of watersports and bars surrounding it. Ornos Beach, on the other hand, is recommended for families and travelers who want more of a chilled out vibe. Why not explore them all to get a taste of everything Mykonos has to offer?
As well as an incredibly fun atmosphere, there’s plenty of culture and sights to be seen. The Archaeological Museum of Mykonos is full of fascinating artifacts and exhibits dating all the way back to Prehistoric times. If you prefer more modern culture, the Rarity Gallery is the place to go for contemporary art pieces from all over the world.
A trip to the Little Venice quarter of the town should be the top of every foodie’s list thanks to the many seafood restaurants and gorgeous waterfront bars.
Famed for its dramatic frame of cliffs, adventure seekers are sure to fall in love with Tropea, Italy. The combination of vast turquoise waters and large rugged rock formations is absolutely stunning, making it perfect for those who like a unique view while they relax.
Fans of authentic Italian food are in for a treat as Tropea’s many restaurants aren’t aimed just at tourists but rather the locals themselves. From fresh seafood to classic margarita pizzas, you can have a taste of genuine classic Italian food that the local community is rightly proud of.
If you want a totally unique taste, try the Cipolla di Tropea flavoured gelato. Cipolla translates to onion so be wary before you dig in! The local red onions are incredibly popular, so much so that they’ve been turned into a dessert. Don’t worry if this isn’t something you want to try, there are plenty of other tasty flavours to indulge in on your travels.
Whether you want to relax on clear beaches or try out a spot of scuba diving, there’s plenty to do and see in Tropea.
Carvoeiro, Algarve, Portugal
The picturesque resort town of Carvoeiro, in the Algarve, is full of stunning scenery that’s packed full of character. While the Praia de Carvoeiro beach is on the smaller side, the sight of the golden sand surrounded by sandstone cliffs makes it an unmissable, and somewhat idyllic, location.
If you’re after some outdoor adventures, then Carvoeiro is definitely the place for you. There are plenty of activities to get stuck in to, including sea kayaking along the beautiful coast and hiking routes dotted around the outskirts of the town. Why not visit one of the many thrilling theme parks? The Slide and Splash Waterpark is regarded as one of the best, as is the theme park Zoomarine.
Don’t worry if that’s not for you though, there’s plenty of relaxing to be done in this chilled out town. One of the most popular ways of exploring the island is by joining a boat tour to view the dramatic Grutas de Benagil sea caves. Take the trip a step further by combining this boat trip with an unforgettable dolphin watching tour.
While sandy beaches are typically hard to find in some parts of Croatia, the small island of Rab truly spoils holidaymakers with over 20 dark golden brown beaches to choose from.
Head to the popular Paradise Beach, on the Lopar peninsula, and enjoy the variety of fun activities on offer. Join in with a casual game of beach volleyball or get the adrenaline pumping by getting stuck into some parasailing. Looking to relax? Take a dip in the clear waters and take in the natural surroundings of this idyllic beach. Paradise Beach is perfect for people of all ages due to the shallow water, making it ideal for kids.
Away from the beach, Rab Town is full of incredible sights and historic 13th century medieval buildings. Climb the 26 m high Bell Tower for the most amazing panoramic view of the sea and check out the impressive architecture of the many churches located in Rab Town.
The island of Menorca is renowned for its dreamy crystal waters and undoubtedly houses some of Europe’s most stunning beaches. Cala Mitjana beach – not to be confused with Cala Mitjaneta beach, which is also worth a visit if you’re in Menorca – may be on the smaller side but it’s the perfect location for a romantic getaway thanks to the fine sand, calm waters and beaming sun. The open blue cove is surrounded by high cliffs, resulting in the most remarkable view. Get your camera ready!
Cala Mitjana is just metres away from Mitjaneta and equally as stunning, so why not give swimming between the two a go? Cala Mitjaneta is the ideal location for those who want to enjoy some peace and quiet; it has a more secluded nature and is essentially a small cove.
Prefer a busier location? Give the gorgeous Cala Galdana beach a go. This popular spot is incredibly close to various laid back bars, spas and beachfront restaurants. There are tons of water sport activities to take part in, including kayaking and snorkeling, to spot the sea life.
Karpathos Island, Greece
Situated between Crete and Rhodes, Karpathos Island is full of natural beauty. While there are plenty of options when it comes to beaches, Kyra Panagia and Apella are generally known as the most beautiful.
Despite being a popular spot that’s easy to get to, Apella beach is far from overcrowded with a calm atmosphere. Cliffs, mountains and giant rocks surround the breathtaking beach as well as a frame of vegetation. The natural contrast of emerald waters, green plants and stone cliffs is magnificent, so much so that you’ll never want to leave. There are plenty of food and drink facilities nearby too.
Kyra Panagia is slightly busier but is closer to accommodation options making it a popular choice for tourists. Relax under a parasol or visit the nearby taverns to get a taste of the delicious local Greek food. This is a great beach to bring the kids thanks to the plentiful snack bars and sun beds.
The various water springs, vineyards and pine tree forests in Karpathos are practically made for exploring after a day of relaxation. Get your hiking boots on and take one of the many marvelous treks around the island.
Lanzarote, Canary Islands
The Spanish island of Lanzarote is famed for its idyllic beaches and vibrant nightlife, making it a must visit for those who want a holiday packed with fun. Don’t be mistaken for thinking this glorious Island isn’t for families though; there are plenty of family friendly bars and restaurants on the Playa Blanca resort area.
One of the most known beaches on this beautiful island is the unspoilt Playa de Papagayo. Interestingly, this beautiful area of Lanzarote is actually a series of beaches separated by volcanic rocks. The golden curves of the vast rock blends almost seamlessly with the luxurious sand, creating a natural curvature that embraces the beach.
You can get a boat straight to the Playa de Papagayo beaches directly from Playa Blanca or explore the island by trekking down. There are a few restaurants dotted near the beaches, but you may want to bring along a picnic or head into the main town of Lanzarote for more variety.
Famed for its stunning Venetian harbour and multitude of waterfront restaurants, Chania is a magnificent city within the Greek island of Crete.
Close to the harbour, there’s a collection of pretty traditional Venetian buildings as well as museums and churches that are great for exploring. Foodies will love the many restaurants located both within the city and along the nearby beachfronts. With so much variety, you’re sure to find your favourite food, although you should definitely give the many seafood dishes on offer a try. From sea-urchin salads to hearty soups, Chania is definitely a seafood lover’s paradise.
The crystal waters of Elafonisi beach is framed by dreamy pink coral sand at the water’s edge. Although there is plenty for families to do, this is the perfect beach for a romantic getaway. The tempting warm waters of the lagoon is generally quite shallow, making it perfect for those who want to dip their toes in the water before relaxing on the soft sand.
Patra Beach, Turkey
Whether you’re bringing the kids along or going solo, you’re sure to love relaxing in Turkey.
There are plenty of beaches to choose from in Turkey, but Patara beach is the longest and arguably the most beautiful. With warm shallow waters and an unspoilt appearance, Patara is for those who want to get away from it all. The remarkable beachfront ruins and turtle nests mean that development is strict, resulting in a more natural beach that appears untouched.
Don’t worry about being too far for it all though, the charming village of Gelemis is around a mile away from the beach. Why not go for a stroll before enjoying some food in one of the eateries based in this peaceful area?
Ayia Napa, Cyprus
Rich with character and full of fun, Ayia Napa is home to an array of incredible beaches. From waterparks and amusements to well preserved national parks and museums, there’s plenty to do in this popular part of Cyprus.
Nissi beach is renowned for its remarkably clear waters and a vibrant atmosphere. Relax under a shady umbrella before stepping into the dazzling turquoise waters for a dip under the sun. Nissi beach has a buzzing vibe that’s perfect for those traveling with friends and looking for lots of fun. Finding a place to grab a bite to eat is easy thanks to the plethora of bars and restaurants dotted along the beach.
As mentioned, there are plenty of beaches to check out when visiting Ayia Napa. Makronissos beach is another location to put on your bucket list. Not only does it feature fine sand and the opportunity to get involved in some water sports, there’s an ancient archaeological burial site nearby for those who want a taste of local history.