A selection of paradisiacal coastal settings around Europe. Check out a list of the best beaches on the European continent

Europe is blessed with some of the most sensational coastlines in the world. Large expanses of golden sand, secret coves, clear Mediterranean waters and of course, great hotel options all along the coast.

countries like France, Italy, Greece and Croatian they usually receive thousands of tourists in the summer season, but there are several options throughout the old continent. If you are planning to spend the summer in europe, be sure to check out this list of best beaches on the european continent.

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Photo: Getty Images

Atlantic coast

On the west coast of France, the climate is wilder and the beaches are as well. Large and rambling stretches of sand, backed by dunes and pine forests. Just off La Rochelle, the Ile de Ré is the quintessential French holiday island, complete with pretty antique shops, oyster stalls and horseback riding on the beach; this is where the chic Parisians will spend the weekend.

Wilder and calmer still are the beaches further south, at Cap Ferret, where the highest sand dunes in Europe drop down towards the Atlantic Ocean dotted with white sailboats.

French Riviera

The Côte d'Azur stretches from Menton to Marseille. The beach spots along its coast are among the most picturesque in France: old-school Nice, artsy Antibes, Cannes A-list and St Tropez.

In Cavalaire-sur-Mer and Juan-les-Pins you can find quieter stretches of sand without much movement. For a real break from the crowd, you'll have to head out into the open; a short ferry ride from the Giens peninsula to Les Iles d'Or, three idyllic idyllic islands with landscapes lined with eucalyptus and scented with lavender.


Corsica combines French sophistication with Italian sophistication. Its champagne-colored sandy beaches are spectacular and remain virtually untouched.

Porto Vecchio is a charm of cobbled streets and pink houses, but the best beaches in Corsica are hidden on the calmer north coast: Palombaggia with its pink sand, Portigliolo and Saleccia, one of the most charming in region.


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Costa de la Luz

In the southwest is the Costa de la Luz, Spain's stunning Atlantic coastline is dotted with cities with wide, wild beaches. Between old Cádiz and Tarifa are the fun beaches of Bolonia and Valdevaqueros.

The Mediterranean begins in the amazing city of Marbella, the gateway to the bustling Costa del Sol. The glittering Andalusian city is full of sunny beach clubs and the party atmosphere extends to neighboring Málaga, which has a huge stretch of coastline with many beautiful, idyllic beaches.

Further up the coast are two more of Spain's great scouts: Costa Blanca and Costa Brava. The former has some brilliant beaches but is congested in high season, particularly between the resorts of Gandía and Benidorm.

The most beautiful city on this coastline is Alicante, which has a great infrastructure with chic boutique hotels and quieter coves.


Ibiza endlessly fascinates with its party scene, its glamor and its vibe. The beaches are incredibly beautiful, making it the most popular beach destination in all of Europe.

Isolated coves, beaches difficult to access, sensational bays where beach clubs welcome hedonists from all over the world. The best beaches in Ibiza include Aguas Blancas, Las Salinas, Cala Llenya, Calla Bassa, Cala Moli.


Formentera is one of the four islands that make up the Balearic Islands. The fastest way to reach the island is with the ferry that leaves from Ibiza – the crossing takes just 30 minutes. Another option is to leave via Barcelona, Valencia or Dénia.

Among the most beautiful beaches are La Savina, Platja de Llevant and the exuberate Calo des Mort, a very small beach that is accessed through a very rustic staircase that connects the top of the rock formation to the crystal clear waters of the beach.


Menorca has nearly 200 beaches, coves and coves to explore, all with white sand and turquoise sea.

it is the calmest and greenest of the Balearic Islands and is full of great options for bathing. You can enjoy the calm waters of Macarelleta Beach, enjoy the party vibes of Cala Galdana, take a walk between Cala Mitjana and Cala Mitjaneta, and enjoy the peaceful and wild Ptajita Cavaleria.

Canary Islands

Start by exploring bustling Tenerife. The best natural beaches on this island are just a short drive away in El Médano.

Equally serene is the northern coast of Lanzarote, with its warm, calm waters. Famara Beach is the most picturesque and attracts surfers all year round.

If you are looking for sunny days on a stroll along the most beautiful beaches in the Canary Islands, add Mógan Beaches. El Castillo, Corralejo Viejo, La Guirra and Antequera.



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White sand beaches, blue and crystalline sea, surrounded by almost untouched scenery. This is the impressive coast of Sardinia, from north to south. Check out the famous Cala Goloritzè beach in the town of Arbatax.

The antidote to glamor is the La Maddalena archipelago off the coast. It is a place trapped in time, where the beaches are sensationally beautiful, protected as part of a nature reserve.

Cala Soraya on the uninhabited island of Spargi and Cala Coticcio on Caprera are two of the best beaches in Italy.


In the southwest, empty nature reserves (and naturists) surround Menfi and Selinunte, an ancient Greek city dotted with Doric temples. Walk from Marinella beach to the Foce del Belice nature reserve for a view of the last undeveloped stretch of Sicilian coast, where sunsets turn the sand red.

South coast

In the south of the country, steep coastlines give way to a smoother, flatter landscape. At the remote heel of the Italian boot, Puglia is a sunny haven of high-end hotels and gorgeous beaches. And on the craggy shores of Calabria, at the tip of the toes of Italy, cotton-colored sand meets serene, crystal-blue waters.

Tuscany is not all about rolling hills – the region's 400 miles of coastline hide some beautiful beaches. Its coastal region of Maremma includes the coastal town of Viareggio, with its Belle Époque villas and beach umbrellas.

Elba attracts rowdy romantics in search of emptier shores. Some of the most spectacular beaches are close to the Monti dell'Uccellina nature reserve, including the stunning Marina di Alberese and just off the Amalfi Coast.


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The most dramatic beaches in Greece are undoubtedly located on the Cyclades Islands. The variety of the coastline is astounding – some beaches – such as Psarrou, Paraga and Ftelia in Mykonos – are frequented all year round and are always busy.

Another option is Milos Island, which has more than 70 beaches, from white chalk rock pools to blue lagoons.

Ionian Islands

Milder, greener, and generally calmer than their Aegean rivals, the cliff-side bays and tree-lined coves of the Ionian Islands are the stuff of vacation dreams.

The largest of these lush islands, Corfu has a beach for all moods: Agios Georgios for windsurfers, Avlaki for families with children, Halikounas for diving, Peroulades for enjoying the best sunsets.


The wildest beaches are found in the Libyan Sea between Agia Fotini and Agia Galini; nudists and yogis favor the extensive sands of Ligres, Triopetra and Agios Pavlos.

Crete's best beaches are the pink sands and blue waters of Balos Lagoon and Elafonisi, a floating nature reserve that can be reached from the southwestern tip of Crete – but go early or out of season as the crowds can be intense. .


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Every summer, tourists descend on the Croatian coast of Dalmatia in search of beach parties all day and all night, specifically on the islands of Pag and Hvar. But to discover the best beaches in Europe, you may have to go further. The ancient coastal cities of Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik have lively beaches but are also gateways to Croatia's secret islands.

A one-hour ferry boat ride from Dubrovnik will take you to the secluded sandy beaches of Sunj on the island of Lopud. It is also worth visiting Vis, Croatia's most distant island, which is just under three hours from Split. Its spectacular Stiniva beach was recently named the best in Europe.


most beautiful beaches in europe

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In the south, the favorite region for tourists is the Algarve – a region rightly known for its long hot summers and its beaches surrounded by cliffs.

Its most spectacular beaches include Ilha da Fuseta and Praia do Carvalho, famous for its sea caves.

Portugal's holiday islands Meanwhile, offshore, the Portuguese archipelagos of the Azores and, further south, Cape Verde, have fantastic climates and year-round sunshine, and quiet beaches to explore.


most beautiful beaches in europe

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Montenegro is the new frontier for European beach holidays. This mesmerizing slice of the Adriatic has mountain landscapes, shimmering lakes and Romanesque churches tucked between winding medieval lanes.

Aman Sveti Stefan, a fortified village set adrift on the Adriatic – and now a hotel – is the star of the glittering Riviera Budva.

Kotor Bay is dreamily beautiful, but for Montenegro's best beaches, head to those around Budva: expansive Bečići, pristine Plavi Horizonti and stunning Jaz Beach, with its wide sands and incredibly clear, turquoise waters.

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