Best Beaches in Europe

Discover our top European beach destinations

Sublime shores in remote locales. Heavenly-hued waters lapping at your feet. The Caribbean? Not even. Europe! It might not be the first continent that comes to mind for beach-bound getaways, but we’re here to change that. Beyond the cobbled streets and historic landmarks of its cities, here’s where to find Europe’s best beaches.

Portugal’s Algarve coast

The Algarve offers up so many blissful beaches—it’s impossible to pick just one. Picture-perfect Praia da Marinha is a bright-blue oasis amid rock pinnacles and caves. Surf’s always up at Praia do Amado, while Praia da Amoreira is pure paradise and Praia de Odeceixe favours families. Drive down the coast and pick your own fave, from breathtaking Praia de Vale Figueira to popular Praia de Benagil, and every beachy pit-stop in between. 

Greek island go-tos

As if the iconic architecture and picturesque scenery wasn’t enough, Greece’s best islands also wow with multi-coloured beaches. Land on the milky-white, lunar-like landscape of Milos’ Sarakiniko beach, or opt for the charcoal-grey, volcanic sands of Kamari over on Santorini. Crete keeps things pastel-pink with the sweetly tinged Elafonisi, or go for golden perfection on Naxos’ endless Agios Prokopios beach.

Italy by the sea

With swim spots scattered around Italy’s must-sees, it’s easy to pencil in a beach break here. If you’re sinking into Cinque Terre, try Levanto’s soft sands, or the pebbled beach in Riomaggiore. Adventuring to the Amalfi Coast? Go to glitzy Marina Grande and laid-back Spiaggia del Fornillo in Positano, or rocky Bagni di Regina Giovanna in Sorrento. South-bound sun-seekers should stop for Sicily’s best, from the white cliff-clad Scala dei Turchi and the hidden cove of Cala Tonnarella to the tropical-like San Vito Lo Capo.

Spanish Shores

Scoop up some Spanish sun on the island of Mallorca! We love the relaxed vibes and white sands of Es Trenc, but natural stunners Cala Mesquida and Formentor also top our list. Cut it to the largest of the Canary Islands—Tenerife—for a slice of seaside paradise defined by the wild beauty of spots like El Bollullo, and buzzing nightlife of busier options like Playa de Las Americas. Spanish beach-hopping continues on the Costa Del Sol—choose from the shores of celeb-magnet Marbella, classic Torremolinos, or charming Estepona.

Allez, à la Côte d’Azur

France’s famous Côte d’Azur dazzles with its gorgeous coastline. If you love bathing before an urban backdrop, Nice scores high. Wander off its main boardwalk for a dip in the city’s main beach, or dive off from the quieter, rocky Bains Militaires beach. Between Nice and Cannes, Antibes delivers beaches beneath medieval ramparts. For timeless Riviera allure, discover upmarket Pampelonne beach in Saint-Tropez. To veer off the beaten path, a day trip from Marseille takes you to prime wild swimming spots in the Calanques National Park. 

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