Discover the top beaches in Europe for relaxation, countless watersports, nightlife, or some unique culture. There are so many beaches to choose from, but here is our list of the best beaches in Europe in terms of quality and beauty.
1. Navagio Beach, Greece
Navagio is one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece. Clear turquoise water laps at the white sand of this secluded little cove located on the northwest shore of the gorgeous Greek island of Zakynthos. Navagio is said to be the home of a famous shipwreck, Panagiotis, which is why the beach is also called ‘Smugglers Cove.’ The beach is surrounded by rugged cliffs and is only accessible by boats that leave from Port Vromi. You can swim, snorkel, or just laze on the soft white sand.
2. St. Tropez, France
Nestled along the French Riveria, or Cote d’Azur, St. Tropez is one of the liveliest beach destinations during the summer months. Holiday makers delight in the sandy beaches, culture, gourmet food, and buzzing nightlife. There are several beaches to choose from with differing character and crowds. While St. Tropez may seem to be all about glitz and glamour, it shouldn’t be discounted as a great all around destination. The beaches are beautiful, the lifestyle laid-back, and the proximity on the French Riviera make it a great cultural destination. Keep in mind this one of the most popular summer destinations in France, which brings about crowded restaurants, crowded beaches and crowded streets.
3. Zlatni Rat, Croatia
Croatia’s long coastline and numerous islands are home to some of the most outstanding beaches in Europe. Zlatni Rat is a long golden pebble beach that stretches out to the Adriatic Sea like a hand. Known as Golden Horn, or “Golden Cape” this unique beach changes its shape and position, depending on the direction of the wind and currents. It may not be a sandy beach like those you would find in the Caribbean, but this white pebble beach is spectacular and a popular choice for tourists visiting Croatia. The winds make it ideal for watersports like wind surfing, kite surfing, and sailing. The beach is easily accessible thanks to a pedestrian route that leads to the beach from the town of Bol. Be warned that the western end of the beach is reserved for nudists.
4. Sveti Stefan, Montenegro
The pink sandy beaches of Sveti Stefan were originally acquired by the Yugoslav government and turned into an upscale hotel. The resort includes the islet of Sveti Stefan and part of the mainland, where the Villa Miločer resort is located. An Adriatic playground for the rich and famous from the 1960s to the 1980s, the hotel is now a 5-star franchise hotel of the international group of Aman Resorts. Sveti Stefan is connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus, and is home to the Aman Sveti Stefan luxury resort. This place is so exclusive that only hotel guests, or guests of its very high-end restaurant, are permitted on the island itself.
5. Vik, Iceland
Vik Beach is situated in Iceland’s southern most point. This beach features volcanic black sands and a surreal landscape. Vik lies directly under the Mýdalsjökull glacier which lies atop the Katla Volcano. The color of the sand was likely created by hot lava flowing into the frigid ocean, causing it to fragment into little pieces. The Reynisdrangar rock formations rise from the sea and make the view even more incredible. Not your typical beach, this is definitely a place for those who love to try something different.
6. Peniche, Portugal
The small fishing town of Peniche is famous for its long beaches and strong winds, which make it an ideal spot for water sports like surfing and body boarding. Most of the beaches have clear blue water and they provide many opportunities for holiday-makers. Outdoors enthusiasts will love the beaches east of town, where lessons and rentals for every sport under the sun are available.
7. Cala Macarelleta, Spain
Cala Macarella is an idyllic cove on the Balearic Island of Menorca 10 minutes from Ciutadella, boasting fine white sands and calm turquoise water. Macarella is sheltered by hills covered in pine trees and holm oaks, it is often warm enough to sunbathe, even in winter.
8. Cala d’en Serra, Ibiza
Cala d’en Serra, located to the east of Portinatx, is one of Ibiza’s most famous beaches. The sandy beach is small, with a wonderful view of the rugged cliffs, ideal for snorkeling. The oval-shaped beach is surrounded by stunning high cliffs, fine blue water, and golden sand. The craggy bay is rather difficult to reach, which means that it has not been destroyed by the masses. Many of these require a long walk down a precipitous cliff path to reach nothing but rocks, dropping straight into the water. Cala d’en Serra is a beach that gives you the best of both worlds; a beautiful sandy beach with a tranquil secluded atmosphere.
9. Rabbit Beach, Italy
Located on the island of Lampedusa off the south-west coast of Sicily, this area was initially inhabited by rabbits at one time, hence the name. Lampedusa has a vibrant culture and a historic past. Over the centuries it has been inhabited by a lot of different nationalities including the Greeks, Romans, Arabs. The calm crystal clear waters and the glittering white sand of Rabbit Beach are truly beautiful and inviting. Lampedusa is actually closer to Tunisia than it is to the Italian peninsula and smack dab in the middle of the Mediterranean, which translates to warmer climes year round.
10. Porthcurno, Cornwall
You wouldn’t think the U.K. would be the place to find a beautiful beach. In the English county of Cornwall you will find the tiny village of Porthcurno, which has one of the most beautiful white sandy beaches in all of Europe. Porthcurno Beach is about three miles east of Lands End on the southwest coast of England. With gorgeous soft white sand washed by a sea that turns turquoise in the sun and high cliffs on both sides, this is an oasis of stunning natural beauty.
11. Podrace Beach in Brela, Croatia
Untouched and peaceful, hidden among the rocks this Makarska riviera’s pearl is a symbol of serenity you can find only in Brela. The thing that makes Brela so special is the extraordinary natural beauty, which has remained preserved despite the development of infrastructure and tourism. A pebble beach with plenty of shade from pine trees and tamarisks, it’s a good place to come with families. There are dressing cabins, showers, and a restaurant is available.