19 of the Best European Beaches

With the suggestion of summer finally starting to arrive in Europe after a long hard winter, it’s a timely moment to think about some of the best beaches in Europe.

Malagueta Beach, Malaga, Spain

Being born and bred in Australia, where we firmly believe we have the best beaches in the world, I’m a tough beach critic, so if a European beach makes it onto this list you can be sure that there’s something worth seeing there. I’ve compiled this list from the tips in the archives of Europe a la Carte, so it should be a great collection of potential destinations for a European beach holiday. Enjoy!

Podcast on Some of the Best Beaches in Europe


Subscribe to the Europe a la Carte Podcast in itunes or audioboo



Karen is keen on taking a trip to Spain’s Costa Verde, on the northern Atlantic coast, to see its dramatic scenery for herself.

Playa Catedrales, Ribadeo, Costa Verde, Spain by Ruggero Poggianella

On a recent trip to Gran Canaria, Karen tried out numerous beaches and wrote about six beautiful Gran Canaria beaches. One of the most spectacular was Maspalomas Beach, with a lake, lighthouse and sand dunes adding to the scenic coast.

Maspalomas Beach looking toward the lighthouse in Gran Canaria

In the Galicia region, Inka couldn’t resist trying out what she heard some young holidaymakers discussing as the “best beach in the world” – a big call! The Playa de Rodas at Las Islas Cies turned out to be a kilometre-long stretch of perfect white sand, with calm shallow water, and several other beautiful beaches nearby.

Playa de Rodas by Inka Piegsa-quischotte

Finally, Karen also recommends Malagueta Beach in Malaga, southern Spain, as a great beach destination where you can combine city activities with lazy days at the beach.

Malagueta Beach, Malaga


Karen swam in the beautiful Coral Bay, near Paphos on the west coast of Cyprus, in March. Although the water was on the cool side, it was OK once she got going.

Coral Bay, Cyprus

The beach at Aphrodite’s Rock, said to be the birthplace of Greek goddess of  love, beauty and sexuality is a lovely spot for a refreshing dip. Legend says that if you swim here you’ll be eternally beautiful.

The beach at Aphrodite’s Rock in Cyprus


In the Puglia region of Italy, Kimberly has some excellent tips for beaches on the Gargano Peninsula. They are located between high white cliffs and usually involve a bit of a trek down from the car park – but that’s what makes them relatively quiet and unspoilt.

Gargano peninsula beaches by Kimberly Sullivan

Not far from Rome, Kimberly also recommends the beach at Sperlonga – which is in fact the beach where the ancient Roman emperor Tiberius liked to spend his summer holidays! Two thousand years of holidaying can’t be wrong, and it is also popular with Rome residents escaping the city during summer.


On the island of Mykonos, Inka recommends the beach at Ai Yianni on the northern side of the island. She’s also given us a tip for a beach side meal, eating at the restaurant in the Hippie Fish resort.

Hippie Fish restaurant by by Inka Piegsa-Quischotte


In the Algarve region of Portugal, Jeremy recommends the breathtaking beaches at Salema. It’s a fishing village with great seafood restaurants to go with it and judging by Jeremy’s photographs it’s a particularly beautiful spot.

Beach at Salema by Jeremy Branham


The Croatian coast is littered with hundreds of gorgeous beaches, so it’s hard to go wrong, but I’ve picked out a few of the Europe a la Carte team’s favourite Croatian beaches. Neha votes for Zlatni Rat, near the town of Bol on the island of Brac. The only downside to Zlatni Rat is that it’s so beautiful that it tends to be crowded during the peak summer months.

Zlatni Rat by Neha

If you’re spending time in Dubrovnik but want a bit of a beach getaway, Neha recommends a day trip to the Elaphite Islands. They are a group of 14 islands, mostly unpopulated, and well known for their beautiful beaches.

Finally, Neha also has a less well-known beach tip for us: the tiny island of Palmižana, a short boat ride from the larger island of Hvar.

Palmižana by Neha


Mellieha Beach in the north of the Mediterranean island of Malta was Karen’s favourite sandy beach in Malta.

Mellieha Beach in Malta

Meanwhile, Kimberly recommends the Blue Lagoon. She decided it was easily one of the best beaches on Malta and the cliffs around it made it look like a giant swimming pool.

Blue Lagoon Beach in Malta


Montenegro might just be our secret tip for a perfect European beach holiday. Kimberly recommends Perast, a pretty seaside town on the Gulf of Kotor which includes a great family beach known as Pirate Beach.

Beach in Perast by Kimberly Sullivan

United Kingdom

Karen spent part of her Summer 09 UK Blogging Tour in Newquay in Cornwall and took some great videos of eight Newquay beaches – and Andy confirms that Towan Beach at Newquay is one of his favourites.

Whipsiderry Beach, Newquay

Karen’s local beach at Berwick upon Tweed is Spittal Beach, where she goes for walks all year round but I’m not sure I like my beaches covered in ice.

Snow and ice on Spittal Beach

Up in Scotland, Karen was wowed by St Ninian’s Beach on the Shetland Islands and it’s one of her “25 Unusual & Fun Things to Do in Scotland“.

St Ninian’s Beach in the Scottish Shetland Islands

Search for Your Perfect Beach Holiday

Use the search box below to find the great holiday deals with sunshine, who offer a lowest price guarantee and free supplier failure insurance.