The 11 best beaches to visit in Europe
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
As the travel industry reopens following COVID-19 shutdowns, TPG suggests that you talk to your doctor, follow health officials’ guidance and research local travel restrictions before booking that next trip. And we’ll be here to help you prepare, whether it’s next month or next year.
Dreaming of golden sands and turquoise waters? We are too.
Although the perfect beach vacation abroad may be out of reach at the moment, now’s the time to plan your next getaway packed with palm trees, pristine sands and clear waters. Europe is home to some of the top beaches in the world. So check out TPG’s hotlist for the best beaches and get ready to be inspired.
Balos Beach in Crete, Greece
Move over, Mykonos — one of the best beaches is actually on Crete. The Balos beach and lagoon is only accessible by boat ride or hike. Here, sandbars create small tide pools with clear water. Avoid the crowds by heading over early in the morning to experience the isolation and seclusion of the beach with few other visitors in sight. Bring sunblock, though, because there isn’t much shade on Balos.
If you decide to combine Crete with a trip to Athens first, stay at the Four Seasons Astir Athens. The property is located on the Athens Riviera and has three private beaches and a spa with Greek-inspired treatments.
Spiaggia dei Conigli in Lampedusa, Italy
Lampedusa is part of the Pelagie Islands located off the coast of Tunisia, but belongs to Sicily’s Agrigento region in Italy. Despite its name, the beach actually isn’t inhabited by rabbits. Instead, the silky sands and crystal-clear waters are home to loggerhead turtles — all of which Italians are working hard to preserve. Although Lampedusa has a tiny airport (LMP), plan to connect in Rome or Milan instead.
Playa de La Barrosa in Andalusia, Spain
With almost four miles of glittering sands, Barrosa Beach is separated into two parts. There’s the main beach area with plenty of rental chairs, beachside cafes and restaurants and lifeguards, if you prefer having all the amenities. The southern side is a little more wild, with sandy dunes and pine trees for those who really want to escape.
St. Peter’s Pool in Malta
This beach actually isn’t really a beach — at least, not a traditional one. A bay framed by smooth, flat rock instead of sand, it seems as if the rock was carved away to create a very special pool of water: imagine swimming and sunbathing on the moon. “Beach”-goers can spread their towels out on the unusual stretch of coast and dive into the refreshing water.
Rambergstranda Beach in Norway
For an entirely different beach experience, visit northern Norway’s Rambergstranda Beach on Jusnesvika Bay. The tranquil waters are lined by a sandy beach, with wildflower-filled grasses and dramatic mountains in the distance. Rambergstranda is best for travelers who prefer cooler, less humid temperatures and beach days punctuated by challenging hikes and stunning viewpoints. Just remember to pack your best windbreaker. Going to northern Norway in June or July will allow you to enjoy the midnight sun phenomenon, where the sun never actually sets.
Praia dos Galapinhos in Portugal
Galapinhos Beach is just a one-hour trip from Lisbon, a city growing in fame for its world-renowned culinary scene. An escape to a sandy shore is the perfect way to relax after a few busy days exploring the Portuguese capital. This secluded cove is flanked by hilly, dense greenery that brightly contrasts the velvety sands and crisp blue waters.
Portugal remains one of the cheapest countries in Western Europe. It’s also sorely underrated and not nearly as touristed as its peninsula-sharing sister, Spain. Considering the country is planning to inaugurate 170 new hotels by 2023, the rise in tourism is evident. So go now, before everyone else does.
Plage Notre-Dame, Île de Porquerolles in France
When your friends ask about your summer vacation plans, respond nonchalantly with, “Oh, just a little island in the French Riviera.” The Notre-Dame beach is a crescent-shaped cove on the island of Porquerolles. This beach is ideal for those who want a tranquil yet très chic French Riviera beach experience. The island, accessible by boat from Toulon and Hyères, is perfect for sailing and mountain biking, too.
Stiniva Beach, Vis in Croatia
As if Split weren’t alluring enough, Vis is one of the islands off the coast of the Croatian city accessible by ferry. Stiniva Beach is tiny and difficult to reach, but once you spot the azure waters lapping the pebbly shore, you’ll be glad you braved the hike. Make sure to wear suitable shoes, as the walk in flip-flops isn’t a good idea.
Silistar Beach in Bulgaria
Silistar is a beach and nature preserve on the Black Sea fairly close to the Turkish border. Although it still has a rugged, wild feel, the high season brings more people, so visit early in the morning for a more serene experience. The beach sits on the edge of the Strandzha Nature Park, which has one of the most important forest ecosystems in the country. Many rare birds fly over the beach, and snorkeling is also a popular activity here, as there’s an abundance of marine life below.
Bulgaria is slowly becoming a more popular destination, thanks to increased flights and improved accessibility from many European nations. Combine your beach getaway with a visit to Plovdiv, named the European Capital of Culture in 2019.
Rhossili Bay in Wales
Yes, the UK is home to one of Europe’s best beaches. Rhossili Bay in Wales has been repeatedly named one of the UK’s best beaches for its pristine sands which extend for about three miles. With something for everyone, the beach is dog-friendly, surfer-friendly, family-friendly — you get the idea. The surrounding hiking trails offer stunning views of the beach below, and are a great place to watch for the occasional seal or dolphin.
Jurata Beach in Poland
Poland may not be the first spot that comes to mind for your summer beach getaway, but you’ll be immediately charmed by the spot deemed ‘The Pearl of the Polish Seaside’ by locals. Extending out into the Baltic Sea on a long, skinny peninsula, the beach is expansive, sandy and backed by pine trees and brush, perfect for easy sunset walks.
Foodies should combine a beach escape with a trip to Krakow, which was the 2019 Capital of Gastronomy Culture. With 26 different spots in the Michelin guide, Krakow is focused on culinary delights, food festivals, events and conferences throughout the year.
Featured photo by Khachik Simonian / Unsplash.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees