Europe is known for its rich cultural heritage, diverse landscapes, and stunning beaches. With so many options to choose from, it can be hard to pick just a few. From hidden coves to secluded stretches of sand, here are 20 of the most beautiful beaches in Europe.
1. Cala Macarella, Menorca, Spain
Cala Macarella is located in the south of Menorca and is one of the most famous and beautiful beaches of the Balearic Islands. The turquoise blue waters and fine white sand of Cala Macarella are ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling. The surrounding cliffs provide a stunning backdrop for photos and a natural shelter from the wind, making it a perfect spot for picnics and relaxation.
2. Zlatni Rat, Brač, Croatia
Zlatni Rat is known for its unique shape, which resembles a tongue sticking out into the sea. The beach is considered one of the best windsurfing spots in Europe and attracts many surfers to its crystal-clear waters. Zlatni Rat is surrounded by pine trees, offering natural shade and a perfect place for a refreshing break from the sun.
3. Elafonissi Beach, Crete, Greece
Elafonissi is a protected area and is known for its rare sea turtle population and diverse marine life. The beach is located on the western tip of Crete and is considered one of the most isolated and unspoiled beaches in Greece. Elafonissi is not just a beach, but a natural paradise, with crystal-clear turquoise waters, fine pink sand, and lush greenery surrounding it.
4. Plage de Palombaggia, Corsica, France
Plage de Palombaggia is known for its crystal-clear waters and is considered one of the best spots for snorkeling and diving in Corsica. The beach is surrounded by lush greenery, providing a peaceful and relaxing environment for visitors.
5. Praia da Rocha, Portugal
Praia da Rocha is a long and wide beach, stretching over 2 km, making it one of the largest beaches in the Algarve region of Portugal. The beach is surrounded by towering cliffs and offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. Praia da Rocha is a popular destination for water sports, such as surfing, windsurfing, and parasailing, and also has a lively nightlife, with many bars, restaurants, and clubs.
6. Cala Gonone, Sardinia, Italy
Cala Gonone is a stunning beach located in the Gulf of Orosei, on the east coast of Sardinia. The beach is surrounded by towering cliffs and is a popular spot for rock climbing and exploring the local area. Cala Gonone is also known for its crystal-clear waters and fine white sand, making it a perfect spot for swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling.
7. Cala Comte, Ibiza, Spain
Cala Comte is located on the west coast of Ibiza and is considered one of the most beautiful and popular beaches on the island. The beach is surrounded by towering cliffs and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Cala Comte is a popular destination for water sports, such as windsurfing and kitesurfing, and is also known for its lively beach parties and nightlife.
8. Tsambika Beach, Rhodes, Greece
Tsambika Beach is a pristine stretch of coastline located on the Greek island of Rhodes. The beach is surrounded by imposing mountains and is known for its crystal-clear waters and soft, golden sand. Visitors can enjoy a wide range of activities here, including sunbathing, swimming, and snorkeling, while the nearby town of Archangelos offers a taste of authentic Greek culture. According to local legend, Tsambika Beach is named after a miracle-working icon of the Virgin Mary, which was discovered on a nearby hill by a shepherdess named Tsambika. This serene and picturesque beach is a must-visit for anyone looking to relax and soak up the Mediterranean sun.
9. Koukounaries Beach in Skiathos, Greece
Koukounaries Beach in Skiathos, Greece can be added to the list of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. This beach is a stunning strip of fine white sand surrounded by lush pine forests, with crystal-clear waters that are perfect for swimming and sunbathing. It’s a popular destination for tourists and locals alike and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
10. Sarakiniko Beach in Milos, Greece
Sarakiniko Beach in Milos, Greece, is a stunning lunar-like landscape of white volcanic rocks and crystal-clear blue waters. The unique and surreal scenery is a must-visit destination for any nature enthusiast or photographer. This picturesque and otherworldly beach offers a relaxing atmosphere, and the natural rock formations provide plenty of opportunities for sunbathing, exploring, and snorkeling. Whether you want to take a dip in the crystal-clear waters or explore the incredible formations, Sarakiniko Beach is a true paradise waiting to be discovered.
11. Red Beach in Santorini, Greece
Red Beach in Santorini, Greece is a natural wonder that should not be missed. As its name suggests, the beach features a unique red volcanic sand that contrasts beautifully with the clear blue waters of the Aegean Sea. Surrounded by towering red cliffs, the beach offers breathtaking scenery and a tranquil atmosphere for relaxation and sunbathing. However, the beach’s popularity means it can get crowded, so it’s best to visit early in the day to secure a spot and avoid the crowds. Overall, Red Beach is a must-see destination for anyone visiting the island of Santorini.
12. Navagio Beach, Zakynthos, Greece
Navagio Beach, also known as Shipwreck Beach, is a stunning cove located on the northwest coast of the Greek island of Zakynthos. The beach is famous for its crystal-clear turquoise waters, fine white sand, and the rusting remains of a smugglers’ ship that ran aground here in 1980. The beach can only be reached by boat, which only adds to its allure. With its dramatic cliffs, stunning colors, and remote location, Navagio Beach is a must-visit destination for any traveler looking for natural beauty and adventure.
13. Calanque d’En Vau, Marseille, France
Calanque d’En Vau is a stunning cove nestled in the heart of the Calanques National Park, just outside Marseille. Accessible only by boat or a challenging hike, this secluded beach offers crystal-clear turquoise waters surrounded by rugged cliffs and a pebbled shore. The breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea and the surrounding natural beauty make it an ideal spot for nature lovers and adventurers seeking a remote and peaceful setting. Whether you want to hike, swim, or simply soak up the sun on the beach, Calanque d’En Vau is an absolute must-see destination for anyone traveling to the south of France.
14. Playa de las Catedrales, Galicia, Spain
Playa de las Catedrales, also known as Praia das Catedrais, is a stunning beach located in Galicia, Spain. The beach is named after the many arches, caves, and rock formations that dot the shoreline, resembling the grand arches and pillars of a cathedral. At low tide, visitors can walk through and explore these formations, while the high tide provides a majestic view of the rock formations from above. Due to its beauty, the beach is a popular spot for photographers and tourists alike but requires reservations to access during peak season. If you’re a lover of natural beauty and want to experience the grandeur of the Spanish coast, Playa de las Catedrales is not to be missed.
15. Playa de Ses Illetes, Formentera, Spain
Playa de Ses Illetes is an idyllic beach located in Formentera, Spain, and is often regarded as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. With its clear, turquoise waters and powdery white sand, it’s easy to see why so many people flock to this little piece of paradise. The beach is also known for its stunning views of the nearby islets and the sapphire-blue sea that surrounds it. The area is surrounded by lush vegetation and natural dunes, adding to the beauty of this secluded gem. Visitors can enjoy water activities such as swimming, snorkeling, or simply lounging in the sun while taking in the stunning views.
16. Reynisfjara Beach in Iceland
Reynisfjara Beach in Iceland is a stunning black sand beach known for its dramatic landscape and unique basalt rock formations. The beach is surrounded by towering cliffs that create an otherworldly atmosphere, and the roaring waves of the Atlantic Ocean crash against the shore, adding to the sense of awe and wonder. Visitors can explore the fascinating caves, hike along the coastline, or simply enjoy the magnificent views of the beach and the surrounding mountains. Reynisfjara is a popular spot for photographers and nature lovers alike and is truly a one-of-a-kind destination.
17. La Concha Beach, San Sebastian, Spain
La Concha Beach in San Sebastian is known for its stunningly beautiful bay and crystal clear waters. The beach is located in the heart of the city and is surrounded by hills and the historic architecture of San Sebastian. The beach is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying the local culture. The sand is fine and golden, and the water is shallow and warm. The beach also offers a picturesque view of Santa Clara Island, which can be reached by boat or kayak. La Concha Beach is a perfect destination for a day trip or a weekend getaway, providing a relaxing atmosphere and a chance to experience the charm of San Sebastian.
18. Playa de Papagayo, Lanzarote, Spain
Playa de Papagayo, located in the southern part of Lanzarote, is a picturesque beach with turquoise waters and golden sand, surrounded by high cliffs that provide a sheltered and secluded cove-like feeling. The beach is well known for its clear water, making it a great spot for swimming and snorkeling. The area is also perfect for hiking, with several trails leading to the beach, and the surrounding natural park is home to an abundance of plant and animal life. The beach is family-friendly, with various amenities available, including showers, sunbeds, and parasols, and a selection of restaurants and cafes can be found nearby.
19. Côte d'Azur, France
The French Riviera, also known as Côte d’Azur, is a stretch of coastline that runs along the Mediterranean Sea in the southeast of France. Famous for its turquoise waters, stunning beaches, and glamorous resorts, the region has long been a playground for the rich and famous. It is home to numerous picturesque towns, including Nice, Cannes, and Saint-Tropez, where visitors can enjoy the sunshine, gourmet cuisine, luxury shopping, and vibrant nightlife. The French Riviera also boasts a rich cultural heritage, with historic landmarks, museums, and art galleries that showcase the region’s fascinating history and artistic legacy. Whether you’re looking to soak up the sun, explore the region’s cultural offerings, or indulge in some high-end shopping, the Côte d’Azur is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to France.
20. Sveti Stefan Beach in Montenegro
Sveti Stefan Beach is a charming and picturesque destination situated on a small island connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus. The beach offers stunning views of the Adriatic Sea and a peaceful atmosphere, with crystal clear turquoise water, soft golden sand, and a gentle sea breeze. Visitors can enjoy sunbathing on the beach, swimming in the calm and clear waters, and exploring the quaint village of Sveti Stefan, which is filled with traditional architecture and narrow streets. With its unique beauty and relaxed ambiance, Sveti Stefan Beach is a hidden gem that is perfect for a peaceful and tranquil getaway.
These 20 beaches are just a small selection of the many stunning beaches that Europe has to offer. Whether you’re looking for a secluded escape or a bustling beach experience, there is something for everyone. So pack your bags, grab your sunscreen, and head to one of these breathtaking beaches for the ultimate European summer experience.