During the summer season, Europe has to be your number one destination! Tourist season is at its peak during this period, but that doesn’t mean you will have to fight off the crowds. Spend your time swimming, sunbathing and exploring the cliffs of the best of Europe’s beaches.
La Concha, Spain
La Concha beach is the most beautiful beach in San Sebastian, and it is extremely popular amongst tourists for its simple elegance. It gained popularity during the 19th century when Queen Isabel II would go to the beach for her bath therapy. The city then became the summer residence for the Spanish royal family.
Why la Concha? It is known for its unique shell shape, “concha” meaning shell in Spanish. It has been named the best beach in Europe and in Spain and it is the most picturesque spot in the country. Visitors can take a boat from the island to the beach, all while taking in the amazing scenery. On one side of the beach, there is the Urgull mountain, the harbor and the city hall. On the other, you can see the Igueldo mountain. At the end of the beach, you can even see the Pico de Loro, which means “parrot’s beak”. Pico de Loro is a passage of rocks that disappears when the tide is high.
The beach is wide and allows you to sunbathe and swim in the Spanish heat. Thanks to its mountains, you are perfectly protected from any chilly winds and high waves. As one of the most symbolic beaches in Spain, locals come for dips here all year round, unafraid of the lower temperatures. Even in winter, you’ll see the older generations of the city going for a swim!
Villefranche-Sur-Mer is a beautiful beach town located on the French Riviera. The beautiful crystalline waters are dreamy and make the perfect surroundings for your next sunbathing session. Here, you can discover one of its 2 beaches – Beach of La Darse and Beach of La Marinière.
Beach of La Darse is a secret beach, hidden away from the hustle and bustle of Villefranche-sur-Mer. Very few people know it is there due to the lack of signposting, and that means that you will not have to fight off crowds of people, and you can sunbathe in peace. This beach is great for children as the water is shallow and clear. You can even see the silver fish swimming around your legs!
The longest stretch of beach is the Beach of La Marinière. It is located just outside the city for the perfect beach escape. The sand is beautifully soft on your feet, and the beach is safe for children thanks to its shallow waters. You can see incredible views of Villefranche-Sur-Mer’s bay along with its beautiful sailboats setting off in the distance.
Cala Violina, Italy
Cala Violina is known as Italy’s best beach, known for its pure white sandy shores. Situated in the Gulf of Follonica, and is part of Scarlino. The beach is in a half-moon shape, and you can admire its crystal waters as well as its sea life. The name comes from a local legend, which says that the sand creates a sound when you walk on it, like a violin medley.
It is a public beach that is completely unspoilt, with no signs of bars or food trucks. All you need is a beach towel and some sunglasses to sit back and take in the incredible views. From the beach, you can see the Tyrrhenian Sea. Fall in love with your surroundings – you will never tire of the views of Punta Francese and Punta Le Canne.
Early in the morning, the beach is completely deserted, allowing you to enjoy paradise on your own. It is a perfect place to bring children, as the water is shallow near the shore and there are shaded areas towards the cove to set up a picnic!
Porto Katsiki, Greece
Porto Katsiki is a beach located in the southwest of Lefkada and is known as one of Greece’s most stunning beaches. It is also one of the best beaches in Europe. Park on the cliffs and take the stairwell down to this paradisiac location. You can even reach the location with a boat excursion, to really make the most of Greece’s stunning landscapes.
The beach and its cliffs are truly magical. This is the beach that features on any postcard in Lefkada. The spellbinding turquoise waters will leave you in awe! Cross the observation bridge if you’re feeling a bit adventurous. It has been left in a desolate state after the earthquake, but you’ll be able to really enjoy the views once you reach the other side. Swim in its inviting picture-perfect waters and lap up the sunshine.
Though the coves provide shade, be sure to bring a parasol! Though you can rent parasols and deck chairs, this beach is very popular over the summertime. After an afternoon drenched in the Mediterranean sun, watch the spectacular sunset over this iconic beach. Then, head over to Athani, a nearby town and dining destination. Eat at the local tavernas and enjoy the authentic Greek cuisine!
Norway may not be the country you associate with sandy beaches and dreamy turquoise waters. Kvalvika is an example of the versatility of its landscapes. Located on the north western side of Lofoten, the beach faces the Atlantic Ocean. It is situated on an isolated bay, and its mountains rise more than 600 meters. Its dramatic scenery makes it one of the best beaches in Europe.
Up until the 1930s, a few people actually lived in the bay, and you can still see remains of where the buildings used to be. There is also still a cabin built by two Norwegian men who lived at Kvalvika a few years ago, who were in love with nature and wanted to live in it.
You can enjoy a 30 minute hike to discover the mountainous landscape and admire Norway’s natural beauty. We recommend starting your hike early as the parking lots near the trail are small and can only accommodate around 20 cars. If you’re feeling daring, you can even camp here! You can use the stream water for cooking, washing and drinking! In recent years, the beach has become a very popular camping site. Imagine waking up to these beautiful views in the morning!
Zlatni Rat, Croatia
Zlatni Rat, meaning Golden Horn, is known as one of Croatia’s most beautiful beaches. It is a pebbled beach on Brac Island, 3km from the town of Bol. Why Golden Horn? The beach is in a triangular shape, and showcases the Adriatic Sea. You are surrounded by the Vidova Gora mountains, with views of Hvar Island. Although, its shape slightly changes over time due to the wind conditions and sea currents.
If you want to make the most of the beach and its activities, set your alarm early! With less people around, it is the perfect place to snorkel. Plus, the waters have no seaweed or sand! You can also kayak across the turquoise sea, and even try your hand at jet skiing! If you’re a water sports fanatic, you’ll love Zlatni Rat. In the evening, grab a bottle of wine and enjoy this romantic spot. Watch the sun set and listen to the waves lapping gently beside you.
Zlatni Rat is a family-friendly beach. As well as having lifeguards available during the summer months, there are also several playgrounds for your little ones. Although we’re pretty sure they’ll be blown away by the beach’s beauty!
Lara Beach, Cyprus
Lara Beach is a beautiful and unspoilt beach in the Paphos district of Cyprus. As well as its sparkling turquoise waters, you can admire its white sand and colored stones, as well as its sealife and greenery. If you’re growing tired of tourists left, right and center, then you’re in luck! This beach is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of tourist destinations. There is no public transportation to take you here, helping the destination remain remote and simple.
The beach is more particularly known for being a turtle hatchery. Volunteers monitor the female turtles in the summer months and take their eggs to the hatchery to protect them from predators. In August or September, you can see the baby turtles crawl towards the sea. Another huge part of the beach’s sealife is its monk seals, which you can see in the sea caves.
When you come to Lara Beach, it is purely to admire the views and the wildlife. It has been a protected area since 1971, so no sun loungers are permitted here. There are no services on the beach, but the Lara Restaurant is nearby and is the idyllic dining destination.