Europe’s 15 most beautiful beaches

Antipaxos

The most sublime beaches aren’t always where you think they are. Follow our recommendations and discover Europe’s 15 most beautiful beaches for a guaranteed beach experience!

With its historic monuments, lively cities, natural landscapes, sporting venues and cultural sites, Europe is full of excursions and experiences, each as interesting and unmissable as the next. But if you’re looking for a place to relax and recharge your batteries, nothing beats the beach. And if for you, that automatically rhymes with sun, fine sand and oily seas, you’ll soon realize that the splendor of Europe’s most beautiful beaches can take on many other forms.

Whether developed or wild, popular or secret, southern or northern, Europe’s beaches are astonishingly varied. Whether you’re looking for a beach to spend the day with the family, to observe the flora and fauna, to bathe and relax in the sun, to practice water sports, to party or to go for a walk, you’re bound to find what you’re looking for in our ranking of the 15 most beautiful beaches in Europe.

1. Cala Goloritzé beach, Sardinia(Italy)

Cala Goloritzé, Sardaigne

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / CoolR

Located in central-eastern Sardinia, the small cove of Cala Goloritzé is as secret as it is beautiful. Framed by immense rocky cliffs and verdant forests, this beach of polished white pebbles and transparent waters is one of the island’s least frequented. You can reach it by boat or on foot, but we recommend the local option: reach Cala Goloritzé by mule from the Golgo plateau.

2. Curonian Spit beach, Nida(Lithuania)

Isthme de Courlande, Lituanie

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Anaducay

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, theCuronian Spit is a long stretch of wilderness stretching 100 kilometers from the Baltic Sea to the Curonian Lagoon.

Surrounded by lush green flora in the heart of a national park, this beach with its fine sand dunes will delight birdwatchers, lovers of authentic landscapes and those who enjoy golden sunsets reflected on the sea. Escape and a change of scenery guaranteed on one of Europe’s most beautiful beaches.

3. Fig Tree Bay beach, Protaras(Cyprus)

Fig Tree Bay, Chypre

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Aleksandr N

The most popular beach on Protaras, Fig Tree Bay is very popular with families thanks to its many facilities and infrastructures. The golden sands and crystal-clear waters are perfect for swimming and snorkeling during the day.

Named after the solitary fig tree at the far end of the beach, it is one of the cleanest and most unspoilt beaches in Cyprus, thanks to the country’s ecological programs.

4. Cala Macarella beach, Menorca (Spain)

Cala Macarella, Minorque

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Pawel Kazmierczak

Located in the south-west of Menorca, in the Balearic Islands, the secret and secluded beach of Cala Macarella offers sparkling white fine sand and calm azure-blue waters on a small stretch of 105 meters. Shaped like a horseshoe, it is bordered by cliffs and green oak forests, making it one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. Don’t forget your snorkeling mask and snorkel gear for this spot of Menorcan pride and joy.

5. Sandwood Bay beach, Kinlochbervie (Scotland)

Sandwood Bay, Écosse

Photo credit: Shutterstock / richsouthwales

Located at the northern tip of Scotland, Sandwood Bay beach is a sumptuous deserted spot where land and sea meet in perfect harmony. Surrounded by cliffs, these 2 kilometers of sand and cool waters offer breathtaking views of the great limestone needle of Am Buachaille and typical Scottish seascapes. The beach can be reached via a long path winding between grassy dunes and colorful heather bushes.

6. Plage de la Rondinara, Bonifacio (France)

Rondinara, Corse

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Samuel Borges Photography

Cradled by deep waters and lined with red rocks, La Rondinara is one of Europe’s most beautiful beaches. Despite the large number of travellers all year round, it is well preserved and particularly appealing to families, thanks to its small waves that make it an ideal place for swimming. Shaped like an arc of a circle, it is almost enclosed by its two peaks, which merge into the Mediterranean.

7. Plage do Norte, Nazaré(Portugal)

Praia do Norte, Potugal

Photo credit: Shutterstock / ronnybas frimages

Located to the north of Sitio, Nazaré’s famous promontory, Plage do Norte boasts authentic charm and scenery. With its lighthouse, striped tents and small fort, the beach is surrounded by fine sand dunes that help protect the surrounding vegetation.

Very quiet, the beach is mostly frequented by surfers, who come to try and tame the spectacular waves that break here all year round. If you’re lucky, you may catch a glimpse of the pods of dolphins that sometimes swim offshore.

8. Zlatni Rat beach, Bol(Croatia)

Zlatni Rat, Croatie

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / lovric

Both beautiful and unique, Zlatni Rat is one of Europe’s most beautiful beaches, and welcomes you to a picture-postcard setting. With its unique pointed silhouette, it stretches out on either side of a magnificent forest of centuries-old pines.

Covered in fine white gravel, it regularly changes shape according to the winds and currents. It’s easily accessible, and you’ll find plenty of kitesurfers and windsurfers.

9. Kleopatra Beach, Alanya(Turkey)

Kleopatra, Turquie

Photo credit: Shutterstock / evp82

Emblematic of the city of Alanya, Kleopatra beach is a 2-kilometer stretch of soft, golden sand and is one of the region’s most popular spots. Very close to the city center, it is lined with numerous hotels, restaurants and colorful stores.

Take advantage of the sunbeds and umbrellas dotted around the beach to relax and enjoy the calm, friendly atmosphere.

10. Vik Beach, Vik I Myrdal(Iceland)

Vik, Islande

Photo credit: Shutterstock / orxy

The antithesis of heavenly beaches where blue water meets golden sand, Vik beach is a place as fascinating as it is exotic. Located 190 kilometers from Reykjavik, at the southern tip of Iceland, this black-sand volcanic beach offers an almost supernatural misty seascape.

In the distance, you can see the basalt peaks that form the Reynisdrangur. Strolling along this charcoal-colored expanse, you can explore a few lava caves and watch puffins (sea parrots) on the surrounding cliffs.

11. Voutoumi Beach, Antipaxos(Greece)

Voutoumi, Grèce

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Heracles Kritikos

Located on the island of Antipaxos, Voutoumi beach is covered with fine sand and sparkling ivory pebbles. Its turquoise and indigo waters are an invitation to swim and relax.

In this half-moon-shaped bay, the somewhat wild environment gives Voutoumi beach a singular authenticity typical of the Greek islands. Its place among Europe’s most beautiful beaches is more than justified. To avoid the crowds, it’s best to visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

12. Cala Violina beach, Scarlino (Italy)

Cala Violina, Italie

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / loreanto

When you arrive at Cala Violina beach, you’re greeted by a blue-green sea and unspoilt nature. Situated on the sublime Tuscan coast, some 100 km south-west of Florence, it belongs to the Bannissez Scarlino nature reserve.

Easily accessible via a stony path leading down through the woods, it takes its name from the violin-like squeal produced when your feet tread on sand containing tiny grains of quartz. For this reason alone, this cove nestled in the heart of a typical Mediterranean environment is well worth a visit.

13. Bantham Beach(England)

Bantham, Royaume-uni

Photo credit: Shutterstock / jimcatlinphotography.com

Among Europe’s most beautiful beaches, Bantham is without doubt one of the most eclectic. Located near Plymouth on the south-east coast of England, this wild and beautiful spot is a popular summer destination for families.

Its waves attract many surfers, and the curious come to bathe in its natural rock pools. You can also stroll along the long coastal path that borders the beach and hike in the surrounding area. Let yourself be seduced by its colorful landscapes and picturesque English atmosphere.

14. Sao Jacinto Beach (Portugal)

Sao Jacinto, Portugal

Photo credit: Shutterstock / AlexMorozov1204

Situated in a nature reserve near the Barra canal, Sao Jacinto beach is surrounded by immense dunes and stretches out like a long, wild shoreline. Here you can admire a unique and perfectly preserved flora and fauna, in an enchanting silence disturbed only by the gentle sound of the waves. Little known to tourists, all you have to do to reach this beautiful natural setting is cross the pine forest and then the dunes.

15. Jaz beach, Budva (Montenegro)

Jaz, Monténégro

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Cryptographer

A modern beach typical of Montenegro’s seaside resorts, Jaz is a long stretch of pebbles set into the cliffs and bustling with activity all year round. Here you can enjoy a wide range of water sports, admire the colorful underwater fauna while snorkeling or simply relax in the sun on a deckchair.

Surrounded by lush Mediterranean vegetation, it often hosts festivals, concerts and open-air performances, and therefore deserves its place among Europe’s most beautiful beaches.