Top 7 Beautiful Beaches in Europe
If you’re trying to decide between a European vacation with the opportunity to visit rich cultural attractions and somewhere you soak in the sun and the sand, you might be surprised to find that you can do both.
Some of these magnificent beaches can rival even idyllic Caribbean sands, yet are just a hop, skip and a jump to a myriad of attractions to enjoy fabulous cultural attractions too.
Cala Luna, Sardinia, Italy
Cala Luna, or “Moon Cove,” is a spectacular, secluded beach on the northwestern coast of the Italian island of Sardinia. Overlooking the Gulf of Orosei, here you’ll find clear, warm waters that are ideal for snorkeling or swimming. The crescent, white sand beach is backed by high limestone cliffs and can be reached by boat from Cala Gonone port or Marina di Orosei – or by hiking from Balnei, Cala Gonone or Cala Fuili.
Sardinia is also home to Arzachena’s Costa Smeralda Archaelogical Park that includes eight pre-historical monuments that range from the middle Neolithic age to the Bronze Age.
Playa de ses Illetes, Formentera, Balearic Islands, Spain
If your ideal vacation includes an emphasis on magnificent beach scenery and a few cultural attractions, Formentera is likely to fit the bill. The island is flat with a number of gorgeous, unspoiled beaches, perfect for walking, cycling, snorkeling or sailing. Playa de ses Illetes is known as one of the best beaches in all of Spain, with its strip of powdery white sands fringed with brilliant Caribbean blue waters on both sides.
The island is also home to a few megalithic sites, a Roman road, 18th-century watchtowers and a small Ethnological museum.
Porthcurno, Cornwall, United Kingdom
Not all of Europe’s beautiful beaches are found in the southern region of the continent. Porthcurno Beach is located in the far west corner of Cornwall and has won numerous awards due to its fine, soft white sands that are washed by a sea that transforms into a vivid turquoise in the sun. With high cliffs on both sides, the bay is protected and great for swimming.
There are also plenty of iconic attractions here such as Tintagel Castle, the Lost Gardens of Heligan, St. Michael’s Mount and Land’s End.
Zlatni Rat, Croatia
Croatia is known for its long stretch of coastline as well as numerous islands that are home to some of the best beaches in Europe. Zlatni Rat is a beach on the island of Brac near the town of Bol. Although its white pebble beach isn’t like the sands you might find in the tropics, it is beautiful nonetheless and especially popular for those who want to take part in sports like kite surfing and sailing.
In and around Bol, there are a number of interesting historical attractions, including Dragon’s cave which was once a temple and dwelling of Glagolitic friars in the 15th century, botanical gardens and a monastery museum.
Balos Beach and Lagoon, Kissamos, Greece
In the northwest corner of the island of Crete, Kissamos is one of the least developed areas with rugged, almost deserted land and incredibly beautiful beaches, including Balos Beach and Lagoon. This spectacular stretch of sand is famous for its turquoise waters, wild natural beauty and exotic scenery. The lagoon has especially brilliant blue waters that are shallow, warm and perfect for swimming. In many areas, the sand has a beautiful pink hue due to the millions of crushed shells – just beyond its boundaries you’ll find deeper, cooler waters ideal for snorkeling.
A little over 20 miles east of Kissamos, Chania Old Town is steeped in history and stands on the ancient site of Kydonia which flourished during the Roman period. Wander its winding cobbled alleyways, visit the archaeological museum or take a trip on horse-drawn carriage to explore the Venetian harbor and beyond.
Myrtos Beach, Kefalonia, Greece
Another one of the best Greek beaches is Myrtos beach found on the northwest coast of the Ionian island of Kefalonia, the least crowded of the Greek islands. This magnificent mile-and-a-half stretch of sand begins as a mix of dazzling white pebbles at the edge of sheer limestone cliffs, gradually becoming finer sand as it nears the edge of stunning blue waters.
In the village of Fiskardo you’ll find ancient ruins and many discoveries related to the Roman period as well as stunning Venetian buildings.
Ponta da Piedade, Lagos, Portugal
Ponta de Piedade, just outside Lagos on the costa d’Oiro of Portugal is an incredibly picturesque beach with an idyllic setting carved out of rocks that sharply contrast deep emerald-hued waters. The coastline is filled with exposed cliffs carved into natural tunnels, grottos and unique rock pillars. The headland is known as the best spot in the region to view glorious sunsets with the sun dropping directly behind the cliffs and the massive expanse of the Atlantic.
Lagos itself is filled with historical interest, with origins dating back as far as 2000 B.C. It’s known for exciting nightlife as well as fabulous museums and art galleries.
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