Top Beaches in Europe for Your Summer Holidays
Here are some of the best beaches in Europe chosen by travel writers, from the UK to the Aegean Sea in Turkey.
La Concha, San Sebastian
This is the mother of all beaches in Europe: you recognise it at a glance and you can’t but love it. La Concha is the most extraordinary urban beach in Spain. Its creamy sand and crystal clear waters, the surrounding forests and the Santa Clara islands are only a few of the things that make this beach one of the best in Europe. The seafront promenade is a neat reminder of past times, when hotels featured soft and fluffy carpets, children had their meals separately, and having a summer residency was the norm. However, today’s seafront is lively and modern. There are two smaller beaches neighbouring La Concha: Ondaretta, to the west, and Zuriola, which is one of the top destinations for surfers. Try a modern hotel such as Ikos Andalusia.
Cirali, Kemer, Antalya
If you’re dreaming of stepping on the softest sand, head over to Cirali. This beach is several miles long. It is lined with orange groves and lush gardens. It features hammocks and holiday cabins belonging to the different seafront hotels such as Arcadia. The breakfasts here are simply amazing. There are bikes you can use to explore neighbouring areas and villages. Refreshing salads and the unbelievably tasty filled flatbreads called gozleme are the perfect snacks for adults and children alike. By the west end of the beach you’ll find the ticket office and the entry to the remainders of ancient Olympos. Biking and hiking are among the best things to do here.
Porto Covo, Costa Vicentina, Alentejo
The horseshoe shape of Porto Covo protects it against rough weather, making it a real paradise for fishermen. The neighbouring town relies on tourism, but things weren’t always this way. The cobbled streets and the whitewashed houses remind of the days when fishing was the main occupation here. Located on the south-western coast of Alentejo, Porto Covo is very popular among hikers. The Fisherman’s Trail leading to Vila Nova de Milfontes offers scenic views and amazing photo opportunities.
L’Herbe, Cap Ferret, Gironde
This narrow peninsula surrounding the Bay of Arcachon is one of the beach destinations of people from Paris and Bordeaux. In addition, this place is home to lots of oyster farms. The village of L’Herbe counts dozens of oyster farmer’s cabins separated by narrow alleys. There are also several oyster bars scattered along the small beach. This is the perfect spot to go for a paddle after you’ve enjoyed a nice seafood platter and some fine wine.
Fiorenzuola di Focara, Le Marche
This is the very village you may have read about in the Inferno. It is located in a very beautiful natural park and it is only 20 minutes away from the beach. Walking to the beach is well worth it, as you’ll have the chance to enjoy a pristine mix of shingle, sand and impressive cliffs. The sunshades made from driftwood make this village look rustic, quite different than most villages in Italy. You can rest assured that the walk back will make you hungry, so brace yourself for a nice dinner.
Most beaches like this one are now what we call “organised beaches.” Fortunately, the lagoon nearby is a nature reserve, hence the lack of modern developments in this area. Voidokilia looks unspoiled, just as it must have been in the time of Homer’s Odyssey. Greeks call these sand formations that look like crescents “cow’s bellies.” This beach is perfect for a relaxed swim in the calm water. It also hosts a cave and the ruins of a castle. The lagoon is home to dozens of flamingos and various other birds.