20 Breathtaking European Beach Destinations

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Photo credit: marcia.taylor
Photo credit: marcia.taylor

When you imagine a European vacation, you probably think of old world architecture, the Eiffel Tower and London fog. You may not imagine Europe as the dream destination for your next beach vacation. With crystal clear waters and just about every color of sand in the book, you won’t want to forget your flip flops when packing for your next European adventure.

#1. Navagio Beach, Ionian Islands

Also known as Shipwreck Beach, Navagio might just be the most enchanting beach you’ve ever seen.

Photo credit: Anna Oates
Photo credit: Anna Oates

#2. Balos Lagoon, Greece

You won’t miss your Caribbean beach destination when you visit the exotic and captivating Balos Lagoon.

Photo credit: orientalizing
Photo credit: orientalizing

#3. Playa de Zahara de los Atunes, Spain

Wiggle your toes in the fine sand, basque in the heat of the sun and dive into the crystal clear waters of this peaceful beach oasis.

Photo credit: SEVILLISTA
Photo credit: SEVILLISTA

#4. Fig Tree Bay, Cyprus

Fig Tree Bay is consistently on top ten lists as one of Europe’s best beaches, and when you visit, you’ll understand why.

Photo credit: Cyprus Tourism CH
Photo credit: Cyprus Tourism CH

#5. Ponta da Piedade, Portugal

Spend your days at Ponta da Piedade admiring the sandstone rock formations and egrets who nest in the area every spring.

Photo credit: GreenLakeBlue Photography
Photo credit: GreenLakeBlue Photography

#6. Butterfly Valley, Turkey

It may be tough to access, but you’ll be wanting to make the trip again and again once you pay one visit to Butterfly Valley.

Photo credit: Yodod http://www.flickr.com/photos/simontaylor/
Photo credit: Yodod

#7. Porthminster Beach, United Kingdom

This huge beach in Cornwall is spacious, clean and just a quick walk from downtown St. Ives.

Photo credit: bobchin1941
Photo credit: bobchin1941

#8. Cascais Old Town, Portugal

Take the day trip from Lisbon to the Cascais Old Town beach where you can sunbathe, dine and stay the night in a charming coastal hotel.

Photo credit: pedrosimoes7
Photo credit: pedrosimoes7

#9. Kaputas Beach, Turkey

If you like your water turquoise, Kaputas Beach is the dreamy beach destination you’ve been looking for in Europe.

Photo credit: dachalan
Photo credit: dachalan

#10. Torre Guaceto, Italy

Escape from the typically overcrowded beaches of Italy to this gorgeous protected nature reserve.

Photo credit: golf1025 (Jan de Boer)
Photo credit: golf1025 (Jan de Boer)

#11. Golden Sands, Bulgaria

Play in the casino, mingle in the bars and simply live it up at the hottest beachfront resort in Bulgaria.

Photo credit: twfx00
Photo credit: twfx00

#12. Plage de St-Guirec, Ploumanac’h, France

Relax on the beach while you gaze at the incredible pink granite coastline of Ploumanac’h.

Photo credit: geoterranaute http://www.flickr.com/photos/geoterranaute/
Photo credit: geoterranaute

#13. Falsterbo, Sweden

One of the hippest beaches in Europe — Flasterbo is cute, quaint and incredibly calming.

Photo credit: Giåm
Photo credit: Giåm

#14. Playa de la Concha, Spain

When you’re looking for a beach steps away from the city, Playa de la Concha is the best spot to rest after a long day of sightseeing.

Photo credit: Juanedc
Photo credit: Juanedc

#15. Playa de las Catedrales, Spain

Gaze at the rock arches and caves at the breathtaking “beach of the cathedrals.”

Photo credit: Arco Ardon
Photo credit: Arco Ardon

#16. Sylt, Germany

Your high-end beach vacation awaits at the sophisticated and always stylish island of Sylt.

Photo credit: Helico
Photo credit: Helico

#17. Brela, Croatia

Escape the often touristy beaches of coastal Croatia and kick back in relaxing Brela.

Photo credit: BLDUMMY
Photo credit: BLDUMMY

#18. Iztuzu Beach, Turkey

Watch the loggerhead sea turtles as you sunbathe on this gorgeous 4.5 kilometer long beach.

Photo credit: .Martin.
Photo credit: .Martin.

#19. Elafonisi, Crete

Sink your toes into the pink sand and cool down in the crystal-clear waters of Elafonisi.

Photo credit: Miguel Virkkunen Carvalho
Photo credit: Miguel Virkkunen Carvalho

#20. Praia del Fuoco, Italy

The perfect honeymoon beach destination — Praia del Fuoco is charming, luxurious and adventurous at the same time.

Photo credit: Chiara Abbate
Photo credit: Chiara Abbate

 

 

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About the Author: Courtney McCaffrey

Courtney McCaffrey is a freelance writer and editor based in Wilmington, N.C. In addition to writing, she lives for travel - seeing new places, learning new cultures and surfing new waves.

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