Europe is a common first thought when you consider destinations for a summer holiday. The Continent pops to mind with all the justification in the world, particularly if you prefer your holidays with a heavy serving of beautiful beaches.
Europe is home to some of the finest coastal attractions in the world. To chart your own journey to creamy smooth sands and clear blue waters, look at our choices for Europe’s best beach holidays:
Long a favorite of the jet-set and celebrities, Mykonos certainly delivers glamour when you make it your destination. The island’s hills are carpeted in gorgeous, charming Cycladic buildings. You needn’t be an architecture buff to delight in the whitewashed structures and the charming communities they contain.
Mykonos is a great destination if you’re looking for high-powered shopping and top-quality nightlife along with pretty beaches. The designer outlets of Mykonos deliver superb (if pricey!) shopping opportunities, and the island’s many clubs frequently showcase world-class DJs. Mykonos can also satisfy if you have a yen for sightseeing and learning.
The island’s millennia-long history is presented in fascinating detail at the Archaeological Museum. If your tastes run more toward contemporary art, you can find an unbeatable collection in the island’s Rarity Gallery.
A natural gem tucked into the sea between Rhodes and Crete, Karpathos is a beach-lover’s dream. The island is positively spoiled for choice when it comes to glorious beaches, but Apella and Kyra Panagia are widely acclaimed as the very best of the best.
Apella beach is famous, popular, and easily accessible, yet it also tends to be a calm spot that’s rarely overcrowded. The beach itself sprawls beneath a dramatic splash of vegetation and looming rock cliffs. The gorgeous combination of landscape, vegetation, sand, and water makes a memorable and photogenic scene. If you’d like to stick around all day, you’ll find plenty of sources for food and drink within easy travelling distance.
Although Kyra Panagia tends to attract more visitors, it’s also even more convenient for tourists, being immediately accessible from a range of different accommodations. It’s a perfect strand for sunbathing, while the adjacent taverns serve a fine range of tasty Greek food. Kid-friendly Kyra Panagia is a particularly good beach to visit when you have your whole family in tow.
Just off the crystal waters of the Mediterranean, you’ll find some of Europe’s best beaches on the edges of Menorca. Cala Mitjana is a particularly secluded and romantic option. High cliffs enclose a placid cove and create a highly picturesque piece of scenery.
Be careful not to mistake Cala Mitjana for the nearby, near-named Cala Mitjaneta. Mitjaneta is a little smaller and a little more isolated; it’s the ideal place to look for a private beach moment. And it’s close enough to Cala Mitjana to swim to; why not try going from one to the other under your own power? There are some wonderful hotels and apartments. You can find yourself in tranquillity with great views at the Ikos Andalusia Hotel.
Turkey makes a great beach destination for both singles and families. The country has more than its fair share of beautiful beaches, but Patara beach stands out as something special. It’s the country’s longest beach, and also (debatably) it’s most beautiful. Patara presents a pristine, natural appearance and sunny, shallow waters. Strict development controls have preserved the appealing attractions on the beach, both natural and historical. There are turtle nests and seaside ruins to captivate you.
Patara is far from isolated, though. Just about a mile up the road, you’ll find the charming town of Glamis. It makes an ideal stroll from the beach, and Gelemis offers many great restaurants to put a tasty capstone on your walk.
The gorgeous Makronissos beach on the eastern end of Cyprus is a worthy addition to your “best beaches” bucket list. It’s just one of the many beautiful beaches adjacent to the resort center of Ayia Napa, and possibly the best of them. Makronissos is the perfect destination if you like a healthy selection of water sports to pick from. The area has something for visitors of a more intellectual bent, as well; history buffs will appreciate visiting the archaeological site immediately adjacent to the beach.