With Europe opening back up to tourism this summer, it’s not too late to book a beach trip. But where should you go? With varied beaches all across the continent, it’s not an easy choice. Perhaps you’d like somewhere that you can couple beach life with fine food and a lively bar scene. Maybe you’d like to have a go at surfing or stand up paddle boarding. Or perhaps you just want to go to the closest beach to your home.
Whatever you’re reasoning, let us help you. We’re going to look at ten of the best beaches in Europe to visit in 2020. Hopefully, one of them will match your travel style!
1. San Sebastian, Spain
Head to Spain’s Basque country for the ultimate city break. La Concha beach is one of the twelve treasures of Spain and the city is built back from it, with a glorious seaside promenade to walk along. As well as an absolutely wonderful beach, San Sebastian boasts several Michelin Star restaurants and some of the most innovative and exciting gastronomy on the Iberian Peninsula.
2. Dubrovnik, Croatia
In the south of Croatia, Dubrovnik is known as the jewel of the Adriatic. With several rugged and rocky beaches, you might be more inclined to try some stand-up paddle boarding or sea kayaking than sunbathing. Speaking of paddle boarding, you may want to check out Gili Sports for the best paddle boarding equipment you can use. Banje Beach is the city’s most popular, just minutes away from the UNESCO listed historic center. Game of Thrones fans should try Sulic Beach which stands in the shadow of Lovrijenac Fortress. Though you probably know it better as King’s Landing.
3. Sardinia, Italy
The largest island in the Mediterranean, Sardinia can tick more boxes than just beaches on your summer break. Find your way across a largely untamed wilderness with epic hiking trails or enjoy the culinary delights on offer here. With white-sand beaches and turquoise waters, it’s perfectly normal to wonder if you’ve been teleported to the Caribbean when in Sardinia. Visit the Costa Smeralda for the most popular and fancy resorts on the island.
4. The Algarve, Portugal
With some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe, the Algarve is one of the most popular beach destinations on the continent, and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon. Located on the southern coast of Portugal, a way to see multiple beaches is with the Seven Hanging Valleys Hiking Trail. Running from Praia da Marinha to Praia da Vale Centeanes, you’ll get superb views of beaches from high above, but do be sure to take some time to head down and enjoy the golden sands, blue waters, and caves. A popular way to see the Algarve’s beaches is from a stand-up paddle board!
This Mediterranean archipelago which lies between North Africa and Italy is one of the quietest beach destinations you’ll find in Europe. There’s sun year-round, though the best time to come is between March and October. As well as stunning beaches on Malta, Gozo, and Comino, the country is described as one big open-air museum. If you want history, nightlife, and beaches in one trip, Malta is the place for you.
6. Jurmala Beach, Latvia
When you think of beach destinations in Europe, the Baltic States won’t be the first place that spring to mind. However, there are some stretches of sand in northern Europe so let’s take a look at three of them. The first is Jurmala Beach in Lativa. This 20-mile length of sand is one of the best sustainable tourism destinations, according to the European Commission. So, if you want a guilt-free trip to the beach, start checking out flights to Riga!
7. Parnu Beach, Estonia
Not to be outdone by its southern neighbor, Estonia is another destination that has lots of beaches. While most will visit the capital Tallinn, many locals head to Parnu Beach, less than a two-hour drive from the capital. For those who are doing a city break, it makes for a nice day trip. There are loads of facilities alongside this beach, and its shallow waters mean it’s suitable for families with young children to swim.
8. Curonian Spit, Lithuania
The third Baltic state, Lithuania, has less than 100km of coastline. So you can legitimately expect to see most of the country’s beaches in a short trip. The Curonian Spit is home to one of the best-known beaches – Nida. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a stretch of land which has been inhabited since prehistoric times and shares a border with Kaliningrad, part of Russia. Though the beaches are beautiful, the waters are pretty cold, even in summer.
9. Jaz Beach, Montenegro
A country that has come to the forefront of European beach holidays in recent years, Montenegro has a range of superb beaches. In fact, it’s not too far south of Dubrovnik which we’ve already mentioned. The Budva Riviera on the Adriatic Coast has attracted superstars like Marilyn Monroe as far back as the 1960s! Main town Kotor is the drop-off point for tourists, but try to get a little further away to really discover the best beaches. Jaz Beach is a favorite, with gorgeous turquoise waters.
10. Naxos, Greece
Last but not least, no list of the best beaches in Europe is possible without mentioning Greece. While you’re sure to enjoy whichever part of Greece you hit up for a beach vacation, look no further than the largest island of the Cyclades – Naxos. Plaka Beach is the longest on the island and it’s famed for its turquoise waters and white sands. There are plenty of activities on offer too, including water sports.
Now that you know which beach to visit in Europe…
It’s time to book your trip. Whether you want to enjoy the sublime gastronomy of San Sebastian, have miles of sand ahead of you on the Curonian Spit, or find your very own corner of paradise in the Algarve, there’s a beach in Europe for you.