Europe’s best beaches

What could be better than relaxing in the sunshine on a white sandy beach looking out on glistening turquoise waters with a fresh sea breeze on your face? If you love exploring new beaches and island coves and are thinking about a summer beach vacation then this article on Europe’s best beaches is for you!


Rabbit Beach, Lampedusa, Italy

We start with the intriguingly named Rabbit Beach just off the Italian island of Lampedusa. In 2014, Huffington Post named it the Best Beach in the World, and it’s no wonder as this protected beach, which is the main stretch of sand on Isola dei Conigli (“Rabbit Island”, named so because it is shaped like, you guessed it, a rabbit) boasts unbelievably clear aquamarine waters and soft sands that melt beneath your feet. It is also pretty remote as Rabbit Island is around 150 miles from Italy’s mainland, meaning the beach isn’t overcrowded, even during peak season. Instead, you’ll find the region brimming with rare sea life, such as loggerhead turtles, sperm whales, vibrant parrot fish, octopus and sargo fish, making it a prime spot to enjoy snorkeling or SCUBA diving.

If you’re not one for lounging on the beach all day then Lampedusa has some appealing attractions to keep you entertained, such as Roman ruins and the rather remarkable underwater statue of Madonna del Mare, which sits 46 feet beneath the sea. You can also enjoy a boat trip around the island and there are walking trails that take you up the island’s three peaks: Monte Rosso, Monte Nero and Monte Vulcano.

If you’re vacationing in Sicily or South Italy, we recommend visiting Lampedusa on an overnight trip as, during the summer months, there are many beach parties to enjoy, with bonfires, spaghetti cookouts, barbecues and musical performances.


Paradise Beach, Mykonos, Greece

From the name, you would expect high things from Paradise Beach, which lies on the south side of the Greek island of Mykonos, and with its sapphire waters that sparkle in the Greek sunshine it certainly delivers! This is a resort of unparalleled beauty – the coastal landscape is adorned with soft sand, rocky grottoes, whitewashed villas and wild horses, yielding a magical island feel. Mykonos also offers holidaymakers much more than just pretty scenes as the island is well known for its vibrant atmosphere, archeological sites, beautiful churches and chapels built in a Cycladic architectural style, quaint windmills and cosmopolitan restaurants serving fine Greek cuisine.

The resorts around Paradise Beach are perhaps better suited to a younger crowd or those seeking a glamorous and buzzing nightlife, but it’s also a great place to enjoy watersports, such as water skiing, canoeing, SCUBA diving and banana boats.

If you’re thinking about a beach vacation in Mykonos, there are seasonal flights from the Greek mainland (and some other European airports) to the island, or you could also take the ferry and enjoy coastal views during your journey.


Plage de Tahiti, Saint-Tropez, France

Saint-Tropez on the French Riviera is well known for its stunning beaches and is a popular holiday retreat for European and American celebrities thanks to its pretty coastal scenery, private beaches, and its serene and exclusive atmosphere.

Most of the beaches can be found along the coast in the Baie de Pampelonne, which lies south of Saint-Tropez and east of Ramatuelle. Of them, we love Plage de Tahiti, which was made famous by the 1956 film And God Created Woman (or Et Dieu… Créa La Femme in French) with Brigitte Bardot. The beach is accessed through an unpaved road, giving that secluded feel and it has a rather exclusive hotel nearby, where Joan Collins and Natalie Wood are known to have stayed in years gone by. The beach can be found at the northern end of Pampelonne and is a great place to enjoy windsurfing, sailing and canoeing, with several outlets offering equipment for rent. Alternatively, you can lounge on the soft sand and absorb the sea views under a bright orange parasol, which are a trademark of the beach.


The Zakynthos Beaches, Greece

Zakynthos is another of the Greek islands and has an array of stunning beaches to choose from, which are known for their exotic emerald waters, soft white sands and impressive cliff landscapes. The most famous of the Zakynthos beaches is Navagio Beach, also known as Shipwreck Beach, and when you see how its sparkling turquoise waters contrast against the white rock cliffs you will surely understand why it is so popular and why it is one of the most photographed landscapes in Greece! Interestingly, the beach takes its name from a boat that was shipwrecked close to the Ionian island in 1983. The boat was washed ashore and, over the years, golden sand completely surrounded the boat, making it appear as if it is emerging from the sand – it is truly enchanting! You can reach Navagio Beach by boat from Port Vromi and if you are vacationing on Zakynthos then we highly recommend making the journey to this wonderful secret cove.

There are many other pretty beaches in Zakynthos to enjoy also, some offering watersports and others offering privacy and relaxation. If you’re considering a vacation in Zakynthos then head to the eastern side of the island if you want a slightly more vibrant atmosphere, but if an island escape is what you desire then we recommend the resorts on the west side as the beaches are far more secluded.


El Cotillo Beach & Lagoons, El Cotillo, Spain

El Cotillo is a small, peaceful fishing village on the island of Fuerteventura, which is a part of the Canary Islands. The resort is becoming popular thanks to its sublime beaches and tranquil lagoons, which lie south of the picturesque village harbor, and it is a particularly good choice for experienced surfers and windsurfers thanks to its strong winds that create monster waves.

While most of the beaches can be reached easily by car and then on foot it should be noted that they are remote in the sense that they don’t have loud bars or restaurants that cater to tourists. This gives a truly tranquil and relaxing experience, making these beaches ideal for sun-worshippers – we do recommend that you take a picnic and plenty of water though!

In our opinion, the best beaches in and near El Cotillo are Playa del Castillo, Playa del Ajibe de la Cueva and Playa del Aguila, and if you get bored of lounging on the sand then there are other local attractions to enjoy. For example, you can take a short walk from the village to the Fortaleza del Toston, which is circular fort dating back to the 17th century, or there is the Museum of Ethnography and the Casa de la Cilla in Betancuria, which showcase wonderful art.


If you’re thinking about a beach vacation in Europe or want to enjoy island hopping in some of the best European beach resorts, contact a member of our team at +44 1223 637328, who will happily put together a tailor-made beach vacation itinerary for you with pre-arranged tours and activities, private transfers and luxury accommodation. You can also click here to send us your dream vacation requirements for a personalized vacation quote or you can visit this page for an overview of the vacations we offer.

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