Beaches. This watery landscape conjures up a world of contrasts, from humble days out with a picnic, bucket and spade close to home, to the extravagance of white sand, topaz ocean, over-water villa experiences in the Pacific.

In this roundup of five of the most beautiful beaches in Europe, you’ll find the best of both. With a focus on destinations that are easy to reach from the UK, we cross the Continent to bring you the most idyllic coastal spots to visit this summer. Some will even rival the white and blue beauties that make their home in the tropics. But since these European options are often more affordable and short-haul, we know which we’d choose…

Elafonissi Beach, Crete

A visit to Elafonissi Beach in western Crete will be well worth the journey. Famed for its azure ocean that laps over the sand, forming two sandy parts, this beach gets our ticket for uniqueness. Throw in the pink sands, transparent waters and wildlife haven, and you’ll wonder why you ever questioned venturing off the beaten track to experience it for yourselves.

Elafonissi Beach, Crete

Photo Credit : Rev Stan

La Concha Beach, Spain

If you’ll be staying in or near to San Sebastien, then visiting La Concha Beach is a must. Stand on this long stretch of sand and feel yourself relax in the sun’s warm rays. As you gaze out into the ocean, you’ll see the island of Santa Clara. Luscious green mountains lie to either side, ideal for photographing. It’s a beach that can keep you entertained for hours with swimming and surfing, or simply a stroll and sunbathe. Once you turn to face land again, you’ll be reminded that this coastal paradise rubs shoulders with the city. And it won’t take long for the buzzing bars and restaurants to beckon you inside…

La Concha Beach, Spain

Photo Credit : Abir Anwar

Zlatni Rat Beach, Croatia

Tear yourself away from the walled cities of the Dalmatian coast and add this island beach to your Croatia bucket list now. Forming an incredible triangular shape that points out into the ocean, with a pine forest that runs up to the sand, you probably won’t find any other beaches in Europe quite like Zlatni Rat Beach. Located on the Croatian island of Brac, the beach is best appreciated from the air. Alternatively, take it all in from the water itself as you embrace one of the many water sports on offer.

Zlatni Rat Beach, Croatia

Photo Credit : Nikolaj Potanin

Rondinara Beach, France

If you think all that France has to offer are vineyards, chateaus and the romance of Paris, think again. Whether you’ve visited one time or ten, you’ll struggle not to fall in love with the horseshoe-shaped bay that is Rondinara Beach, located on the French island of Corsica. If you plan to spend any time here, start by dipping your toes in the shallow waters. With a perfectly chilled drink in hand, you’ll soon find the idyllic hours take care of themselves.

Rondinara Beach, France

Photo Credit : Nick Grosoli

Calgary Beach, Scotland

On the North West coast of the Isle of Mull, one of Scotland’s many enchanting islands, you’ll find Calgary Beach. There’s a reason this sandy corner takes the second spot on TripAdvisor for things to do on the island. With a sea renowned for being a twinkling clear blue, even tourists who explore this bay in the wet weather still leave spellbound by its charms. It’s one of the best beaches in Europe for those who want beautiful scenery in an isolated spot. Little surprise when you consider there’s also parking, a café and scenic walks nearby, although there’s no guarantee of sunshine.

Calgary Beach, Scotland

Photo Credit : denisbin

if you are heading to the South of Portugal, don’t miss the Three Most Beautiful Beaches in Algarve

15 COMMENTS

  1. Hey Adrianna,

    OOHHHH!! Now I want to go travel and find a beach, this lingering spring weather at home is making me want to run for the ocean.

    Thanks for your recommendations,

    Nadalie

  2. Great picks! I’ve heard great things about San Sebastien and hope to make it there one day. We also thought that the red beach in Santorini was very unique!

  3. Great photos. Crete looks like a place I would love to visit one day. Been to Scotland, but not that part – may have to revisit now 🙂 Thanks!

  4. I have been traveling for so long and I have been avoiding beaches for so long as well because I cannot swim. But this last summer I went to Parga, Greece and since then I am addicted too.

  5. All of these are gorgeous, but Calgary Beach really stands out to me! I wouldn’t mind spending a weekend lounging on any of them though 🙂

  6. I’m absolutely a beach bum! I’m currently living in Florida and am spending as much time as humanly possible at the beach! I’m moving to the EU this autumn and am definitely gonna need a good beach fix! This list looks fantastic – particularly Elafonissi Beach – that looks absolutely stunning!

  7. When you think of Europe, mostly we don’t think of beaches. So this is a wonderful theme with some great picks! <3 loved the beach in Crete! You have some stunning pics here!

  8. Any beach is a good beach to me but these are great! The beach in Croatia seems more turquoise than I would have thought. Who would have thought Scotland would make the list. Corsica has always been on my list. Thank you for making me want to go to the beach now.

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