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The best beaches in Europe

Written by
Melania Siriu, Michele Santomassimo, Hanna Fischer & Alex Carey

Europe is home to a wealth of culture, sensational food, fantastic scenery and some of the world's best beaches. Due to its wildly varying landscapes and a plethora of unique islands, there's a variety of beautiful coasts to choose from.

With plenty of expertise at our disposal, we've put together a list of some of the best and most unusual beaches across the continent.

From the cool volcanic beaches of Iceland to Croatia's crystal clear azure waters, Europe has it all. Here's our shortlist of the best beaches in Europe:

Volcanic beach
Vik
Caribbean vibes
Formentera
Sparkling shores
Isle of Harris

Formentera, Ibiza, Spain

Crystal clear waters and white sandy beaches more akin to the Caribbean, Formentera has a plethora of stunning beaches you can choose from. Whether you prefer to relax, whiling away time with a good book, or trying your hand at watersports such as snorkelling or kayaking, there is something for everyone. Away from the actual beaches, along the coastline there are plenty of bars and chiringuitos to shelter from the midday heat in. Remember to sample some of the delicious fresh fish at one of the many restaurants in Formentera also!

Beach, Formentera, Ibiza, Spain

Bol, Island of Brac, Croatia

Famous for its golden horn, the beautiful white stretch of pebbled beach, Brac is a lovely island situated close to Split. Protected by a thick pine wood, this beach is pristine. The long-running Bol Summer Festival runs from June until September, when you can watch open-air musicals, theatre performances and art exhibitions among other cultural events.

Beach, Bol, Brac, Bolivia

St Paul's Bay, Lindos, Rhodes, Greece

Sat beneath the impressive acropolis of Lindos (almost enough to rival that of Athens) sits the charming St Pauls Bay. From the distance, this coastal area deceptively resembles a full circle but close up it’s a perfect horseshoe shape – considered a lucky location for weddings. Explore the old town, a winding maze of streets full of traditional tavernas and shops selling local goods, before relaxing on the beach admiring the vista.

Beach, Electra Palace Rhodes, Greece

Vik, Iceland

Made from dark volcanic lava, the iconic Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach in south Iceland is an incredible display of the diversity of our planet’s landscapes. Complete with towering basalt columns, rocky cliffs, echoing caves and wild seas, this is an exciting change to soft sandy shores.

Reynisdrangar sunset, Iceland

Stintino, Sardinia

Situated in a traditional fishing village, this pretty Sardinian town has a mix of different types of beaches, from pebbled to soft, fine sand and rocky inlets. At every location, however, the sea is so clear that you can easily see your toes. Make sure to visit La Pelosa beach, the most popular but definitely worth the view.

Plage de Pampelonne, St Tropez, France

The beach most associated with images of the luxurious St Tropez, this soft white sand stretches for 5km along the sparkling Cote d’Azur. Lounge at one of the many exclusive beach clubs, sampling delicious French cuisine, people watching and spotting yachts bobbing in the distance.

Aleppo Pine (Pinus halepensis). Mediterranean Sea. Porquerolles .French Riviera.

La Concha, San Sebastian, Spain

This Spanish town is a foodie destination, home to two of the world’s top 50 restaurants. It also houses one of the best beaches in Europe; powder soft, white sand and enticing cerulean waters. Take a stroll along the promenade after a delicious meal and absorb the relaxed Basque atmosphere.

Aerial view of San Sebastian, Spain

Isle of Harris, Scotland

With beaches closely resembling those of the Caribbean, Scotland is home to some of the most beautiful shores in the world. The Isle of Harris has clear, shallow waters that gently lap along the golden sand. These sparkling marine hues inspired the island to make its very own (and exceptionally tasty) gin.

Coastline, Seilebost, Isle of Harris, Scotland

Talk to one of our expert travel designers and start creating your once-in-a-lifetime European beach vacation.

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