With spring finally here, and summer on the doorstep, beach season is ramping up again in the northern hemisphere. It’s a welcome turn for lovers of European surf, sun and sand-between-the-toes frivolity. After all, Europe is home to some of the most stunning and spectacular beaches on earth. Here’s a quick taste of some of the best beaches in Europe; you really ought to consider visiting at least one of them this summer.
7 of the Best Beaches in Europe
Praia da Marinha, Portugal
Portugal consistently flies under the tourist radar when it comes to world-class natural destinations. For those savvy enough to know, the Iberian coastline – particularly along the Algarve and Alentejo regions – is home to some of the most spectacular golden, sandy beaches in the world. Located on the Atlantic coast in Caramujeira, Praia da Marinha (aka Navy Beach) is a frequent contender for top 10 beaches in Europe: an iconic spot, replete with stunning cliffs and pure waters.
Butterfly Valley, Turkey
Turkey is a nation of incredibly diverse landscapes: the magic white travertines of Pamukkale, the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia, the Ottoman fusion of East meets West in cosmopolitan Istanbul. But head south from the capital and you’ll find one of its true glories: the magnificent Aegean coast, and in that, one of its most cherished gems: the Butterfly Valley. Located at the foothills of Babadağ, mountainous rocky outcrops and waterfalls provide the incredible backdrop to this stunning secluded beach.
Located on Lampedusa, the largest island of the Italian Pelagie Islands in the Mediterranean, Rabbit Beach is a rare sight. Voted best beach in 2013 by Tripadvisor, Rabbit beach (aka Isola dei Conigli) provides an idyllic retreat surrounded by rich historical significance. The island was once a key landing place for Phoenecians, Ancient Greeks and Romans, and frequently visited upon by the Maltese and Ottomans. Suffice to say, Isola dei Conigli has been a summertime favourite for millennia.
Myrtos’s mile-and-a-half long arc of dazzling white pebbles has garnered much attention from visitors throughout the centuries: a beach frequently sighted as one of the most ‘dramatic’ in all of Greece’s many mythic coastal nooks. Take a look: it really doesn’t take much to picture yourself relaxing here on a beach lounge, sipping cold ‘Mythos’ by post-card perfect turquoise waters.
Grand Plage de Biarritz, France
Brilliant Biarritz: jewel of the French southeast, a hop from the Spanish border, a stunning place to be. On a coastline rich with choices, full of riviera delights, the Grand Plage offers one of the most gorgeous beachside retreats in France. In the 18th Century, French doctors insisted that patients spend time at le Grand Plage to help cure their ailments. Its healing properties are still on offer for all: one of the choice getaways for a perfect summer trip. It is also one of the best beaches in Europe for surfers.
A beach in Germany? No joke. High up in the North Sea, you’ll find Sylt, a 40-kilometre-long (25-mile) sandy beach on one of the North Frisian Islands, situated in the Nordfriesland district. Due to its shifting sediment, the island in its form today has only existed for about 400 years. In an otherwise rather landlocked country, it remains one of the Germans’ most sought after summer backyard locales, especially popular with the rich and famous.
If Deutschland’s Sylt didn’t give you a pleasant surprise, Iceland’s Vik will pick up where it left off. Though located in one of the wettest places in Iceland, Vik’s incredible black basalt shoreline is enough to render it one of the most spectacular stretches of beach in the world. With the Mýrdalsjökull glacier and Katla volcano immediately behind (last erupting in 1918, and possibly ready to again) Vik provides a slightly more intrepid beach getaway. Either way, something a little different, and somewhere to most definitely write home about.
Written by Cam Hassard for EuropeUpClose.com