The Top 12 Beaches You Must Visit in Europe in 2023
As the summer approaches, it’s time to start planning your next beach vacation. Europe is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, from the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean to the rugged coastline of the Atlantic. With so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to decide where to go. To help you plan your perfect beach getaway, we’ve compiled a list of the 12 best European beaches for 2023.
Whether you’re looking for a secluded cove or a bustling beach with plenty of activities, our list has something for everyone. So, grab your sunscreen and get ready to explore some of the most stunning beaches Europe has to offer.
1. Praia de Albandeira, Portugal
Selecting a favorite beach from Portugal’s stunning coastline was challenging, but Praia de Albandeira is undoubtedly among our top picks. Despite its relatively modest size, this beach is renowned as one of the best in the Algarve region.
The natural rock formations and calm, crystal-clear waters make it an ideal destination for relaxation, swimming, or stroll near the beach’s charming little café. Accessing the beach requires descending a long staircase, which adds to its secluded and tranquil ambiance, making it an excellent escape for beachgoers.
2. Playa de las Catedrales, Spain
Playa de las Catedrales, situated along the Galician Coast of Spain, is a renowned beach named “Beach of Cathedrals” for its remarkable rock formations resembling gothic arches found in churches. When the tide recedes, these natural arches, sea caves, and cliffside vistas become visible and attract many visitors.
With its one-mile stretch of sandy beach, one can relish a leisurely walk along the shore. Although typically a popular summer destination, the beach’s allure remains intact even during the winter when fewer crowds visit, allowing for a more tranquil experience.
3. Cala Goloritze, Italy
Sardinia, Italy, is the perfect destination if you’re seeking unspoiled beaches. Cala Goloritze, in particular, is a breathtakingly picturesque beach that can’t be accessed by car or boat. To reach this pristine paradise, visitors must hike for about an hour, taking in the stunning scenery along the way, until they reach the white sandy beach surrounded by turquoise blue waters and breathtaking coves.
The snorkeling opportunities at Cala Goloritze are unparalleled, making it one of the best beaches in Sardinia for swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling. This beach is an absolute must-visit for anyone in the area!
4. Zakynthos Island, Greece
This beach is nothing short of extraordinary, with its iconic cerulean waters and stunning cliffside. Zakynthos Island, originally called Fioro di Levante due to its abundance of flowers, is surrounded by the Ionian Sea.
Today, Navagio Beach, also known as Shipwreck Cove, draws in tourists from far and wide, and it’s easy to see why. However, there are plenty of other attractions to explore on the island as well.
5. Dorset, England
English beaches might not immediately come to mind, but if you happen to be traveling through Dorset, there’s a privately owned beach worth a visit. The property boasts the iconic Durdle Door, a natural limestone rock arch right by the ocean.
This stunning rock formation is part of the Lulworth Estate and the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, yet it is open to the public. The beach area here is exceptionally scenic and secluded, making it an ideal spot to visit if you’re seeking a serene nature escape.
6. Cala Macarella Beach, Spain
Cala Macarella Beach, situated on the Balearic Island of Menorca in Spain, is a stunning cove with powdery white sand and shimmering turquoise waters. This beach is a favorite among visitors, so be prepared for a crowd during the summer months as boats and people flock to this idyllic spot.
The ocean at Cala Macarella boasts a mesmerizing array of blue hues, and the water is crystal-clear, making it a prime location for swimming and water activities.
7. Black Sand Beach (Reynisfjara), Iceland
If you’re searching for a truly unique beach experience, the beaches of Iceland should definitely be on your list. One of the country’s most stunning beaches is the Black Sand Beach, also known as Reynisfjara, located on the southern coast. What makes this beach so extraordinary is its black sand, which creates a stark contrast against the crashing waves and towering cliffs.
The beach is also adorned with a pyramid-shaped basalt column, adding to its already picturesque beauty. It’s no wonder this beach is such a popular destination for visitors to Iceland.
8. Zlatni Rat Beach, Croatia
The beauty of Zlatni Rat Beach in Croatia left me in awe when I first saw a picture of it. It’s impressive how Croatia is blessed with such stunning beaches. What sets Zlatni Rat Beach apart is its distinctive triangle shape, making it one of the most unique beaches in the region.
If you’re visiting Croatia, be sure to also explore the beautiful Zadar beaches. Unlike other beach destinations where trees are often cleared to make way for development, Zlatni Rat Beach has managed to maintain its natural beauty.
9. Cala Salada, Spain
Despite its modest size, the beach’s turquoise waters are hard to resist, especially during high tides. You can while away the day basking in the sun, cliff jumping, or simply cooling off in the shallow waters.
Situated in the renowned party islands of Ibiza, Cala Salada Beach is a favorite among local residents, private boat owners, and tourists alike. With its soft white sand, rocky cliffs, and crystal-clear waters, this beach is nothing short of a Mediterranean paradise.
10. Elafonissi Beach, Greece
Choosing a beautiful beach in Greece is no easy feat given its many stunning options, but Elafonissi Beach on the southwestern side of Crete certainly stands out. The island boasts a mile-long stretch of sand in various shades of white and pink, with natural coves and unique rock formations to explore. The shallow waters can be crossed on foot, making for an unforgettable experience.
11. The Gower Peninsula, Wales
Despite its modest size, this 19-mile-long peninsula has something for everyone. With its long sandy beaches, surfable waves, and rocky coastline, it’s an adventure playground for those seeking a rush of adrenaline. If you have the opportunity, visit during the summer months and experience everything this vast coastal stretch offers.
The Gower Peninsula is a breathtaking coastal paradise located just a short drive from Swansea, one of Wales’ largest cities.
12. Caprera Island, Italy
Caprera Island, situated in Sardinia, is a sought-after beach destination with breathtaking views. It is part of the La Maddalena archipelago, composed of seven large islands and several smaller islets, and it’s no surprise that Caprera is one of them.
With its crystal-clear blue waters and stunning rocky terrain, this place feels like a slice of the Caribbean in Europe. It’s rugged, untouched, and completely unspoiled.
From the black sand beaches of Iceland to the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean, Europe has no shortage of stunning beach destinations. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or an action-packed adventure, our list of the 12 best beaches in Europe has something for everyone.
So, start planning your next vacation and prepare to soak up the sun on one of these incredible beaches. With its picturesque scenery, warm waters, and endless activities, you will surely have a beach vacation of a lifetime.
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