If you’re trying to decide between a beach vacation or a food tour through Europe, we have good news. You can do both! When it comes to beach vacations, Europe has some of the best options in the world. Northern Europe may be cold for most of the year, but the south has an abundance of options for you to soak up the sun year-round.
A beach prepped and ready for relaxation, photographed by Alexander Slash
Truthfully, when it comes to beaches in Europe, you really can’t go wrong--it is Europe, after all. With our love for the sun, we built this guide with warm rays in mind. Read on for our recommendations of beaches for the best sun basking in Europe.
Unforgettable Island Beaches
Plage de Palombaggia, Corsica, France
To get to Corsica, you can opt for the quicker option and fly or dedicate a day to a long ferry ride. Corsica is the fourth-largest island in the Mediterranean, and it’s known for stunning sandy beaches and sparkling blue waters.
One of Corsica's relaxing, warm beaches, photographed by Lukas Tennie
While there are many stunning beaches on Cosrica, one especially worth noting is Plage de Palombaggia. If it weren’t lined with umbrella pine trees, you might think this shore was in the tropics. Rocky cliffs border the ocean for an incredible panoramic view, and there are lounge chairs for rent on the sandy beach.
If you want to escape the crowd and go on a mini adventure, you can follow a footpath to the adjacent Plage de Tamariccu. Enjoy the serenity and seclusion will all the same natural beauty!
Rocky shore and stunning waters of Corsica, photographed by Mathilde Cureau
Marina Piccola, Capri, Italy
When you think of Capri, you might think of luxury, but there’s something on the island for all kinds of travelers. Plus, you don’t have to stay on the island to explore it. The ferry ride from Naples to Capri is only about an hour long, so you can make a day trip out of visiting this spectacular island!
Beachgoers enjoying sunny Capri, photographed by Will Truettner
Whether you’re in it for the adventure or the culture, anyone can bask in the sun’s glow in Capri. If you’re chasing endless summer sun, the southern side of Capri is where you want to be. Marina Piccola is tucked into a small bay, meaning it’s protected from wind and stays reasonably warm year-round. Even in the winter, you’ll find folks sun bathing and soaking in the shimmering sea.
From Marina Piccola, you can feel the energy from the sun’s rays and take in the scenes of Capri’s famous rock formations.
Gorgeous views from the shore of Capri, photographed by Letizia Agosta
Adventurous Beach Visits
If you’re an adventure seeker or think that epic scenery is worth the extra travel effort, then these destinations are for you. They may be a little trickier to get to, but there’s a reason why these two are among the best beaches in Europe. With these options, you get the best of both worlds: time to bask in the sun and the opportunity to experience something truly special.
Spiaggia dei Conigli, Sicily, Italy
The remarkable Spiaggia dei Conigli, or Rabbit Beach, is actually closer to the north coast of Africa than it is to Italy. Plus, it is only accessible by boat or by foot, so the travel definitely takes extra effort. But those who make the trek are not disappointed. This haven caters to all kinds of beach-goers. The water is warm, clear, and shallow, so you can walk far out into the bay to cool off after a few hours of sun basking. It’s known for its snorkeling, so you can check out all the underwater life.
Pristine, turquoise bay of Lampedusa, Sicily photographed by Arne Smith
Another stellar bonus? This place is one of the known nesting grounds for loggerhead sea turtles. Between May and August, the beach is off-limits at night to give the turtles space.
Elafonissi Beach, Crete, Greece
It's no real shock that Elafonissi Beach is regarded as one of the top beaches in the world. Crete alone is one of a kind, and Elafonissi is guaranteed to be a memorable experience.
Elafonissi Beach is split from Elafonissi Island, but miraculously, you can access the island on foot. See, the beach and the island are separated by a sandbar, and you can wade across it to get to the island.
Similar to Elafonissi Beach, Balos is just north, photographed by Enza Dattalo
The nature-lover in you will be in awe by Elafonissi Island. First off, the sand is pink, a scattered memory of tiny pink shells that have been broken down over time. If you walk around the bright-sanded island, you’ll also find over 100 rare species of plants! In fact, one flower is so rare that it does not have a common name, and Elafonissi is the only spot it blooms in the whole world.
If you want to stick to the beach, no problem! You can perch in the sand all day long, bask in the beauty and warmth of this Greek island, and feel totally fulfilled! From your spot on the beach, you may be able to spot loggerhead sea turtles. No matter what adventure you choose here, Elafonissi will not let you down.
Rare pink sand beach of Crete, photographed by Alexandra Tran
Easy Beach Access
While it’s hard to deny the magic of island beaches, the mainland of Europe has plenty of accessible beaches full of beauty and sun.
Marbella, a city between Malaga and the Strait of Gibraltar in southern Spain, deserves a shout out for its sunny beaches. Marbella is home to about sixteen miles of sandy coastline, and is home to all sorts of beach-related activities.
The beaches are lined with lounge chairs and umbrellas, which makes for the ultimate sun-basking opportunities. Around Marbella, you not only have pristine ocean views, but the mountainous backdrop of the Sierra Blancas.
Sun setting over a day of beach lounging, photographed by Silviya Nenova
If your goal is to post up and relax for the long haul, then the Marbella area is a great place to do so. You can also join in on beach volleyball, go for a refreshing dip in the water, or stroll down the sandy beach. The sky’s the limit here!
Nab a pair of premium shades for a classy edge on your European escape
There you have it! Our brief guide into some of Europe’s best beaches for sun time. The opportunities for adventure are endless.
On your next trip, don’t forget your Dipseas or Foxtrots for elevated style under the sun. You need them not just to protect your eyes, but to help you see all the epic views. If you’re planning a trip of adventure and relaxation, pick up a new travel case to pack and protect your sunglasses.