15 Best European Beach Holiday Destinations For 2024

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Looking for the best European beach holiday destinations for your upcoming trip? Look no further! Exploring Europe should be on everyone’s bucket list, and there is no better way than starting with the best this continent has to offer – the stunning beaches.

From traveling to Spain or exploring the beaches of Greece, this journey provides an abundance of wonderful moments that will make some of the best memories that will last forever.

We’ve put together the ultimate guide to the best European beach destinations to help you plan that epic beach trip to some of the most stunning places in all of Europe.

Best European Beach Destinations

Europe may not be the first place that comes to mind when planning a beach holiday, yet there are some absolutely beautiful beaches in Europe that are often overlooked.

From secluded coves to lively beaches with beach bars and water sports, there is truly something for every type of traveller.

It doesn’t matter if you’re chasing winter sun or making the most of the European summer season because these beaches are a must-visit!

These beach destinations make perfect stops on a European family road trip!

So without further ado, here are the 15 best European beach holiday destinations:

1. Algarve, Portugal

algarve beach in portugal in summer.

It can sometimes be challenging to find that one special destination ideal for all people – Those with deep pockets and those who don’t want to spend that much on such a trip, but the Algarve is ideal for both groups.

Extraordinary local villages are a perfect way to spend an evening, as you can enjoy local cuisine and meet friendly locals willing to share a lot of stories with you.

These fishing villages overlook the sandy coves and sheltered beach areas and provide breathtaking sea views.

As for daytime, it should be reserved for some of the stunning cliffside beaches or various water activities they offer.

Jet skiing and paddle boarding are extremely popular here, so make sure to check at least one of these activities.

Best Time To Go: March to November

2. Mallorca, Spain

palma de mallorca beach.

The first thought that crosses anyone’s mind when someone mentions Mallorca is the vibrant nightlife and the party that never ends, even during the daytime.

Well, it is not far from the truth, and party lovers will definitely enjoy this island and some world-famous DJs performing live.

However, Mallorca in Spain’s Balearic Islands has much more to offer, and thanks to peaceful resorts, golden sand beaches, and turquoise water, it is a perfect location for families, too.

This amazing island has something to offer for everyone, and you will enjoy it whether you decide to have a luxury vacation full of excitement, spend a calm vacation with family, have a romantic beach vacation with your partner, or go on your own.

It is a perfect blend of nature and architecture that will surely take your breath away, so make sure to visit some of the best beaches in Palma de Mallorca.

Best Time To Go: April to October

3. Cinque Terre, Italy

moterosso beach cinque terre as the sun begins to lower on the horizon.

Visiting Cinque Terre is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and it is impossible to remain indifferent to the beauty of these five villages.

Colourful houses, fragrant vineyards, and small boats tied on breathtaking cliff beaches will make you want to stay forever.

All the villages are connected by hiking trails perfect for people who love to enjoy scenic beauty, so make sure to bring a camera.

Since Cinque Terre is located in the Liguria region, you can enjoy some of the delicious local dishes and their famous pesto sauce.

It is a perfect alternative for people who do not enjoy modern resorts, as it can provide them with a romantic and rustic getaway from the crowds of some of Italy’s more popular tourist hot spots.

Best Time To Go: May to October

4. Santorini, Greece

beautiful black sand beach in santorini greece with waves washing ashore.

We cannot talk about beach destinations in Europe without mentioning the magnificent Santorini.

The stunning architecture and the view that spreads across the sea is something you often see in photos, but regardless of how great some photos may be, they are nothing compared to actually seeing it in person.

Knowing all this, it’s not unusual that Santorini is a go-to destination for newlyweds, as it is one of the most romantic islands in Europe.

Another thing we must mention is the sunset because Santorini boasts some of the world’s best sunsets you can get at a beach. Only here can you witness all the shades of red, white, and blue while the Sun slowly blends with the sea.

The colour of the sand on the beach is something that makes the entire experience even more unique. It is a mix of volcanic black sand, due to the high iron content of the sand, and blue water that makes the journey here an epic one.

But don’t forget your flip flops (thongs, as we call them here in Australia) because that sand is super hot to walk on during the middle of the day.

Best Time To Go: April to November

5. Dubrovnik, Croatia

beach in dubrovnik with view of water park in background.

The star of this remarkable city surely is the Old Town, which dates back to the 16th century. The impressive stone walls remain well-preserved and provide visitors with insight into the past.

There are many historically significant buildings from various times in Dubrovnik, and every single one of them tells its own story.

Once the exploring is over, you can relax at Placa in one of many cafes or buy a souvenir in well-equipped shops.

Although Old Town is the biggest drawcard for visitors, the scenic beaches in Dubrovnik are clean and pebbly, and thanks to various water activities such as kayaking, you will definitely have the dream vacation.

It’s well worth packing some reef shoes though.

This is something we wished we had for many of the Dubrovnik beaches and for swimming at nearby Locrum Island. While the rocks are mostly smooth, they aren’t always so fun to walk on (especially for the kids).

But the water is calm, which does make it appealing for families in Dubrovnik. Especially if you aren’t fond of being covered in sand afterwards, like a typical beach experience! We were grateful for this with two kids under 5 during our last visit.

Best Time To Go: April to November

6. Ibiza, Spain

cala saladeta beach in ibiza.

When someone mentions Ibiza, the instant thought for most people is clubbing and partying all night.

Of course, this is just the beginning as this has so many other things to offer, and there really is something for everyone.

Yes, Ibiza is also a great place for a yoga retreat. And if you’re searching for picturesque and romantic sights, one of the best places to watch sunsets on the beach is Cala Salada.

The island is big enough that you can always find something interesting, which is why many people have trouble deciding whether to go to Mallorca or Ibiza.

The one thing they both have in common is beautiful beaches, with only one slight difference – parties in Ibiza can be wilder, making it less of a family destination if you’re looking for the best beaches in Europe to visit with the kids.

Best Time To Go: April to October

7. Corsica, France

Sandy Palombaggia beach corsica.

The diversity of Corsica’s landscape makes this island one of a kind, and visiting it should be on anyone’s bucket list.

Mountains covered with forests create perfect hiking trails for people who want to explore the island on foot. On the other side, you can find astonishing beaches ideal for relaxation and sunbathing.

With such crystal-clear water and white sand, Corsica is perfect for divers or snorkelling, to see the variety of the underwater world and those who love water sports.

Thanks to the Mediterranean charm of this island and the French experience blended into cute coastal towns, it may easily become one of your favourite destinations in Europe.

It is one of the islands with the best natural landscape thanks to the amazing unspoiled nature being mostly untouched.

Best Time To Go: April to October

8. Sardinia, Italy

Sardinia, view of stunning beach of Chia.

Learning more about Italian culture, rich history, and cuisine should start at Sardinia because this island is the best way to start exploring Italy.

Now, don’t be surprised that you fall in love with Sardinia once you get here, as this place has so many things that will make you want to stay for as long as possible.

The view over the crystal clear blue waters and sandy beaches that stretch for kilometres blend perfectly with the traditions and folklore in Sardinia.

With pine forests, secret beaches and coves to discover, you could easily spend a week or two here.

This is also a great place for those seeking to learn new watersports, which makes it a great getaway for those seeking adrenalin and an active holiday.

On the other hand, foodies will have a great time here enjoying some of the best and most authentic Italian dishes and Sardinia specialties in the many restaurants located along the beach.

Best Time To Go: April to October

9. Mykonos, Greece

aerial view of beach in mykonos on a busy summer day with beach chairs lining the beach.

Thanks to its vibrant nightlife, Mykonos is well known as one authentic place where the beach parties never stop.

Exclusive resorts offer a luxurious experience to their guests and attract people with plenty to spend and from the world of fame, such as celebrities and influencers. But don’t think that means you won’t equally love this destination, since it’s popular for a good reason!

Although the nightlife is the main attraction of this island, it has much more to offer.

Long sandy beaches are perfect for those who want to relax and work on their tan (safely, we hope), and there is no better way to cool off than to dive into turquoise water.

It is a perfect place for people who love to dance, as Mykonos hosts world-famous DJ performances during the summer at the many beach clubs.

Best Time To Go: March to November

10. Hvar, Croatia

shallow water of beach and rocky reef in hvar.

Hvar in Croatia is yet another place known for amazing parties and wild nightlife but with one big difference – the location.

Namely, its renowned historic town centre and natural landscapes are something you cannot find anywhere else, along with the enchanting long sand beaches that spread for as long as the eye can see.

The city of Hvar is a unique fusion of luxurious Mediterranean influences, rich cultural and historical heritage, and a large tourist presence.

The cobblestone streets themselves make you feel like you have stepped back in time, and when all that gets mixed with a one-of-a-kind nightlife scene, it makes the time fly.

However, there are also plenty of things to do on Hvar with kids too.

The island is also known for its lavender fields and for its very mild Mediterranean climate.

The average of 2718 hours of sun in a year makes Hvar the sunniest island in Europe. This makes it perfect as far as European beach destinations go!

Best Time To Go: April to October

11. Lake Annecy, France

beautiful colours of the water on the beach of annecy lake.

Lakes usually are not our first thought when someone mentions beach holidays, but Lake Annecy definitely deserves to be considered.

The crystal clear waters are perfect for staying refreshed during hot summer days, and the various water activities will make your stay a real adventure for the whole family.

Thanks to the surrounding springs from the mountains that feed the lake, the water is always perfectly clean.

The best way to end the day is to visit an old town and the castle which is located nearby.

Lake Annecy is a perfect alternative for people who do not enjoy salt water but still want to relax on the beach. It provides its guests with a peaceful vacation that will recharge their batteries.

Best Time To Go: May to September

12. Amalfi Coast, Italy

Stunning view over Atrani little town and beach on Amalfi coast in Italy.

Amalfi Coast is a perfect European beach destination if you are a person who enjoys exploring new places while on vacation instead of just spending days on the beach.

Colourful villages with narrow streets located on the pebbly beaches are real architectural masterpieces with vast historical importance.

The crystal clear water is great for those who want to relax and regain their energy for more exploring, as there is a lot to see.

Although most of the beaches are small and rocky, you will find sandy beaches in Capri – and the beach gets extremely popular. You can rent beach chairs and umbrellas here.

The Amalfi Coast is a unique mixture of architectural and natural beauty that most definitely belongs on everyone’s top beach destinations list when visiting Europe.

There are many interesting buildings to see and take photos of, but also amazing places that will reconnect you with nature.

Best Time To Go: April to October

13. Canary Islands, Spain

Aerial view on Teresitas beach near Santa Cruz,Tenerife, Canary islands.

A great climate, with a variety of things to see and do, natural attractions, and extremely pleasant people make the Canary Islands among the must-visit beach destinations in Europe.

This entire archipelago in Macaronesia in the Atlantic Ocean was created by a series of volcanic eruptions millions of years ago. That is why it has such a unique landscape which mixes perfectly with sandy beaches.

These famous beaches have dark sand with wild beaches hidden in coves and rock pools to explore. Although you will find golden sand beaches in places as it has been imported from the Sahara.

There are seven islands, but Tenerife is probably the most popular due to its location and the wide range of things it offers for tourists. Here, the most famous beach is Playa de las Teresitas, due to close proximity to Santa Cruz.

Namely, you can enjoy whale and bird watching here, but also try other activities like surfing.

Every island has something different and unique to offer, which is why setting some time aside and exploring all of them should be on your to-do list.

Best Time To Go: March to November

14. Rhodes, Greece

beautiful beach in rhodes greece with bright blue water.

Almost everywhere you go in Greece will seem like a throwback in time because of the rich history, but Rhodes takes all that to a whole new level.

It’s the location of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Colossus of Rhodes, and the entire Old Town is declared a world heritage site.

All this speaks volumes about the role and importance of Rhodes throughout history, which makes it ideal for history buffs.

Of course, the beautiful beaches, extremely friendly people, and Greek cuisine are there to enhance the entire experience, making it one of the best beach holidays in Europe.

This island is the best way to learn more about the history, not just of Greece, but the entire European continent while having a blast at some of the best beaches Greece has to offer.

Best Time To Go: April to October

15. Nice, France

aerial view of busy beach during summer in nice, france.

Besides Paris and all its famous attractions, Nice is the most famous destination for tourists in France is enough to showcase how amazing this city is.

Understandably, these two cities differ a lot.

But if the goal is to learn more about the rich historical and cultural heritage of the region, and all that while sipping some of the most famous wines and enjoying some of the authentic French dishes, then Nice is the place to go.

It’s here where the luxury and natural beauty blend and the French Riviera alone has quite a lot to offer its visitors, including possibly the best market in France.

On the other hand, pebbly beaches are there to enhance the entire experience, and cultural attractions like Monument aux Morts, Palais Lascaris, Cimiez Monastery, and Franciscan Museum will make the time pass by while here.

You can easily spend your extended summer holidays here exploring the tourist attractions and pristine beaches.

Best Time To Go: March to October

Additional Tips for Planning Your Europe Beach Holiday

The summer months are ideal for checking out these beach destinations in Europe, but certain places like Lake Annecy or Cinque Terre are even better to explore when there are not as many tourists.

On the other hand, due to the pleasant climate, Mallorca and Hvar, for example, are also destinations you can check out regardless of the time of the year if you’re chasing some summer sun.

Here are some more tips for planning a visit to one of the best beach destinations in Europe:

  • Book early: Summer is obviously the most popular time to visit these popular beach destinations, so make sure to book your accommodation and flights in advance so you don’t miss out!
  • Picking the right time to travel: Depending on the place you are visiting, the shoulder seasons (spring and autumn) can also offer enjoyable weather and fewer crowds, depending on the destination. Even visiting in May or September can offer cheaper rates compared to June to August.
  • Research transportation options: While some beaches may be easily accessible by public transport, others may require a rental car or even a ferry ride. Make sure to research your transportation options beforehand and plan accordingly.
  • Don’t forget the sunscreen: Sun protection is crucial, especially when spending long days at the beach. Don’t forget to pack sunscreen with a high SPF, a sun-safe shirt, a hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from harmful UV rays.
  • Explore beyond the beaches: While the beaches may be the main attraction, don’t forget to explore the cities and towns surrounding them. You may discover hidden gems and unique experiences that you wouldn’t have found otherwise.
  • Try local cuisine: Food is a significant aspect of any trip, so make sure to try out the local delicacies at each destination. From fresh seafood in Spain to gelato in Italy, there’s something delicious for everyone to indulge in.

Don’t forget to grab our free printable beach packing list too!

beach packing list banner.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be well-prepared to plan the ultimate beach holiday in Europe.

Conclusion: Best European Beach Destinations

While it’s hard to say which of these most beautiful beaches are the best beaches in Europe, this list covers some pretty epic options when you’re looking for beach destinations in Europe. Every place on this list has something unique and different to offer, but having a one-of-a-kind experience is something they all have in common.

15 best european beach holiday destinations with collage of beaches in europe.