What was your favourite summer holiday ever? Bet it involved a beach, right? Lots of people have a best beach which they either want to shout about from the rooftops or never share with a soul, and BEST BEACH is one of the most hotly contested titles in the world, so to stop a riot, here’s the list of Best Beaches Europe – in alphabetical order.
The Silver Sands beach in Edinburgh offer spectacular views to the Islands of Inchmickery and Inchcolm with its famous abbey. It is also ideal for birdwatchers who can regularly see red breasted mergansers, cormorants, oystercatchers and curlews, which are often seen feeding on the large grassy area behind the beach at high tide.
The private turquoise shallows and soft pink sand of Sandwood Bay are four miles from the nearest paved road, and a challenge to get to; leave your car at Baltimore and begin your journey on foot, armed with a map. When you get there you realise it was worth the long journey – it has a dramatic and unspoiled beauty coupled with a mystical feel.
Barleycove Beach is a sandy delight amongst the UK’s many pebbly beaches and one of the best beaches in Europe. A sandy apron sliding down to the water backed by rounded dunes to hide amongst.
Baska Voda is a blue flag on Croatia’s shingle Dalmatian coast with easy access to Hvar, Brac and the Krka National Park.
Cala d’en Serra is a quiet, white, sandy, perfect horseshoe of a cove far from the buzzing haunts of the beautiful people and club bunnies – as far as Ibiza’s locals are concerted this is one of the Europe’s best beaches and where they take their sun bathing and swimming pleasures.
The Curonian Spit is a peninsular of shifting sand dunes and pine forests and one of the best beaches on the Baltic Sea. A dozen buried villages and few (as yet) Western visitors make this one of the great undiscovered best beaches, Europe.
Gerakas Beach is one of Europe’s best beaches for both kids and sea turtles, with warm clean waters that lap at the gently shelving shore backed by shallow rolling dunes.
Haukland Sands is the multiple time winner of the award for Norway’s best beach for its scimitar shape in silver, glinting in the sunlight that never quite dies beneath the horizon, backed by the green top-hat-esque backdrop of the Lofoten Islands.
Kallis Beach on the Swedish island of Gotland gets long hours of sunlight, on long, long stretches of sandy beach. Pitch your tent wherever you like and soak up the cool independence of sleeping under warm summer stars for one of Europe’s best beach camping experiences.
La Pointe Beach, Cap Ferret, is a long, thin, sandy stretch of Atlantic Coast, dotted with pines and small oyster harvesting villages. Beyond which there’s just wild coast and sand dunes.
Little Banana is curved and yellow, has natural shade and is one of the oldest naturist beaches in Europe.
Nissi Beach’s soft shelving sands and warm turquoise waters make it one of the best beaches on Cyprus, despite what some guides say about it being a secret or hidden gem – it doesn’t take long for that kind of secret to come out, but it must have been a very old secret, the BBC broadcasts live from the beach during the height of the summer clubbing season when the days are made for watersports.
Pampelonne Beach is supposedly the best beach in Europe for stars spotting – the place where the expensive bodies come to be seen, dropping in for a meal from an expensive yacht parked just off shore.
Papagayo isn’t a single beach but a wiggly line of Lanzarote coast with lots of lovely little beachy bays along it, lined with fine, white sand and clear water.
Ramla Bay translates to ‘red and sandy’ which is what this beach is – proving that the Maltese would rather relax on a pretty, remote beach, in the dip of a lush valley lined with orchards, than worry about pretty names.
San Vito Lo Capo is one of Sicily’s best beaches: white sand and high cliffs between a rocky cape and a nature reserve; and the town specialises in locally grown olives served in family trattorias.
Three Cliffs Bay on the Gower Peninsular suffers each turn of the tide, when great swathes of the beach are submerged and separated by high cliffs. Rock climbers love the cliffs and the BBC and Good Beach Guide like the views and water clarity respectively.
Warnemünde Beach on the bracing Baltic coast has fine, white sand not at all spoiled by the 19th Century lighthouse at one end, fish and chip shops in the middle and the people camping at the other.