Many people who think of beautiful beaches around the world envision locations like Hawaii, the Maldives, the Caribbean, Fiji, and southeast Asia. With their gorgeous, world-renowned beaches, it’s hard to blame them. But relatively few people think of European beaches you must visit during the summer.
Photo courtesy of Nikolas Potanin
During the summer, the waters of the Mediterranean are as inviting as they come. Don’t count out the shores of northern Europe, which often offers a harsher beauty. These are the top 10 European beaches you must visit during the summer.
Navagio Beach – Zakynthos Island, Greece
One of Zakynthos Island’s hidden treasures is Navagio Beach, also known as Shipwreck Beach. Bounded by breathtaking white cliffs, this photogenic beach is shielded by most winds, leaving the water calm and glassy.
Photo courtesy of mitko_denev
The beach’s tranquil waters make it one of the best European beaches you must visit during the summer. However, the only way to reach Navagio Beach is via a water taxi from Porto Vromi, which leaves every half hour. It’s worth the trip!
Praia de Marinha – Algarve Region, Portugal
With its golden sands, unique rock formations, and calm, turquoise waters, it’s no wonder Praia de Marinha is considered one of the world’s best beaches. Shielded by dramatic limestone cliffs, this beach in Portugal’s Algarve region is paradise.
Photo courtesy of Davide Gabino (aka Stròlic Furlàn)
As one of the top European beaches you must visit during the summer, Praia de Marinha is often packed with tourists during the year’s hottest months. Visit in the off season for the most relaxing experience. Thanks to the climate, beach weather can extend well into November and even December!
Elafonisi Beach – Crete, Greece
Beachgoers searching for a sundrenched haven with modern amenities and a private feel should check out Elafonisi Beach on Crete. Its location away from Crete’s cities makes it one of the best European beaches you must visit during the summer.
Photo courtesy of Jeremy Vandel
This beach’s clear, shallow waters make it perfect for waders and children. Check out the natural beauty in the rock formations and nearby wildflowers. Also, don’t forget to marvel at its pink-tinged shoreline, which makes for stunning beach photos!
Ölüdeniz Beach (a.k.a. The Blue Lagoon) – Turkey
Not only is Turkey’s Ölüdeniz Beach one of the top European beaches you must visit during the summer, it’s also one of the country’s most beautiful locations. Also known as the Blue Lagoon, the area features a gorgeous bay and stunning, protected forests.
Photo courtesy of yasemetaz
Ölüdeniz Beach is quite popular, so crowds are to be expected in the summer. It’s a prime location for snorkeling, scuba diving, and paragliding. To get panoramic views from the air, head up to Babadağ Mountain, where most of the paragliding companies are based.
Check out the Top 6 Beaches in Santorini, Greece
Fårö Island – Sweden
Sweden is a land of unique landscapes, and one of its one-of-a-kind wonders are the beaches at Fårö Island. In addition to sandy shorelines, visitors will find something very different: eerie limestone shores and otherworldly rock formations.
Photo courtesy of In Memoriam: DaveBleasdale
The island can only be reached by ferry from Gotland Island. While Fårö Island may not many people’s first idea of a great vacation spot, it’s an incredible European beach you must visit during the summer.
Cala Macarella – Menorca, Spain
The Spanish island of Menorca is the smaller and more low-key sibling to the islands of Ibiza and Mallorca. It’s home to a hidden gem that also happens to be one of the top European beaches you must visit during the summer: Cala Macarella.
Photo courtesy of Markus Trienke
This sundrenched beach isn’t exactly easy to visit. It can be reached either by a two-mile hike from Cala Galdana or a drive from Ciutadella, followed by a 20-minute hike. But once get your first glimpse of its turquoise waters, you’ll realize the journey is worth it!
Check out 5 Amazing Beaches in Wales
Zlatni Rat Beach – Croatia
Croatia is home to some of Europe’s most stunning beaches, and perhaps the most famous is Zlatni Rat on the island of Brač. Located on the Adriatic Sea, this beach is known for its unique shape, which changes depending on ocean currents!
Photo courtesy of Nikolaj Potanin
Zlatni Rat’s white sands extend for a half mile on either side of its point. It’s a popular site for windsurfing, kitesurfing, boating, jet-skiing, and paddle boarding. Between its beauty and activities, it’s easily one of the European beaches you must visit during the summer!
Cape Greco – Cyprus
Travelers looking for a beach that offers more adventurous options should stop by Cape Greco on the island of Cyprus. The beach is known for its crystal-clear waters and bountiful cliffs, which house lots of sea caves.
Photo courtesy of Lefteris Katsouromallis
The caves of Cape Greco are best visited at low tide, where visitors can explore as deep as 80 meters into the rock. There are also spots where the water is deep enough to do some cliff jumping! This Mediterranean wonder is easily one of the top European beaches you must visit during the summer.
Check out The Best Beaches in Rhodes Island
Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach – Vik, Iceland
Another unconventional, but spectacular, beach choice is Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach in Vik, Iceland. This beach is known for its jet-black, volcanic sands and its imposing towers of hexagonal basalt columns.
Photo courtesy of Fernando Garcia
This stunning beach gives off the air of an almost lunar landscape. The waters around it are far too rough for swimming, but the beach is still home to sea birds. Puffins nest amongst the columnar basalt during the hottest months, making Reynisfjara one of the top European beaches you must visit during the summer!
Cala Goloritze – Sardinia, Italy
No list of the top European beaches you must visit during the summer would be complete without a remarkable Italian destination. One of the country’s best is Cala Goloritzé, a white sand beach with glittering blue waters on the island of Sardinia.
Photo courtesy of Vasile Cotovanu
Located at the base of a cliff, the beach was created by a landslide in 1962. Its isolated location means it’s only accessible via chartered boat or a 2-hour hike along the coast. It’s so breathtaking that it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.
Check out Zakynthos, Greece: The Island of Beaches
Whether you’re vacationing along the Mediterranean or further north, there are many extraordinary European beaches to visit in summer. The options are endless and range from sun-soaked paradises to rocky, wind-swept shorelines and everything in-between. Check them out to experience their magic for yourself!
Photo courtesy of Christian Barrette
NOTE: Before you travel, I suggest buying travel insurance to protect yourself in case any emergency situations come up. In my opinion, AXA Travel Insurance is the very best because it covers a wide array of issues. Buy your AXA Travel Insurance protection plan here!
If you need to check the visa requirements of a particular country, click here. To apply for a visa, find up-to-date visa information for different countries, and calculate the cost of a particular visa, click here!