It’s that time of year again! Yes, it’s time to plan a summer holiday. Being the over planners that we are, we have already got ours in the bag. July will see us heading The Balkans – Montenegro, Croatia and Albania to be precise. We are of course looking forward to exploring the cities, towns and villages of these countries, learning about the culture, eating the local food and drinking the local beer but we are also looking forward to lying on the beaches we find along the way. We traverse the world, sometimes at lightning speed, therefore when we get the opportunity to lay back on a golden sandy beach and soak up the sun’s rays, we grasp it with both hands. Everyone needs to take a bit of time out every now and again.
Being Brits the sun really is an elusive thing, often only seen a handful of times during the year. Therefore, it is totally understandable that when people book their summer getaway, it has to be a beach holiday. During the summer months, a beautiful beach and great weather can be found within an hour or two in Europe. However, with so many beach destinations to choose from, it can often be difficult to decide which one is right for you. For many, including us, it is not just about the beach but also about the area and amenities around it. With that in mind, we have put together our 5 favourite beach destination list, which we hope helps you when deciding where you will be heading this summer.
If you’re going to mention the best beaches in Europe, Greece most certainly has to feature on the list, if not be top of it. Greece is beautiful that is a fact and has more beaches on the thousands of islands throughout the Aegean and Ionian seas, then you can shake a stick at. One of the most beautiful and unique beaches in Greece is Navagio Beach or ‘Shipwreck Beach’, it is an exposed cove on the island of Zakynthos. On 2nd October 1980, the MV Panagiotis, ran aground, the wreck was abandoned and now can be explored by visitors to the beach.
One of the most beautiful islands in Greece is Santorini, not only does it have a lot of interesting things to do and see but also has some great beaches, the most famous being Red Beach which is made of black and red volcanic pebbles. But our favourite by far is St Paul’s Bay in Lindos on the island of Rhodes, not only is it stunning with crystal clear blue waters, but we also witnessed two great friends get married at the beautiful whitewashed chapel there – it was perfect!
You may think Italy is all about city breaks, but in reality, it really isn’t. Don’t get me wrong I love Venice,Florence, Rome etc. as they are jam-packed full of history, culture and amazing architecture. However, Italy also has a number of beach destinations including Genoa which has some beautiful sandy beaches just waiting to be relaxed on. It is also a great option if you want to tie some sightseeing into your holiday as a day trip, or longer if you have the time, to Cinque Terre, which is a string of 5 centuries-old seaside villages, is easily doable through an organised trip or independently by train.
It is the islands; however, that you need to head to if you are looking for some of Italy’s best beaches. Cala Goloritzé in Sardinia is the most beautiful on the island and one of the most famous in Italy with limestone cliffs, soft sand, and breathtaking turquoise waters. The stunning island of Elba also has many striking beach towns and resorts including Spiaggia di Sansone, Cavoli and Biodola which are just waiting to be discovered.
The ‘White Isle’ is famous for many things, not only its world-renowned nightlight and amazing sunsets but also its beautiful beaches. Ibiza is the third largest Balearic Islands and an extremely popular tourist destination. In fact, Ibiza has so many beaches, deciding which one to visit first is a tough decision. If you are located in Ibiza Town or the South then Playa d’en Bossa Beach, Talamanca Beach and Las Salinas are three of the best. In San Antonio and the west of the island you really should check out Cala Conta Beach. In Santa Eulalia and the east Es Caná Beach is absolutely stunning and the beaches of Portinatx in the north should not be missed.
Luckily, Ibiza is no big island and one you can travel around easily, meaning that should it take your fancy you can beach hop around it and experience them all. If you are looking for something a bit different, Aquas Blancas is one of Ibiza’s few official naturist spots, so if getting your kit off, feeling the soft white sand on your body and frolicking in crystal clear waters is your thing, then you really should check this hot spot out.
Having visited Majorca a number of times over the years, we’ve had the opportunity to visit a number of resorts and beaches on this lovely Spanish island. It is the largest island in the Balearic Islands located in the Mediterranean and has a number of beach destinations, we’re sure you’ll find at least one to suit your taste. If you are looking for late nights and lazy days, the beaches of Palma Nova in the south-west of the island are perfect. If you are travelling with the family and parking, easy beach access, toilets, restaurants and shops are musts then Playa d’Alcúdia should be at the top of your list, it is one of the most popular beaches on the island. It also has climbing frames and a kids playground, which will keep the younger members of your family occupied and happy.
Majorca is also home to a number of secluded beaches, ideal for when you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the towns and cities. Cala Mesquida in the north-east and S’Aramador Beach in the south-east both offer unspoilt beauty and amazing natural scenery, not to mention super soft sand.
Malta once had a reputation for being a holiday destination for the older generation. However, more recently it is attracting all age groups including solo travellers and families. The island located between Sicily and the North African coast has a lot of history and beautiful architecture. However, it also has a number of beaches, perfect to relax on in between exploring the island. One of the most popular and beautiful certainly lives up to its name, Golden Beach. With beach huts, cafés, sunbeds, umbrellas and watersports, this beach is ideal for all the family to visit. The longest sandy beach is Mellieha Bay which has crystal clear waters making it perfect for swimming and like Golden Beach has a number of facilities making it a great choice.
There are also a number of other beaches on the mainland worth checking out including Bugibba Perched Beach, Sliema Beach and Peter’s Pool. However, no visit to Malta is complete without taking a day trip across to the Blue Lagoon on Comino Island, it’s only small and very busy but definitely worth the trip.
Do you have a favourite European destination? We’d love to hear where, as we are always looking for our next beach break. If you have already booked for this year, where are you heading? If not, we hope our recommendations have given you some inspiration.