European Beaches

European beaches provide an excellent source of sun and relaxation. From ritzy beach resorts on the French Riviera and the Greek Isles to local beaches along the coast of Spain and Portugal, Europe is home to an overwhelming amount of pleasant coastal spots—the Mediterranean beaches are especially well known. European beach holidays are quite popular, whether you’re looking to get away for a long weekend or craving a few weeks of paradise. The beaches in Europe can become quite crowded during the warmer seasons and school and national holidays, but a trip to one of these beautiful spots will most certainly enhance any beach vacation nonetheless, and some of the world's top ten beaches are located in this area.

When one thinks luxurious beach resort, the French Riviera is one of the first spots that comes to mind. Home to some of the continent’s best beaches, the Cote d'Azur is a tourist hot spot and has often been called the best beach in Europe. The French Riviera is blessed with beautiful people, posh beach hotels, and picturesque stretches of sand, and in addition, the area is surrounded by the French Alps, which helps control the climate and makes it warm but not too hot during the summer months. St Tropez, Cannes, and Nice also offer beaches with soft sand and calm waves, making them ideal for swimmers and sunbathers; these are also perennially popular places to travel, and they can be crowded. This is one of the areas known for naturist beaches, but it also has its share of family beaches as well.

If you prefer a quieter, less touristy destination, make a stop in the numerous small towns that dot the French coastline, home to some of the best beaches around. For instance, Beaulieu-sur-Mer is home to some of the best beach in Europe with perfectly manicured shoreline and a peaceful atmosphere. These smaller European beaches are ideal for a quiet beach getaway, but before you spread out your towel, do keep in mind that it is the norm to go topless on the majority of French Riviera beaches.

Spain is also home to a variety of popular beaches in Europe. The Southern Andalusia region, known as the Costa del Sol, is loaded with beach resorts, sunning spots, and warm weather. The Tarifa area is located on the Strait of Gibraltar and is home to a long stretch of white sand that is less touristy than other areas of the Spanish coastline. It is easily accessible and provides visitors with a variety of water and beach activities. If you are seeking a more developed area, the island of Lanzarote is home to several contenders for the unofficial title of best beach in Europe: the Playa Blanca, Playa Flamingo, and Playa Dorado. Playa Bianca, which means White Beach, provides beachgoers with commanding views of the Atlantic coast and the turquoise waters surrounding the island. Other popular beach areas in Spain include Stiges, near Barcelona; the beaches of the Balearic Islands (among them Ibiza, Majorca and Minorca, and Formentera); and Playa de Las Catedrales in Galicia. No matter where you travel in Spain, you will surely find a pristine beach that’s perfect for a relaxing getaway.

Portugal, the neighbor of Spain, is also blessed with great European beaches. It is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on two sides, which provides the country with some of the best beaches in Europe. The long expanses of sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and warm climate all add to the draw of Portugal beaches. If you are looking for relatively calm waters, good lodging, and a relaxed beach atmosphere, consider visiting you should head to Praia da Luz, located near Lagos, a major town in the southern Algarve region. This beach community comes to life during the summer months where it is frequented by a slew of European beachgoers. Praia da Luz is ideal for swimming as the surf tends to be calm.

Also in the southern part of Portugal is Praia da Gale. A popular weekend getaway spot, this beach is perfect for swimming and surfing, and the quaint beachside town offers guests an array of cafes and restaurants, small hotels, and a picturesque coastline setting. Praia da Rocha is also another excellent choice for a beach vacation in Portugal. The long expanse of soft sand, variety of water sports and natural beauty all add to the year-round beach destination. The warm weather here draws Europeans even in the winter months, and the pedestrian areas of the town are often referred to as some of the best in the Algarve region. With the variety of beaches in Portugal, it would be hard not to find a beach to suit you.

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