The Best Beaches in Europe

Cala d’Aiguafreda, Costa Brava

You can get to this hidden gem by venturing down a steep lane just north of Begur. The name comes from the freshwater stream that flows into the sea, and the secret is to ignore the tiny bit of gritty sand that passes for a beach and find a spot on the flat, sun-warmed rocks on the north side of the inlet. It is paradise.

La Concha, San Sebastian, Costa Verde

Elderly locals walk back and forth in the surf while young kids play football and eat ice cream on the sand. There’s something for everyone on this lovely beach – even a paseo for joggers and skaters. And as if that wasn’t enough – the attached town happens to have the best food in Spain (15 Michelin stars between eight restaurants).

Las Salinas, Ibiza

Far from the maddening crowds of San An, this horseshoe shaped strip of sand attracts an altogether hipper crowd. On arrival, turn left and keep walking until you reach Sa Trinxa, the perfect beach bar for a jug of sangria and a dance in the sand to a hazy soundtrack. I’d really like to be there right now.

Platja Illetes, Formentera

The further you walk, the better Illetes becomes. Quieter and quieter. Granted, there are no busy beaches on Formentera, and therein lies its biggest appeal, but Illetes is especially peaceful, with a lagoon-still sea and lovely, unpretentious atmosphere.

Bonj “Les Bains”, Hvar, Croatia

Don’t expect much sand on this super cool stretch of coast – you step straight from its bathing deck into the turquoise waters of Amfora Bay. Sunbathe, swim, read a book (or Vogue), have a massage or have a bite to eat on the terrace. Be prepared to pay around £24 for a sunbed though.

Panormos, Mykonos, Greece

Mykonos’s most popular beaches can get very crowded, but bohemian Panormos, on the northern coast, is relatively overlooked – possibly because you need a cab or hire car to get there. It’s an absolutely gorgeous little beach with a great little beach bar where you can while away the hours napping, playing frizbee, getting nicely tipsy and generally having a tip top time.

Written on 3rd March 2011 by

Lowri Rhys

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