Beach holidays

Best beach holidays in Europe

Whether you’ve only got time for a quick getaway, or if you fancy trying somewhere a bit more far-flung? Everyone can find the perfect beach holiday destination with our range of destinations. So if you’re looking for a little inspiration we’ve pulled together our list of the Top 10 best holiday destinations.

Think you’ll have to fly to the other side of the world for a winter sun break? You can actually find it much closer to home – with the Greek islands, the Algarve and Tunisia all just a short flight away. Or think you can only afford something closer to home? You’ll find bargain prices on destinations like Dubai and Florida.

Always popular, beach holidays appeal to all ages. They're an ideal choice for special occasions such as weddings and honeymoons as well as an inspired choice for long family holidays and short breaks. Whether you prefer flight inclusive holidays or whether you would rather plan your own itinerary, there are dozens of tempting destinations to choose from. And, many are much more affordable than you might imagine with bargain prices on breaks in some of the most beautiful places in Europe such as Izmir in Turkey or the picturesque Greek island of Mykonos. Those who prefer a touch of luxury might splash out on a stay at some of the best seaside boutique hotels in Spain, for example while families searching for fun activities and child-friendly attractions might enjoy exploring the sandy coastlines of Mallorca or Malta. For families, singles, groups and couples, the heady combination of sun, sea and sand is hard to resist. Add unique local attractions, fine restaurants, friendly cafes and bars, and places of natural or historical interest and it's easy to see why so many people continue to choose Europe's beautiful beaches. 

Best sandy beaches in Europe

Spain boasts many of the best sandy beaches, perfect for adults to stretch out and bask in the sun while children play in the sand. The inviting coastal lagoon of La Manga del Mar Menor has vast stretches of golden sand and warm, shallow waters, making it the perfect safe haven for families. Head to the Balearic island of Mallorca to find mile after mile of uncrowded beaches, where a nature reserve protects the pristine sand and the undulating dunes.

The aptly named Turquoise Coast beach in Turkey is also protected, as this 19-kilometre stretch of coastline is a nesting area for the endangered loggerhead turtle. Equally striking is the Ramla Bay beach in Gozo, Malta. Here, bright orange sand makes a dramatic setting for your beach holiday.

Best beaches for watersports

Keen surfers should make a beeline for Peniche beach in Portugal. The coast of this dramatic Atlantic headland offers large, barrel waves for experienced surfers and sheltered bays for beginners. The beaches of Menorca, in the Balearic Islands, have clear, calm water that is ideal for snorkelling. Here, there are dozens of low-key beaches where you can just wade into the warm water and dip into a vibrant underwater world.

In Greece, beach-goers dip into and on top of the water in every way imaginable. Sail, windsurf or paddle board your way around the dozens of bays, or climb aboard a yacht and explore the deserted coves of the Greek islands and their shimmering azure waters.

Our top beach holiday destinations!

Best party beaches

All over Europe, summer brings crowds of party people to the laid-back vibes of the many waterside clubs and beach parties. The huge, flat stretches of volcanic sand of the Canary Islands are a great place to find the sweet spot between relaxed beach days and lively beach nights. In the Greek islands, the picturesque coves and towns play host to families and sun loungers during the day before giving way to exuberant parties after the sun goes down.

Best Instagram-worthy beaches

To find the unspoilt beauty that your camera craves, be prepared to travel away from the main resorts. Corfu is heaving with visitors in mid-summer, but if you catch the boat to the forgotten Antipaxos you’ll discover perfectly formed coves of white pebbles, cloaked with vines and wildflowers and fringed by impossibly turquoise waters.

The dramatic setting of Butterfly Valley beach in Turkey makes the journey worthwhile; you can only get in by boat or by making the steep walk down the cliffs. You won’t be able to tear your eyes away from the rugged cliffs and abundant butterfly population of this unique spot.

Best time to go on a beach break

It's possible to enjoy some of Europe's most beautiful beaches throughout the year. Those planning beach holidays in Europe can generally expect daily sunshine and high temperatures from May until September. The sea is warm enough for watersports and swimming and seasonal restaurants, bars and attractions are open from Benidorm and Malaga in Spain and from Mykonos in Greece to Antalya in Turkey. Or, why not consider a winter break or a low season holiday? Mild temperatures and fewer crowds attract couples, groups and families to destinations like the Canary Islands, Greece and the Algarve region of Portugal from October until March.

Things to do on beach holidays

Whatever your personal preferences, you won't be short of things to do on beach holidays in Europe. Shopping, nightlife and historic sites attract visitors to Turkey's dramatic Turquoise Coast each year, while resorts like Alcati and Cesme on the Agean Coast offer wind surfing, sailing and kite surfing for watersports fans. The country is also an excellent choice for history and culture enthusiasts who might take a Turkish bath in Marmaris, shop in the busy Kemeralti market in Izmir, or explore the many ancient ruins that dot the landscape near Antalya. Enjoy a relaxed family holiday in Spain where classic resorts like Alicante and Benidorm on the Costa Blanca combine nightlife, water parks, theme parks, and places of interest with some of the best sandy beaches in Europe. If you want to party until the small hours, resorts like Malaga and Torremolinos are sure to appeal, while those in search of peaceful and relaxing surroundings may enjoy the Balearic island of Mallorca with its unspoiled golden beaches and rolling sand dunes. Greece and its islands is an ideal choice for romantic couples breaks or fun getaways with friends. Watch the world pass by from sandy shores amid lush olive groves and dramatic caves on Zante before dancing till dawn at one of the island's many nightclubs. Take a thousand photos of picturesque Santorini or be dazzled by the famous Venetian port of Chania on Crete. Catch a little winter sunshine on the Canary Islands or make Malta your next port of call. We're sure you'll find your perfect fit when you take a closer look at our many exceptional destinations.

Best beach holiday destinations in Europe