The Mediterranean, Atlantic, Aegean and Adriatic; together home to some of Europe’s most desirable coastline destinations. Whether you’re seeking natural beauty, glamorous resorts, historic walled cities or white sand beaches, there’s a perfect spot for you among Europe’s top coastal holiday destinations.
The island nation of Malta lies in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea, between Tunisia and Sicily. Clean blue waters surround the island, lapping a coastline dotted with bays, lagoons, coves and cliffs. Along with neighbouring Gozo, it is one of the world’s top diving sites thanks to the number of underwater caves and wrecks. If you don’t already have a PADI scuba diving qualification, now’s the time to learn. If not, there are multiple opportunities to enjoy a spot of snorkelling.
Characterised by an endless choice of sandy beaches and warm, safe swimming waters, Spain’s Costa Blanca is one of Europe’s most popular holiday regions. With 200km of Meditteranean coastline and the clearest waters, it’s not hard to see why it’s so adored. From Alicante to Benidorm, from Altea to Villajoyos, this is the perfect choice for those seeking clean, well-maintained beaches and the bluest waters.
The French Riviera, or Cote D’Azur, is one of Europe’s most glamourous destinations. Located along the southeastern coast of France, the French Riviera includes Nice, St Tropez, Antibes and Cannes. Believe it or not, it’s been attracting aristocratic tourists since the 18th century. As well as white sand beaches and azure blue waters, you’ll find exclusive marinas and world-class seafood restaurants. Keep heading west where the French Riviera meets the Italian Riviera, for another stunning playground for the rich and famous.
Not only does Cyprus offer some of the warmest weather in Europe, it’s also outlined by 650km of unforgettable coastline. The most established holiday resorts are found on the Greek side of the island, namely at Limassol, Paphos and Ayia Napa. Beyond the beaches lie endless unspoilt walking trails, olive groves, mountains, waterfalls and many significant historic sites. But it doesn't just mean winter sun and rugged natural beauty, the climate has also helped create the island’s delicious cuisine, which includes halloumi cheese, souvlaki and loukoumades.
The dramatic Algarve coastline in southern Portugal is one of the finest in the continent. The Atlantic waters make for a surfers’ paradise, whilst the secluded bays and sand dune beaches are perfect for families. In terms of where to stay, there is something for everyone in the Algarve, from well-established, busy resorts to small traditional fishing villages, perfect for those seeking quiet and solitude.
The true beauty of the so-called Turquoise Coast is becoming less and less of a secret outside of Turkey. The Turkish Riviera runs from Cesme to Alanya, taking in resort towns such as Kusadasi, Marmaris and Bodrum. The coast itself boasts huge stretches of lush forestry, mountains, white sand beaches and a series of hidden coves and bays, not to mention the turquoise waters of the Aegean and Mediterranean that give the coast it’s nickname. The Turkish Riviera is home to the ruins of not one, but two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Tomb of Mausolus and the Temple of Artemis.
The Italian island of Sardinia - the emerald coast - is the second largest in the Med, with almost 2000 km of stunning coastline to explore. Sardinia is sometimes referred to as the Caribbean of Europe, thanks to its sheer number of white sand beaches and untouched natural landscapes. It is also famous among snorkellers and divers as a result of its incredible marine life. From the rocky, mountainous north coast to the built-up, family-friendly east coast, the quieter, romantic west coast and the sandy beaches of the south coast, every corner of the Sardinian coastline serves up its own flavour.
Dubrovnik, located at Croatia’s eastern end - the dalmatian coast - is home to one of Europe’s best-conserved walled cities. Take a walk along the tops of the walls to experience sparkling views across the Adriatic Sea. Within the walls is the car-free, cobbled Old Town, one of the most charming in Europe. Basing yourself in Dubrovnik means you can also enjoy excellent access to some of the most scenic islands in the Adriatic, such as Mljet, Korcula, Lopud and Kolocep.
The largest of the Balearic Islands, Majorca really has something for everyone. Whether you want to enjoy resort life or uncover stunning off-the-beaten-track coastal spots, Majorca has it all. The rugged north coast is largely unspoilt and is ideal for hikers and nature lovers, here also lies a series of quiet, sandy beaches, which can be found nestled between areas of cliffs and crags. The chilled-out southeast coast is lined with white sandy beaches and flanked by fresh-smelling pine forests.
Another of Spain's famous coastlines, the balmy Costa del Sol is located in Andalusia. At the centre is the city of Marbella, a popular holiday destination with the well-heeled and home to the coastline's best restaurants, marinas and golf courses. The sunniest corner of Spain (with 320 days of sunshine a year), many come for the weather, but they return because of the lush and mountainous countryside that lies beyond the coast and the excellent activities for the whole family.