Best European Beaches for 2021
Ready for summer? Europe is blessed with some of the world's most amazing coastlines. Great long stretches of golden sand, secret coves, the calm waters of the Mediterranean. And beyond the beaches themselves - it's everything else that should come with a beach holiday.
To make you fall in love with it all over again, we've rounded up the best beaches in Europe.
The French Riviera
The beach spots along its coastline are among the most picturesque in France: old-school nice St Tropez where Pampelonne beach has legendary Le Club 55. Quieter stretches of sand can be found in Cavalaire-sur-Mer and Juan-les-Pins. Their white-sand beaches and little villages feel a world away from the the mainland.
Just beside Sardinia in the Mediterranean, Corsica combines French class with Italian swagger. Its sand beaches are spectacular and remain practically untouched. A typically Corsican wariness has kept mass tourism at bay and, as a result, there are few motorways and high-rises to obstruct the amazing views.
The beaches are beautiful, varied, and many. Coves to strip off on, hard-to-reach legendary beaches, sensational bays where the beach clubs host hippies all around the world. Even some of the town beaches are amazing. The best beaches in Ibiza include Aguas Blancas, Las Salinas, Cala Llenya, Calla Bassa, Cala Moli.
The best natural beaches on this island are only a short drive away in El Médano, on the south-east. Equally serene is the north coast of Lanzarote with its warm waters and beaches. Famara beach is the most incredible, combining sand with big swells popular with surfers. On Gran Canaria, the sun shines even brighter and wild sand dominate the south. An unforgettable beach holiday could simply be spent wandering through Maspalomas - the dunes of this beach resemble the Sahara Desert while the sea twinkles like a mirage.
This Italian Island can lay claim to having the best beaches in Europe. On the Costa Smeralda the sand is so white and fine, the waters calm and impossibly. It's a place stuck in time, where the beaches are sensationally beautiful, barely a footprint on them, protected as part of a nature reserve, with dreamlike lagoons where you can pootle around in boats and marvel at the clarity and color. Cala Soraya on the inhabited island of Spargi and Cala Coticcio on pristine Caprera are two of the best beaches in Italy. On the island of Budelli, there's even a real-life Robinson Crusoe in the form of Mauro, a septuagenarian who guards the shores of Spiaggia Rosa.
Sicily has great beaches which are family-friendly and go on for miles. In the north there are some wonderful stretches of sand outside Cefalu; quiet coves for families around Syracuse, down to the white sands petering into azure of the south-east tip; long beaches around Catania under the smoking peak of Etna. In the south-west, empty nature (and naturist) reserves around Menfi and Selinunte, an ancient Greek city dotted with Doric temples. Walk from Marinella Beach down to the Foce del Belice nature reserve for a view of the last undeveloped stretch of Sicilian coastline, where the sunset turns the sand red.