Nothing beats a European summer!
The beautiful Mediterranean, Atlantic, Aegean and Adriatic seas spoil the coastlines of many countries in Europe with crystal clear ocean, incredible rock formations, spectacular sunshine and mindblowing sunsets.
From Portugal to Turkey, there is no shortage of breathtaking beaches on offer in Europe.
Thankfully summer in Europe is not cancelled.
Here is a round-up of 12 of the best beaches in all of Europe to get you inspired and excited to travel through Europe this summer.
1. Apella Beach - Karpathos Island, Greece
Apella Beach comes in at number 1. This beach on the lesser-known island of Karpathos is simply outstanding.
Karpathos Island is a Greek Island in the Dodecanese group of islands in the Aegean Sea near Turkey.
Karpathos is a land of dramatic mountains, pine trees and incredible rocky beaches with the bluest water you will ever see.
While all the beaches on Karpathos are outstanding, Apella takes the cake as being the best. The drive to get there is mountainous and winding but once you come around a bend you will be spoiled with an aerial view of the beach below.
The beach is pebbled and you do have the option to hire loungers and umbrellas. Spend the day swimming and jumping off rocks into the crystal clear warm ocean.
Apart from one restaurant, there are no other amenities or properties around so the beach feels isolated and very much in nature.
To get to Apella beach you have to drive for around an hour, so it is best to pack everything you need for a full day. Hiring a car is the best way to reach Apella.
2. Filikurit Beach - Himara, Albania
Coming in at number 2 is the incredible Filikurit beach in the small seaside town of Himara in Albania. You almost certainly have never heard of this beach, it truly is the hidden jewel of the Balkans.
Himara is an incredible holiday town in Albania that is home to plenty of incredible beaches on the Adriatic Sea. There are candy floss sunsets every night, amazing food and great vibes. The beach of Filikurit however, is what makes Himara truly special.
This beach is a couple of kilometres outside of Himara on the Albanian Riviera and it is a secret! It is only accessible via boat or by hiking through unmarked terrain and scaling a cliff. Climbing down from the top is recommended at least once purely for the view.
The beach is pebbled, has bright blue water, caves and dramatic rock formations. There is freezing cold spring water that runs from the cliffs into the pebbles and mixes in the warm ocean. This allows you to dig holes in the pebbles and create pools of cold water to keep your food and drinks nice and cold for the day!
Pick up some inflatables from the market in Himara, pack a day's worth of food and drink and head off to one of the most incredible beaches in Europe.
You can arrange with a local to drive you over in their boat. Otherwise, you can hire a kayak or pedal boat for the day. If you decide to hike, find a local who can show you the way.
To reach Himara you can take a bus from Tirana or Athens in Greece. You can also get to Himara from the island of Corfu by ferry. It is worth every effort to reach this incredible beach.
3. The Blue Lagoon - Comino Island, Malta
While the Blue Lagoon in Malta isn’t technically a beach, it is definitely a must-visit spot for your European summer.
Malta is a tiny island in the Mediterranean sea. It is small but has one epic coastline and a lot of medieval history.
The Blue Lagoon is located on the nearby island of Comino. You can only reach the Blue Lagoon via boat. You can do this as a day tour or you can hire your own boat. During summer this place is absolutely jam-packed so it is best to go very early in the morning in high season or visit in the shoulder season months of April-May and September-October.
The boat ride itself to the Blue Lagoon is beautiful as you get an epic view of the beautiful city of Valletta on the way out.
The Blue Lagoon is magical. The water is extremely BLUE and clear. The waters are calm, warm and you can spot little fishes everywhere you look.
You can hire chairs and umbrellas and perch yourself up on some rocks for the day, taking dips when it gets too hot.
4. Praia do Comino- Lagos Portugal
Lagos is a beautiful beachside town in the Algarve region of Portugal. It is home to a beautiful coastline of stunning coves and cliffs on the cool Atlantic ocean.
One of the best beach coves in Lagos is Praia do Camilo. It is a small cove down a long staircase. This beach is sheltered and has beautiful calm waters along with incredible caves and rock formations to swim amongst.
To reach Praia do Camilo you can either walk along the beautiful coastline from Lagos or take a short taxi ride.
If you continue to walk around the coastline towards the Ponta da Piedade lighthouse you will be able to spot more secluded and hidden coves you can climb down such as Praia da Balanca.
The view of the rocks and caves coming out from the ocean all along the coastline in Lagos is simply spectacular. Make sure you rise early one morning to enjoy an epic sunrise on this east-facing coastline.
5. Papafragas Beach- Milos, Greece
Milos is a beautiful island in the Cyclades in Greece. This island is small, charming and gives off authentic Greek Island vibes with quaint white towns and epic cuisine. Not to mention it is home to one of the best Greek Island sunsets you will find outside of Oia.
Milos also has some seriously stunning beaches. They are so stunning that Milos features 3 beaches on this list!
The first beach is Papafragas which is a tiny cove near the fishing village of Pollonia on the north side of the island. This spectacular cove is wedged between two cliffs. You have to do some rock climbing to reach the beach and if you are lucky you will have the place all to yourself.
Papafragas has beautiful blue water and caves you can swim out to and explore.
6. Firopotamas- Milos, Greece
The second beach in Milos that makes the list is Firopotamas beach. This beach is on the doorstep of a beautiful small fishing village, very near the main town of Adamantas.
The incredible white and blue buildings falling into the crystal clear waters will make you feel like you are inside a Greek Island fantasy.
Spend some time exploring the village before relaxing on the beautiful pebbled beach where you can admire the dramatic cliffs and fishing village.
7. Sarakiniko- Milos, Greece
Sarakiniko beach is the 3rd and most famous beach on Milos Island. Visiting this unique beach should be high on your bucket list!
Sarakiniko beach is formed out of strange clay rocks. Walking there feels like you are walking on the moon. There is a small beach you can lay on and swim in the ocean. Otherwise, you can walk around and explore the incredible rocks.
You can jump into water holes and off small cliffs into the clear blue sea. Sarakiniko is a fun adventure and is unforgettable.
Always check the direction of the wind before heading to Sarakiniko as it is exposed so on a windy day is not a good place to visit. If you have been to the Greek Islands before you will know it can get very windy!
All of these beaches mentioned on Milos Island can all be visited easily in a single day. They are all accessible by car (unlike other beaches on Milos) and are near the main villages of Adamantas and Plaka. Just hire a car and go for a beach hopping ride for a day (or two!).
8. Cala Macarella & Macarelleta- Menorca Island, Spain
Menorca is a small island in the Balearic islands, near it’s more well-known counterparts Mallorca and Ibiza. Menorca is smaller, with fewer crowds and is more authentically Spanish.
There are a number of incredible beaches to explore all around the Island but the ones that are the most special are Cala Macarella & Macarelleta. These two beaches are beautiful secluded coves on the south coast of the island near the town of Ciutadella.
They are both in beautiful bays with bright blue and turquoise ocean and surrounded by rocks and trees. The two bays are separated by a short trail which takes you up and around the cliff, giving insane views of both beaches.
These beaches are isolated and require you to take a decent drive from Ciutadella. It is best to hire a car or scooter to reach the beaches and go as early as you can to get a spot in the car park. There are buses but they are infrequent and not very convenient!
There is a restaurant and bar next to Cala Macarella so while it is a good idea to pack your own food you can also refresh yourself while you are there!
9. Monterosso al Mare- Cinque Terre, Italy
Monterosso al Mare is one of the five villages of Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera in the region of Liguria. Each colourful village has a charm of its own and are easy to visit by train or boat.
Monterosso has incredible food, beautiful buildings and genuine locals. Plus it has one of the best beaches Italy has to offer. Get your fix of culture and sun at this vibrant beach.
The Monterosso beach has beautiful blue ocean, incredible views and of course the signature orange umbrellas. Spending a day at this beach is a day well spent! Arrive early, hire a lounger and set yourself up for a day soaking up the beautiful Italian sun.
End the day by cooling off with a refreshing Aperol Spritz and delicious local cuisine.
What more could you want from a summer in Europe?
10. Elafonisi Beach - Crete Island, Greece
Crete is the third Greek island to appear on this list. Unsurprisingly as Greece is home to the most amazing beaches in Europe!
Crete is the largest of the Greek Islands and is almost like a small country in itself. It has epic Greek culture and food, quaint seaside villages like Chania, beautiful mountains and of course incredible beaches.
One of the best beaches on the island is Elafonisi Beach which is famous for its pink sand. And yes the sand is really pink! This beach has beautiful stretches of sand and blue lagoons to relax the day away.
Hire a car and go for an adventure through the treacherous and mountainous roads from Chania to reach this unique beach.
11. Cala Goloritzé - Sardinia, Italy
Cala Goloritze is a beautiful beach on the Italian island of Sardinia. Located to the west of mainland Italy, this paradise island is famous for its untouched beaches with crystal clear turquoise waters, breathtaking mountains and charming towns.
Cala Goloritze is one of the best beaches on this island, even though they are all amazing! Cala Goloritze is more isolated and harder to reach which means there are fewer people and less infrastructure, making this an untouched paradise.
This cove is very unique and is famous for its huge 143-meter tall limestone pinnacle which rises above the cove. It is also protected which means boats need to stay at least 200 meters from the shore. This makes for a beautiful view of the beach as you arrive and one special swim to shore.
This beach is located on the east side of the island, in the middle. The best way to reach the beach is to hire a car and drive to the nearby town of Cala Gonone. To get to the beach you either need to hire a boat to take you there or hike for 4.5 kilometres.
There are many other spectacular beaches on this part of the coastline on the Gulf of Orosei. Other beaches include Cala Luna, Cala Mariolu and Grotta del Bue Marino.
12. Butterfly Valley- Turkey
Butterfly Valley is an incredible beach on the Turquoise Coast of Turkey. It is wedged between a towering valley of mountains and complete with a hippie campsite.
Butterfly Valley is located near the popular tourist destination of Oludeniz and is a must-stop for people exploring the beautiful area of Fethiye.
This beach will leave you speechless! The valley is a green oasis surrounded by steep vertical cliffs and beautiful blue ocean. There is even a waterfall at the end of the valley. It is also home to many butterflies which, if you go at the right time of year you should be able to spot.
The best way to get to Butterfly Valley is to take a boat trip from Oludeniz. There is a shuttle boat service that runs every day from Oludeniz.
Alternatively, you could go on a multi-day cruise through this region of Turkey which will take you to this incredible beach. Alaturka Blue Cruises offers incredible 4-day trips from Fethiye to Antalya through the Turquoise coast. You will be spoiled with even more beautiful beaches, caves, ancient ruins and quaint beachside villages.
If you are up for an adventure and some sweet views you can go to the town of Faralya from Fethiye or Oludeniz. Faralya is above the valley, and from here you can hike to a viewpoint for the best views of the valley and beach.
There you have a round-up of 12 of the most breathtaking beaches in Europe.
Europe as a continent is spoiled with an outstanding coastline. There is no shortage of beaches that will leave you speechless.
It is always the places that are the hardest to get to that will give you the most rewards.
So get ready for an adventure and to see some of the most beautiful beaches in the world for your next European summer escape!