To pick the best beach in Europe is to stroll through a dealership full of Ferraris and Aston Martins trying to pick the best one. Each is uniquely jaw-dropping. White sand, cliffs plunging into waters of all shades of blue — it’s the imagination’s ice cream sundae. So from the South of France, to hidden Greek islands, to the Amalfi Coast, to the shores of Croatia, where are the best places to lay out on the sandy shores of Europe? We’ve rounded up the six best beaches in Europe.
1. Zlatni Rat, Brač, Croatia
Green forest meets white sand meets turquoise shallows meets azul deeper waters. The colors alone are enough. A small peninsula sticking out from the island of Brač into the Adriatic Sea, Zlatni Rat is also a great spot to launch a jet ski or do a little windsurfing. Or if you’re just looking to relax, you can catch some sun and then retreat to the shade at the edge of the forest.
2. Canal d’Amour, Sidari, Greece
Two rock outcroppings funnel light blue water to a small, secluded beach in the small coastal town of Sidari. It’s size and hidden location keep away all the negatives of the larger, more popular beaches in the region. For relaxing and dodging the crowds, it doesn’t get better.
3. Navagio Beach, Zakynthos, Greece
With massive cliffs jutting out into the Ionian Sea on either side, Navagio is quite a sight to see. Whether it’s the freighter that ran aground in the 1980’s at the center of the beach or the incredible views from the cliffs, this beach is distinct. It can only be accessed by boat, so be sure to line up the boat beforehand.
4. Monterosso al Mare, Cinque Terre, Italy
This beach looks like a place where James Bond would find the next Bond girl. With a brightly colored fishing village serving as a perfect background to the already picturesque scene, this place is truly something from a movie.
5. Praia Dos Galapinhos, Arrabida Natural Park, Setúbal, Portugal
This is the “untouched” beach on the list. The park’s forests come straight to the water’s edge and rocky outcroppings protect a series of white sand small beaches. Naturally, the water is a clear greenish blue that you’ve almost certainly never seen before.
6. Calanque d’En Vau, Cassis, France
Accessible only by boat or a two-hour rocky hike in, this beach is the most remote of the list. The effort is more than worth it. Dramatic rocky cliffs on either side, water that’s different shades of green and blue, and a small section of white sand make it unbeatable. A hike along the cliffs and then a dip down on the beach is the ultimate experience.