There is nothing quite like escaping the stresses of daily life and going to the beach to unwind, recharge and ground us back to natural beauty. Whilst the beaches of our wildest dreams are likely to include the widely photographed sands of Bali, Maldives and the Caribbean islands, we wanted to show you the unique and beautiful beaches that Europe has to offer.
Here is a list of 7 beautiful European beaches – each with their own unusual and stunning qualities that will have you desperate to put them on your bucket list:
ELAFONISSI BEACH/BALOS BEACH
Considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Elafonissi beach – located on the Greek island of Crete – should be at the top of every beach lover’s wish list. Consisting of an islet surrounded by both pink and white sand, Elafonissi can usually be reached on foot, as the crystal-clear waters here are so shallow; which also makes for a very safe environment for families to relax and paddle.
VIK BLACK SAND BEACH
Legend has it that the famous Reynisgranger stacks at the Vik Black Sand Beach came about after two trolls were turned to stone by the daylight while trying to drag a ship to shore. Trolls or not, these stacks make for an impressive sight, as do the deeply black pebbles that line this beach. Best reached by car or through part of a tour, extra care must be taken on this beach as the currents here are very strong and can be unpredictable at times. Be sure to bring your camera as the area is home to a host of wildlife including puffins and guillemots.
Also known as Shipwreck Cove due to the shipwrecked boat that sits on its sands, Navagio beach in Zakynthos is not only beautiful, but the fact it can only be reached by boat makes this beach feel all the more special. Every day numerous boat tours visit this hidden paradise, which is by far Greece’s most photogenic beach. Just be sure to bring plenty of your own amenities such as food, drink and sun protection as there is nothing available once you get there.
Located near Logoa in the Algarve, Praia da Marinha is widely considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Portugal. Best accessed by car, simply park up and take in the stunning views from the cliffs that surround these white-gold sands. Then it’s just a short walk down the stairs to the beach. Although not the biggest beach in the Algarve, and despite its popularity, it’s still relatively easy to find a good spot. The earlier you arrive, the best spot you’ll get though! Remember to bring your own snorkelling mask, as the crystal-clear water here is perfect for spotting local marine life.
Beautiful and dangerous in equal measures, the Red Beach in Akrotiri, Santorini is not meant to be open to the general public due the danger of landslides, yet it’s sheer beauty and uniqueness mean that visitors still flock to this beach every year. Surrounded by deep-red, almost black cliffs, the sands below are a bright, scarlet colour and all surrounded by crystal waters that are spectacular for swimming and snorkelling in. Stay nearby in one of the island’s iconic whitewashed homes for the true Greek experience.
LAS TERESITAS BEACH
Unlike some of the other beaches on this list, Las Teresitas beach in Tenerife is packed with local amenities, making it a wonderful place to visit with the family. Not only are there lots of local bars and restaurants, but there are also showers and easy access for prams. Even better, the unique man-built reef has really calmed the waters on this beach making it incredibly still and safe for swimming. There are lots of whales and dolphins that frequent near the waters at the beach too, so be sure to book on a wildlife sightseeing boat tour.
ZLATNI RAT, BRAČ
Zlatni Rat is unusual in the fact that this sunning beach is constantly changing due to the wind, waves and sea currents beside it. Originally created by pebbles that caught on the reef under the water here, the beach is now a protected natural area. During summer months, you’ll find a tourist train that will take visitors to the beach, but it’s also accessible by car or a short 20-minute walk along the beach. Due to the currents here, the beach is particularly popular for water sports such as surfing, windsurfing and kite-surfing.