5 awesome European beaches to visit this summer

  Croatia's beautiful Zlatni Rat beach. Image credit:  Nikolaj Potanin / Creative Commons

Croatia's beautiful Zlatni Rat beach. Image credit: Nikolaj Potanin/Creative Commons

With thousands of miles of golden sands, blue seas and sweeping natural landscapes good enough to compete with rival destinations, it’s no surprise that Europe’s beaches are popular during the warmer months.

If you’re yet to discover some of the continent’s coastal gems, then check out this list to find inspiration for your next summer beach break.

Zlatni Rat – Brac, Croatia

  An aerial shot of the incredible Zlatni Rat beach in Brac. Image credit:  Szabolcs Emich / Creative Commons

An aerial shot of the incredible Zlatni Rat beach in Brac. Image credit: Szabolcs Emich/Creative Commons

The beach on Brac Island might be made up of tiny white pebbles as well as soft white sand, but the Golden Cape, as Zlatni Rat is often called, is just as mesmerising as any Caribbean location.

Nestled in a protected natural area, the beach juts out over half a kilometre into the sea creating a rounded point perfect to pitch up on for a spot of sunbathing. With a pine grove backdrop, the glorious sand is surrounded by the clear waters of the Adriatic Sea.

Paris Plage – Paris, France

  Each year a section of the River Seine's embankment is transformed into a city centre beach in Paris. Image credit:  François-Digital / Creative Commons

Each year a section of the River Seine's embankment is transformed into a city centre beach in Paris. Image credit: François-Digital/Creative Commons

France is blessed with beaches on its rugged north shore, varied Atlantic coast and sunny Riviera, but one of its most notable beaches is found in the city of Paris.

Every summer, 5,000 tons of sand and a host of palm trees transform the banks of the River Seine into a stretch of city beach complete with deck chairs, ice cream vendors and swimming pools. Paris tends to be a little quieter in August as many Parisians head out of the city for their holidays, making it the perfect time to see the sights and enjoy a Seine-side holiday.

Praia da Rocha – Lagos, Portugal

  The Algarve's rocky Praia da Rocha beach is certainly worth visiting. Image credit:  Mechel / Creative Commons

The Algarve's rocky Praia da Rocha beach is certainly worth visiting. Image credit: Mechel/Creative Commons

Praia da Rocha is a busy resort in Portugal’s Algarve region, and deservedly so. The waters along this Atlantic coast may not be as warm as its Mediterranean counterparts, but it boasts beautiful sandy beaches fringed with picturesque, golden sandstone cliffs. The cliffs shelter small, secluded coves, arches and caves, perfect for exploring or as a quiet hideaway.

The sands of Praia da Rocha stretch for the length of the town and are joined by a promenade complete with numerous bars, restaurants and cafes.

Nissi Beach – Ayia Napa, Cyprus

  Ayia Napa may be known for its party scene, but this Cypriot resort is also home to one of Europe's finest beaches. Image credit:  CTO Zurich / Creative Commons

Ayia Napa may be known for its party scene, but this Cypriot resort is also home to one of Europe's finest beaches. Image credit: CTO Zurich/Creative Commons

If you prefer your beaches to be lively, then Cyprus’ Nissi Beach is for you. This Blue Flag stretch of coast features an arc of pearl-white sand that gives way to the warm, Mediterranean Sea.

Behind the beach are little side streets dotted with picturesque gardens and authentic Greek tavernas which serve up locally caught seafood, as well as a handful of souvenir shops and supermarkets.

Costa Smeralda – Sardinia, Italy

  Peaceful and picturesque, head down to the Costa Smeralda to soak up some sun and go for a paddle. Image credit:  Andreas Issleib / Creative Commons

Peaceful and picturesque, head down to the Costa Smeralda to soak up some sun and go for a paddle. Image credit: Andreas Issleib/Creative Commons

Nicknamed ‘the Emerald Coast’ due to its shimmering green waters, Costa Smeralda is one of Italy’s most famous seaside locations, stretching for 10 kilometres between the bay of Arzachena and the Gulf of Cugnana on Sardinia’s northeast coast.

Comprising of a series of picture-perfect bays which are sheltered by rocky headlands, the Costa Smeralda is a paradise full of glitzy resorts. The main town of Porto Cervo is home to a plethora of upscale hotels and shops and welcomes a host of super yachts and jet setters who flock there each summer.