Looking to jet off somewhere warm? Whether it be a weekend escape or a week-long affair, here’s our pick of the best of European beach breaks
Words Annabel Fuller
Need a getaway but can’t decide where to go? Now you don’t have too, we’ve rounded up nine of the most gorgeous European beach breaks that make for an easy getaway when you need a dose of vitamin sea.
French Riviera, France
Stretching from Menton to Marsallies, this stylish escape has long been famed for its elegant disposition. Basking in year-round sunshine, the picturesque towns that line the French coastline are popular among tourists. While aristocratic Nice, artsy Antibes, A-list Cannes and glamorous St Tropez are ideal for a chic beach break, head offshore to Les Iles d’Or for respite from the crowds.
Cinque Terre, Italy
Located at the eastern end of the Italian Riviera is one of the country’s best beachside escapes. The mountainous Cinque Terre comprises five quaint fishing villages, all perched above the Mediterranean sea. Famous for its brightly coloured buildings, you’ll never want to leave this scenic wonder.
This Balearic paradise has year-long sunshine and idyllic beaches, perfect for any sunseeker. More subdued than the neighbouring Majorca and Ibiza, Menorca is the best place to indulge in Spanish luxury. Only two and a half hours from the UK, this sandy destination is ideal for a weekend in paradise.
While Iceland might not be the first place you think of for a beach break, there is no denying the beauty of the island’s rugged coastline. You won’t be bathing in crystal clear waters: the sand here is as dark as night. The black sand dotted with basalt columns makes for a unique beach getaway.
Home to one of Croatia’s most famous beaches, Zlatni Rat, this island deserves every accolade it gets. You won’t see celebrities and super yachts moored at this Adriatic island, allowing you to experience authentic Mediterranean island life. For those seeking more adventure, the island is within close proximity to Split. You won’t need to choose between a city and a beach break, here you can have both.
Hailed as one of Portugal’s most family-friendly destinations, the Algarve is also one of the busiest holiday hotspots. The large crowds make for a vibrant atmosphere with bars and restaurants buzzing into the small hours. With sunbeds available to hire, you can relax on the beach all day while enjoying the picturesque surroundings.
While Kefalonia is one of the less explored islands of Greece, it is certainly no less impressive. This paradise boasts crystal clear water, sandy beaches and year-round warm waters. Also, it’s less overrun by tourists allowing for a more authentic getaway.
Isle of Harris, Scotland
For a beach break closer to home, try Scotland’s Western Isles. More than 800 islands lie within reach of Scotland’s rugged coastline, but when it comes to beaches, the Isle of Harris may be the best. The isle’s gulf stream makes the waters surprisingly warm, making it popular with local surfers.
Turkey’s longest beach is also it’s most beautiful. This broad strip of shelving white sand meets warm shallows, making it ideal for a family getaway. Perched on a hillside, this sleepy seaside town provides lovely views towards the sandy curve of Patara and the sea beyond. The village centre, with its sparse restaurants and bars, is only a short walk away.