10 European Beaches to Rival Copacabana
The salty air, the sand between your toes, the promise of endless hours of R and R. Who doesn’t love the idea of a beach holiday somewhere fabulous? The good news is you don’t have to fly south of the equator to find paradise. Pack your togs, slap on some sunscreen, we’re whisking you away to 10 of Europe’s most beautiful beaches…
Caló des Moro, Mallorca
Psst…as Mallorcan beaches go, the tiny Caló des Moro is something of a local secret. Measuring just 40 metres, the secluded cove is a popular spot for divers and snorkellers. And who could blame them for wanting to explore its Tiffany-blue waters? Expect a bit of a trek to get to the beach – a winding path and rocky flight of steps takes you down to the sand, but the reward that awaits makes all the extra effort completely worth your while.
Praia da Cova Redonda, Algarve
Tucked away in a small rocky bay to the west of the Algarve’s Armacao de Pêra, Praia da Cova Redonda is beachy perfection, and then some. With its amber-coloured rock formations and dramatic cliffs, the beach is considered to be one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in Europe. If you’re after a unique souvenir, take your pick from the selection of seashells scattered all along the shore.
Mondello Beach, Sicily
Music throbs from seafront cafés, sun worshippers sprawl out on the sizzling sand and pedal boats bob on water so blue, it’s almost fluorescent. Welcome to Mondello Beach, Palermo’s answer to Copacabana. Sandwiched between Mount Pellegrino and Mount Gallo, the lively Mondello Beach is just a short hop from the Sicilian capital and is a favourite with locals, families and day-trippers looking for some good old-fashioned fun in the sun.
Playa Sa Caleta, Ibiza
White Isle parties got the better of you? Never fear, the soothing surroundings of Playa Sa Caleta will have you back on track in no time. Lie back, work on your tan and let the calming sound of the sea wash away all the excesses of the night before. Located just a 10-minute drive from the pounding bars of Playa d’en Bossa, Playa Sa Caleta is an oasis of peace and tranquillity – the perfect spot to experience the ‘other’ side of Ibiza.
Rodas Beach, Vigo
Who needs far flung beaches when you’ve got Spain’s stunning Cíes Islands? Located off the coast of Vigo, this archipelago is made up of three islands and is regarded as one of the country’s most beautiful national parks. Take the plunge in the crystal clear waters of the Vigo estuary, swim with the local arroaces (native dolphins) and enjoy all the best bits of an exotic holiday with none of the jet lag.
Every summer, sun seekers flock from from far and wide to nab a spot on Palanga’s 10km stretch of sandy coastline. With its pine fringed sand dunes, party-mad promenade and pretty seaside charm it’s easy to see why this Baltic Sea resort is such a big hit with holidaymakers. Don’t miss the spectacular sunsets from the pier.
Grande Plage, Biarritz
Surf boards at the ready, epic Atlantic breakers await on Biarritz’s Basque coast. Located right in the heart of the city, close to cafes, bars and restaurants, The Grande Plage is the life and soul of Biarritz. Although popular with sunbathers in the summer months, surfing is a year round activity here. The sport has been going strong on Biarritz’s shores since 1957, when international surfers began tackling the swells on the nearby Plage de la Côte des Basques.
Balos Beach, Crete
Call off the search, Balos beach on the west coast of Crete is EVERYTHING. Pinky-white sand and turquoise pools dot the landscape from the Gramvousa Peninsula to the headland of Cape Tigani, while a medieval fortress keeps watch from the neighbouring island of Gramvousa. For 360-degree views of the lagoon it’s worth booking a mini cruise from the nearby port of Kissamos.
Nicknamed the ‘Maldives of Puglia,’ Pescoluse is all sugar-soft sands and heavenly blue waters. Its scenic location on the Salento Peninsula, where the Adriatic Sea merges with the Ionian makes it the ideal spot for early morning jogs and sunset strolls. Sandy coves, rocky cliffs as well as beautiful local flora – white lilies and acacia trees add to the dreamy backdrop. If you can bear to drag yourself away, an excellent local transport system provides easy access to larger towns such as Finis Terrae and Santa Maria di Leuca.
Maspalomas Beach, Gran Canaria
Golden, desert-like sand dunes, camel rides, jet skis and sizzling temperatures, what more could you want from a day at the beach? Best of all, Gran Canaria’s mild climate means that even in the winter months the sea is warm enough for swimming. Eat your heart out Rio.
Got your own favourite beach to add to the list? Leave a comment, we’d love to hear from you!