Europe's beautiful beaches
Nothing quite sums up the image of a holiday quite like relaxing and sunning yourself on a golden, sandy beach. There are thousands of brilliant beach options in Europe, suitable for everything from laid-back, chillout trips, or active and outdoorsy adventure holidays. Here are some of our favourites.
The world’s most popular tourist destination can lay claim to some of the continent’s most spectacular coastline. While France’s south coast may be more famous, there are plenty of beautiful beaches to be found on the north coast too.
Le Touquet-Paris-Plage, Nord Pas de Calais
One of the best ways to discover a country’s best-kept secrets is to see where its citizens travel on their holidays. Le Touquet is famously a honeypot for rich Parisians and other French holidaymakers, and one of the most elegant beaches in northern France. Offering a unique coastal holiday for families, attractions at Le Touquet include horse-rides on the beach and more.
Plage de Meneham, Brittany
One for those who like to travel with motorhomes and caravans, Plage de Meneham is a wholesome, family destination which has brilliant coastal walks and outdoor activities available all year round. Home to some of the whitest sand beaches in France, a visit in the summer will let you get out and about and explore this gorgeous region and rugged coastline.
Despite being close in proximity to St Tropez, this region is a million miles away from the decadence of its rich neighbour. You won’t see any celebrities, but you’ll be able to enjoy a break here without the excessive prices you’d expect to see in the south of France. Diving is a popular pastime here, with smaller, more private beaches to be found further along the coast. There are also family-friendly campsites available with spectacular views of the Maures Mountains.
Wissant, Cote d’Opale
One of the best beaches on the Cote d’Opale, on France’s northern coastline, Wissant is a long, thin strip of beach with golden sands and surrounded by dunes. The sea is also particularly blue at this point of the coast, which is popular with both surfers and families. Wissant has plenty of history, too, as it is the beach from which Julius Caesar set sail to try and conquer Britain in ancient times.
Home to a number of long, sweeping beaches on its northern coast, Holland is an excellent destination for a family beach holiday, particularly if combined with camping or outdoor activities.
Scheveningen, Den Haag
Scheveningen is the most famous beach resort in all of the Netherlands, a lively and popular beach surrounded by idyllic countryside and walking routes. Scheveningen is also home to a large pier, with a 60 metre lookout point which you can bungee-jump from! Den Haag is known as the Royal City by the Sea, and has been the home of the Dutch royal family for generations. Hey, if it’s good enough for royalty…
Zandvoort aan Zee, Zandvoort
Zandvoort aan Zee is to the Dutch what Brighton Beach is to the British, a large, popular seaside resort which is easily accessible and suitable for families, groups of friends, couples and just about anyone else! Check out the dunes surrounding the beach, or partake in any of the outdoor activities available at Zandvoort aan Zee, including everything from surfing to soccer. Alternatively, head to the neighbouring Bloemendaal aan Zee for a trendier beach experience, with bars and clubs on the seaside.
Certainly not your first thought when you’re thinking of a destination for a beach holiday, Belgium has a number of pretty, clean beaches which won’t be overrun by tourists, even in the summer!
De Panne, Flanders
Located in the spot where the North Sea and the Belgian countryside meet is De Panne, the pearl of the Flemish coast. The ideal destination for a break in the great outdoors, De Panne is surrounded by beautiful countryside, perfect for exploring on foot or by bike, or for camping out underneath the stars.
Blankenberge Beach, Blankenberge
The closest you’ll get to a Spanish beach in Belgium, Blankenberge beach is part of the larger Blankenberge region which is a popular tourist destination for Belgians in the summer. With plenty to do for families, but also a buzzing and vibrant nightlife for younger travellers, Blankenberge is one of Europe’s best-kept secrets when it comes to beach getaways.
Germany’s northern coastline has many unspoiled and rugged beaches, with long stretches of sand often located around fairly spectacular and rugged scenery.
Sylt, a small island just off Germany’s northern coast is referred to by locals as the Queen of the North Sea. There are nearly 40km of beach on the west coast of the island, so you’re sure to find a spot which suits you, but Wenningstedt is the best-suited for families and tourists. With a wide expanse of sand for you to enjoy, it’s also suitable for beach sports or a kick-about!
Part of Germany’s Baltic coastline, Warnemunde is a seaside resort and beach town which is popular with tourists for sailing. Its large beaches are popular with tourists, and with temperatures reaching over 20°C in the summer, it’s a great location for a family beach trip. The town of Warnemunde is also a great destination in its own right, with plenty of history and things to do for visitors, such as Edvard Munch House, where the famous painter lived in the early 1900s.
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