The Best Beach Holidays in Europe
Sun, sea and sand in Europe – what else could you want?
Combining the incredibly varied continent of Europe with sun, sea and sand? That makes for a perfect holiday, in our humble opinion. We know that you like the best of the best, so we’ve assembled the top notch beach holidays in Europe for you. Whether you’re keen on crab fishing in Cornwall or wearing your chicest beach outfit in Sorrento, there’s something for every taste here. And of course, Plum Guide has such thoughtfully curated homes that you’re all but guaranteed an incredible trip.
Before you keep scrolling at this suggestion, let us talk you round. We know you’re not 19 anymore and that Mykonos has a party reputation, but we promise you, you’ll love it here. As well as the ever-present spraying of champagne, this popular Greek island has stunning scenery and some of the most beautiful accommodation in Greece.
You work hard at your boring office job to pay for holidays like this one – don’t you deserve to let loose once in a while? Paradise and Super Paradise beaches are famous for their social scenes, so throw on your skimpiest swimwear and get stuck in. Psarou and Paraga are slightly more relaxed, and are great options for the kind of day-to-night party that Mykonos does so well. Just don’t forget to bring painkillers for the inevitable hangover – as we said, we all know you’re not that young anymore.
Sorrento is where Italians go on holiday. The nearby Amalfi coast might be more popular with tourists, but trust us when we say that Sorrento is where the most knowledgeable visitors stay. It’s even been featured in songs by famous Italian crooners Mario Lanza, Luciano Pavarotti and Andrea Bocelli.
Italy is famous for its beach clubs, and Sorrento is no exception. After exploring the ancient town centre, laid out on the original Roman road grid of narrow lanes, head to a striped sun lounger next to an ocean so blue it looks fake. Sunbathe until aperitivo time, then watch the sunset with a Campari spritz in hand. All makes for a pretty perfect beach holiday in Europe, if you ask us.
You might not peg Mallorca as being a European beach holiday destination worth your time, but it's undergone a renaissance in recent years. Characterful and charming, you’ll fall in love with the town as soon as you catch sight of the exceptionally tall palm trees here. The town of Palma is blessed with Moorish architecture and a relaxed, funky vibe – you’ll probably get the urge to wear those flared hippy trousers you haven’t pulled out since your university days.
The beaches themselves are wide and sweeping, with golden sand. Expect water so turquoise that it will put you in mind of a swimming pool rather than the ocean, with crystal clear waves lapping at the shoreline. With flawless weather and the whole day stretching before you, we suggest you grab your favourite book and a bottle of sunscreen and settle in for the long haul.
Who said that a beach holiday in Europe had to be sunny? If you don’t mind the odd grey day (this is England, after all), Cornwall is a delight. The small towns here are charming and old-fashioned – expect shops selling fudge, seagulls squawking over fishing boats coming into the harbour and the smell of frying fish and chips enticing you to go out for dinner tonight.
Cornish beaches might not have white sand and turquoise water, but the dramatic scenery here is some of the most beautiful in the world. Cliffs, caves, wide open stretches of sand and tales of shipwrecks and pirate gold make this a destination to return to.
Dubrovnik is the heady combination of Game of Thrones, a gorgeous Mediterranean town and stunning beaches. If your kids can hum the GoT theme tune at the drop of a hat (and we bet they can) then you won’t even need to bribe them to get off their iPads to come and explore the city with you. Dubrovnik was a major filming location for the show, and you too will feel as though you belong on the Iron Throne once you’ve stayed in a Plum Guide property here.
Perched at the southern tip of the country, Dubrovnik looks out over the Adriatic sea. Its cobbled streets, old defensive city walls and centuries-old architecture make it quite the place to up your cultural knowledge.
We all know you prefer sea and sand as opposed to old churches, though. Nearby Banje and Lapad beaches have the white sand of your dreams, without the heaving tourist crowds of many more heavily name dropped places. This is the kind of beach you dream about in the dead of January, so bring your best bathing suit, pull up a towel and get ready for a dip.