; Skip to Content

13 Best Cities in Europe with Beaches [Surprising Beach Cities]

With so many beautiful European cities, it can be difficult to narrow the list to the best and most interesting ones to visit. While there are many wonderful cities in Europe to explore, some of the best cities in Europe to visit and travel to are those that are near beaches and the other natural attractions that Europe has to offer. It makes me wonder, what are the best beach cities in Europe?

The 13 best cities in Europe with beaches are Barcelona, Venice, Taormina, Lisbon, Nice, Dubrovnik, Athens, Florence, St Tropez, Mykonos, Algarve, Costa del Sol, and Santorini. These cities have fantastic beaches and interesting things to do within city limits.

The beaches in Europe are infamous for being some of the most gorgeous in the world. However, this beauty can sometimes surprise travelers who are used to tropical beaches in the Caribbean and Hawaii. The beaches in Europe aren’t known for their sand as much as they are for their beautiful water

Cities in Europe with Beaches

-Beaches in Europe aren’t known for their sunbathing or swimming as much as they are for their scenery and being some of the most beautiful in the world.

– From the Mediterranean to the Aegean Sea, there are many different types of beaches in Europe, from rocky to sandy to pebbled.

-The sea is crystal clear and perfect for swimming or snorkeling.

-The beaches in Europe were some of the first to be recognized as tourist hot spots due to their beauty.

In this article, I’ll cover 13 of the best cities with beaches in Europe, starting with criteria with which we can try and spot the differences and trade-offs between each city and beach. Naturally, we’ll start the criteria with the beach attributes! Keep reading. You won’t want to miss it.

shoreline beaches and coast with outdoors cafe is common in Europe

Criteria for Choosing a Beach Vacation City in Europe

Europeans love beaches. They’re not just places to sunbathe and swim; they’re destinations where Europeans go to relax, unwind, and escape the stress of everyday life. 

If you are traveling from outside of Europe to find the perfect beach vacation city in Europe, consider these criteria with a focus on the cities that have beaches. Consider these criteria as a way of evaluating the European beach and city: 

The Beach Situation 

1. Type of Beach

Beaches are an essential part of any holiday location. If you’re going somewhere warm, you’ll probably want to consider a coastal city, and if you’re going somewhere cold, you’ll probably prefer a city with a coastline.

2. Beach Vibe

 Sometimes just as important is the beach vibe you can get from the place you visit on vacation. The European beach vibe is a bit different from the Californian beach vibe and worth experiencing. 

3. Good Weather

Weather is very important for tourism. It’s something people want to see. In addition, they want to enjoy their holidays without worrying about bad weather conditions.

Europe beaches boast shoreline nature sea and outdoors

Plenty Of Hotels & Restaurants Close By – Beach and City

4. Food – Plenty of Restaurants and Choice

One of the joys of traveling abroad is experiencing the different cuisine of the country you are visiting. Spend a day at the beach and then finish the day having dinner with local cuisine.

5. Cost – Inexpensive Options for Food and Sightseeing

Cost is an important factor. You may not be able to afford every country in Europe, but you can probably afford to travel to some.

Some cities in Europe are cheaper than others. For example, Paris is expensive, London is cheap, and Rome is average.

6. Affordable Accommodation

Accommodation costs are another consideration when selecting a destination. Hotels in cities with cheap accommodation tend to be popular among tourists.



7. Safety

Safety is an essential factor when choosing a place to spend your holidays. Cities with low crime rates are preferred. They are also considered safer than those with higher levels of crime.

Things to Do in The City

8. Nightlife

If you’re going on holiday with your partner, you’ll want to ensure you enjoy yourself. Cities like Ibiza, Cannes, Nice, and Marbella have the best nightlife scenes.

9. Shopping

Shopping is another important aspect of a good holiday experience. You can shop everywhere, whether you’re looking for souvenirs or clothing.

Europe offers a variety of shopping opportunities. There are so many shops in Lisbon, Madrid, Milan, and Athens that you could spend weeks browsing them.

beach towns in Portugal show beautiful coast and water

10. Historical Sights

Sometimes relaxing off the beach can be refreshing. European cities offer many historical sights and experiences, from Roman ruins to medieval historic places. It’s not for everyone, but for those who are into history, it’s a plus.

When planning a beach vacation, there are many factors to consider. One of the most important is cost. Some destinations are more expensive than others.

Top Picks With Criteria – 13 Best Cities in Europe with Beaches

The cities are Barcelona, Venice, Taormina, Lisbon, Nice, Dubrovnik, Athens, Florence, St Tropez, Mykonos, Algarve, Costa del Sol, and Santorini.

Using the criteria listed above as a reference, let’s further dive into these places for a spectacular beach vacation to Europe. I’ll point out some things about the city and the beaches that make it a great choice.

1 – Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona has been voted one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.

It’s no wonder why.

Barcelona is a perfect destination for those seeking relaxation and adventure with its gorgeous coastline and Mediterranean climate.

There are plenty of things to do in Barcelona, such as visiting museums, shopping, eating out, and enjoying the city’s nightlife.

Barcelona is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. It’s no wonder, with its beautiful weather, stunning architecture, and delicious food. But did you know that Barcelona has some of the best beaches in Europe?

Barcelona has three main beaches: Barceloneta Beach, Port Olimpic Beach, and Platja de la Mar Bella Beach. Each offers something unique.

*Barceloneta Beach is located right next to the city center. It’s very close to the famous La Rambla street, perfect for tourists who want to explore the city.

*Port Olimpic Beach is located near the Olympic Village. It’s a bit farther away from the city center than Barceloneta Beach. However, it’s still very accessible.

*Platja de la Mar Bella is located about 15 minutes away from the city center. It is the largest beach in Barcelona. It’s home to many restaurants and bars.


best beach cities in Italy with a beach and shoreline

2 – Venice, Italy

Venice is another beautiful Italian city located on the Adriatic Sea.

This picturesque city offers visitors an array of attractions, including gondolas, canals, and colorful buildings. Venice is also famous for its annual carnival celebration, featuring parades, fireworks, and street performers.

– Murano Island Beach – This beach is located at the northern tip of the Venetian Lagoon. It is the closest beach to the center of the city. It is a popular spot for tourists who want to see the sights of Venice while relaxing on the sand.

– San Marco Beach – Located near St. Mark’s Square, this beach is known for its views of the Grand Canal. It is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

– Lido Beach – This is the largest beach in Venice. It is a popular area for tourists.

-Punta Sabbioni Beach is located in the northern part of the city. It’s a small beach with a lot of rocks. It’s perfect for those looking to relax.

-San Giorgio Island Beach is located in the southern part of the city. There are many restaurants and shops here. It’s a busy place, so expect crowds.

-Lido di Jesolo, a popular tourist beach, is 45 km away and offers full beach amenities. 

3 – Taormina, Sicily, Italy

Taormina is located on the eastern coast of Sicily, Italy. This beautiful city has been called “the pearl of the Mediterranean.” The beaches here are some of the most popular in all of Europe. There are several different types of beaches in this area, including pebbly beaches, rocky beaches, sandy beaches, and white sand beaches.

– Pebbly beaches are small and flat and are ideal for swimming.

– Rocky beaches are large, and jagged rocks create a dangerous environment.

Sandy beaches are very wide and shallow, making them good for families.

– The city of Taormina itself is known for its historical sites, such as the Greek Temple, Roman Theater, and Medieval Castle.

– The town was once home to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who built temples and palaces here.

– The ruins of these structures can still be seen today.

4 – Lisbon, Portugal

There are many cities in Europe with beaches. Some cities are on the Atlantic Ocean, while others are on the Mediterranean Sea. These cities are all beautiful and offer an array of different activities.

Lisbon is a Portuguese capital city located on the Atlantic Ocean.

There are about 30 miles of coastline in this city. It means plenty of places to go swimming and enjoy the sun.

– The beach at Cascais is one of the most popular beaches. It is located about 20km near Lisbon.

– Many people visit the beach at Sesimbra. This beach is known for its white sand and clear waters.

– The beach in Figueira da Foz is very popular among tourists. It is located near Porto.

– Estoril beach is another place people flock to during the summer months.

– The beach called Praia de Amoreiras is located near the town of Setubal.

 5 – Nice, France

Nice is one of the most popular tourist destinations in France. Its beautiful coastline makes it an ideal place for tourists to visit. There are plenty of things to do in Nice, such as visiting museums, shopping, eating out, and enjoying the nightlife.

There are plenty of hotels in Nice, including luxury hotels, budget hotels, hostels, and apartments.

Nice, France, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. This city is located on the French Riviera, an area known for its stunning coastline and breathtaking scenery.

There are plenty of things to do in Nice. You can visit the Promenade des Anglais, with restaurants, cafes, shops, and boutiques. Or you can go to the Chagall Museum, which houses the largest collection of works by Marc Chagall in the world.

In addition to museums and galleries, Nice offers a variety of outdoor attractions. You can enjoy the sea, play sports, or relax on the beach.

6 – Dubrovnik, Croatia

There are some beautiful beaches in Croatia, including Dubrovnik, which has been called one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Dubrovnik is located on the Adriatic Sea and is surrounded by mountains. It is known for its old city walls, built during the Middle Ages. The city was under Turkish rule until 1797, when Napoleon took over the area. Today, Dubrovnik is still considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

– There are four main beaches in Dubrovnik: Lapad Bay Beach, Babin Kuk Beach, Ada Bojana Beach, and Ploce Beach. All of them are located in the Old Town. They’re all different, but they offer visitors an incredible view of the city.

– Dubrovnik is home to many famous landmarks, such as the Cathedral of St. John, the Franciscan Monastery, and the Dominican Monastery.

– The Old Town is filled with cobblestone streets, narrow alleys, and small squares.

– The city’s main attraction is the Sponza Palace, which dates back to the 16th century.

– Dubrovnik, Croatia, has been featured in the HBO series “Game of Thrones.” This city was used as King’s Landing during season one.

7 – Athens, Greece

Athens is the capital of Greece and the capital city of Attica. It’s home to more than 3 million people and is famous for its rich history and cultural heritage. The Acropolis of Athens is a popular tourist attraction and symbol of the city’s cultural heritage and rich history. Other important historical sites include the Parthenon and the Agora of Athens, dating back to Classical Greek (5th century BCE) and Roman (1st century BCE). If you are a history buff and like the beach, Athens is the city for you.

– Athens is home to many ancient sites, such as the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and the Temple of Hephaestus.

– There are several beaches in the area, but the most popular is Vouliagmenis Ambelokipi. It’s a large stretch of sand that stretches along the coast.

– Vouliagmenis Beach is located at the end of Vouliagmeni Avenue. It’s a small, quiet beach. It’s great for people looking to relax.


8 – Florence, Italy

Florence, Italy, is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It has been called “the city of art” and “the city of lovers.” There are many beaches around Florence, including the beautiful beaches of Pratomagno, Fiesole, San Terenzo, and Porto Sant’Elpidio. These beaches are located near the city’s center and offer stunning views of the Tuscan countryside.

Florence is a beautiful city that’s full of history and culture. Its beaches are no different.

Located along the Tuscan Coast, several beaches are within the city limits. One of the most popular is Porto Sant’Anna.

It is a large beach that’s lined with cafes and restaurants. If you want to relax after a busy day exploring the city, this is a good place.

– The beaches at Pratomagno and Fiesole are among the most popular in all of Italy.

– The beaches of San Terenzo and Porto Sant’ Elpidio are less crowded than those at Pratomagno or Fiesole.

– All of these beaches are within walking distance of downtown Florence.

– Many hotels provide boats for guests who want to enjoy the area’s sights while floating along the coast.

9 – St. Tropez, France

St. Tropez is located on the French Riviera, and this city is known for its beautiful beaches and yachts. There are several famous resorts here, such as Cap d’Antibes, Saint-Jean de Luz, and Port Grimaud.

In France, there are some amazing beaches. Some of the most popular ones are located in the city of Saint-Tropez. This beautiful city has been voted one of the top 10 places to visit in the world. 

– The city is located on the French Riviera.

– The city overlooks the Mediterranean Sea.

– The city has many attractions, including museums, art galleries, and restaurants.

– The city hosts an annual wine festival every September.

– The city offers a variety of cultural events, including theater performances, music concerts, and dance recitals.

– The city’s nightlife includes nightclubs, bars, and lounges.

 10- Mykonos

This island is the largest Cyclades group and the biggest island in the Aegean Sea. It is situated between Athens and Crete. The distance between these two cities is about 1 hour and 30 minutes. The airport of Mykonos is located in the city of Mykonos.

– There are several beaches on this island. The most popular ones are Paradise Beach, Super Paradise Beach, and Platis Gialos.

– The famous Mykonos windmills are located near the town of Chora. These windmills were built in the 19th century.

– The town of Mykonos is known for its nightlife. There are many bars and clubs where visitors can enjoy live music and dance the night away.

 11 – Algarve, Portugal

Algarve is a region in southern Portugal. It is known for its beautiful coastline and gorgeous beaches.

The Algarve region has some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. There are five major beaches in this area: Albufeira, Lagos, Faro, Portimao, and Tavira. These beaches are located on the Atlantic Ocean and are considered to be among the top beaches in Europe. Each one offers its own unique experience.

Albufeira Beach

It is the largest city in the region. It is home to about half of the population of the region. This beach is known for its lively nightlife and abundance of restaurants and bars. There are several hotels here that offer affordable accommodations.

Lagos Beach

It is a small town located near the capital city of Portugal, Lisbon. It is very popular with tourists. The beach is quite large and plenty of places to stay. There are also many restaurants and shops nearby.

Faro Beach

It is another popular tourist destination located along the southern coast of Portugal. It is famous for its beautiful white-sand beaches and clear waters.

Portimao Beach

The beach is smaller than the previous three. Situated in the Algarve, it is the fourth most visited beach in Europe. Mountains and forests surround it.

Tavira Beach

It is a quiet beach that is located in the northern part of the Algarve. It is known for its beautiful views and pristine environment.

12- Costa del Sol, Spain

In Spain, there are some amazing beaches and cities. Some beautiful places to visit in Spain include Malaga, Granada, Seville, Valencia, and Barcelona. These cities offer tourists a variety of attractions, including museums, historical sites, shopping centers, and nightlife. Some of these cities are located on the coast, while others are inland.

– Malaga is known for its white-sand beaches and Mediterranean climate.

– Granada is home to the Alhambra palace, built during the Moorish era.

– Seville has an impressive cathedral and a lively bar scene.

– Valencia is famous for its tapas bars and seafood restaurants.

1 3- Santorini, Greece

Santorini is considered unique and one of the most beautiful places on earth. Its beaches are some of the cleanest and safest in all of Greece. There are several different types of beaches in this area. Some of these beaches are rocky, while others are sandy. The beaches in Santorini are very popular among tourists. The city itself has been known for its beauty since ancient times. During the Roman Empire, it was called Thira, and now in modern times, it is known as Oia.

– The beaches in Santorini are located along the caldera rim. These beaches are protected from the sea winds and waves.

– The beaches offer visitors a variety of activities such as swimming, snorkeling, diving, and fishing.

– The island is home to many historical sites. Ruins date back thousands of years.

– The town has an active nightlife scene. People go there to dance, drink, and party.

Why Should You Focus On Choosing The City First?

Choosing the City First Gives You More Options

When finding the right city to travel to, many people instantly think of Europe and its beautiful beaches. However, this is not a guide to choosing the city first – rather, it’s a helpful guide for navigating what makes up an ideal city.

There are three main things you should focus on: location, population, and cost of living. Keep these in mind when making your decision; they will help narrow down your choices and make the process much easier.

You Can Experience More in a Bigger City

Think about it, in a bigger city you can experience more, right? There are more things to see and do and endless possibilities. You can find great restaurants, interesting museums, and lively nightlife. Plus, big cities usually have great public transportation systems so you can get around easily. If you want to explore everything a city offers, then a big city is the place for you!

 Where Are the Best Sandy Beaches in Europe? City Beaches with Good Sand

So, what are the best sandy beaches in Europe? You can find them in many countries in Europe, although some beaches have rougher feeling sand or even rocks mixed in. A few areas that have sandy beaches are Cadiz, Spain, southern France’s beaches, and Barcelona’s beaches.

Romans in Cádiz

Cádiz is one of the oldest cities in Europe, and its coastal setting makes it a perfect place to enjoy the sunsets. The Torre Tavira’s viewing dish takes a 360-degree view of the city, and the camera obscura is made even more clever by its location in Cádiz’s city center; the intense light helps bring out all its colors. La Caleta is the smallest city beach, and Santa Maria Beach is a nice family favorite with calm water. While tapas may be the best option for dinner, if you want more food, consider a “supersize.” 

Southern France’s Beaches

France’s southern coast is dotted with sandy beaches and perfect swimming and sunbathing spots. Here are a few of our favorites:

The best Sandy beach in Europe is Calanque d’en Vau near Cassis. It’s located between towering cliffs and has crystal-clear water.

Plage de la Grande Mer has a central location and an on-site lifeguard. It’s also close to shops and restaurants, making it the perfect spot to spend a day or two.

Plage du Bestouan, around the corner, attracts young adults who frequent the bar, while Plage de l’Arène is loved for its natural beauty. If you’re looking for something a little more secluded, try Plage Pin Sec – it can be hard to get to, but it’s worth it!

Pebbles rather than sand make up most of Cassis’s beaches. Still, other activities keep you occupied if you can’t build sandcastles – such as kayaking or paddleboarding in the Calanques or visiting one of the charming villages nearby.

Barcelona’s Beaches

Suppose you’re looking for a great sandy beach while in Barcelona. You’ll want to head to Barceloneta. It is the most popular beach in the city, and it’s easy to see why – it’s got everything you could want! The best way to find a good spot on Barceloneta is to arrive early in case there are no vacancies left when you get there. Barcelona has some really interesting architecture along its beaches, making them attractive places for locals and tourists.

 Final Thoughts    

So there you have some tips about choosing a city with a beach in Europe. I’ve covered the important criteria in choosing a city with a beach in Europe, the top 13 cities with beaches in Europe according to the criteria, and some interesting facts about Europe and its beaches. For your next trip to Europe, take the information in this article and apply it to your situation. The best thing you can do for choosing a seaside destination is to have a good plan and then get moving to implement it.