Europe’s best beaches: These coastal hotspots came out on top for sun, safety, and swimming

Beaches across Europe were ranked across five categories from safety to sun and accessibility.
Beaches across Europe were ranked across five categories from safety to sun and accessibility. Copyright BookRetreats
By Euronews Travel
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Spain was the ultimate summer holiday destination with 28 per cent of Europe’s best beaches.


Summer is creeping up on us fast and with it comes the promise of escaping in the sun. It’s a chance to unwind, sink your toes in the sand and forget about everything else.

But what exactly does the perfect beach holiday look like?

Retreat booking platform BookRetreats has ranked beaches across 16 European countries based on what they say travellers value the most: popularity, weather, safety, accessibility and water quality.

Using data from Google reviews, safety rankings from the Global Peace Index and water quality information from the European Environment Agency (EEA), each location was given a score from 0 to 1 for these categories with a total possible score of 5.

From more than 14,000 top-rated destinations, the travel booking company took a closer look at 251 beaches. They analysed them all from the most popular secluded spots - far from major airports - like Praia da Samoqueira in Portugal or Cala Mariolu in Italy to countries such as Cyprus where 99.2 per cent of bathing sites reported excellent water quality.

These are the places they say are the best beaches in Europe to visit this summer.

Where are Europe’s best beaches?

The top 25 best beaches in Europe are spread out across the continent from Germany to Greece and Croatia. But when it comes to the top 10, there is a stand-out location in this ranking.

Portugal’s Marinha Beach comes in tenth place and Praia da Falésia in second. In Spain, Cala Comte earned sixth place, Las Canteras in fourth and La Concha Beach ranked in the top spot.

Cala Comte is on of many Spanish beaches that made the list.
Cala Comte is on of many Spanish beaches that made the list.BookRetreats

The Iberian Peninsula has many of the best beaches on the continent. In fact, Spain alone has 28 per cent of Europe’s best beaches, according to the BookRetreats ranking.

Here’s a closer look at the coastal destinations that landed the top five spots on the list.

Lama Monachile, Italy: Lay down your beach towel in an iconic cove

Coming in at number five is the pebbly shore of Lama Monachile in Italy. This cove between two magnificent cliffs in the middle of Polignano a Mare has a 4.7 out of 5 ranking from 14,900 Google reviews.

Summers are perfect for sun lovers reaching an average of 30C and its Blue Flag status ensures crystal clear, excellent water quality. Italy ranks 34th in the world for safety and this beach is also easily reachable by car at just 50km from Bari Airport.

Altogether this earns Lama Monchile a score of 4.15 out 5 - the highest-ranking Italian beach on the list.

Las Canteras Beach, Spain: Catch some rays without leaving the city

In the vibrant heart of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Las Canteras is the highest scoring beach in the Canary Islands. It also has a rating of 4.7 out of 5 from 14,400 travellers’ reviews. 

Endless sunshine brings summer temperatures of 28C and the water quality is excellent according to EEA data - a big bonus if you plan to swim offshore and experience its lively lava reef teeming with marine life.

Las Canteras Beach in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria.
Las Canteras Beach in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria.BookRetreats

With Spain 32nd in the world for safety, it receives the same score for this as all other Spanish beaches on the list. And when it comes to accessibility, Las Canteras is just 22.5km from Gran Canaria Airport.

In total, BookRetreats gives this beach a score of 4.21 out of 5 meaning it is the fourth best beach in Europe.

Pasjača Beach, Croatia: Discover a hidden gem on the Adriatic Sea

Wedged between a tall cliff and the Adriatic Sea, Pasjača Beach is the top beach in Croatia. It has a 4.8 out of 5 ranking from more than 2,400 reviews - less than others but an indication that this beach could be a real hidden gem.


Bask in 28C heat during the summer then take a swim in the excellent quality water. The sea is warmest in August.

Croatia is 14th in the world for safety which also scores this beach some extra points and it couldn’t be any more easily accessible at just 7.5km from Čilipi Airport.

With an overall score of 4.22 out of 5, Pasjača Beach is the third best in Europe.

Praia da Falésia, Portugal: Bask beneath golden cliffs

Surrounded by the golden clay cliffs of the Algarve, Praia da Falésia has an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 from 13,000 Google reviews.

Clear sunny days reach an average maximum of 28C in the summer and - like all the other entries into the top five - it has excellent water quality. If safety is your concern, Portugal comes in at 7th globally. It is one of the five safest European coastal countries.


And access to this beach is easy with Praia da Falésia just a 31.4km drive from the well-served Faro Airport.

La Concha Beach, Spain: Visit the best beach in Europe

La Concha Beach can be found just east of Bilbao near the border between France and Spain.

It was one of the most highly rated in Europe with an average of 4.7 out of 5 over 21,000 reviews on Google. Warm, balmy summer days bring average temperatures of 24C and excellent water quality makes it a great spot for swimming.

La Concha Beach in Spain.
La Concha Beach in Spain.BookRetreats

Around 30 minutes from San Sebastian Airport, it isn’t hard to get there either. And, in the final safety category, Spain ranks in 32nd place globally. Overall, that gives La Concha Beach a score of 4.29 out of 5, earning it first place on BookRetreats’ list.

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