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 half way around the globe to find paradise.
Pack your togs, slap on some sunscreen, we’re whisking you away to eight of Europe’s most beautiful beaches…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Golden, desert-like sand dunes, camel rides, jet skis and sizzling temperatures, what more could you want from a day at the beach?
- Fiona Hilliard