While some sea lovers on their Europe holiday don’t mind a few stones and pebbles here and there, others actually prefer the balmy sand between their toes. The truth is, we can’t really blame them. Pearly coasts indeed have a unique charm to them and are also much more pleasant to walk around while looking rather exotic at the same time.
The best white-sand beaches in Europe are almost entirely located in four countries: Spain, France, Greece, and Italy. These beaches are a feast for the eyes and the fact that many of them bear the Blue Flag label speaks enough about their beauty and cleanliness. Let’s see what Europe has in store when it comes to milky sand beaches.
1. Playa de Bolonia, Cádiz, Spain
Spain is known for possessing incredibly diverse stretches of coast, some of which are exactly what we need – white sand with crystalline water and backdrops straight out of a fairytale. Playa de Bolonia is one of the most breath-taking beaches in Southern Spain and it’s bound to leave you breathless. Situated around 20 kilometers outside the town of Tarifa, this white-sand beach is 4 kilometers long, embellished with dark-green shrubs and sand dunes, with gentle breeze constantly blowing from the sea, making it ideal for kiters and bathers alike.
2. La Playa de las Catedrales, Galicia, Spain
Playa de las Cathedrales is probably one of Spain’s most unique beaches. Not only does it have lovely white sand but it’s also surrounded by majestic rock formations some of which protrude into the sea. The beach is located on the Galician coast and it offers a spectacular setting for taking memorable holiday photos. The rocky structures are known as the “cathedrals” among the locals because they resemble man-made basilicas from Gothic architecture. There are numerous nooks and crannies to be explored as well but you still have to keep in mind that this beach has a limited number of visitors allowed daily so make sure you book the tickets in advance.
Read more: Spain’s Top Beach Towns
3. Praia da Rodas, Galicia, Spain
As yet another gem of Galicia, Praia da Rodas is a stunning beach situated on the Cíes Islands just outside Spain’s north-west mainland. Unspoiled nature, white sand, and balmy blue sea are the trademarks of this beach which earned it a place on the list of Europe’s most beautiful beaches. Seeing as the only way to get to this beach is by ferry, you will need to book the tickets to reach the Cíes Islands. The boats usually depart from Vigo, a city on the northwest coast of Spain.
4. Playa de Sotavento, Fuerteventura, Spain
Boasting several white-sand beaches, the island of Fuerteventura belongs to the Canary Islands and Playa de Sotavento is one of its most spectacular assets. This 5-kilometer-long beach is a surfer’s paradise, boasting perfectly clear twirling sea and fine white sand. Although it’s mostly frequented by those with a knack for good surf, it’s still suitable for the regular bathers and even children as its water is fairly shallow.
Read more: Spain’s Most Unique Destinations
5. Cala Comte, Ibiza, Spain
No list of the best European beaches is even remotely complete without Ibiza and its spectacular white-sand beaches. Cala Comte is certainly one of them and possibly the most beautiful on the island. Turquoise waters, amazing vistas of the nearby islets, soft white sand, and snorkeling are this beach’s most valuable assets while you can also catch the most amazing of sunsets from the patio of the beach cafe while sipping a glass of wine.
6. Palombaggia Beach, Corsica, France
Côte d’Azur, Brittany, and the island of Corsica are the holy trinity of white-sand shores in France and hence, this is where you can find some of the best white-sand beaches in Europe. Palombaggia Beach in Corsica is known as one of the best beaches in France but then again, the whole Corsica is mesmerizing in its own right. It stretches for almost 2 kilometers, dotted with picturesque rocks emerging from the shallows and the lovely pine trees perched on the rocks all around it. The entire beach is divided into 3 sections, separated by sandbars and rocks but you can easily explore all three.
7. Pampelonne Beach, St Tropez, France
Pampelonne Beach is the show-stopper of St Tropez. Not only is it the longest beach of this town on the French Riviera but it’s also the one to offer a wide range of facilities, from restaurants and beach bars to showers and water sports activities. The beach is 5 kilometers long, with public and private sections so you can have your pick. The sand is soft and white, the sea sparklingly clean and transparent and on top of it all, you might even get the chance to spot your favorite celebrity as they often flock to St Tropez for a vacay.
8. Sables Blancs Beach, Brittany, France
Sables Blancs Beach is located in the picturesque town of Concarneau in north-western France. The beach is half a kilometer long with lots of shallow sections which make it ideal for families. Lifeguards are on duty July throughout August and the campsites near the beach are also rather popular which might lead to too many crowds in the peak of the season.
9. Elafonissi, Crete, Greece
Greece still remains a country beyond comparison, especially when we consider its otherworldly islands. Time and time again, Crete has been dubbed one of the world’s best islands to visit and it certainly owes a big portion of such reputation to Elafonissi. This beach attracts sun worshippers with some seriously instagrammable backdrops, miles of white and pinkish coast, and an abundance of wildlife (especially birds and turtles). The beach is not organized and there is no natural shade. Don’t get confused as there are actually two sections of Elafonissi – one on the Crete’s mainland, organized with parasols and sunbeds in the high season, and the other one, more exotic, connected to it by a narrow strip of sand. Here you won’t find any beach amenities and sunbeds and umbrellas are not permitted either, as this part of Crete is a classified nature reserve.
10. Mylopotas Beach, Ios, Greece
Mylopotas beach is located on the island of Ios belonging to the Cycladic group of islands in the Aegean. This white-sand beach is the best on the island, organized with sunbeds with lots of dining opportunities close by. Mylopotas is a lively beach throughout the day and after the sun goes down, it gets even livelier. Far Out beach bar is the epicenter of partying on the island, providing visitors with great cocktails and music, making it ideal for partying and relaxation alike.
11. Simos Beach, Peloponnese, Greece
Simos beach is situated just outside the Peloponnese peninsula on a tiny island of Elafonissos (not to be confused with the one on Crete). The virgin beauty and the soft sand of the beach make it a no-miss for any vacationer. It’s separated into two sides, one of which is often frequented by nude bathers. The whole beach has an irresistible natural charm to it although it tends to get a bit crowded during the peak season.
12. Otranto Beach, Puglia, Italy
Italian coastline hides stellar gems when it comes to white-sand beaches. Otranto is Italy’s easternmost town, known for splendid historical buildings and delectable cuisine. Otranto beach offers great snorkeling opportunities in the turquoise sea, accompanied by picturesque cliffs nearby and some fantastic accommodation options too.
Read more: Italy’s Top 200 Beaches
13. Spiaggia di Tuerredda, Sardinia, Italy
Try as we might, we can’t find the words that would do Sardinia justice and Spiaggia di Tuerredda beach is no exception. Apart from the fact that you can easily mistake this beach for any beach in the Caribbean, it is here that you can admire every possible shade of blue while walking on the soft white sand. The beach is well-equipped with loungers and umbrellas to rent, with several bars and a spacious parking lot. Of course, this outstanding beauty comes at a price so you can expect it to be crowded in the high season.
14. Biodola Beach, The Island of Elba, Italy
Of all the beaches in the north of Italy, the island of Elba has its fairest share. Biodolo beach is certainly on top of the list simply because you can’t help but marvel at the majestic turquoise sea and the fine sand. This is the most spacious beach in the Biodola bay, surrounded by hilly outcrops and lush Mediterranean scrub. The water is turquoise and shallow which is why many families choose to go on their summer holiday here.
15. Dei Due Mari Beach, Caprera, Italy
Dei Due Mari Beach is situated just outside Sardinia, on an islet of Caprera. The name literally translates to the beach of the two seas because the strip of sand is surrounded by the sea on both sides. The two beaches differ in size and quite understandably, the bigger one is usually more crowded while the smaller one has a more laid-back charm to it.
Don’t waste any more time searching for the best white-sand beaches in Europe because you’ll hardly find any that fit the profile more than our previous 15 picks for 2019. Let the soft sand and the majestic sea wash over you as you soak up the European sun and the immense natural beauty wherever you turn.