Although Europe is known for it’s inspiring historic cities, another side to the continent is just as admired. Europe’s beaches are some of the best in the world. While some are comprised of small, Earth-toned pebbles, others are made of the pristine white sand seen around the Caribbean.

The islands of Europe are a classic destination for continental dwellers, who seek reprise from the rainy mainland. However, those who live along Europe’s coast are rewarded with beautiful beaches along its length.

The next time you need a weekend getaway, be sure to check out the following beaches. Your sanity will thank you!

Porthcurno, UK

You’d never expect to see turquoise waters off the coast of England, but in Cornwall, it’s a reality! Porthcurno, known for it’s ancient open-air Minack theatre, is surrounded by high cliffs and covered with fine sand.

Europe's Best Beaches

Torre Guaceto, Italy

While Italy’s beaches are notoriously overcrowded, the hard-to-reach locale of Torre Guaceto in Puglia makes it remarkably peaceful. The sandy coast is marked as a nature preserve, so the views are kept intact and the wildlife sighting is abundant!

Europe's Best Beaches

Vik, Iceland

Iceland’s black sand beaches are haunting and mystical, with giant dark cliffs towering over the waves. Vik beach in southern Iceland is a sight to behold, even in the rain. And as the area is one of the wettest in the country, you’re more than likely to encounter some rain while visiting. Don’t worry- the views are unspoiled by a bit of moisture!

Europe's Best Beaches

Ploumanac’h, France

Along Brittany’s pink granite coast lies the beach of St. Guirec in Ploumanac’h. A sandy beach nestled in amongst the pinkish rocks, the area is popular with hikers and shrimpers.

Europe's Best Beaches

Cala Turqueta, Menorca

On the southwestern coast of Menorca, far from the famous winds on the north end, lies Cala Turqueta. The shallows waters of this white, sand beach makes it perfect for families looking for an easy break.

Europe's Best Beaches

Troia, Portugal

Not far from Lisbon lies the pristine beach of Troia, where the pillowy soft sands run for 18 kilometers along the coast. A perfect escape from the hustle of city life, Troia is even a common meeting place for dolphins!

Europe's Best Beaches

Zlatni Rat, Croatia

Croatia’s Dalmatian islands are full of outstanding beaches and Zlatinin Rat is no exception. A few miles from the Brac harbor town of Bol, this beach is known for it’s golden sand and outstanding views.

Europe's Best Beaches

Tenby Harbor, Wales

Resting under the medieval walled town of Tenby Harbor, the beach has all of the charm you’d expect from a coastal village. Children love hiring paddle boats to cruise along the calm waters!

Europe's Best Beaches

Created by Mandy Burkholder