Best beaches and seaside holidays in Europe 2023

Britons have lengthy liked to be beside the seaside. It is perhaps the sense of freedom you discover on the egde of vacation spot. Maybe it’s the nostalgia of childhood, or the draw of a day spent swimming and sunbathing? No matter it’s, beaches proceed to drag in guests – and particularly tempting is a seaside break in Europe.

A current Which? survey explored a few of these fascinating components, getting down to uncover the UK’s favorite European seaside locations by asking 3,500 members to fee coastal cities and cities primarily based on 12 components.

Its outcomes give an perception into what makes a really perfect European seaside vacation spot in the eyes of Britons – specifically a mix of engaging city centre and seafront areas, various sights, high quality meals and drink choices, and good worth.

From historic port cities to charming Algarve cities, Brits have advisable a various vary of locations; right here’s a deep dive into the highest 10.

Valencia, Spain

Valencia’s predominant sq., the Plaza del Ayuntamiento

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The checklist is topped by a much less -high-profile metropolis, with Valencia gaining a “vacation spot rating” of 91 per cent. It was given 5 stars for its seaside, attractiveness, procuring, vacationer sights, peace and quiet and worth for cash; a testomony to the town’s vary of issues to do mixed with a laid-back environment that’s friendlier than that of Barcelona or Madrid. It sees far fewer vacationers than another cities in Spain, however this case probably received’t keep the identical for lengthy.

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A tempting local weather units the tone for the town; it signifies that beaches are nonetheless busy on December weekends, that nights out with mates are longer, and that al fresco eating is the norm fairly than an indication that the summer season has arrived. Strolling across the metropolis is a pleasure too; from the dramatic Gothic Outdated City to a shocking Artwork Nouveau prepare station, the town’s structure is an eclectic mixture of native and worldwide influences.

Centred round three predominant squares inside 10 minutes of one another, you possibly can take in a lot of the town on foot, though visits to the beaches (or the well-known Metropolis of Arts and Sciences advanced) may require a motorbike or taxi. When you’re bored with exploring on foot, you possibly can uncover the culinary scenes of one in every of Spain’s unsung foodie cities.

The place to remain in Valencia

A wonderful lodge in the centre of the Outdated City, Vincci Palace provides trendy and elegant lodging. Rooms are massive and have a contempoarary design, whereas the buffet breakfast is a specific spotlight.

Porto, Portugal

A view over Porto from throughout the Don Luis I Bridge

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Portugal’s second metropolis is blessed with a implausible location on the banks of the Douro River, so it’s no shock that it ranked extremely in the seafront and attractiveness classes. It’s remarkably inexpensive for a significant European metropolis, with guests and locals gathering by the waterfront in the Ribeira district for reasonable wines and nice worth meals. As you climb the steep hills and slim cobbled streets into totally different districts, you’ll discover much more gems, from indie boutiques to a number of the metropolis’s greatest eating places. To attempt some upmarket conventional Portuguese delicacies, go to Adega São Nicolau.

River cruises and wine tastings are widespread actions, whereas its number of landmarks consists of the cathedral, the Clerigos church and the Dom Luis I Bridge (value crossing over for wonderful views of the town and its vibrant, russet-roofed buildings). The town’s vibrant environment can nonetheless be discovered away from the waterside, so head to the Bolhao Market to pattern native produce and get a style of how locals dwell their day-to-day lives. If it’s the night, Galerias de Paris road provides you with an expertise of the town’s predominant nightlife space.

The place to remain in Porto 

Sitting in a historic constructing in the Ribeira district – not removed from the waterfront – the Lodge Carris Porto Ribeira options slick interiors and supplies wonderful river views, a few of which will be seen from the terraces and balconies of its rooms.

Venice, Italy

A view of the Grand Canal and Basilica Santa Maria in Venice

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Its community of picturesque canals has come to outline Venice. Lined with spectacular Venetian structure and vibrant facades and linked by typically spectacular bridges (the Rialto is essentially the most well-known), the canals are the image of a breathtakingly stunning metropolis, with gondola journeys providing an unforgettable solution to journey round. Venice obtained excessive scores for its seafront and attractiveness; in addition to the canals, it’s surrounded by the Venetian Lagoon, offering sweeping views throughout the water from a number of factors in the town.

From St Mark’s Sq. and Basilica to Doge’s Palace, the town is residence to a powerful mixture of Renaissance, Gothic and Byzantine structure, the vary of which kinds one in every of Venice’s predominant sights. It wouldn’t be an Italian metropolis with out nice meals and nice artwork, and yow will discover each right here. The Peggy Guggenheim museum showcases the American heiress’ private assortment of futurist and modernist artwork, whereas the biannual Venice Biennale showcases up to date visible artwork.

The place to remain in Venice 

Overlooking the Grand Canal, the Lodge Carlton supplies a mixture of understated, Seventeenth-century Venetian class blended with charming further options, essentially the most notable of which is a powerful roof terrace.

Tavira, Portugal

Tavira is a historic city in the Algarve

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Tavira sits on Portugal’s southern Algarve coast, not removed from the border with Spain. An enthralling, tranquil city, it ranked 5 stars for worth, security, friendliness, peace and quiet and its seafront, making it an ideal vacation spot for a extra relaxed seaside break. Tavira has a wealthy historical past that dates again to Roman occasions, most seen in its Roman Bridge, medieval fort and perfectly-preserved historic centre, the place cobblestone streets are lined with white-washed buildings.

There are a number of nice areas in the area, from the city’s waterfront to the Ria Formosa Nationwide Park, and the realm comprises some superb beaches – the Ilha de Tavira, Praia do Barril and Praia de Terra Esreita are a number of the greatest, the place white sands meet clear waters.

The place to remain in Tavira

Positioned close to the river in the centre of the historic space, the architecturally combined Vila Gale Tavira comprises an enormous outside pool, an indoor pool, health centre and bar, with Hispanic-style rustic interiors.

Pollenca, Spain

Mallorca’s pristine beaches and mountainous terrain are an attractive mixture

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Britain’s favorite Balearic island has dozens of seaside locations to select from, however the northern city of Pollenca has ranked highest, with five-star scores for its seaside, seafront and peace and quiet. Nestled between mountains and the Mediterranean, Pollenca is a historic city stuffed with Seventeenth- and 18th-century buildings, and residence to a captivating Outdated City of winding streets, high-quality tapas eating places and engaging squares.

The primary city lies inland, although the Port de Pollenca – the place a lot of the beaches are – is simply three miles away (the 2 are normally grouped collectively). From the port itself to beaches resembling Cala Formentor, Sant Vincent and Boquer, there are a number of areas to have a soothing drink or dinner, with many locations which might be nice for swimming (even for youngsters) and water sports activities.

The place to remain in Pollenca 

Lodge Juma is a family-run lodge relationship again to the early 1900s. It has retained interval options (resembling wood beams) whereas including numerous items of vintage furnishings to create a conventional keep in the centre of city, with a peaceable roof terrace as well.

Chania, Greece

A view over Chania’s Venetian-style harbour

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An idyllic metropolis on the northwest coast of Crete, Chania provides guests an interesting mixture of historic historical past, Greek tradition and pure magnificence that noticed it ranked extremely for its seafront, attractiveness, friendliness and meals and drink choices. The town has a wealthy heritage, most seen in its Venetian harbour, Firkal Fortress, Grand Arsenal and the Ottoman-era Egyptian Lighthouse, Turkish baths and Mosque of the Janissaries, a lot of that are contained in the Outdated City.

Away from the historic, the town is surrounded by pure websites such because the Samaria gorge, villages like Loutro and an array of picturesque beaches together with Balos, Balos Lagoon and Elafonisi. Although many in the realm are recognized for his or her wonderful white sand, turquoise waters and the rugged terrain that encompass them, Elafonisi is famed for the presence of its uncommon pink sand.

The place to remain in Chania

With an ideal location proper in the center of the motion (on the waterfront of the town’s harbour) and cosy, fashionable rooms, Porto Veneziano is a wonderful selection for a snug keep in Chania. Rooms have balconies with sweeping sea views, whereas the lodge’s restaurant provides Greek breakfasts and mild dinners.

Rhodes, Greece

A view over Semi, on the Greek island of Rhodes

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The island of Rhodes lies northeast of Crete, close to the Turquoise Coast of neighbouring Turkey. Its eponymous principal metropolis has a equally fascinating historical past to Chania: the medieval Outdated City is a Unesco Heritage Website, it’s residence to an acropolis and historic ruins in Lindos, and was the placement of the Colossus of Rhodes, one of many Seven Wonders of the Historical World. Whereas the walled Outdated City is a maze of fairly streets and locations to dine, outdoors you’ll discover rolling hills, lush greenery and forests which might be good for mountaineering, mountain biking and enjoyable walks.

Rhodes can be residence to many spectacular sun-drenched beaches, from family-friendly shoreline to secluded spots. Tsambika, Saint Paul’s Bay, Ladiko and Kallithea are widespread with teams and households as a consequence of their gently sloping sands and calm waters, however for extra dramatic settings – both surrounded by towering cliffs, jagged rocks or verdant hills – attempt Apolakia, Fourni or Glyfada.

The place to remain in Rhodes 

For a relaxed, adults-only retreat simply half-hour away from Rhodes city, go for Casa Cook dinner. Simply 10 minutes from the seaside (on the foot of the Tsambika mountain), the lodge has a big outside pool, with some rooms containing a terrace that gives direct entry to it.

Syracuse, Italy

An aerial view over Syracuse

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Located on the japanese fringe of Sicily (on the alternative aspect to the capital, Palermo), Syracuse is understood for its historic centre (and Outdated City), housed on the island of Ortigia. Residence to an assortment of Baroque structure, together with a shocking cathedral and piazza, the realm additionally comprises the Archaeological Park of Neapolis, showcasing a number of the best-preserved historic structure in the world in the type of a Greek theatre and Roman amphitheatre.

The town obtained an ‘n/a’ score for its beaches; regardless that there are locations to swim in the ocean, there aren’t any vast expanses of sand in Ortigia or the town. The Marina di Siracusa provides sweeping views out to sea and an idyllic setting for sipping an aperitif earlier than dinner, however if you happen to’re actually craving golden sands, you’ll have to go a number of miles out of the town to beaches resembling Fontane Bianche.

The place to remain in Syracuse

Nestled in the centre of Ortigia, Lodge Roma is housed in an outstanding pink palazzo-type constructing, set amongst vast, paved streets and spectacular squares. This grand lodge has easy interiors, however will present a snug keep on the coronary heart of the motion.

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona’s Placa Catalunya, the center of the town

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A cosmopolitan metropolis that has retained a lot of its non-Spanish influences, Barcelona ranked extremely for its leisure, vacationers sights, common attractiveness and seafront areas. Anybody who has been can attest to its huge vary of issues to do and see, from viewing the eclectic vary of buildings and the works of Picasso to strolling across the charming Gothic Quarter or Montjuic’s Olympic Park.

Barcelona’s marina and seafront areas are a serene, engaging spot, although the spectacular squares and limestone-paved streets of the labyrinthine Gothic and Born districts are way more engaging. Whereas most vacationers will persist with Barceloneta or Sant Miquel for seaside journeys (they’re the closest to the centre), if you happen to can spare the time and wish to be surrounded by cool seaside bars and buzzing paella eating places, head to Bogatell or Llevant.

The place to remain in Barcelona 

Considered one of a number of Barcelona inns that’s centred round its roof-terrace and pool, Lodge 1898 has an enviable location in the Gothic Quarter and panoramic views of the each the town and the ocean. It has a second, indoor pool and spa space, making it a good selection for leisure in the centre of the town.

Lisbon, Portugal

A view of Lisbon – this view greets you if you happen to arrive by way of cruise ship

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The Portuguese capital is as blessed as Porto relating to its waterside location, sitting on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. The seafront and marina are centered on consuming and ingesting, although they provide superb views out to sea, as do any of this hilly metropolis’s viewpoints, from the Sao Jorge Citadel or Miradouro da Graça viewpoint to its assortment of stylish rooftop bars. Extra architecturally numerous than Porto, Lisbon is residence to a spread of Gothic and Renaissance structure, from the Belem Tower to the Jeronimos Monastery. .

Chaido and Bairro Alto are the place a lot of the nightlife is centred, whereas Alfama and Baixa are different widespread neighbourhoods, whether or not you’re trying to browse the favored Time Out Market – a meals market that homes stalls run by a number of the town’s greatest eating places – to a trip in one of many metropolis’s well-known trams, Tram 28. There aren’t any beaches in Lisbon, although close by seaside resorts embrace Estoril, Cascais and Nazare (which is especially well-known for browsing).

The place to remain in Lisbon 

Near the Tagus River and the bustling neighbourhoods of Alfama and Bairro Alto, LX Boutique Lodge is in an ideal location for exploring all of what Lisbon has to supply. Inside, you’ll discover sensible interiors and spacious rooms primarily based on a captivating blue and white color scheme; you could be stunned to discover a sushi restaurant, too.

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