Kevin Eagan - Mar 15, 2021
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Some say that the coronavirus pandemic has changed the world of travel forever. For most, it will be harder to enjoy again places visited by dozens or hundreds of people, and 2021 may also not be a year of many trips. Imagining ourselves lying on a beach accompanied by the sound of waves crashing on the shore while sunbathing, maybe without people around, is a plan that for many will continue to represent the dream getaway, even more so if it is in one of these spectacular destinations. Based on the rating and comments from Tripadvisor users, the Travelers' Choice Awards 2021 has ranked the top 10 beaches in Europe that are worth visiting.  

1/ Isola dei Conigli (Lampedusa, Italy)

Eighth in the world and first in Europe in the current beach ranking, spiaggia dei Conigli or Rabbit Beach is located to the south of Sicily, on the island of Lampedusa. It is a beautiful pristine beach with crystal clear waters and turquoise seabed that invite you to take a swim, snorkel, or just stay and relax until next winter. The beach can only be reached by boat, which has allowed it to remain far from crowds while preserving its natural beauty.

2/ Cofete Beach (Morro Jable, Spain)

The best ranked Spanish beach on the list is Cofete, in Fuerteventura Island. At the southern end of Fuerteventura and protected by the ridges of the Jandía Natural Park, the 14 kilometer-long and 50 meter-wide beach is an authentic paradise free from the masses thanks to its status as a protected area and the absence of infrastructure, as well as its difficult access.  A loggerhead sea turtles sanctuary, a key destination for astrotourism due to the complete absence of light pollution, and home to fascinating legends, Cofete is the Canary Islands’ paradisiacal beach par excellence.

3/ Falésia Beach (Olhos de Água, Portugal)

Located in the municipality of Albufeira in the Portuguese Algarve, the Falésia beach that stretches between Olhos de Água and Vilamoura is considered one of the best in the country, always occupying a spot in this type of rankings. Extending in a 6-kilometer long area and offering all kinds of services, Falésia stands out for its fine sand and crystal clear waters.

However, what makes this beach different from other beaches in Europe is its landscape, specifically a cliff of reddish, brown, white and copper tones that becomes a magnificent sight at sunset.

4/ La Concha Beach (San Sebastián, Spain)

Possibly the most beautiful urban beach in Spain, La Concha, located in San Sebastián, boasts crystal clear waters and delicate sand, surrounded by green and wooded hills with a beautiful modernist-style seafront. With the island of Santa Clara in the center, flanked by the Urgull and Igeldo mountains, La Concha’s 1,350 meters in length are ideal to practice numerous sports such as surfing, windsurfing, canoeing, bodyboarding, volleyball or beach soccer.

5/ Bournemouth Beach (Bournemouth, United Kingdom)

Rated the best beach in the UK for several years in a row by Tripadvisor users, Bournemouth’s vast 11-kilometer sandbank overlooking the English Channel stretches between the coastal towns of Poole and Christchurch. With a microclimate that allows enjoying warmer waters than in other parts of the country, Bournemouth is a lively area full of services where one can practise water sports such as kayaking and paddle surfing, or other activities on its pier, such as zip-lining and bouldering.

6/ Balos Beach (Kissamos, Greece)

Crete is the location of the next beach in the ranking: Balos Beach, which is considered by many the best in the Mediterranean. In the Gramvousa peninsula, about 57 kilometers northwest of Chania within a natural park, Balos Beach is actually split into two: a large lagoon with transparent waters and shallow depth perfect for relaxing, and a beach with turquoise waters and pink sand that make up one of the most captivating places on the island.

7/ Elafonisi Beach (Elafonisi, Greece)

Known as the ‘Greek Caribbean’, this famous beach also in Crete is 90 minutes by car from the city of Chania, in a corner of the Aegean Sea. The pinkish sand makes Elafonisi Beach a tourist spot and, of course, its crystal-clear waters are the cherry on top. To avoid being disappointed, especially if one has seen dozens of photos of the beach on social media, keep in mind that the tone of the sand (caused by the erosion of corals and shells) isn’t exactly an explosion of color, but rather a muted tone, whose intensity depends on the time and light of the moment.

8/ Santa Giulia Beach (Santa Giulia, France)

To the southeast of Côte d'Azur, on the French island of Corsica, the Santa Giulia is one of the most beautiful sandy beaches in Europe. It belongs to Porto-Vecchio, the third-largest city on the island, famous for its fine white sand and crystal-clear waters. Despite offering all kinds of services, Santa Giulia has managed to preserve its natural charm. In addition, it has one of the most incredible piers in Europe that has been photographed by many.

9/ Kleftiko Beach (Milos, Cyclades Islands)

In the beautiful Milos, to the southwest of the Greek island, Kleftiko Beach stands out for its impressive caves and white volcanic rocks. In this old pirate refuge, chosen for its difficult access, visitors have a hard time reaching the thin strip of sand backed by imposing rock formations. In fact, this feat can only be done by boat or a 40-minute walk through difficult roads.

10/ Porthminster Beach (St Ives, United Kingdom)

In Cornwall (South West England), the coastal town of St Ives sneaks into the top 10 beaches thanks to its crescent-shaped bay known as Porthminster Beach. Flanked by a grassy hillside and dotted with elegant Edwardian villas and a wooded hill, the color palette that forms around the beach stands out due to the green vegetation, the gold sand and the blue sea. Porthminster is not only a magnet for artists and writers (Virgina Woolf was inspired here for her novel To the Lighthouse), but also a great place for surfing and paddle surfing, among other water sports and activities.

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