Staying at a beach hotel is one of the best ways to relax and unwind. They offer perfect views of the ocean and the chance to dip your toes into the sea or sand within minutes. The first thing you hear in the morning and before going to sleep at night is the gentle murmuring of the ocean. They house gourmet restaurants where you can enjoy a romantic, al fresco dinner while watching the sun set. Whether choosing an island destination or a beach hotel close to a city, your every wish is Europe’s best coastal destinations command.
The crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea is punctuated by hundreds of sun-soaked islands where luxury yachts bob lazily in azure bays and coastal cities beside glittering beaches soak up the endless sunshine. There is so much choice it’s often difficult to know where to begin. But one thing is certain – there simply isn’t anything better than admiring beautiful ocean views from a spacious suite in a luxurious beachfront hotel. The biggest Mediterranean island, Sicily, also boasts the largest range of cultural highlights from Phoenician ruins and Roman mosaics to ancient Greek cities. Vacationers can relish in the region’s best seafood and idyllic beaches on Sicily’s glittering Tyrrheanian Coast and take a fascinating peek into the ancient world on the Ionian Coast. The southern part of the island boasts unspoiled beaches and deserted golden sands all within reach of UNESCO-listed towns built in beautiful baroque style. The mountainous island of Corsica presents a stylish mix of coastal towns and breath-taking nature. Boasting over 1000 km of coastline and 200 beaches alongside diverse natural typography, beach hotels in Corsica is every nature lover’s dream come true. Just south of Corsica, Sardinia is another paradise for outdoor fanatics providing plenty of opportunities to enjoy the glittering sea and the pristine shore. Far away from the crowds of Majorca and clubs of Ibiza, beach hotels on the low-key island gem of Menorca similarly provide the perfect seaside escape. The island offers peaceful hideaways where you can bask on sun-soaked shorelines and take in over 300 days of sunshine per year. And finally, there is no place more romantic than Santorini. If the snow-white Cycladic houses perched on multicolored cliffs above the cobalt blue sea and mouth-watering Greek food don’t take your breath away, the glorious sunsets that set the night sky ablaze certainly will. Bordered on the north by Europe, the east by Asia and in the south by Africa, the Mediterranean is also the perfect base from which to explore dreamy beach destinations further afield.
A beach vacation is not always simply about lazing the days away on sprawling white sands. The best beach hotels should also capture the spirit of joie de vivre. Thousands of vacationers flock to the Italian, French or Spanish Riviera to see and be seen and party the nights away. Luxurious beach hotels in these regions all have something special to offer whether it’s a rooftop terrace perfect for sipping sun downers, their own private beaches or spas with infinity pools that blend seamlessly into ocean views. La vita est bella in Liguria. Situated close to the Côte d’Azur in France and just a stone’s throw from Tuscany, the birthplace of pesto invites you to enjoy alfresco dining while admiring stunning alpine and coastal views. Beach hotels here blend sophisticated Italian design and gourmet cuisine perfectly and the colorful fishing villages of Portofino will steal your heart. Tuscany’s capital, Florence has all the Renaissance art and architecture your heart desires whereas Elba and Forte de Marmi’s beaches are second to none. Tuscany is a gourmet destination where lyrical landscapes of golden wheat fields, green vineyards and olive groves supply local, seasonal and sustainable food and wine. Catalonia is another destination that attracts sun-seekers as well as culture vultures. Barcelona’s rich history, vibrant atmosphere, and close proximity to the coast make it an excellent choice for a beach hotel. The rest of the Spanish coastline is similarly versatile, providing great opportunities for a city break and beach vacation. The rugged coast of Costa Brava in particular impresses with unspoiled coves and scenic seascapes. Wild coastlines, the best seafood in Europe, and beautiful cities are just a few good reasons for travellers to make their way to Galicia in Spain’s northwestern corner.
With its warm Mediterranean climate and diverse natural topography, Portugal is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe and the Algarve, in particular, is a truly spectacular beach destination. The Algarve is a region of unprecedented beauty, awash with dramatic coasts, charming coastal towns, and rich marine life. Beach hotels are dotted all along Portugal’s southern coast from Albufeira to Lagos, where you can charter a yacht for the day and enjoy the coastline and cityscapes from the water. In the Algarve’s gorgeous capital, Faro, ancient medieval sites are in perfect harmony with the energetic energy of a growing student population making this city a great place to spend a beach vacation. The Netherlands is the best destination to pick when you want to combine a city break with a sunny beach vacation. The Dutch coastline, from the Wadden Islands all the way up north to Zeeland down in the south, boasts a fantastic range of contemporary beach hotels with modern amenities and impeccable service. Theatre lovers’ first choice will be a beach hotel in Terschelling, the island that hosts the annual theatre festival, Oerol, and boasts 30km long stretches of sand. Zandvoort’s close proximity to Amsterdam and its white sandy beaches along with dunes, plants and wildlife make it a popular choice amongst locals and tourists alike. Though beaches might not be the first thing that springs to mind when thinking of Germany, the country’s North Sea and Baltic coastline’s as well as the charming islands of Sylt and Rügen both have a number of exclusive design hotels situated right on the beach. Dreamy resorts and stylish beach hotels on white sandy beaches in Travemünde, pure luxury on the waterfront of Binz and restful retreats in nature on one of the charming North Fristian Islands put Germany on the map as a beach destination well worth visiting.