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Top 10 Beaches in Europe:

Europe has some of the most stunning beach coastlines in the world. The range is sometimes overwhelming for those of us who are trying to book a summer sea side break. Do I hop on flight to Italy to explore the sheltered rocky coves fringed with olive trees. Do I go further afield to the vast white sandy stretches in Croatia. Whittling down the top destinations can be tough. So here are a our choice pick of the Top 10 Beaches in Europe that will get you in the mood for lazy days lounging in the sun.

1. Laidback Liguria, Italy:

Seafront restaurants, local fishermen surveying their catch under a middqay sun. A mellow relaxed air make Santa Margarita Ligure an ideal base for exploring this part of Italy’s Ligurian coast. The exquisite Portofino lies just to the west. Perhaps hop on a train to the classy Cinque Terre villages a short distance away.

2. Go wild in Galicia, Spain:

A wild 7km stretch of white sand bordered by dunes, marshes and mountains. Carnota is the longest beach in Galicia. A legacy from it’s many nineteenth-century shipwrecks the region is known as as ‘The Coast of Death’ or ‘The Costa da Morte’. Located in Spain’s northwestern tip you can explore the heavenly beaches or wander down the the wooden walkways that cross the marshes that are populated by the herons and local wildlife.

3. Find some calm on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast:

A small distance north of Bulgaria’s border with Turkey lies some of the country’s least developed beaches. Start in the quaint village of Sinemorets and make your way down the jagged coast. Un-populated golden-sand beaches are encircled by protected nature reserves and lush pine forests. Sample the local wine and bring your own picnic to the secluded sands of Lipite Beach and Silistar Beach. If you want adventure go North to find the bars and clubs that dominate the resorts but if calm and relaxation is your style stay put.

4. Pine trees and Pools in Paxos, Greece:

For those who love nothing more than peering into rock pools exploring the coast strap on your sandals and pack the flip flops and snorkel, float in sparkling waters of the Ionian Sea. Get the most out of the rugged rocky beach at Monodendri on the east coast of Paxos. Pine and olive trees offer shade after a day’s exploration or perhaps visit one of the many beach restaurants that serve classic Greek dishes.

5. Ile de Ré, France, it’s ‘wheelie’ great:

The two wheeler is the preferred mode of transport on this chilled-out French wild Atlantic island, where 100km of cycle trails wind through stunning scenery and past soft sand beaches, pine forests, and lush If seafood tickles your taste buds head inland where fresh oyster beds supply the food market in the village of La Flotte. What better way to end a day on the bike?

6. Rustic character in Norfolk, England:

Norfolk Coast Cycleway along the coast to Wells-next-the-Sea gives this location an endearing old-fashioned charm and character than more than makes up the less balmy conditions. Continental counterparts may be a few degrees more agreeable to the sun seekers, but the soft and often empty sands  along the 6km of Holkham Beach’s will tempt those who don’t need bake under a summer sun but would rather find a spot for nature’s solace.

7. Get on track in Rügen, Germany:

Without a doubt the most entertaining way of getting around Rügen’s Eastern beaches is by steam railway. Rügen is Germany’s largest island and if remains and relics of Nazi Germany are your thing, stop at Prora and check out the ruins of what was once the world’s largest beach resort. Rügen is an hub of activity and hugely popular holiday destination. It’s made up of a fascinating mix of pebble beaches, a national park with looming white chalk cliffs and eclectic Victorian resorts.

8. Find paradise in Rab, Croatia:

Sandy beaches are not all that common in Croatia, but there are a few (well, 22 in total) on this small island in the Kvarner Gulf. Rab’s aptly named Paradise Beach on the Lopar peninsula is a top pick for a tranquil beach holiday. The vistas are incredible with an over 2km sweep of sand and clear shallow waters teeming with sea life and perfect for snorkling. Or, for those free and adventurous sorts, hike through woods for 30 minutes to reach Sahara Beach in a sheltered inlet. Dress light and hang loose as this is a popular spot for naturists.

9. Get lost in Languedoc, France:

The wild windswept coast of France’s Languedoc region stretches from the Camargue to the Spanish coast in a seemingly endless strecht of sandy beach. Nearly 10km of unspoilt dunes and, refreshingly form the western fringe of the Camargue is Plage de l’Espiguette. If it’s beach bars and cocktails you’re after, head to Le Grau du Roi or La Grande Motte for that much needed libation.

10. Take the plunge in Tropea, Italy:

It’s hard to find a beach with a more dramatic backdrop than Tropea’s steep cliffs. They provide a dramatic backdrop to this stunning beach. A mosaic of brightly coloured houses cling on to this coastal spot, seemingly in defiance of the laws of gravity. Down in the toe of Italy, Calabria’s charming town hovers over several sandy beaches as well as a rocky promontory. It is topped by the church of Santa Maria dell’Isola. Calabria is one of Italy’s least developed regions, and its warmth comes not just from the baking southern sun! It also oozes from the friendly locals and famous spicy cuisine.

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