With glistening clear blue water paired with miles of sandy beaches, the Mediterranean is arguably one of the hottest vacation spots around. But choosing just one place to visit in the region can be a hard decision. Will the soft breezes of the French Riviera draw you in? Or are you looking to dip your toes in the enticing waters of Majorca? To help you navigate these seas, we’ve put together a list of the seven best Mediterranean beaches. So grab your sunscreen, hats, and flip-flops … let’s go!
Poetto Beach – Cagliari, Sardinia
The fabulous waters and shimmering sands of Poetto Beach in Cagliari are some of the best that the tiny island of Sardinia has to offer. The beach is less than five miles from the Sella del Diavola (Devil’s Seat), which is a mountain that has the shape of a chair that is rumored to be where the devil once rested. Water sports are very popular in this area, and boats, canoes, and rafts can be rented from the beach. Parts of the beach are reserved for people who pay for season memberships, so be sure to enter in a spot that is open to the public. A number of restaurants and bars are open around the area, so people can usually be spotted strolling around with a rum and coke in hand. Things usually ease up around mid to late afternoon when people retreat home to shower, change and get ready for the night. By 10 pm, Poetto lights back up, with discos and clubs sprawling back onto the beach.
Cala Mitjaneta – Menorca, Spain
Like Sardinia, Menorca is a small island blessed with miles and miles of beautiful Mediterranean beach to choose from. That being said, one of the most wonderful beaches to check out in Spain is the Cala Mitjaneta. Located in the heart of the Cala Galdana, it’s a beach that invokes purity, solitude, and serenity. The beach is devoid of any boardwalk, hotels, or restaurants, leaving the natural purity of the area intact. It’s a bit of a trek to get there, but with a wonderful view of the sea and small coves to tuck into, the small journey is more than worthwhile. The beach is best accessible by walking and there’s a parking lot about 20 minutes away from the cove. If you’re the kind of person that prefers crystal clear waters, peace and quiet, and unadulterated nature, Cala Mitjaneta is for you.
The Red Beach – Santorini, Greece
Santorini is a sea of blue and white cafes, restaurants, and homes. Kissed by the sun year round, the towns are bleached white and the bright blue cubic roofs give the impression of a town built by sand and legos. The beaches in Santorini are equally as colorful, notably the Red Beach located at the very southern bit of the island, and its name speaks for its appearance. Created by a specific type of volcanic rock, the beach is bright red. It’s a bit of a hike to get there and the beach itself lacks sand, and it isn’t exactly the lay-out and sun-bathe kind of place. BUT it offers a stunning view and a one-of-a-kind experience. With steep, jutting brick-colored cliffs, and the sparkling undulating turquoise Mediterranean, a visit to the Red Beach will make you feel like you’ve stepped on to an artist’s pallet.
Monterosso Beaches – Cinque Terre, Italy
If the kind of art you like happens to be impressionism, then Cinque Terre in Italy is the place for you. The small mountainous villages are filled with pastel-colored homes that when coupled with reflecting lights off the waters and small colorful fishing boats make the entire scene look like a Monet painting. The entire region is warm, mild, historic, and one of those undiscovered gems of the Mediterranean. The area has been a Unesco World Heritage site since 1997 and here, the cultural paths take visitors to romantic getaways. In Cinque Terre, one of the best beaches to check out is the Monterosso beaches. Monterosso is the largest of the five villages that make up Cinque Terre, and here, the reefs, the same crystal-clear water, and fascinating copper sculptures make it the best beach to visit. The festivals, constant cultural events, parties, and friendly locals give it an unparalleled ambiance.
Coral Bay – Paphos, Cyprus
For hearty, family-friendly fun, head to Coral Bay. The area is incredibly welcoming, the majority of the people that work there speak very good English, and there’s a boardwalk filled with activities. To get to the beach, there’s a bus that runs directly from Paphos and costs about $2. The beaches are clean, and for the more adventurous types, there’s a huge selection of water sports to choose from, including jet skiing, rafting, and canoeing. The area is surrounded by beautiful villas that can be rented, small sea caves that can explored, and long walks for couples who may be trying to get away from the crowds. For a sweet and relaxing vacation, Coral Bay is the place to go.
Praia da Oura – Albufeira, Portugal
Arguably at the meeting point between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean, the Praia da Oura is one of the nicest beaches you can find on the limitless southeast coast of Portugal. Called The “golden beach,” the Praia da Oura is one of the most popular beaches in Albufeira. The soft golden sand, nice restaurants, sweeping promenades, and quirky cafes make it a place where both tourists and locals come to kick back and bask in the glory of the southern sun. Like most European beaches, the restaurants transform into clubs after hours and the music comes tumbling out of buildings. The whole experience feels like taking a long sip from a piña colada and just saying “aaaah.”
Plage des Marinières – Villefranche, France
Lovers of lounging beware: Villefranche, like many of the beaches in the French Riviera, are not exactly sandy paradises. Most of the beaches in this area are more pebbles waiting to be eroded by the gentle licks of the ocean. That being said, one of the few sandy paradises that can be found nearby is the Plage des Marinières. The sand is still a bit course however, so be prepared with flip flops to wade into the crystal waters. The beach is centrally located and easily accessible from a number of train stops all along the coast. If you’re looking for a quick way to experience the Mediterranean, this is the place to go.
Did we miss your favorite Mediterranean beach getaway? Let us know what it is in the comments below!