There are lots of coastal areas around the world with amazing beaches, but none quite like those in the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean coast is a top vacation spot for Europeans on holidays and curious travelers from near and far. Beaches here are glitzy and glamorous, peaceful and secluded, upscale and sophisticated, and laid-back and relaxed. You can make a beach trip here as luxurious or as budget-friendly as you like here as well.
But whichever beach area you choose, it’s bound to be romantic and memorable in the Mediterranean. These are some of the most incredible beaches in the Mediterranean you simply must visit on your next vacation.
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Cala Mitjaneta – Minorca, Spain (Hotel Prices & Photos)
This is a very popular beach for both tourists and locals in the summertime in Spain. It’s located on the southern coast of Spain near Cala Galdana and is an excellent place to swim and snorkel. Make sure to get to this beach area early because parking tends to fill up quickly. Both Cala Mitjana and Cala Mitjaneta are known for their picturesque views of cliffs, crystal clear water, white sand, and forests in the background. You can swim from one of these beach areas to the other, but keep in mind there are no shops or restaurants here so you’ll need to pack a picnic lunch.
Navagio Beach – Zakynthos, Greece (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Navagio Beach also goes by the name Shipwreck Beach, and the area of sand around the cliffs is sometimes called Smugglers Cove. This beach is along the coast of Zakynthos in the Ionian Islands, and its nicknames date back several decades to when a ship transporting contraband cigarettes became stranded on this beach. The beach can only be accessed by boat, and there are no facilities or shade. Boat service runs from the capital city of Zakynthos, the Harbor of Saint Nikolas in Volimes, and from nearby Porto Vromi. Something interesting about this beach area is its popularity for BASE jumping.
Monterosso Beach – Cinque Terre, Italy (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Along the Italian Riviera, head to the town of Monterosso el Mare to visit the best waterfront area in this region. Monterosso Beach extends along the town’s coastline and is near the Cinque Terre villages. This is a very popular beach, so try to visit during the shoulder seasons of summer to avoid big crowds. Monterosso is the only sandy beach in this area, as the others nearby are mostly covered in pebbles and stones. The beaches of Cinque Terre are free to enjoy, but you can rent out beach umbrellas, beach beds, and concessions. Stop by the restaurants, pubs, and ice cream shops along the Monterosso promenade, and check out the old town of Monterosso too.
Calanque d’En Vau, French Riviera, France (Hotel Prices & Photos)
The French Riviera is best known for its high-end resorts and glamorous film festivals, but it also has some beach areas that you might not expect to find. Calanque d’En Vau is between Marseille and Cassis and is a beach lover’s dream with hiking, scenic views of the French coast, white sand, granite cliffs, and bright blue water.
Lapad Beach – Dubrovnik, Croatia (Hotel Prices & Photos)
For a fun and family-friendly beach, head to Lapad Beach, which is Dubrovnik’s largest beach. Here you’ll find lifeguards to keep you safe while you swim, seaside promenades, and lots of hotels and restaurants to choose from. You can find many ice cream, pastry, and coffee shops along the Lapad promenade. Head to the beaches deep in the bay for a fun social scene, or go out to the end of peninsula for a less crowded atmosphere. Other Dubrovnik-area beaches to check out include Banje Beach for spotting celebrities, Hvar Island for a party scene, and Kocolep in the Elafati Islands for an unspoiled getaway.
Olu Deniz, Turkey (Hotel Prices & Photos)
One of the most popular beaches in all of Turkey is Olu Deniz, which means “sea of the dead.” The waters here are calm and protected, but you may experience big crowds during peak season. This is a great beach to visit if you like doing more than just lying in the sand. There are opportunities here to hike the Lycian Way, which is a 311-mile trail that goes through the mountains, and also to go paragliding from atop a nearby mountain. The Turquoise Coast is a very popular area to visit in Turkey for beach lovers, and it’s also home to endangered sea turtles. This region is fairly undeveloped compared to some other beach areas on this list; however, it’s not far from the historic villages and forts you’ll want to visit in the area as well.
Cabo de Gata – Andalucia, Spain (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Head to the national park in Andalucía to spend some time at the Cabo de Gata Beach. This is a protected coastal region that is incredibly beautiful and full of coral and marine life, which makes it a perfect place to visit for snorkelers. One of the best places to start your exploration of this area is the town of San Jose. From here, you’ll find miles of pristine coastline that is remote and relaxing.
Isola dei Conigli, Lampedusa Island, Italy (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Some of the most beautiful beaches in all of Italy area located at Isola dei Conigli, which translates to “Rabbit Island.” This is an isolated beach that offers quiet relief from the region’s other crowded and popular beaches. Ironically, there isn’t a big rabbit population on Rabbit Island. Instead, there’s a sanctuary for loggerhead turtles here and a strong commitment to preserve the natural environment. Isola dei Conigli is next to another small Italian island off the Sicilian coast, Lampedusa, which has lots of Roman ruins, prehistoric huts, and an underwater sculpture art installation to explore as well.
Elounda Beach, Elounda, Crete (Hotel Prices & Photos)
The main beach here is conveniently located in the center of Elounda and next to a car park. Vacation planning is easy when you arrive because there are restaurants, hotels, and cafeterias all around you at Elounda Beach. The beach at the east end is a small beach near the isthmus that leads to the Kolokytha Peninsula. Cross the isthmus and pass by the windmills and the Agios Loukas church to reach Kolokytha Beach. Afternoons are the busiest time to be here, but mornings and evenings are quieter and peaceful. There’s a nudist section of beach in the area where the boats moor and where the flat rocks are. If you head just a few kilometers to the north, you can also visit Driros Beach and Dreros Beach to take part in some fun watersports.
Himara Beach – Himare, Albania (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Albania sometimes gets left out of the Mediterranean beach scene, but Himara Beach is a lovely area of white sandy beaches that’s definitely worth visiting. This is also a place to learn about Byzantine architecture and soak up the scenery amidst the region’s olive trees. The towering Llogara Mountains to the northeast provide the perfect backdrop for lazy days in the sand. Greek culture is strong here, and you’ll find local Greek taverns that are authentic and fun to stop in for a drink.
Baska Voda Beach – Baska Voda, Croatia (Hotel Prices & Photos)
The Dalmatian Coast is the place to be in Croatia for beach lovers. One of the most popular beaches here is Baska Voda Beach, which is part of a resort town in the Makarska Riviera. The beach overlooks the Adriatic Sea and features white stone houses and dramatic natural cliffs. When you spend time here, plan to visit the nearby villages of Topici and Bast to enjoy some homemade bread, prosciutto, and artisanal cheese. These are great places to learn about local traditions and experience friendly hospitality. There are lots of hotels and private apartments here to accommodate travelers, and the fresh mountain air and pine woods bring a unique aspect to this beach area.
Li Cossa Beach, Italy (Hotel Prices & Photos)
This beach is located at Costa Paradiso in Sardinia and is a secluded haven for beachgoers. Li Cossa Beach is a little-known beach area that is tucked away in a cove and a short hike away from the rest of civilization. This is an ideal place to plan your trip if you’re looking to get away from it all and explore some marine life underwater on a few snorkeling excursions.