20 best white sand beaches in Europe you should visit

Looking for the best white sand beaches in Europe? I’ve got you covered. 

In this post, I’ll show you where to find the best European beaches, from hidden cave beaches to the best-rated beach with the softest sands and clearest waters.

Let’s (literally) jump right in.

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The best white sand beaches in Europe

1. San Vito Lo Capo

In the northwest of Sicily, you find the beach of San Vito Lo Capo, which is renowned for its bright white sands and clear turquoise sea.

This beach is sheltered by dramatic mountain backdrops and often draws a crowd, so it’s best to get there early during peak season.

Read next: 20 best places to visit in Europe in July

best white sand beaches in Europe - San Vito Lo Capo, Sicily

2. Rabbit Beach, Lampedusa Island

Heading off the coast of Sicily, Rabbit Beach on Lampedusa Island is a secluded paradise.

It’s often listed among the top beaches in the world for its untouched beauty.

The beach is part of a marine reserve, so the water here is incredibly clear with thriving sea life—perfect for snorkeling.

best beaches in Europe - Rabbit Beach, Lampedusa island

3. Cala Rossa, Favignana

Situated on the small island of Favignana, Cala Rossa is named for the reddish color of the rocks that surround its sandy bay.

This spot is a bit of a trek to get to, but your efforts are rewarded with spectacular swimming conditions and a quieter atmosphere.

best beaches in Europe - Cala Rossa, Favignana

4. Santa Giulia, Corsica

You’ll find Santa Giulia on the south-east coast of Corsica.

It’s a hit for its turquoise waters and fine, powdery sand.

Santa Giulia is not just about sunbathing; water sports enthusiasts flock here for windsurfing and paddleboarding. There’s also a good range of amenities close by.

best beaches in Europe - Santa Giulia, Corsica

5. Plage De Palombaggia, Corsica

Plage de Palombaggia is what beach dreams are made of: long stretches of soft white sand, clear blue seas, and lines of pine trees for when you need a break from the sun.

It’s pretty popular, so if you’re looking for a quiet spot, you might want to get there early.

best beaches in Europe - Plage de Palombaggia, Corsica

6. Pelosa beach, Sardinia

At Pelosa, you’ll find a beach that’s famous for its shallow, clear waters and fine white sand.

It’s the kind of place that makes you think twice about ever leaving.

best beaches in Europe - Pelosa, Sardinia

7. Cala Goloritze, Sardinia

The captivating Cala Goloritze is set at the base of a ravine, and it’s known for its pinnacle-like rock formations.

It’s a UNESCO-listed site, so you’re in for an iconic Sardinian beach experience.

best beaches in Europe - Cala Goloritze, Sardinia

8. Navagio Beach (Shipwreck Beach), Zakynthos

Fringed by towering cliffs, Navagio Beach is named after the shipwreck washed ashore in the 1980s.

It’s accessible only by boat, offering you an exclusive slice of paradise with its intensely blue waters and striking white sands.

Don’t forget to snap the iconic view from the viewing platform above.

best beaches in Europe - Navagio Beach (Shipwreck Beach), Zakynthos, Greece

9. Elafonissi Beach, Crete

Picture Elafonissi: a beach where pink-hued sands meet turquoise waters, creating a beautiful contrast.

It’s a Natura 2000 protected area, which means the pristine environment here, including its unique sand, is maintained with utmost care.

best beaches in Europe - Elafonissi Beach, Crete, Greece

10. Myrtos Beach, Kefalonia

Myrtos Beach is a frequent ‘top 10’ contender for the best beaches in Greece, thanks to its mile-and-a-half long arc of sparkling white pebbles contrasted by electric blue waters.

Sit back and enjoy the sun setting behind the cliffs for a serene experience.

best beaches in Europe - Myrtos Beach, Kefalonia, Greece

11. Porto Katsiki, Lefkada

Porto Katsiki beckons with its sheer limestone cliffs and deep blue sea.

You’ll traverse down 80 steps to reach the beach, but your effort is rewarded with one of Lefkada’s most acclaimed and photographed shorelines.

best beaches in Europe - Porto Katsiki, Lefkada, Greece

12. Balos Beach, Crete

Finally, set your sights on Balos Beach, where you can wade in balmy, shallow waters before they blend into the deeper, cobalt blue of the Mediterranean.

It’s a bit of a trek to get there, but the lagoon-like setting bordered by rugged terrain is entirely worth it.

best beaches in Europe - Balos Beach, Crete, Greece

13. Cala Mesquida, Mallorca

Cala Mesquida is a gem on the island of Mallorca with its fine, white sands and dunes that are protected for their ecological significance.

The beach is also known for its crystal-clear waters and is a hotspot for nature lovers.

best beaches in Europe - Cala Mesquida, Mallorca

14. Ses Illetes, Formentera, Spain

Formentera’s Ses Illetes beach could fool you into thinking you’ve landed in the Caribbean, thanks to its white sands and stunning turquoise sea.

It’s a slice of paradise for sunbathers and water enthusiasts alike.

best beaches in Europe - Ses Illetes, Formentera, Spain

15. Tropea, Italy

Tropea Beach is a popular spot in Italy, mainly because it has clear water for swimming and a sandy beach that’s great for sunbathing.

It’s right next to the town of Tropea, so it’s convenient for visitors who want to check out local shops and restaurants.

best beaches in Europe - Tropea, Italy

16. Nissi beach, Cyprus

Nissi Beach in Cyprus is known for its lively scene, with music and a crowd that’s up for a good time.

The water is shallow, which is good for families or anyone who just wants to splash around.

It’s a busy place with lots of facilities like sunbeds and places to eat, making it a go-to for people who want a beach that’s got everything in one spot.

best beaches in Europe - Nissi Beach, Cyprus

17. Praia Da Marinha, Algarve, Portugal

Praia Da Marinha in the Algarve is praised for its rock formations and golden sands.

Its calm and clear water makes it ideal for snorkeling and exploring marine life.

best beaches in Europe - Praia da Marinha, Algarve, Portugal

18. Ksamil, Albania

Ksamil in Albania has clear waters and white sands, making it a standout destination in Europe.

Ksamil beaches are part of a small village and is less crowded than other popular beaches in Europe.

best beaches in Europe - ksamil

19. Blue Lagoon, Ölüdeniz 

The Blue Lagoon in Ölüdeniz, Turkey, is famous for its clear, turquoise waters and is a national nature reserve.

The lagoon is calm, making it safe for all swimmers.

Paragliding is a big draw here, with people taking off from Babadağ Mountain to see the lagoon from above.

best beaches in Europe - Blue Lagoon, Ölüdeniz

20. Torrente de Pareis, Mallorca

Torrent de Pareis, voted Europe’s most beautiful beach, can be reached by a tough six-hour hike, suitable only for the very fit.

Alternatively, for an easier route, you can take a one-hour boat ride from Söller harbor, with several trips available daily.

best beaches in Europe - Torrente de Pareis, Mallorca

FAQ – The best white sand beaches in Europe

Where is the whitest sand in Europe?

The whitest sand in Europe is at Siesta Beach in Zakynthos, Greece. It’s really soft and looks stunning against the clear blue water.

What is the nicest beach in Europe?

The nicest beach in Europe is Navagio Beach, also in Zakynthos, Greece. It’s famous for its shipwreck, towering cliffs, and incredibly clear blue waters.

Which beach has the clearest water in Europe?

The beach with the clearest water in Europe is Cala Macarella in Menorca, Spain. Its waters are remarkably transparent, making it a paradise for swimmers and snorkelers.

Which country has the most white sand beaches in Europe?

Greece has the most white sand beaches in Europe, with numerous islands like Crete, Mykonos, and Zakynthos boasting stunning, picturesque shores.

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Check out my list of the best white sand beaches in Europe to find your perfect summer spot. From Greece's gorgeous coastlines to Spain's secluded shores, I've got the scoop on where to go for that dream beach day. These European beaches offer crystal-clear waters and stunning views. #BestBeaches #EuropeTravel #SummerVibes

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