Europe’s Best Urban Beaches

Let’s face it, at this time of year if you’re not on a European beach break you’re dreaming of being on a European beach break. Am I right? If you’re yet to book your getaway I’ve whittled down some of my top picks for urban beach breaks in Europe where you can enjoy both the sand and the city. Whether it’s water sports or watering holes you’re after, these are the best urban beaches in Europe.

Research thanks to GoEuro – now known as Omio

Best for water temperature – Catania, Italy

So Europe is not quite the Maldives where the water temperature is hotter than bath water but you can find waters without the trademark European chill off the coast of Catania in Italy. This Sicilian city positively sizzles with buzzing nightlight, delightful gastronomy, UNESCO-listed architecture and a very pleasant ocean temperature of 25 degrees Celsius.

Best for water sports – Split, Croatia



A post shared by Visit Split (@visitsplit) on

If you like to get active in the water you’ll be surprised by the number of water sports available in Split, Croatia. From lagoons to caves, canyoning to sea kayaking – Split rates highly for the huge number of water-based activities on offer. Of course, there’s lots of fun to be hand on land too – especially if you like exploring Roman palaces or would like to track down the filming locations of HBO hit show Game of Thrones.

Best for nightlife – Barcelona, Spain



A post shared by Visit Barcelona (@visitbarcelona) on

Where else can you find nightlife, beaches, sangria and the Sagrada Familia? Of course, Europe’s best beach city for nightlife has to be Barcelona. Its rich mix of shopping, beaches, tapas and bar scene make it a top spot for bucks and hens parties but culture abounds in the world-class museums and galleries too.

Best for convenience – Nice, France



A post shared by visitnice (@visitnice) on

If you like to keep the time spent on transferring from the city to the sand to a minimum than Nice tops the list when it comes to convenience. With just a 12-minute transfer from the airport to the city and the beach just a 12-minute walk from the old town, Nice really does offer the best of both worlds. As one of the most fabulous (darling) cities in the French Riveria, come to Nice if you enjoy coastal walks, antique markets, friendly boulangeries and a beguiling quality of light that’s been enticing artists for centuries.

Best all-rounder – Alicante, Spain



A post shared by Luiza Sinisterra (@lulusinisterra) on

Europe’s answer to Miami (if you ask me!) and best all-rounder beach city is Spain’s infamous Alicante. With numerous white sand, palm fringed beaches and a notorious nightlife, Alicante comes out tops for water sports, water temperature (25 degrees – lovely), nightlife and travel convenience. Its accessibility coupled with wide range of affordable accommodation options make it a firm family favourite.

So, what do you think? Will you be taking a European urban beach break this summer?

About the author

I’m Jayne, a travel blogger, content creator and mum to a 4-year-old son. I’ve been blogging since 2010, travelled to 65 countries and share travel guides and tips to help you plan stylish, stress-free trips.

2 thoughts on “Europe’s Best Urban Beaches”

  1. Hey Jayne,

    Haven’t heard from you in awhile, so thought to pop over and say hello. Now wanderlusting all over Europe, which I haven’t been for so long. My big regret is never making it to Croatia – on the list! How great does Split look!?

    See you soon,



    • Well hello, thanks for stopping by 🙂 Can you believe it is almost a year since Cape Town already?! It seems like everyone I know is in Europe right now and I can hardly control my jealousy. Croatia is up there with one my faves.x


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.