Ever dreamed of a tropical retreat without the slog of a long-haul flight? We’ve got good news – you actually can have the best of both worlds. We’ve put our heads together and come up with a list of beaches in Europe that might as well be on the Caribbean Coast – we’re talking crystal clear waters, cotton-white sands, and chilled-out vibes to boot. Go on, have a read – it’s time to get inspired…
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1. Porto Santo Beach, Porto Santo Island
Ever heard of Porto Santo? We wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t. This little island floats off the coast of spotlight-stealer Madeira, and just like its neighbour, is part of Portugal. Porto Santo might be a hidden gem, but it’s a gem nonetheless. If anything, it’s made even shinier – so to speak – thanks to its footprint-free vibes. Unlike Madeira, which doesn’t deal in sand, Porto Santo’s got the stuff in spades.
The island’s namesake beach is the star attraction here. It covers near-enough the entire south coast of the island – clocking up a total length of nine kilometres. Bask on the butterscotch-toned sands and you’ll feel like you’re in a tropical classic like St Lucia. Best of all, it takes less than four hours to fly to pretty Porto Santo.
Find out more about our holidays to Porto Santo
2. Platya de Migjorn, Formentera
Next up is another under-the-radar sister island, this time, Formentera. Sitting in the shadow of big-name Ibiza, it’s no wonder that Formentera’s managed to keep a low profile. It’s low-key rep’s definitely done it some favours, too – it’s picture-perfect. Plus, building beside the beaches is banned under conservation laws, so the scenery’s not set to change any time soon.
Beach-wise, Platja Migiorn’s the island’s longest, and its best. The sand here’s as white as the inside of a Jamaican coconut, and the water’s Caribbean blue. And, true to the island’s style, it’s always super quiet. It’s also popular with naturists – but don’t worry, you can keep your cossies on if that’s not your style. How long does it take to get to Formentera? A measly three hours.
Find out more about our holidays to Formentera
3. Navagio Beach, Zante
Zante makes up a part of the Ionian Island archipelago. It’s a master of all trades, too, ticking off traditional towns, criss-crossing vineyards, neck-craning mountains and – of course – Caribbean-worthy beaches.
Just like the island it’s on, which is known as both Zante and Zakynthos, Navagio Beach has a few aliases. Some people reckon it’s Navagio, others Shipwreck Beach, and it’s known as Smuggler’s Cove, too. Whatever you call it, this postcard-perfect beach was bound to make our list. Scooped out of the side of a white-faced cliff, its waters are so blue it’s like there’s a permanent Instagram filter overlaying it. The cotton-white sand doesn’t hurt, either. And, you’ll get to Zante in under four hours.
Find out more about our holidays to Zante
4. Zlatni Rat Beach, Brac Island
Brac Island’s one of the places that Croatia can thank for its great island hopping reputation. It’s the heftiest island in the Dalmatia line-up, and every inch of it is brimming with beauty spots. From tiny towns to olive groves, there’s a sight round every corner. Plus, it’s within easy daytripping distance of Hvar Island and Split, on the mainland.
We’d bet on you recognising our Caribbean-catfish pick on Brac Island, the sand here spills out into the sea, settling in the shape of a fish’s tail. That’s right, we’re talking about Zlatni Rat Beach. This iconic seaside spot has graced many a brochure cover, and it’s no wonder – it’s a real looker. One edge of the sand is a favourite for families, while the other has windsurfers flocking to it. It’ll take you around three hours to make your way to Brac Island.
Find out more about our holidays to Croatia