With the promise of warm weather, cheap flights and delicious food it's no wonder that the Mediterranean attracts throngs of holidaying Brits to its sunny shores each year. See our top picks for best Med beaches.
Agios Gordios, Corfu
Although it has earned a noisy reputation in recent years, mainly in the lively resort of ‘kicking’ Kavos, much of Corfu still remains tranquil and picturesque. Set on the west coast, Agios Gordios is a rural gem set away from the busy tourist hordes. Still retaining much of its traditional Greek charm, bougainvillea-clad houses painted in pretty pastel hues wind down the hillside towards to the long stretch of sandy beach. The beach itself has been granted a Blue Flag for cleanliness and safety, making it an ideal spot for some family fun. Adults will also be entertained with the numerous watersports on offer such, as banana boats and jet skis.
The Spanish city might not be the first resort that springs to mind when considering a beach holiday, but with one of the best urban beaches in the world at Port Olímpic, Barcelona perfectly combines city energy and beach relaxation. The stretch of golden sand also comes alive after dark when the area’s bars and clubs attract party revellers. For a touch of seclusion, head down the coast to Lloret de Mar for the sheltered white-sand stretch, or if it’s an all-over tan you are looking for then the private cove at Caldes d’Estracs is a naturist hotspot. Those with nippers should head to the stretch of beach to the north of the city, from La Barceloneta to the seawater pool at Forum, as they are shallow with low waters – perfect for kiddies to paddle in.
Alghero is one of the most popular resorts on Sardinia, yet retains the charm and atmosphere of a working fishing village. It manages to cater for all tastes, with cultural sites and plenty of amenities. It is less glitzy than the busy Costa Smeralda on the north coast of the island, but has plenty to offer those wanting sun, sand and sea – with clean beaches, and a lively clutch of bars and restaurants. The medieval old town is the most picturesque on Sardinia, and has a fascinating Catalan heritage: a legacy of centuries of Aragon rule.
The volcanic island of Santorini is one of Greece’s most glamorous island destinations. The most upmarket resorts are Fira and Oia, which are perched upon the reddish-black cliffs plummeting into the deep-blue waters of the caldera, and offer sophisticated boutique hotels and gourmet dining. Moneyed travellers, including a smattering of celebrities, favour the glamorous west coast, while the east coast caters for those on a lower budget. For many people, the quintessential Santorini experience is watching the sunset from Oia, an evening ritual during high season, when crowds applause as the sun sinks into the horizon.
This vine-filled island rewards visitors with sun-kissed beaches and rugged mountains, as well as verdant pastures and dense forest. At the height of summer, warm Mediterranean waters, balmy evenings and beaches from which a host of watersports can be enjoyed are the main attraction. Some of Europe’s least polluted seas see scuba divers make a beeline for the island, with adventure activities like rock climbing and canyoning also available to keep the adrenaline pumping. Corsica is blessed with everything from small rocky coves and beaches strewn with multicoloured pebbles to those replete with fine white sand. Bustling resort beaches, complete with watersports centres are balanced out by tranquil, almost deserted spots. Choosing where to soak up the sun’s rays, or where to take a dip in the bath-temperature sea is a matter of personal preference. Beaches consistently rated as some of the island’s best (and some of the finest in Europe) include Barcaggio, Ostriconi, Palombaggia and Saint Giulia.
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